MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT
Published on Sahara Reporters on 3 October 2009.
When it suddenly stroke me that 2011 election is in just less than two years, i became really concerned about what this tomorrow holds in stock for us, another power play or an opportunity to turn to the next page? I began to engage different people on my present soliloquy, in a chat with my respected brother Omoyele Sowore, i realised how urgently some even badly needed emancipation. In his words, he proclaimed "we should stop putting dates to our desire for freedom, because 2011 is their date for the next selection, not ours, our date should be counted in nano-seconds not months or years". However, I think we've been in this bondage for too long that 2011 is just like tomorrow, what I got from him was that a carelessly planned battle will be lost carelessly. 2011 must not meet us in darkness.
Everyday I’m forced to see how ready Nigerians are for a change, there is a renewed sense of interest, but most times, we have stepped up to the plate, only to be left in the cold, dejected, lonely and depressed by an unwilling majority. Now I think the minority is adding weight, but needs good leadership to crystallize our collective civil disobedience, we need a hero - the concept of a hero in this sense is more than that of a messiah - We simply need a face and a clenched fist to light the lamp. The sole reason why the Nigerian revolution has been delayed is the sole fact that we lack leaders to believe in, how many Nigerians will do the least jest of a peaceful rally for a leader they didn't choose. If by now we the people still don't have a tested and trusted candidate to take us to the promise land, Yar'adua and his gangs will continue to take us in hostage.
Nigerians are not asking for too much, we just need an enlightened leader who can inspire confidence in Nigerians, whom Nigerians will be proud of, and who genuinely wants to transform the country, the message of hope is inevitable for anyone who will lead this nation, the people has been over traumatised by our yesterdays, we need a leader who will inspire confidence in Nigerians once again and back it up with real visions and dreams, one who will make Nigerians believe that we can do it, that liberation is attainable, a candidate who would be prepared to give his life to make a difference if necessary, and any such candidate who shows the flicker should immediately attract a multitude of "freedom flies"
Democracy: The popular government
As a performer, I know that the best performances I’ve had come from a supportive audience. A people invested in their polity, brings out the best in the lead character. Nigeria's audacity of change is not any different from that of any country in the world, a change that calls on us all to act, to contribute in whatever little way we can. Change comes individual by individual, house by house, street by street, and community by community. It’s time for every Nigerian to figure out a way of becoming the pace setter.
Democracy as a word is derived from the Greek δημοκρατία (dēmokratía), which mean "popular government". There are two basic principles that any definition of democracy includes.
1.) All citizens, have equal access to power and
2.) All citizens enjoy legitimized freedoms and liberties.
Democracy is the type of government in place by the collective decision of the people, so the people shall never be treated as mere helpless spectators; the people have a great stake in its progress and survival, to refuse the gangster political culture of our fathers, this is the time we must all stand to refuse bad habits.
If Democracy is said to be a form of government in which the right to govern is vested in the citizens, how can that be possible with the rotational armed robbers in charge of our destiny, when the political parties decides who will best protect their own interest; we must begin to gather strength now, we need to grow, sticking to those bad habits will make no headway, now it’s the time we the people must collectively appoint a trusted leader.
Democratic process for the NEW MEDIA era
The new media, and particularly the Internet, provides us with the potential for a democratic postmodern public sphere, in which Nigerians can participate in a well informed, non-hierarchical debate pertaining to our social structures. The new media has created a potentially radical shift of who is in control of information, experience and resources, it has provided the possibility of increasing the speed of communication, interactive communication and allow forms of communication that were previously separate to overlap and interconnect.
The new media has given us a globalisation that shortens the distance between Nigerians all over the world, this great development has given birth to the "death of distance", radically breaking the connection between physical place and social place, making physical location much less significant for our social relationships, and giving us the ability to establish virtual communities: Self-defined globalised societies and networks, which still resemble what we do in real life. Just as we exchange pleasantries and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, conduct commerce, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, create a little high art and a lot of idle talk.
Television and newspapers are no longer the only means for building mainstream attitudes. What we must create in favour of a socio-political movement ahead of the 2011 election, will be a new media movement that has the ability to connect like-minded Nigerians at home and abroad, taking advantage of the internet to produce a grassroots globalization, centered on Nigerians around the world.
We must create a new media, used and transformed by its users, which then feeds into the process of guiding our emancipation, one that corresponds to the logic of consciousness and a mass society, which values conformity over individuality, and a tool in the democratisation of information. User generated websites such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, online forums and blogs will play a big role in the recruitment and creation of a virtual community, as well as the webcasting of ideologies and debates that precedes the 2011 election.
Democratic process through popular culture
If Democracy means "popular government", then our popular culture can lead to our emancipation?
If we are eventually denied of a leader we deserve, if we cannot attain Babylon in this new media era, where Nigerians got thousands of virtual groups, all with a minimum of a thousand members, if by 2011 Yar'adua gets re-(s)elected and there is no revolution, if we are unable to make a meaningful use of all these tools we got in our hands, I’m then persuaded that there will never and ever be a revolution. I see people create new virtual groups every day to bring back the hope; Nigerians for Democracy, The new Nigerian revolution, Up-Rising, Light up Nigeria, Alliance for CHANGE, The Future, The Nigerian dream, Fix Nigeria. Et al. Creating more groups is not the issue, what we must do is to begin to deeply engage these numerous Nigerian populated groups.
We need to de-individualise all these numerous social groups into a decentralised body that doesn't exist in real time, the consciousness we must create, shall be in form of a slogan that must be collectively imbibed, as a branch of the cause of all the numerous groups, it shall provide them all with autonomy and sense of ownership. If these numerous awards will be useful for a more noble cause, let’s all begin the search for a leader for 2011, lets vote for a consciousness, let’s give a deadline as they usually do it, publicise it and make massive noise about it, let a committee of another trusted Nigerians that are well balanced in their heads, meet online, for reflexive processes until the selection of distinct candidates that are worthy of our vote is reached. This outcome should be edited into a memo that followed our collective decision.
This memorandum can then be disseminated through our daily journals, TV station without forgetting or course our online journals, blogs and social networks as well as the use of hackers. This new media campaign must be huge and collective; we all must support it, artists, activists, bankers, traders, producers, journalists, radio and TV presenters, designers, civil servants and all tired and frustrated Nigerians. We don't want any union leader or a celebrity human right activist to come feed us with more lies. We are not all obliged to be formally organized in support of the campaign, we can be loosely affiliated, but frequently utilize campaign advertising, eventually making it difficult for any political scientist to predict the election without favoring the collective decision and effort of the people. We must take our destinies into our own hands; put on our fisheyes, parrot beaks, and let's get our ball point sword close, 2011 must not provide us with another Nollywood actor, costumed as a leader.ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
(c) Qudus Onikeku