Friday, January 13, 2012

We are the government!

Maybe the announcement of the removal of oil subsidy by the federal Government of Nigeria has made us see something more, far more than angry people protesting on the streets and voicing their discontent.

I've been following the news for a while. This is the fifth day of strike and protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) and Trade Union. I wouldn't know if you've noticed what I'm noticing. Do you notice the bond, oneness, solidarity spirit among the Nigerian people? It is obvioulsy obvious!

KWAM 1 (Musician) addressing the protesters in Ojota, Lagos

From the cries of Pastor Tunde Bakare to Prof. Pat Utomi, Femi Falana to Nasir El-rufai, Pasuma Alabi to Raskimono, Chinua Achebe to Wole Soyinka, the massive turn out by Nigerians everywhere to voice their discontent on the level of governance is laudably impressive.

I see people from all walks of life, different ethnic groups, professionals-doctors, lawyers, scientists, coming together for a course, set on a voyage irresolute until the government heeds to their call. The removal of fuel subsidy has awaken the giant in us. Never in the history of Nigeria has it been like this, at least for all I have seen. We are probably reaping the dividend of democracy-A government of the people, by the people, for the people. We are the government and what's more?

I have seen the power of oneness, women weeping together, children holding hands saying a prayer for the nation, men who love their country and are willing to sacrifice anything to bring back the pride at any price. I see a new nation emerging. This is a revolution of a life time as much as the eclipse of the sun is for a lifetime.

Protesters on the street

I see a nation where everyone cares about each other again, where everyone is her brother's keeper. Where we are so concerned about the lives of our comrades and will not stop to hurt anyone who dares hurt them (especially the black uniform men, will they kill us all?). I see a nation where the lives of every citizen matters now, at least this strike has shown how much people care.

Until the government succumbs to the cries of the masses, we will not comprise. Who is the government anyway? We!

Fuel Subsidy or Not? Taking Sides.

I refuse to be in a dilemma over this fuel subsidy removal crisis. In fact I bind and cast out every spirit of dilemma. Listening to both sides of the story and analysis that has been drawn up, you could really be confused about what sides to take, except you really don't want to put any reasoning into it.

The government is talking about the economy crashing if the subsidy is not removed. The minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke went as far as saying that the debts their regime would leave behind if something drastic is not done would be so enormous that our children's children will not be able to pay it.

The government is saying that the economy would be grounded if the fuel subsidy is not removed but masses are saying "No way!"

Now, when you put some reasoning into it really, you would realize that subsidy is a lot of money on the part  of the government and according to the some sources, corruption in Nigeria  stems subsidy itself. The minister of petroleum said, no allowing subsidy removal and fighting corruption is like fighting a monster with your hands tied. The Cabal (or how is it spelt?) in the government, evil, and corruption is deeply rooted in the subsidy (or so they claim). So how do we resolve this issue?

We, the masses are saying No. In fact, we are asking for more. Yes, more than subsidy removal, we want corruption to be dealt with and defeated in Nigeria once and for all. I love the slogan "Kill corruption, Not Nigerians". Our leaders and the Nigerian people are way too corrupt. Our names have been soiled time and time again internationally. The name "Nigeria" has been synonymous with corruption for some time now. Enough is enough. Let's deal with this monster once and for all, that is what Nigerians are saying. This is beyond subsidy removal. I completely agree.

Hearing the two sides of the story, you may have to think deep what is at stake for Nigerians if subsidy is removed or if it is not. If it is not, price of commodities will skyrocket and of services too! Will workers' salaries go up too? What is the shock absorber  for Nigerians? This is paradigm shift and that is very hard to accept and implement.

This is the real issue. We could say, "Ok, go ahead, take away the subsidy" but we do not trust our government anymore in Nigeria. If we give them the go-ahead to remove oil subsidy, what is the guarantee that things will change as promised. It has always been empty promises for a long time now. Let the government begin to do what they promised to do, chiefly among all is electricity, transportation, rebuilding of infrastructures and resurrection of our refineries. Then political positions are too attractive in Nigeria, let the government do something about it. Executives, senators, and government officials lavish too much on themselves, alienate themselves from the masses as soon as they get into power. Let it end now!

One of the 7 habits of highly effective people cited in Stephen R. Covey's book is the Win/Win habit. Let the government apply a Win/Win approach here making both them and the people happy. Period!