power of the people



By Ekene Maduka

Taking a look at events unfolding in our nation Nigeria, one cannot but wonder what lies ahead for the future of the country. This is taken into cognizance the level of discord that exist with the people, if you like, the masses, and then juxtaposing this with the unity being maintained by the ruling class, a selfish ruling class, which aids them in economically pillaging the national purse and squandering the common wealth of the Nation with reckless abandon. But sometimes when they assume another posture, to appear like they are out to rescue the situation, they do the embezzlement with high level pretence and hypocrisy, if you know what I mean, all to achieve a common purpose,that is enriching and maintaining the gluttonous standards they have set for themselves.

It is interesting to know that these politicians are able to achieve this inordinate feat by perpetually keeping the people divided using religion, tribe, regionalism or any other instrument that would easily appeal to distract the people, while they keep their eyes steadfastly on the main goal- the treasury!

It is this scenario that has kept the Nation going in circles and achieving very little progress, if any. They have so mastered the art that it looks like the people who suffer from this gang up have become so despondent and complacent sought of.

The gullibility of the people is such that, they can be easily rallied for sakes of religion and even tribalism, but when it comes to National issues, the zeal dies down. There is no harm in fostering ones religious purpose, so far it doesn’t hurt your neighbour, but the issue is that with regards to  economic or political wellbeing of the Nation, a consensus can hardly be achieved. You will see religious bodies rally its members in their thousands, but in a nation where youth unemployment steadily increases, currently at 33%, prices of food items spirals abnormally, lives are taken on daily basis in hundreds due to the incapability or complicity of security forces, electric power is absent, and where available utterly epileptic even with trillions pumped into the sector, and as the last quarter of the preceding year, the infant mortality rate was third in the world, yet the people cannot forge a common font to demand accountability from its leaders. They would rather delight to indulge in tribal/religious chauvinism and the others in futile economic competition.

But there is need for the people to wake from their slumber, otherwise, this situation will continue. Until the people can unite for the common good of their Nation, until the man in Kebbi can see his counterpart in Akwa ibom as his brother and understand that poverty knows no tribe, race or religion, and they both demand accountability from their leaders without any religious or tribal leaning, and know that injustice to one is injustice to all, then the jinx might just remain unbroken. Alexandre Dumas in his book, The Three Musketeers, opined “all for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall”. If during elections, politicians that are known to have offered nothing to their constituents in general, come back with bags of rice, and little cash handouts to seek re-election, are given the chance, then we will keep falling!, if corrupt public holders, known to have stolen public money would still have people carry placards in their support, just because the “thief” is of their own tribe, then divided we will keep falling! If people would still be favoured by virtue of where they come from and not on the basis of merit and no one speaks out, then divided we will keep falling!

It is no news that the geographical location upon which Nigeria is, abound with numerous natural resources, be it minerals or tourism potentials, complimented by its human resources but it needs honest and sacrificial leadership to harness in other to bring about better living standards for the people. Some have argued that the Nation lacks a National ideology, but it takes responsible leadership to lay down one. The great philosopher, Joseph de Maistre opined “every nation gets the government it deserves”. So the people must ensure that the leadership must be accountable and bring about the kind of Nation they want. In fashioning an acceptable ideology, it must be inculcated even from the early stage in the minds of the young ones that, if found in position of leadership, it’s a privilege to serve the generality of your people and not just your clan or tribe and leadership should not be viewed as an opportunity to loot the treasury as it seems the norm now.

I will like to end with this quote by Wael Ghonim for us to ponder; he said “the power of the people is much stronger than the people in power”.


Ekene Maduka is Program Assistant at CISCOPE

…towards a poverty-free Nigeria


logo mainCivil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE) is a grouping of over eighty five (85) Nigerian civil society organizations with at least a member in every state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

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