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Dozie Nwafor: Politicians and the rest of us (30 Days, 30 Voices)

by Dozie Nwafor

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”Ironically, the problem isn’t that the people are not willing to follow, but that the leaders do not want the people as followers.”

The discomfort of the ravaging Abuja heat, aided by the lack of electric power supply, laid the urge for me to entertain myself with what was left of my ipads’ battery power. My fingers went straight to my favourite music playlist, and the device randomly selected a lovely tune by the amazing Cobhams Asuquo – Ordinary people. Ahaa, what a great choice! I thought. The song totally engaged my mind, it was perfect for the time and weather. Drowned in the ocean of the deep lyrics of the song, I suddenly paused, a particular line had grasped my attention- ‘’No leader is worth dying for’’. At that instance, I ended my musical sojourn, picked up my pen and notepad and began to write. It was time to put down the litany of thoughts that had bothered my limber mind in recent times.

It’s becoming increasingly interesting how opinionated Nigerian youths have become, on matters of national interest. On a very good day, twitter would present the busiest traffic of erudite political arguments for and against ideologies, policies and developments in government. More interesting is the fact that this ruckus is either originated or amplified loudest by some of our social-media friendly politicians.

The very essence of Nigeria constitutes of mysterious complexities. Like a difficult knot, the more you try to unwind its ropes, the more entangled they become. Many say the biggest problem we’ve created as a nation is our existence; I say, I do not know. Every aspect of our nationhood boasts of uncertainties. Where are we going as a nation? How much have we developed? What have we made of our resources? What becomes of our sovereignty? … These questions and more have only resulted in more questions.

Politicians are people who hold or seek public offices. The duties and responsibilities of their portfolios are the manifestos they sell to the people who get them there. Apparently, these offices hold an attractive lot for these politicians especially in this part of the world; but what do the politicians have in store for us? The class-gap between the elites and the commoners in the developing world is painfully broadened. How do our politicians find fulfilment in addressing themselves as leaders when they alone follow? Ironically, the problem isn’t that the people are not willing to follow, but that the leaders do not want the people as followers.

The leaders alone want the monopoly of power affluence and corruption, the rest of us can pat their backs while they sleep in royalty. Corruption goes with power, and whatever the average man has, it is not power. Therefore to hold any useful discussion of corruption, we must first locate it where it properly belongs – in the ranks of the powerful. We know what our problems are, yet we seem too jinxed to do anything about them. It is as though we are cursed to bungle things more and more. The sad part of this reality is that the future offers no hope.

This emerging generation will rather invest all her energy in defending the recklessness of our politicians to whom their sympathy and allegiance lies. These people misappropriate our collective resources, enrich themselves and their families, send us to war against ourselves and yet we do not know it. Yes, politics is for the nation, the proceeds for the politicians and nothing is for the rest of us. We can’t own their type of companies because their policies won’t allow, we can’t share in their status because its esoteric, we can’t walk the road when they pass because we’ll constitute unnecessary traffic, we can’t even marry their daughters because we can’t find them here, what exactly do we then have in common?

We mustn’t continue to cry and leave our pillows dampened; we can’t continue to complain to the west either. There is only much the world can do for us. They lend us money, somebody here steals the same amount and gives it back to them, and they leave these poor Nigerians repaying what they never owed. The onus lies on us, if we must liberate ourselves even in the midst of independence, we must first wake up to our situation. We must refuse to be illiterate, we must refuse to be contracted, we must refuse to be manipulated, we must refuse to sell our conscience and loyalty and above all, we must resolve to be Nigerians for the sake of Nigeria.

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Dozie Nwafor is a fresh graduate of Biological Sciences whose companion is his pen, as he awaits NYSC. He is a writer, speaker, biologist and editor of an upcoming online youth movement- Flexor plus. He tweets from @ super_dee01

30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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