My father was a politician. This experience convinced me beyond a doubt that participating in politics was NOT the way to effect change. I had always said, I will leave my mark on my Country, but what good is it being the lone sheep amongst wolves? One good apple in a basket of rotten apples can not “un-rot” the others. I had resigned all hope in politics, until the day there were enough progressive minded people in power; I had thought to myself – A critical mass of the good ones in power… I am not convinced that day is here yet. I am convinced though, that we do have enough followers who are awake, and this is just as good, maybe better.
I am no political pundit or historian, and this fact makes this an especially interesting first blog post for me. However, I am Nigerian and deeply patriotic at that. As such I feel compelled to write my personal musings on the events of March 28th to 31st 2015.
It was truly an incredible experience to have lived through, and though I am all the way here in Canada; the excitement of it all was overwhelming. I sat glued to my screen enthralled by it all and thoroughly enjoying the entertainment of smack talk accurately delivered as though part of a soccer game. We finally seem to have got to that critical mass of awakened souls. A time after decades of numbness and apathy, in which so much aligned for us to change our course. The irony is, I am not particularly happy about our choice of president, but I am ecstatic about the fact that we rose above fear. We chose, and it mattered.
Buhari’s past is just not very pretty and littered with severe violations to human rights plus his involvement in at least 2 coups. I hate bullies, and of all the vices of the human experience, I can not abide abusers of power. Yet the reign of Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan (GEJ), made the Buhari choice an easy one (despite my complete inability to vote due to distance). High on my list of GEJ grievances are the over 200 girls abducted 355 days ago and no obvious strategy to address the issue of their current absence; the active and growing Boko Haram security threat; the rejected senate amendment to Section 29 (4) (b) of the Nigerian Constitution which technically serves as a loophole for child marriages…and there are so many more grievances. This man and his clownish wife made it an easy choice for a former military dictator and muslim northerner to take over power, despite active concerns with islamic Boko Haram threats.
And herein lies an epiphany for me; though, in my opinion, we have not necessarily reached a critical mass of great leaders for genuine progress; the spirit of Elections ’15 seems to have been contagious enough to have ignited the masses 15 million plus people in unison of purpose, despite our history and in a historic move for our Continent.
This got me thinking about Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping point. A lot of this particular sociological change resonates with the book. There were Connectors like Sahara Reporters; Mavens like David Axelrod; Salesmen like Prof Yemi Osibanjo… There was the Stickiness factor of the campaign on a platform of change and promising to solve our security problems with Boko haram and most importantly, 55 years after independence, the Nigerian people had finally had enough. And as such, in Gladwell’s words, there was the “Power of Context” at work.
We really seem to have reached that boiling point where ideas and hope for change spread like a virus overwhelmed us and compelled us to decide!