It took me a while to get to writing this piece. I waited this long, to fully understand the thoughts of the organizers. By observing from a distance, I was able to study the dynamics of the group and the reaction of the federal government. Before I go further, I would like to state for the records that I don’t belong to any political party, neither do I have any political affiliation and I am writing this article devoid of any emotion. I am just a young Nigerian speaking my truth.
August 5 was meant to be a memorable day in the history of this country; it was meant to be a day where people all over the country speak with one voice, for one cause. A day we all come together to challenge the excesses of government. We live in a country where political corruption, human rights violations, unemployment, poverty and insecurity reign supreme. Nigeria is neck-deep in debt; our higher institutions is a joke, the health sector is failing, even the people that are meant to protect us are being kidnapped and killed. Tell me, are we not supposed to demand answers?
Earlier in the month, Nicholas Okoh, Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion said: “People in government should not assume that people outside government are not patriotic”. We find ourselves in a country where every government criticism is interpreted as an attack; every word spoken against the government is seen as unlawful, treasonable and unpatriotic. We sometimes have to ask, are we really in a Democratic dispensation?
How can a government who claims to be responsible and responsive engage in dialogue with killer herdsmen and bandits, but the same government will sanction the unlawful arrest and detention of perceived oppositions, unarmed protesters and journalists. Thomas Jefferson once said; “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty” We owe it to the unborn generation, we must resist lousy governance, political corruption, insecurity, government excess, nepotism; the list is endless. Nigerians are not happy, and the people in power need to know that. It is evident that the incumbent government has failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people, and the people have every right to make their voice heard. The RevolutionNow protest was not a clarion call for the removal of the Buhari-led government, instead, it was a call for “an economy that works for the masses. An effective and democratic end to insecurity, an end to systemic corruption and for total system change — the immediate implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage, including free and qualitative education for all”. We will continue to suffer if we do not arrest the situation. We are in drastic times, and we need to take extreme measures.
A significant pain point for me has always been the bogus allowance paid to our lawmakers. It is well known that a sitting Senator monthly salary is about N750,000 and N13.5 Million in compensation. Why? In a country where poverty reign supreme and millions of Nigerians are living below the poverty line, are we not meant to be frugal, can’t we reduce our excesses? To provide context, In America, the government Ethics Reforms Acts of 1989 provides an automatic increase in salary in each year for the members of Congress as a cost living adjustment that reflects the employment cost, but since 2010, the Congress has annually voted not to accept the increase, keeping it at the same amount since 2009, the same amount is $174,000, the Nigerian equivalent being N62,640,000 per annum.
Sadly, we don’t have leaders who put people before profit; our leaders are selfish and self-centred. We lack true leaders who will go above and beyond for people and country, leaders who can actually deliver on their campaign promises, not leaders who only offer lip service, the time is now and the time is right, we are duty-bound to do the right thing, we must find our voice, use that voice to bring about progressive change, this is something we must no forget.
Timilehin Adebiyi is a Communications Consultant in Lagos state. He is a Nigerian youth that is passionate about the growth and development of Nigeria and sees the youths the only instrument that can bring about the desired change.