October is a very special month for me; it’s a month of births. I was born in October, just like my company, my latest project on Nigeria – The Franchise Players, (get it HERE and HERE) and now as a country we mark another year as a sovereign state. However, times like these call for sober reflection.
While a 60-year old country is still relatively young in comparison to other countries of the world, 60 isn’t an insignificant number. We must now have candid conversations on how well or not we’ve steered this ship that has over 200 million souls aboard it.
Mi Señor, Señor…
One of my favourite music power couples has to be Simi and Adekunle Gold. A few months ago, Simi gave birth to beautiful bundle of joy. But before that, she made a hit song, “Duduke,” to herald the arrival of her unborn child. “Duduke” quickly became an anthem for expectant mothers and we lost count of pregnant women who made videos to also celebrate their unborn. She has now gone on to ‘birth’ “Restless II.” AG, on the other hand, has experienced an obvious re-birth of his own. The good news is that while AG Baby is still your Baby – you can agree that he has switched up his sound and is on another level of vibes with his Afro Pop project!
One person gave birth to something entirely new and the other did things in a new manner – either way, it classifies as innovation! Remember I submitted innovation is first a way of thinking ever before it’s an invention, and that is why the Black Panther didn’t just protect the people and property of Wakanda but most importantly, their philosophy – their thinking!
We urgently need to reinvent Nigeria and it starts with how we think as a collective. Individually, we have eggheads littered within and without the shores of Nigeria. But we need, on a corporate level, to aggregate this ingenuity into a homogenous national philosophy because that is how to move from being a country which is a mere geographical expression into nationhood. This new thinking has to crystalize into what should become the Nigerian Dream – something to inspire our actions and inactions. This philosophy should be further distilled into the educational curriculum, entertainment, religion, politics, business, etc., because until an idea becomes a culture, it cannot attain maximum effectiveness.
Build Back Better!
We cannot expect to put new wine in old wineskins. For the new to come, the old wineskin must be done away with. There was a sad page in our history when we asked some nationals of our West African neighbours to go by all means because the thinking then was that they were undocumented immigrants. We need that same resolve to tell all the ugly things that threaten to define our 60-year history to go!
Lawyer and social commentator Liborous Oshoma, speaking on a Sunday radio interview, submitted that, “When it comes to religion, we fight for God but when it comes to demanding better governance, we leave it to God.” This is the kind of mind-set that must go! This goes beyond partisan affiliation because our recent classes in ‘mathematics’ have shown us there is no difference between six and half a dozen.
We The People!
These are the three most important words in any democracy because The Office of the Citizen is the most powerful in any such system of government! Democracy, by its most popular definition, is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. We must therefore never lose sight of this irrespective of how circumstances seem to challenge this position. We as citizens should become increasingly aware and participatory in our role in governance and commit to hold to account those we have entrusted with our collective power, and demand better representation.
Over the past few months I have been paying particular attention to international news for obvious reasons. We have seen the rise and rise of people asking very poignant questions of their leaders and refusing to accept placebos, platitudes and political niceties.
While it broke my heart yet again that the 24th Grand Slam eluded Serena Williams, I had to stan Naomi Osaka, not just for her brilliant tennis, but for using her voice. Fully aware of the cry for racial injustice, Osaka knew the ball was literally in her court – so she wore 7 face masks with the names of those who were slain under questionable circumstances. Lewis Hamilton is not far off; he realised that being a great F1’ driver and multiple Grand Prix winner isn’t enough – he had to drive an awareness for racial injustice. That was his own way of asking, “what the F1 was going on?”
These two people got an epiphany that being silent in the face of the undesirable was no longer sexy. Martin Luther King Jr., echoing those immortal words, submitted that, “there comes a time when silence is betrayal” and “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Your voice is your superpower and when you don’t use it, you will not be considered innocent. We must also not forget to thank the real giants who chose to stand tall with us.
Shebi You Be Danfo Driver? Suo! I Am A Danfo Driver, Suo!
Hopefully, you’re not too bojuee for this. As a 90s kid, one of the genres of music that defined my day was Street Hop. Mountain Black and the late Mad Melon gave us that monster hit that made me look like a low budget Daddy Showkey with my galala moves. As a group they were known as the Danfo Drivers, a nomenclature that drew direct inspiration from the popular buses that ply the major roads of cosmopolitan cities.
These drivers were however very notorious for one thing – their reluctance to give passengers their change! I witnessed countless episodes of people losing their home training by the roadside just because they demanded their change from the conductor. These days we have to find very refined and civil ways of asking for our change from these same drivers while educating them that they aren’t doing us a favour by giving us the balance of our own money. Beyond currency notes, whatever change represents to you and you have the locus standing for it, please go ahead and in a very civilized manner, demand it.
A young man once went into the forest and stumbled upon a crying tree. Feeling so sorry for it, he asked why the tree was crying. Holding back tears, the tree responded, “The axe came by today again, as it usually does, and dealt me several blows. But because I remained resilient, it became frustrated and walked away.” The young man then vowed to protect the tree from further harm but the tree quickly cautioned him, “It’s not the cuts from the axe-head that makes me cry, I have become immune to that. What breaks my heart is that the axe-head is enabled by a wooden handle which is supposed to be one of us!” The young man then broke down in tears!