6 reasons Nigeria is not ready for the change we just witnessed in Egypt.
Mubarak is gone! He stepped down earlier today. The headlines signaling the victory attained by the resilience and sheer will of the Egyptian people; flash and scroll across TV screens around the world. The events of the last 18 days have been seen and heard around the world, so going into an in-depth discussion about how a defiant and freedom thirsty people overthrew perhaps the most entrenched autocrat in recent history might be futile.
The question now is how far will this wave of change sweeping around North Africa go? The desire and determination of the Egyptians will no doubt empower other Islamic countries. It will however stop at those shores and will not in any way get to the shores of my beloved Nigeria or other west African countries, and these are the reasons why.
DETERMINATION : The Egyptian people were determined and were ready to fight till the very end, we heard men and women who had no reason participation in this revolutionary march say they were willing to die for freedom. The Google executive who is in charge of Google’s North African marketing cried in an interview on CNN and said he was willing to die for this cause. This was a reflection of what majority of those Egyptians at Tahir square. For 18 days they camped out and vowed not to leave until their voice was heard. They had one request, genuine democratic reform.
We don’t have this type of spirit and determination in Nigeria, everyone is too cool, everyone is too afraid of change. We lack the conviction and determination and we are not united. Most importantly we don’t love our country enough to die trying to change it, if that is what it takes. Neither do we appreciate what is at stake and how far away we are from good governance.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized how people communicate, and how fast they can organize and mobilize. The access to internet for majority of the people was a plus because it allowed for swift and easy mobilization. Our access to this amenities back in Nigeria are very limited. Yes there are cyber cafes, but most times they don’t even function because electricity is down, or they are too expensive for the average Joe to access. The was no doubt a digital revolution as much at it was a revolution of the people.
LOYALTY AND UNITY: The most important element for any successful revolution is unity and loyalty to the cause. An unmovable and unshakable belief in one thing . When the protests against Mubarak’s regime began one thing was clear. The Egyptians were united for one cause there were no divisions on what tribe you are from or what your religion was. It was all about one thing, democratic change. They had a united front.
We don’t have such unbreakable unity in Nigeria, it’s all about what is in it for me. The yorubas, hausas and igbos will have to figure out who will be president or how it will benefit their region before they will ever consider shaking up the old evil leaders who have ruled us for years and continue to manipulate election results. Yes, we are not technically a dictator nation, but in practice we are. If elections do not reflect the will or the people or are rigged then whoever is president is s a dictator, so lets not be confused we are ruled by dictators and thieves and have been for years.
LOCATION: The strategic location of Egypt was no doubt a plus to their cause. It gave the world a focused gaze on Egypt. The Egyptian border with Israel, the Suez canal which is of world importance to the price of oil was no doubt a source of major concern. Strategically Nigeria is not of such global importance yes we are a major oil producer but the disruption in the Niger delta over the years have adjusted the world reliance on our oil.
THE DNA OF THE AVERAGE ARAB: The average Arab is very defiant and true to their cause, and they will never back down until they achieve what they set out to do. In spite of the many setbacks the protesters had, over 300 people killed, the secret police harassing and kidnapping protesters. It did not deter these people in fact it emboldened them and they pushed back against the odds and won. The average Nigerian’s DNA is not of this sort, in fact by the second day we will have resigned ourselves to fate and say this is how God wants it and returned to our misery . Our religious beliefs most times blinds us into stupidity. The righteous do take it by force!
POVERTY AND EDUCATION: For you to fight for your rights , you must know those rights. Majority of Nigerians are uneducated and unaware of the power they have as a people. One thing key in this victory for Egypt; is that this people were very aware of their rights as a people and were ready to enforced them. They spoke great English and articulated what they wanted in plain terms . They knew the power was with them all they had to do was harness it, and they sure did. Our public educational system is getting worse by the day and the majority of the youth who will lead Nigeria in the future are a dying species, quickly becoming extinct.
I rejoice with the Egyptian people, but for those who think this wave will reach Abuja, Lagos, Jos or any other major city in Nigeria. I say hold your breath and take a deep pause. WE ARE NOT READY FOR CHANGE.