Tuesday, 10 June 2008

A selfless Ambition

Seeing as I’ve been reading a lot of politically themed blogs lately, I have chosen to share with bolgsville a dream which I have always nurtured.

During my very recent trip to Nigeria. I was really appalled by the conditions of the roads in FESTAC where I grew up. I mean, the roads are so bad.. its like almost unreal. My parents were one of the first families to move into FESTAC shortly after FESTAC 77’ and when I was born, FESTAC was like the VI/Lekki of the Mainland back in the days. We had playground all fitted with equipments and swings in every close. Everything was just Ideal. Now they are all gone. Everything.. just gone! I could not understand how things went so bad for Festac town. It actually truly angered me seeing the callousness of the Local Government and how they have stood by and done nothing to repair the roads in Festac. What further incensed me was the fact that the Local Govt. seat is headquartered in Festac town and the road leading to this office is also in a horrible condition. I am pretty certain that the Local Govt. Chairman will take this same road to his office every day and he does not even have the decency to do something about it. This really added fuel to my rage

Anyhow, on my last day before leaving for the airport, I had a very interesting conversation with my mum and dad. I was discussing how I remembered Festac as a child and what it is now. I spoke about the roads and then I announced to my folks that I wanted to become an activist of some sorts. I spoke about recruiting youths who would stage peaceful protests/sit-ins at the gate of the Local Govt. headquarters. We would lobby for better roads and I would not mind sitting out there with my picket fence/placard for as long as is necessary until people start to take notice and something is actually done.

My parents looked at me with what I thought was incredulity. It may have been admiration or pity but I really can’t tell. They had some things to say. My mother went first.

“Tolantino my dear, in as much as your intentions are noble and selfless, the truth is that you will not get the support you are thinking you will get”

I argued with my mother. How can people fail to support me? After all, I am sacrificing myself, trying to make all of our lives better. It was at this point that my father interrupted the conversation and I don’t think I will ever in my life forget my father’s words:

“Tolantino, just outside that Local Govt. office is a main road which is mostly plied by commercial busses going to Mile2 as well as private cars. This is the same road which is in an abysmal state. Lets assume that you managed to get a group of friends who are brave enough to go with you to stage your campaign and for some reason or the other, you guys manage to stray onto this main road and disrupt traffic due to no fault of yours, the bus drivers and the road users whom you are campaigning for will come down on you like a pile of rubbish. They will shout out curses at you for obstructing the road. They would not even mind that your cause is for the betterment of the whole town because for them, in that very moment, you are hindering them from getting on with their daily lives”

This was all I needed to hear to keep my mouth shut. I didn’t argue with daddy because I knew that what he said was probably true.

What I realized from my fathers statement is that we Nigerians are not the type that are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the greater good. We just want to get on with the hustle and flow of life. We live for the day/moment in a manner which is very selfish and don’t even think about the impact of what our daily activity will have say 2 years down the line. Take global warming for example. The polar ice caps are melting and the world is in danger of freezing/melting over.. what are we Nigerians doing about it? Nothing of course because we just DO NOT CARE. It is not in our nature to care about such things.

This attitude is why we have politicians who don’t give a toss about all the promises they made before going to power. It’s almost like WE the people are not interested in holding them accountable. We just want to get on with our lives.. After all, we Nigerians are known to be hustlers.. we can survive anything.. right?

Until this selfish attitude/way of thinking is reversed, and the masses fully throw their weight behind the candidate who is willing to sacrifice, showing support and admiration as well as giving praise and appreciation for acts of selflessness rather than ridicule, then Nigeria may just foreverly be known as the Staggering Giant of Africa who always showed so much promise.. but never quite made it to the finishing line.

Regardless, my dream is to still become an activist for the cause of my people. I believe that this is where my true calling lies.


Free-flowing Florida said...

global wetin???? wetin concern abero with over-load? man wey never chop? global warming go feed am? tsunami no dey happen 4 naija. hurricane no dey happen here either! so, wetin concern am? just make mistake block d road wey e dey carry find food, see wetin go happen 2 u!

it's well, dear. life is hard n lagos. seriously, life is hard 4 most pple n lagos. they work & work, but see no fruit 4 their labour. they r angry! very angry! besides, activism don become occupation 4 hia. some pple r professional activists. there r activists on very street! na so so demonstrate dem sabi, we don see it all. na result we wan now

30+ said...

Tolantino, I will support you but not in carrying placards, that will not work in Naija.

You must strategise for the top and start change from thence.

aloted said...

hmm...we have a long way to go in naija...a long loooooooooong way!