Credit to Pastor Poju Oyemade. The Platform, an annual conference centered around conversations and thoughts on forging ahead the Nigerian project has reached its eleventh year. In a nation where many things that take flight do not see its second year anniversary, the consistency is worth commending. The May 1st edition was themed 'Get Involved.' The crux of the discourse was for majority of Nigerians to snap out of their apathy and be a player in the Nigerian project. The array of speakers all made the point in succinct and vivid manner.
It is almost cliché but it remains true that a good number of Nigerians do not care beyond social media vitriolic. Some Nigerians have gained minor stardom and some sort of notoriety from being internet warlords and keypad mongers. While ‘the conversation’ is sacrosanct in our strive for a better nation, it is foolhardy to expect that it should end there; and that that alone is enough to alter our collective inimical plight. The reality is that the evidence of true interest in nation building is in the corresponding actions that accompanies the Twitter and Facebook diatribes. There are actions that suggest to all and sundry that we are truly desirous of a change beyond being loud or reticent. The little actions such as registering with a political party, taking out time to know who your local government chairman is, petitioning your representative at both the state and national level, vying for political offices are some of the true test of being involved. In politics, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
In many ways, the joke is on all of us. Part of the reason why the Nigerian political elite conducts itself with such petulance and nonchalance is that they know something that cannot be disputed. They are safe in the thought that there is no bite to our national bark, and that we slide on too quickly to other ventures. It is true that Nigerians find the sunny side of things in almost every debacle facing us as a nation but the down side is that at times, we stretch humor too far at the detriment of confronting the real issues. The history of change all around the world are tales of various people who were angry enough to get vitally involved and deliver the change they crave. Our collective anger is so short lived that the president and his handlers were so sure that the fallout from President Buhari’s rhetoric insinuation in London that Nigerian youths were lazy, was never going to survive the Big Brother Naija grand finale weekend. In this part of the world, our apathy is ridiculous. We are barely bothered beyond lip service. While many people are dissatisfied with the state of affairs, few are concerned enough to get involved. And for the few that get Involved, we often make a mockery of them, question their intentions, lampoon their ambitions, and dismiss their dreams. At times, we frustrate those who truly want to do something.
More than ever before, there is the urgency of now for all to get involved, and take on vital roles away from the keypads, blogs and newspaper back pages. The stark truth is that nothing will change if all we do is talk and forge public opinions. We all know what our problems are; the big question is: Are you ready to do something about it?