ARISE O COMPATRIOTS, NIGERIANS MUST OBEY


By Akin Ojumu

We can no longer afford to play ostrich. Democracy just cannot flourish amid tribal fear, ignorance, and apathy. Liberty cannot bloom amid complacency. Justice cannot take root amid compromise.

Nigerians must get off their comfort zones and get to work. We must get our heads in the game and stop the fooling around. Now is not the time to sidon-look and there’s no seating this one out. This job is about saving Nigeria and it requires that all hands be on deck.

In the sweltering climate in which we live, we must cause the wind of change to blow away the stench oozing from the rotten carcasses of deadbeat leaders and rid the air of the odor exuding from cadavers of vampirous rulers.

Nigerians must dissent from the aloofness and indifference. We must dissent from the apathy and lethargy. We must dissent from the fear of other tribes, the hatred of other ethnic groups, and the mistrust of people who don’t speak our dialect. 

We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from the habitual ordeal, regular upheaval, and chronic chaos that have characterize the nation. We must dissent from the woes and sorrows that we face each and every day

We must dissent from an exploitative and abusive political class that has left our youths uneducated, jobless and hopeless. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the paucity of innovation. We must dissent from corruption and nepotism. We must dissent from useless, fruitless and purposeless leadership by “it’s my turn.”

Nigerians must dissent from octogenarian political actors many years past their functional limits. We must dissent from nonagenarian rulers who have no business running the affairs of the nation. We must dissent from mentally and physically unfit heads of state who spend more time confined to sick beds in foreign hospitals than they do attending to matters of the state.

We must dissent from electing pilfering politicians with an unenviable record of looting the public coffers. We must dissent from electing to the highest office in the land unscrupulous office holders who use special purpose vehicles to pillage the nation’s treasures. We must dissent by choosing a prudent leader with a proven record of competence, frugality and integrity. 

We must dissent from the intimidation of motor park touts. We must dissent from the harassment from marauding area boys. We must dissent from fear of threats of violence from hired thugs who want to scare us away from the polling places just so we don’t exercise our fundamental human right to vote for the candidate of our choice.

We must dissent because we love Nigeria. We must dissent because Nigeria deserves better, because Nigeria can do better, because Nigeria has no choice but to do better. 

Nigerians must make their votes count. We must vote with prudence. We must vote to make Nigeria right. We must arise and Obi.

Adapted from a Speech by Thurgood Marshall, First African American Supreme Court Justice.

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