I got much needed rest. It was a much needed one considering I live and work right in the heart of the maelstrom called Lagos. The one week that was used to occupy Nigeria afforded me that opportunity. I also used that week to navigate the crystal clear waters of African literature. The long draught I took from the spring of Buchi Emecheta’s “Double Yoke” was quite refreshing. It highlighted the fact that some of the things that have tormented Nigeria are still so much around after 30yrs and more.

The fact that Nigerians came out en masse to protest against our mediocre government for a full week and were spoiling to continue thereafter is one of the rare times I have ever felt so cool about Naija. This was to the chagrin of our so called leaders who felt that we are too complacent to fight for justice. To me it was a rally against fifty years of being fed with rubbish and considering the protest came like six weeks after my post THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS, I felt as pleased as a cat stuffed with prime cream.

But as the weeks rolled by, the whole thing kept rolling through my mind like cud being ruminated in the guts of a Hereford bull.  I went down deep into my mind like a scuba diver searching for pearls and the nugget I came away with is that the whole occupancy was an ELABORATE CHARADE, WAY before Nigerian Labour Congress sold out.

Truth is we were railing against leaders who are corrupt and selfish but these people are not Martians; they are a cross section of our society. They were picked from within us. They are part of us. Thing is if a something goes wrong with a cake, leaving some parts of it edible, all will concur that something that the cake has gone bad. If part of the human body is ill, then the whole body is sick. You don’t point just point a guilty finger to the liver or the kidney as the malfunctioning parts. A doctor tried to save the whole body. Something went terribly wrong with Nigeria a long time ago.

A few months back I went with the marketing team of my organization to sell a product to a tertiary institution and we met the student union, young students in their late teens and early twenties who called us after the presentation to ask for millions of naira in bribe before they can give us the contract. I later learnt that the same scenario occurred with the other companies prospecting with us. They were looking for the highest bidder and were not even interested in who would offer the best health services to their colleagues.

We live in a country where people take money and don’t give the services they were paid for, commercial drivers knowing well enough that their vehicles aren’t good take fares from passengers then drop them in the middle of nowhere, the huge branded transport companies do the same, administrative officers inflate prices of diesel, fuel and other things until they cripple an establishment, drug peddlers supply fake drugs in the bid of making quick bucks, politicians shed innocent blood to win elections (this one really gets me, these mean guys decry a fuel hike of a few hundreds but will be comfortable spilling invaluable blood, it’s a crazy joke). I heard about a local government Chairman who instead of filling the local dispensaries with drugs got his own home and filled it with a fleet of cars within six months. Of course he made some of his godfathers richer in the process. This country is filled with jokers worse than the one in Gotham city but sadly enough Batman is hardly in sight yet. Most of these people played an active part in the occupy Nigeria riots. It does not take a genius to know that these folks will do the same thing if they were in the position of the people they are fighting. It occurred to me that what most of these people fight is being on the receiving end of the system and not the system.

It has happened over and over again in human history; the Bolsheviks fought against and toppled the ruling class in Russia but caused the people more pain than they suffered in the time of the Czars. Uncle Mugabe did the same in Zimbabwe. Thing is you cannot fight fire with fire; a different entity with dissimilar characteristics is needed. You cannot be corrupt and fight a corrupt system. You fight fire with water, hate with love, and ignorance with knowledge etcetera.

For Jesus to beat the world’s system, He had to be at odds with the system and that is why He kept saying he was not a part of this world. He said the Prince of this world could not find anything in him. He was at variance with the logical order he came to destroy. The Galilean also told his disciples that they were in the world but not a part of it. That the government of that age could not stop their movement is not in any way surprising.

We need a different kind of men to change things, if not we can occupy Nigeria until hell freezes into an ice cold mountain range. All we will achieve will be going round in circles like a game of ring around the roses until we all get blue in the face and fall down in exhaustion.

It is written that “the log must be pulled out of our eyes before we can objectively see the speck in another’s”. This is the only way that occupying Nigeria would work and we might never even have to take to the streets ever again. Since the chosen will always be one of us, let the change begin with you and me. Let the revolution start within us. LET US START BY OCCUPYING OURSELVES.




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