Published on Sahara Reporters on 27th June, 2009 as There will be no REVOLUTION !
Why do Nigeria even need a Revolution?
Lately, I have eloquently engaged people on different fora over my musings on the possibility of the Nigerian revolution, and I have finally come to terms with the fact that there will be no revolution in Nigeria. But what else could be required of a nation where one must bribe a worker before he performs the duty he was employed for? What is required of a nation where there is no respect for civil rights, just as there is no respect for our fellow human beings and their freedom of speech? no Democracy, no development. A people who cannot be convinced that those with different social and sexual orientation have a right and dignity to be different and alive, how then do you begin to tell them that they deserve socio-political freedom? A people embedded in 'Up NEPA' mentality, jumping in euphoria when the least of their basic amenity as a citizen is given to them.
Nigeria is surely overdue for a purge, the problem is that Nigerians themselves are too corrupt; they are either too fat to be bothered, or too skinny to lift a plume, and above all, too cowardly to ignite a revolution. If our indocility could not make brave ones like Fela or Soyinka, or even Ribadu take us safely to the promise land, is it our generation filled with a bunch of big-mouthed Philistines that will provide such hero? The revolution i dreamt about is not absolutely about a thirst for blood on the land, but what other DRAMATIC CHANGE will forcibly overthrow, not only to establish a new political system but to transform and re-orientate an entirely corrupt society and social order in favour of a new system that will replace the status quo?
We are SICK and TIRED.
No revolution in a SICK and TIRED nation; Sick Youth with Tired elders...
For the Abatis* and the Bankys*, please do the equation with me. A bunch of self deluded Youth + Disillusioned adults = No space for revolution. 'For record purpose', this piece is might as well be considered as my rejoinder to the article 'A Nation's Identity Crisis' by Reuben Abati in the The Guardian on Sunday, June 21, 2009 and Banky W's response on his blog, June 22, 2009.
I was alerted by a well respected brother about the existence of this article, with all exuberance and eagerness to finally discover the Reuben Abati that my ears are filled with, I read the article over dinner and realised it wasn't an article really worth losing sleep over. It only showed how Nigerians love to reminisce about a synthetic day of yore. I have no patience for that these days. If I want to be generous, I will say 90 percent of our so-called elite elders are a waste of space, a storm in a tea cup. I don't bother with tea cups. If more people, even if they were writers wrote well, and I mean well and not terribly, then we would have something to talk about, so on that note i said goodnight to myself in my cosy hotel room.
The greatest shock came when I realised how much uproar this article has caused amongst the Bankys* of our time, who crept on this article until it became pandemic all over the search engines. I asked myself, is it really worth the energy? but my question came too late, this phenomenon has already taken over Google itself, but to me these debates are really writ-large beer parlour conversations. Since my public banter with Chude Jideonwo of the Future Awards, I have noticed that many of my generation rarely comment on substantive topics that demand actual thinking, because many are incapable of such thought patterns and processes - for quick confirmation, go take a look at an article titled "D’BANJ & HIS LIFE OF INFIDELITY", on facebook alone there are 280 comments on it - The pint is not that we are not intelligent, The disaster however is that we just don't think. A thoughtless statement like this article that began by eulogising a colonial heritage and looking for the lost 'eria' in 'naija', will make us pile up like area boys that had just sighted a goods container driving into their territory. Yet, these are our so-called educated class. Give me a break, /Sigh/. What kind of revolution are we waiting for?
The Power of culture.
There will be no revolution in a nation oblivious of the Power of culture...
There will be no revolution in a nation whose inner spirit is not embedded in her cultural values, her inability to understand and appreciate her beliefs and values will lift no feather, to apply them humanly to our daily lives, and to explore the human experience in all its richness. There will be no revolution until our so called elders in high places begin to teach ordinary people that art is valuable, that its not something that the rich have in their own worlds, and that access to the arts it the secret to a high quality and satisfying life, that the human life and the distinctive human potential is empty without these values and virtues.
Standards and values are an integral part of any culture; hence, culture is the bedrock supporting every development, it is a tool for emancipation and holds true for equal rights, responsibility for future generations, freedom of speech, and democracy. Our cultural heritage is generally associated with archives, works of art and monuments. In times of need, music, writings and other works of art can be a beacon of hope and comfort. Monuments and art treasures make a shared past visible and thus strengthen our need for a better future.
Through access to the arts we learn to make choices, learn to criticise, to discriminate between the meritorious and the meretricious, between good and evil. Through them we determine which endeavours are worthy of our best efforts, and ultimately we learn to know ourselves, our humanity socially, culturally as well as individually. In the absence of the knowledge behind the power of culture, there will be no such thing as development or revolution.
However, how much grounds has been in place for A culturally deprived generation such as ours? with no poetry, no theatre, no museum, no art, in short no culture. How much respect does an elder generation earns from the younger, when it refuses to make available its shoulders for the attainment of Babylon, they jealously hold on to the baton, willing to release it only to their children and the children of their rich friends, even when they are not qualified.
So if what we cherish is the money making nation of mediocre standards, isn't it so easy? already the Bankys* of our generation are fulfilling the book with their bad odour music, all in the name of 'commercial strategy', and as long as we the people are stupid enough, not to be able to figure out how much of an apparatus we are to their marketing gimmicks, there will be no freaking revolution. So let's collectively turn our monuments and art treasures into massive beer parlours, and franchise sections of them to some big boys, who are ever willing to pimp them into five star discotheques and private parks. Perhaps then we can finally create monumental versions of SWE bar or KOKO lounge crowded with more Abatis* and Bankys*, sparring and ranting over bottles of Gulder, and creating more social talks for our blogs and talk about on our social networks.
Come to think of it, in a nation peopled by a mass, oblivious of the power of their own culture, of what importance is there in keeping the National museum then? what is there to preserve in our National theatre? of what use are the numerous art councils and indigenous cultural centres that litters the whole nation? Visit these dust bins that harbours our supposed cultural heritage to see what our heritage and history has been reduced to, then you will understand how much we have mixed up sentiments for patriotism.
MY PEOPLE NO DEY FEAR !
Fela sang... 'My people sef dey fear too much, we fear for the things we no see...' Well, that was his generation, in this new media era 'we no even fear for the things wey we dey see everyday,' if not ASA will not be compelled to declare that 'there is fire on the mountain and nobody seems to be on the run...'
Noise is an assemblage of unpleasant and discorded voices, it will never turn into a revolutionary voice. Maybe our problem now is even too much information, we are over informed, we grew up hearing our parents ranting over it, our Profs in school teach about this long awaiting revolution, we see it for ourselves on TV; we live with this need for CHANGE on our streets and neighbourhood. Every newspaper talks about it, placards and bill boards advertise it. Most of all, when we log-on to our online tatafo social networks, we are bombarded with status update, notes and articles, our lovers yet bother our eardrums with revolutionary talks, even at comedy shows we laugh about it. Maybe that's why it eventually became a social talk. Our social life is filled with cheap talks about CHANGE that it begin to sound like Zenith Bank advert on CNN -normal thing- it only makes much sense in the first instance, and not when it is over-flogged.
With all these anti-change symptoms living closely with us, we shall continue to walk about with our heads tuck in between our chests. We shall continue to sanctify all the vanity fairs and lies we are fed with everyday, so we can continue to smile and go to our churches and mosques; to give the complete authority of our lives to some clever ones behind closed doors to legislate, and we shall continue to try to make sense of our sufferings and there will be no freaking revolution.
* The use of Abatis and Bankys in this article, does not signify a particular person or an entire generation, but a term i figured exclusively for the representation of a particular sect of two distinct generations in this article.