By Emmanuel Ogomegbunam
Ahh, but if “you can watch the things you gave your life to, broken, and stoop and build them up with worn-out tools…yours is the world and everything in it”. Ain’t it? Innit?
Serious note now.
Okay. It may seem that way, especially on election morning as most people fall for the trap of propagating 20 years of same-old, same-old while expecting things to be different. The constant stream of bad news certainly does not help either. But, a sense of perspective is necessary. Sure we were dealt a bad hand by the pre-independence generation still leading the country today, but others have been through worse. Some countries were ravaged completely by war and came out good. That and there are pockets of positive news to be found.
Second, at 24, I am about as old or older than the majority of Nigerians. In that lies our hope or maybe peril. The trajectory of all nations is determined by the state of their human capital. Nigeria’s is dire. Nigerians are also mostly young, so there is still time for improvement. That window, though, shrinks every day. The day it shuts, then, yes, the country will be beyond repair. We are not there yet, but in the span of my generation’s lifetime absent a change to the status quo, we will get there.
Then again, pretty much every Nigerian senses that. The sense of unease is pretty palpable. But as always, seeing that there is a problem is obvious, there is less of a consensus on the solution. Worse, despair has frozen some into inaction, driven others to flight and inspired a taste for revolution in others.
Personally, I will state that the tale of humanity’s sojourn on this “vale of tears” has been the realisation that the world does not provide a good life, that is, a life most worth living. Despair is not a Nigerian invention. Nonetheless, they persevered and we must too.
Regular readers will perhaps have noticed that nothing quite sticks my craw as blaming things on “leadership”. That does not mean I do not recognise the phenomenon of good and bad leadership, just that I take Newton’s words to heart more. Everyone, leaders included, stands on the shoulders of others. Those who reach highest, do so on the shoulders of giants. Now as it cannot be giants all the way down, that implies that there once was the first giant, who by his example inspired the others. But note, “others” is key here. A giant does not lead to Newton, giants do. He was not just a product of the Scientific society that fostered him but the society that fostered them. As someone, I don’t remember now said, every society gets the leadership it deserves.
It is easy to make the wrong choices in the anonymity of the crowd, but it ought not to be so. You should always, or at least, always try to make the right decisions, for obvious reasons.
As we prepare to vote, we have been denuded with propaganda about what “everybody else will do”. They exhort us to vote for the lesser of two evils, but, I say, out of 72 candidates, vote for the best and own the consequences of your vote. If you read this after voting, no worries, there a million and one other places where the advice, “why not the best?” applies. I truly believe that if we all set out to do what is good, to do our very best, regardless of what others do, Naija go better.