LET THOSE WHO VOTED FOR CHANGE, PLEASE NOT FIGHT CHANGE
An old man said a prayer for me and some of my friends many years ago. That is the prayer I wish to say for Nigerians today. On our way to this old man's home, we had a great need in mind and did our best to fill that need but failed and it bothered us. When we arrived, he presented us with kola nuts. As he prayed before breaking the kola nuts as is our custom in Igbo Land he added: " God, what ever anybody is looking for, please let him see it or have it, but when he gets it or sees it, may he not run away from it". We all chorused "isee", meaning amen, ate the kola nuts and moved on. We did not tell him anything concerning our unfulfilled need and did not quite make anything of the prayer. On our way back to our base, we ran into that thing we sought after earlier on. We took some of the stuff and decided we have had enough, but the suppliers of the service wanted us to have more but we refused and trouble started. They seized our car and took other measures to ensure we did not continue the journey. They complained that they could not go to the great length and expense to get what we said we needed badly, only for us to just take a few and said we were satisfied. As we groaned and complained, one of us quickly reminded us of the prayer of the old man. We calmed down. And then began to argue if that was a good prayer or bad prayer and concluded that it was a 'dangerously' good prayer .
During these elections, we were asked to make a Choice between 'Continuity' and 'Change'. From the Presidential Elections result, it is apparent that the majority of Nigerians voted for change. So Change we will have. Perhaps some of those who voted change, had little understanding of what they were asking for. But that would be a shame because the long period for campaigns should have afforded all the opportunity to understand what Change or Continuity meant. Change is an encompassing phenomenon with wide ramifications, sometimes beyond the immediate precincts of the instigator and could work against subsisting interests of the protagonists. And so having campaigned for change, having voted for change, it will be dangerous and counterproductive to begin to either reject, resist or fight change.
Just before the last set of elections, the Peaceful Nigerian Political environment was agitated by the unbecoming and troubling speech credited to the the Oba of Lagos where he threatened to drown in the Lagos Lagoon all non indigenes( especially the Igbo) who did not vote for his personally chosen gubernatorial candidate for Lagos. When the news broke, I did not believe it was true. Such statements can not be made by our respected traditional custodians, not even by radical politicians . Such statements were not made even during the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War. I searched all the media and when I saw that it was a front page news in Major Nigerian newspapers I was stung but still hoped it would not be true until I saw the video which was later carried on Channels TV. I have tried to fathom the cause of his anger which led him to make such an inciting speech. My findings show that the Kabiyesi who is partisan and in favour of a party that is preaching Change seems unhappy with the change that is coming to Nigeria, Lagos inclusive . This change has already begun with three so called non indigenes winning House of Representatives seats in Lagos. The change is coming with upsets in several constituencies and states across the Nation. I believe that some seats will also be won by 'non indigenes' in the Houses of Assembly in many States where they have commanding residency as in Lagos, Portharcourt and Kano. And this is only the tip of the change that will come to the Nation. I noticed that many Nigerians from several parts of Nigeria including the Yoruba speaking have boldly crticised that kind of hate speech. That is part of the change that has begun in Nigeria. What is bad is bad and what is distasteful is distasteful, no matter where it comes from or from who it comes .The younger Nigerian population, many of whom have dual citizenship, can not understand this'non-indigenes' classification of residents in any part of Nigeria. And they will no longer accept the prejudices of the older Nigerian Population, some of whom think and speak like the Oba. They think they own Nigeria! But this Nation belongs more to the Youth and they are poised to possess it . That is the change that is imminent and this does not respect party affiliation.
Let me state that this change is coming irrespective of the government in Abuja or in Alausa. In my recent despatches I had harped on the theme that the 2015 elections have changed Nigeria in several respects. For example God fatherism is about dead in Nigeria and its foundations in Lagos have been badly shaken in these elections. The days when a governor would do what he liked and got away with it are about gone. Why? Because we now have a very virile opposition in the Country and in most States. Every Governor, whether APC or PDP or APGA will face strong criticisms for virtually every action and unparalleled scrutiny of every contract and project. So it can no longer be business as usual. Therefore all those who are used to having their ways without any questions being asked should know that change has come. Those who hitherto thought that they could hoodwink us or felt that they were ' okwucha ogwu'( when they say it, it is finished) or carried on as if they were untouchables, should know that this election has destroyed all immunity. No one is outside the radar.
Secondly, we now have an active civil society that has learnt to yell and shout and who are no longer ready to keep quiet or suffer any cheats or abridgements of their constitutional rights. The social media has given the civil society such space and empowerment than ever before. Sequel to this, is an emboldened media. The liberalization of media ownership and the rise in the operations of online media have opened the political space and there is no where to hide any more. Let it therefore be known that all those who benefitted from the free press will be the same ones who will be hunted by the same press. That is the other side of change. And yet the change is only about to begin. The centrifugal and centripetal forces to be generated by the changes at the centre and at the sub-national levels will cause whirlwinds.
So we had all better be prepared to deal with the ramifications of the change we wanted so badly. All those who do not have the liver to stand change, should find some ways to adapt now before the wind begins to blow full time. I may suggest to them to consider emigration, abdication or to go into hiding. It will be worse for those who preached change to try to fight the change they asked for, because they might end up saying or doing the unthinkable as the Oba of Lagos did last week.
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR