In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had cause to change my environment and settling into life in the nation’s capital based on the dictates of my career switch. Being a newbie in the capital city, I was more than eager to get a grasp of the many places that made the city tick. Thus on Saturday, when a friend informed me of the Youth4change rally that had been scheduled to take place, I thought to attend – since it would be another opportunity to meet and interact with new people. Well, it eventually turned out not to be a social/people meet affair, but indeed a serious movement, with hundreds of youths staging a peaceful walk from the Eagle Square to the Unity fountain, where there were a number of guest speakers, including the popular Social activist Omojuwa, to address them.
As I joined the rallying train, watching and walking, it was clear that these group of rallying young people had just one request in their mouths, they had just one message that they wanted to get heard, and just one song that they cared to sing. It was ‘change’. The set-up was indeed a very dynamic one in which no one can claim to having bought them over.
In the rallying crowd, I saw artisans, hawkers, students, professionals, from the different ethnicities in the country all adorned in the Youth4Change T-shirt as they matched through the streets of Abuja. As we walked, I tried to engage a young lady, in a quick conversation, as to what change meant to her and this was where I really got a bit lost. Everywhere I go, turn to, or even click on, the cry/drive for change is shouted ever loudly. It has become so intense that even the team of the incumbent president have also chosen to use it as their campaign mantra, and so I ask yet again – change from what to what?
Across the world in politics, it’s not a new phenomenon for the campaigning parties to choose slogans that perhaps would ride on the emotional sensitivities of the populace, as a means of assuring them of understanding their plight. In Nigeria, while all sorts of messages have been used at different election periods, none seems as infectious as this call for CHANGE. Like every other person, I hope and pray for change. I believe it is important for us all to define what change is for ourselves.
For some, change could only mean a change of the ruling party, for others, it is about a change in the following: the power situation, security situation, general standard of living and regard for the Nigerian life, economic landscape and most importantly a change in the corruption order(for the better).
Bringing this change has gone beyond sitting in the comforts of our bedrooms creating numerous hashtags, tweeting and trending, but now more about everyone getting involved. While the levels of involvement differs per person, what remains crucial is that everyone makes a conscious effort to retrieve their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and vote. Without this, the movement for change may just be another nice movement that never saw the light of day. I was somewhat saddened when I read the Personal Message of one of my BBM contacts who mentioned that for all this election folks cared, she was not interested, as she already knew she was not going to vote. While this may have come off as just some babe rant, I only tried to ponder on how many other people like her abounded in the change mouthing populace. I really do not care who anyone votes for, but what I think matters is that everyone gets involved and sticks a thumb out for the candidate who they believe would provide that change they crave for.
As the rally drew to a close and everyone prepared to depart, having being fired up by speakers like Idris Gebi, Omojuwa and a host of others, it was quite refreshing to see how certain people chose to pick up the empty water bottles that had now littered the environment. While I joined to pick, I thought to myself, that this was indeed some change, starting from the youths. If only the entirety of Nigerians had such mind-set, just perhaps the journey to change may have begun much earlier than now.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Monkey Business Images