kachisgrit—Don’t Give Up

Posted: April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

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By Stella Omepa
Dancing is said to be good for the body as it’s a form of exercise but those of us who are not very good at it concentrates on the other benefits of music like exercising our minds with the lyrics.

‘Don’t give up the fight’ is a short sentence that has groomed me mentally over the years and I owe the thanks to Bob Marley’s “Get up, Stand up” that robbed it in.

As a young and inexperienced Nigerian, not giving up the fight meant different things but I particularly thought it was about fighting with vigor to get everything right.

Just recently, I spent hours in the Lagos-Ibadan traffic because of an obvious reason (hundreds of heavy duty vehicles parked thoughtlessly by the roadside). Any right-minded person knows that using the highway as parking spaces is completely unjustifiable.

I was torn between who to blame among the two-the government and the populace, because their stillness is clearly responsible for the chaos.

After battling hard with the thought of a government which fully understands that a functioning rail system, pipelines or parks at strategic places would clear the mess but chose to sit still even when people died regularly as a result of the accidents caused by such careless negligence, my annoyance turned towards the populace.

The supposed government has nothing to lose. With the abundance of private jets in the country, they have little to do with the road and superior services are always provided whenever they needed to use the road so they are always at minimal risks as far as road accidents are concerned. So why would the people who directly suffers the wickedness also sit still?

The picture of a mad public protesting over the act formed almost immediately in my head but I saved myself the anxious desire of having people rise up in mass now that I understand my country.

Like that wasn’t enough torture, and my resolution to stay calm wasn’t a wise decision. Somewhere in Akure (the capital of Ondo state) and Okene (a small town in Kogi state), I was stuck in other traffic jams caused by heavy –duty vehicles breaking down on the way.

About when I was wondering why there was so much disorder and when help would come to the eager travelers, I saw a group of security men with their weapons raised to the sky and clearing those who weren’t on the right lane but before I could offer thanks for the aid, a couple of cars with escort vans sped past me and the so called aid disappeared within minutes.  Only then did it occur to me that they only made way for themselves.

Watching those who should serve Nigerians serve themselves at the detriment of the people is enough reason for anyone to fight for his/her right in the most aggressive way but it doesn’t pay to act without a strategy.

Now I am old enough to understand my country. So much so that I know that peradventure the road users all come out in a peaceful protest against such acts, many would be dead as a result of stray bullets. That is not the kind of death I wish for myself or any Nigerian.
“Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. (Edward Abbey)” is an axiom that can best cure the Nigerian ailment.

Nigeria is not a country where we rely on either the government or the masses to fight for change. Even when it works for others, education provides us an opportunity to seek the best alternative in every situation and not the tradition of as it is done. Ours is a country where only individuals can bring about change.

I like where Bob Marley called on himself to get up and stand up for his rights. It was about him first, and then any other person who listened to the song and thought it was a just cause which he/she would also like to stand for.
Your level and type of education empowers you and places you in the position where you can easily defend yourself and your country before any governing body and be the change that you desire.

We have a government that supposedly works day and night to protect lives and properties, a sect called  Boko  Haram that kills hundreds of people at any given opportunity, jobless youths who would do anything to make a living, the aged without social support and whose direct caregivers are either wasting in prison or living from hand to mouth, and an economy that’s on the verge of collapse because of those who takes more than their share and those who doesn’t care what becomes of the economy as they are already used to a collapsed economy.

Whatsoever the case may be, it is Nigerians who are killing, betraying or denying Nigerians. Our problem was once upon a time our colonial masters but our present problem is us.

Come out of the crowd and do something for your country. And it is completely injudicious to seek the social and economic stability of a country that pays you for a duty you are not hundred percent committed to except heading people including those who don’t even understand the cause for which you are fighting or your deepest interests all in the name of mass protests.

I hear of revolution as the only thing that would save Nigeria and I admire the passion with which they say it. I only hope the revolution they mean is the one that involves a dramatic change in our ideas and practice in the most positive way and not anything that would put the life of any Nigerian at risk.

We have lost too many already and are yet to develop any plan that would support those who has been orphaned, handicapped or generally disadvantaged as a result of our failed security, governance and morals.

Fighting for ones right is fine and obligatory but employing a strategy that does more harm than good is like planting a bad seed with the hope of an abundant harvest.

*Stella Omepa is a budding writer, loves Nigeria, “with perseverance and passion for long-term goals for Nigeria and young people…she owns Kachisgrit, for her its about “hardiness,” “resilience,” “ambition,” and “need for achievement.

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