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    Walt Shakes

    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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Tobe Writes: HOW TO BE A GOOD CITIZEN

Chinua Achebe, in his short but loaded book, The Trouble With Nigeria, vehemently stated: The problem with Nigeria is squarely that of Leadership. The critically-acclaimed writer roundly maintained this position until his death. Disagreeing with someone of such intellectual stature will be an uphill task; nevertheless, I see his submission as a half truth. One point is indisputable, wherever there is a leadership there is invariably or automatically, a followership. Therefore, it takes two parties – leadership and followership – to make up the structural construct of a nation.

An Igbo adage posits: Anaghi adi abua awi ala (Two people should not be mad at the same time). In a much cosmopolitan sense, it means ‘It takes two to tango.’ In other words, if you see two full grown men fighting on the road to the cheering of the crowd, no matter who started the fight, the two should share the blame of making themselves an object of public spectacle.  So, it behooves me when we (followers) constantly lay the blame of our collective failure at the altar of leadership without stopping to ponder if we have in little or big way contributed to the charade in our ever-continuous circus show.

I strongly believe now than ever before that a new Nigeria is possible. This new Nigeria will not come by daydreaming, praying or cheap political talks. It will come by practical and conscious revolution, not the Rawlings kind of revolution, but by the people’s revolution. People’s revolution is not the Fidel Castro kind neither is it that of Ayatollah Khomeini, nor the type that ousted Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. Nigeria as a nation has spilled enough of innocent blood which is not yet atoned for. Therefore, any kind of revolution that is military or militant in approach should be jettisoned and strongly condemned.

The kind of revolution we need is the type that comes from within, inside man, new creation kind of man. It is akin to saying one being born again without the person naturally meandering back into his mother’s womb as fetus to be born. Rather, it means a total re-orientation of whatever you know and hold sacred, the renewing of your inner mind, a consciously righteous and steady walk from the followership towards destabilizing the old order without being confrontational or militant. Any change that does not come from within will be cosmetic and short-lived; it will never withstand the harsh test of life, the hate of haters, the gimmicks of the old order, the plundering of the marauders and the triumphant decadence which we are already plunged neck deep into.

In a natural sense, a seed does not sprout from above the soil, but underneath to above. A man is not just born into a man, the journey of man starts as single spermatozoa fertilizing an egg, the fertilized egg becoming a fetus, the fetus becoming a baby, the baby becoming a child, the child becoming a teenager, the teenager becoming an adult and an adult emerging into a man.

The point I am trying to draw here is that, a man must be a fetus first before he becomes a man. In other words a leader will always be a follower first, before he emerges into a leader. Consequently, whatever fruit you want reflected or manifested in a leader will firstly be inculcated into a follower. Every follower is a potential future leader, we all know that. If this true, then, we the followers (potential leaders) need to work on our inward selves for tomorrow’s task. A bad student can never make a good teacher; in the same line of thought, a bad follower can never make a good leader, but a good follower has a favorable potential of making a good leader.

However, I am not saying that all followers will be future leaders. Nonetheless, it is in the midst of followers that future leaders will emerge. Therefore, if we as followers begin to truly work on renewing the inner mind, purging ourselves of myriad social malaise, moral decadence and unhealthy rivalry, we have succeeded in using a single stone in killing two birds. We have succeeded in creating a new brand of future followers and future leaders without killing or hurting anybody. Most importantly, we would have succeeded in creating balance and harmony between the two parties involved in a political contract. Since it takes two to tango.

Citizenship or followership comes with responsibility; if we can do our part, I am fully persuaded that GOD, the General Overseer of the whole universe, will be committed to reward us for our good deeds toward our nation.

One might ask, why will I contribute to the progress of a nation that is not mindful of me? My answer is simple. You have not done any extraordinary thing by rewarding evil with evil, or rewarding good with good, it’s just so normal. However, you have done something remarkable when you respond to evil with good.

Having said this, I sincerely indulge all seekers of peace and all lovers of love to open their hearts and allow what they are going to read to take root in their hearts. Millions of Nigerians do not need to hearken to me for this supposed change to come. But if a few thousand Nigerians can hearken and consciously put to task what they are going read, then, we as a country are on our way to Eldorado. May I remind us that, it takes only a single tiny bulb to extinguish darkness in an expansive room. The choice of being among these few bulbs that will light up this our beloved nation is about to be placed in your hands. I implore you not to be like the foolish servant that buried his talent beneath the soil. For posterity sake, put to work whatever you are going to read hereafter. It is time to stop trading blames as citizens of this great nation; we are at the Eleventh hour. Therefore I urge you to stand up and be counted.

Now, what does it take to be a good citizen?

To be continued.

By Tobe OsigweNigerians

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8 Comments

  1. kachi

     /  October 1, 2013

    Nigeria changing without blood spillage? That’s a fantasy. As spoilt and curropt Nigeria is and you sit and think change would come by “personal revival” of over 170million individuals!? Lols i love your eyes-wide-open dreams….. Something has to be done for sure, but change coming from “a spirit-to-congregation-turning-point” even for people who dont understand the need for any change whatsoever is a mere ridiculous child-like fairytale. Nigeria needs a stronger and tougher measure to meander from its height of curroption to being the kinda better place we all wish for.

    Reply
  2. Ndubuisi Nnanna

     /  October 1, 2013

    Thanks a bunch Toby. Indeed you have salt!

    Reply
  3. nkiru

     /  October 1, 2013

    I strongly disagree with u Kachi but I think what Tobe is saying is simply what MJ sang in his “Man in the Mirror” song. If u want to make Nigeria a better place y not make n b dat change u want to see. Of course its going to b hard but not impossible. All u ave to do is play ur part n if like Tobe said thousands(not millions) of us play dat part den we will start seeing dat tiny bulb which will def extinguish darkness frm our nation.
    Dis change I’m afraid will only come if we d youths really put our minds n hrts to it. We don’t need another war cos no nation can survive two civil wars.
    Thanks Tobe for dat write up who knws how many pple will b touched by it. Pls keep spreading d word.

    Reply
  4. It’ll take some sort of paradigm shift, which may seem impossible, although possible. But we just have to pretend until we make it. We don’t need every one to change. If only a reasonably few amount of people will change, then we are few steps away from Eldorado.

    Reply
  5. Chisom12

     /  October 1, 2013

    Tobe thank you, again. Like you, I believe Nigeria is having a ‘people’ problem or in your words a followership problem not a leadership one. I always contend with folks who think otherwise, that although we may have started with a leadership problem, but here and now in this day and time, We are having a people problem in Nigeria. The people complain about every leader and every time a leader is to be changed, we pick from the people and yet the new ‘former-part-of-people-now-turned-leader’ gets to the top and does worse than the last guy. The cycle is never ending. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the stupidity and corruption that was once confined to the leadership has spread to all and sundry. Today, everyone wants to cheat you or swindle you: your mechanic, the market woman, the bank teller, your house boy/girl, your university lecturer, road safety, NSDC and police officers, your business partner, that office clerk, you name it. What do we do? Kill off all those currently in lofty positions? No way! Their clones will be back the moment you pick new ‘people’. So, like Tobe’s piece says, a new heart and a new spirit in just a few thousand Nigerians is the only weapon of revolution we have.
    If like Kachi you are blood thirsty and lost in the belief that only spilling of blood will set our nation free, then you need help for seeing so dimly and thinking small, because, ask any war survivior, it is never something you wish on your worst enemy. Every one loses in war even he who wins the battle.

    Reply
    • kachi

       /  October 1, 2013

      No No!! You’ve got it all wrong. I’ve never wished for a civil war nor have i prayed for a shed of blood, but you all know that there are certain occurences that would likely inevitably be for other things to be. There’s never been in history of a country that got Politically and Economically dead that resurrected without change that would require an almost forceful expulsion of the major cause of curroption in those sectors. One party would agree and there would always be an opposing party, and just sitting with folded arms acting “all ‘high-and-mighty’ for long” would not solve the case because things would only get worse. Even if a million Nigerians get the motive of changing Nigeria by only choosing to ‘live right’, i so doubt that would bring about the kind of change Nigeria needs because the dark “acts and powers” would always have a way of trying to supress the good without an appropriate force. I would overlook your insult by saying i thought low. Maybe you didnt understand my point of view. This is a country with many desperates and destitutes and you cant achieve great change wby telling someone who has tens of mouths to feed, inlaws and relatives to help to “live right” and he/she would just follow when he has seen an easier means to relieve himself of burden, it just wouldnt work that way without a forceful measure, those are the kind of people we have in Nigeria and worse. Tobe has a good idea,quite alright, but i would still repeat that it is a fantasy. We all love to dwell in it forgetting that,that which is the reality would always come to play. Bloodshed musnt be by a civil war. Ghana wasnt even as Bad as Nigeria is now and look at the extent they had to go to be where they are. Certain things just are, they are inevitable.

      Reply
      • Chisom12

         /  October 2, 2013

        All well and good Kachi. Your opinion is well respected as much as I strongly disagree with. In the spirit of electing dialogue over diatribe, I offer an apology, ‘insult’ was never intended. However, I am very wary of ideologies that preach the need for ‘blood to flow’. Pray tell, has Nigerian soil not drank enough blood? I maintain that it shows we are not looking far ahead every time we choose violence no matter what it is shrouded with (revolution in this case). Our problems as a nation have gone beyond being fixed when we kill off all the ‘figure heads’ in the likes of evil politicians, our problems have grown into the monster of: tribe against tribe, religion against religion, state against state, community against community. You did say you never suggested civil war, while that may be true, I would ask that you research the genesis of the Biafran war. No one planned or prescribed the war, but it was in a bid to ‘kill’ off the evil politicians by Nzeogwu that something went horribly wrong and our civil war resulted.
        Once again, there was no intention to slight but a call to ask us to rethink our wishes.

  6. Martin

     /  October 3, 2013

    Nice analogies, nice parallels drawn. But that expression “it behooves me…..” really? Walter it is time you got an editor.

    Reply

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