by Uche Briggs
Iyanya is a great man.
It isn’t a debate, it is a statement of fact, one that can be verified with empirical data once funding for that research is commissioned. I mean, how else can we explain one man thrusting his manhood in our faces and compelling us to adopt a dance, which itself strips one of every coolness value there is? 3million caller tune downloads, an unprecedented feat by any African. Yes, he is a great man.
But what exactly does this figure tell us? What does his achievement help us understand? One simple but profound truth: the numbers aren’t on Twitter. They are not.
How many people on this platform can say they downloaded his caller tune? I’m yet to find any friend of mine who downloaded, so who did? Where are the three million people? There are people who exist outside our spheres of contact. Follow closely my brethren.
Between the furore generated by the announcement of 10million phones for farmers and a recent article by PDP man, Ohimai Amaize, I have noted a certain issue which raised concerns.
The former issue uncovered arguments from certain quarters that Nigeria doesn’t have up to 10million farmers. I have read a passionate rejoinder provoked by Ohimai Amaize’s article. I don’t agree with all Ohimai said. I particularly don’t think that we are all PDP. That a child within a household is blatantly evil doesn’t mean everyone should be smeared with that stain.
However, there was a more profound statement that my friend made that echoed all I had been saying since. He noted:
“Naira notes travel faster than tweets. Bundles of ankara penetrate the farthest nooks and crannies of our nation and big bags of rice inspire more hope than well-written blogs.”
Nothing could be more resounding in truth than these words.
It therefore came as a huge shock to me that many young people disagreed, citing how the ‘Ekekees’ of this world inspire hope in a generation. I laugh in Isoko.
Every ‘activist’ must understand the workings of the political machinery so that we can make better arguments, advocate better solutions and generally chart the course for the new generation.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that politics is not a place for every young Nigerian, but how exactly do you fight an ‘enemy’ whose modus operandi you are oblivious to? What masquerades as optimism is but a farce, masking an over exaggerated feeling of self worth, a simple mindedness, an idealistic approach which neglects the consideration of the facts.
Don’t forget how we laughed at Dele Momodu when he was defeated at the polls, saying that he couldn’t even secure his ward. Are we saying Uncle Dele has failed to inspire people with his articles? Emphatically no! But truth remains that it isn’t enough.
I am in shock as to how many people we expect to influence via Ekeekee’s blog. How many Nigerians are on Twitter? Is that figure up to 2million? How many activated blackberry phones are there? If the Nigerian youth populace accounts for about 60%, aren’t 2million Nigerians who account for the din on social media a paltry sum?
Induced elections in Nigeria, like Boko Haram, are a clear creation of deprivation. As Tope Falade argues in his The Scoop piece this week, for change to be created, there has to be a conspiracy of the elite. This is the irrefutable truth that needs to be handled if we would make a change in 2015.
Are the riveting posts on Omojuwa, Ekekee and Rosanwo’s blogs wastes? No. These are fine men whose passion for Nigeria is expressed in the manner they best believe in and for all we know they have raised the bar, helped to hold officers accountable and raised the awareness level on certain social issues. But for change to happen, we must go beyond social media and reach out!
Politics in Nigeria is a terrain that runs by a different set of rules. In that world, morality may not be defined by utopian Aristotelian virtues. A different code exists. The deliberate enslavement of Nigerians over the years using weapons of illiteracy and starvation sets the tone for the conduct of elections. No matter how laudable the Governor is, irrespective of how admired he is by his kinsmen, monies exchange hands, Ankara material and groundnut oil kegs makes a more compelling argument than the undiluted words of wisdom from our fine young men.
Thus if this war is to be won (kid thyself not, we are at war), we would need to build competence, create influence and wield enough power to take back Nigeria from the minority who determine the standards of our living. Face the sour facts. Equality is a farce. There would always be the grand conspiracy of the elite. The nature of those few would determine, to a large extent, the quality of our living. If we must win, ambition would be a word for us to embrace.
Remember the two women in Tolu Ogunlesi’s article sometime back who were discussing the venerable Babatunde Raji Fashola? Their words struck home for me. “We ourselves are to blame for all this. We collected rice and N1,000, didn’t we?”, they reckoned. One would think they have learnt from this experience but sadly, if history is anything to go by, they haven’t. In 2015, if they are approached, it won’t be such a hard sell.
My name is Uche Briggs and I am ready to take back Nigeria.
PS: Title inspired by @elnathan’s Twitter TL. Yes, the irony just occurred to me.