Permit me to begin with a couple of scriptures.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verse 11 that “To everything there is a season and a TIME for every purpose under heaven.” A similar Quranic verse says that “Allah has perfect timing, never early, never late. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith, but it is worth the wait.”
Time is the essence of everything.
It is our time. I believe it strongly in my spirit. Never has so many happenings pointed towards an opportunity for the Nigerian youth to take a hold of their own destiny. I struggle to think back at the past electioneering seasons and if we ever had a chance such as this. I think back at the increasing gap between the government and the governed and I feel a righteous indignation in my spirit. Many words clog my throat as I attempt to communicate my thoughts clearly, but I am determined to paint the required picture.
I am ready for change. The question is, are you?
What else do we wait for before we understand that dissatisfaction about the current state of affairs is not enough, but is supposed to spur the youth into actively pursuing change for themselves and the generations yet unborn. The wonder of time ensures that every generation has an opportunity to write their story, and I feel it deeply in my spirit, as do you, that 2023 presents a finger licking opportunity to make that move.
Before then, we must be actively involved in criticizing news and joining a Party that prioritizes youth and women inclusion. We must carefully observe trends before jumping into conclusions and most importantly, give the benefit of the doubt to those who have sought to change the status quo.
The merchants of time.
In order to restore Nigeria to the order where we will all be proud of, the Nigerian youth must be very serious about what happens in Nigeria, complain less and act more, make drastic moves that will result in credible change of policies and government happenings and also make use of the current pathos to change the narrative of his/her generation.
Nothing else will work. Believe me.
After all, everything we do as human beings has to be guided by a timeframe. Is it business? Once established, work is put in and subsequently, a proposition is made in your heart when you should start recording successes. Is it education? You put in the work and expect to graduate with good grades at the end of that timeline. Is it everyday activities? You wake up by 6am, you want to be prepared for work by 7am, have dropped off your kids by 7:30am and be stepping into work just before 8am in the morning.
Well, that is if you work in any State in Nigeria except Lagos, but I am sure you get my point.
You plan your days and weekends, holidays and travels. You plan everything, and divinity, the master planner, waits at the fringes to give that final push. I say this because even though we have been designed to plan every single thing, there often seems to be a greater plan which aligns perfectly with everything we have in mind. However, even fate waits for you to make a move, before giving the all-important assistance.
Nigeria, as a whole, has always operated on this principle: a timeline of opportunities.
Right from the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates, opportunities have been presented to various Nigerians to stake a claim in the bettering of Nigeria’s fortunes. Many have ruled from the North and South, East and West, always seeking to be the one under whom Nigeria begins to make great progress. They have sought, under the proposition of a timeline of expected development, to better Nigeria’s chances. They have tried and toiled, brainstormed and deliberated, yet Nigeria still seems to be lagging behind her neighbours and contemporaries.
Their generation might have been able to improve what they were given to a certain level, yet many Nigerians of that same generation are overcome with nostalgia at the thought of what they used to enjoy in their younger days, and what is available now, whilst the demography referred to as the “youth’ are filled with despair at the current state and what it means for the generations yet unborn.
That remains the failure of a generation that failed to take their opportunities. We must take ours.
At a time in Nigeria’s history, it was thought that Nigeria was ripe for amalgamation: That opportunity was taken. At another point in time, it was seen due to happenings and the body language of the Nigerian people that the time was nigh for Independence: That opportunity was taken. Later on, the Nigerian people began to tire of totalitarianism and started to agitate for a government that recognized the voice of the people, spoke for the people and executed their own desires: The opportunity of democracy was taken. And now, in a time that has been besieged by a certain discomfort at a perceived difference in cultural understanding between the ruling class and her citizens, the Nigerian youth are crying out for a change.
We must not let this opportunity slide.
His Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo during a recent chat with the youth, encouraged them to take the opportunity that has been presented to them to take charge of the affairs of their country. The activities and happenings of the past three years have shown just how much a youthful takeover of governance is required, and President Olusegun, a seasoned politician himself, must have studied the terrain before making such statements.
He urged the youth to grab their destinies and ensure that the peculiar manner with which they have splendidly handled numerous activities in this day and age be replicated in politics. A few weeks later, in a move that seemed to resonate strongly with previous statements, he met with the youngest Governor in Nigeria, appreciating him for keeping the peace when many states were in chaos, maintaining security when insecurity had bedeviled others, investing massively in infrastructure when other states were moaning about the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and most importantly, marshaling a political boat with which he had used to groom, prim and prune young politicians – both men and women – who are now poised to take the Nigerian political and business terrain by storm.
That man was Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello.
When Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello concocted in his mind the thought of becoming the Governor of Kogi State, many laughed at him. They called him a joker. They called him unserious. They called him all sorts of names and ridiculed his ambition even before the ship was prepared to sail.
Little did they know that this was a man who had been built up by experience and deep rooted doggedness: building an unrivalled strength of resolve that made criticism only a spur for greater result. He was prepared to do the impossible. He was only able to do this because he understood one thing.
He knew that Kogi State needed a change of story. It was highly disconcerting to think of Kogi State, with her vast natural resource and teeming youth – apart from its advantageous position at Nigeria’s epicenter – falling greatly behind many other states in education, infrastructure and human capital development.
He chose to ignore the histrionics that followed his defeat at the APC primary election, pushed further with his immovable desire for the development of Kogi state by offering his availability and service to the winner of the contest, until he was awarded an unfathomable opportunity by divinity to save Kogi from the imbroglio it had submerged itself due to years of bad governance.
He made a move, divinity perfected it.
The political solution at the time of his ascension had reached fever pitched saturation. The people were tired of seeing the same faces, hearing the same old tales and battling age-long, familiar strongholds. Yahaya Bello brought with his shocking rise a breath of fresh air, the verisimilitude of past hope and has used that goodwill to steer the ship away from troubled waters.
Bello understood the wonder of time.
He knew that the level at which Kogi and Kogites had found themselves required every man and woman, teenagers within the voting age and adults to use the time afforded within their generation to change their standard of living. He approached existential issues with the emollience of a seasoned, unifying political leader and built bridges long burnt by ethnic myopia.
Nigeria, in more ways than one, is a type and shadow of Kogi State.
Bello knew when it was time for Kogi to rise, and he knows that Nigeria is next.
I mean, what better time would anyone recommend for a country like Nigeria to be ruled by people who occupy most of her inner spaces. We have been kept at the fringes for too long. It is time to get out and get in. It is important to note that whatever problems we encounter during this time and age is solely created by our abstinence from active politics, and we can only change how things work when we get involved, contribute our quota and take over the reins of governance.
Bello, who was bestowed with the serious task of mobilizing women and youth for the All Progressives Congress, has never wavered in his quest to get the youth involved in politics. His has been a voice that maintained reason, constantly prodding and encouraging. He said in the now viral interview that his desire was to get the youth involved massively in politics – although his primary desire was to see them registered with the APC -, so much so that they will hold the keys to their future in their own hands.
The Siamese Twin brother to Governor Bello and Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief Edward David Onoja also made a statement in March which resonated strongly with my spirit. A man of enormous wisdom and depth of reasoning, he accurately captured the points which every Nigerian youth must consider in choosing who must be Nigeria’s next leader. He stated that “the 2023 elections will largely be defined by three issues in order of priority namely Insecurity, Unity-Integration and Youth-Women participation and inclusiveness.”
He went further to say that “Political platforms and persons who can provide solutions to these not by words but by clearly defined antecedents will top the list of potential victors. SEE HOW I DID IT SOUNDS MORE CONVINCING THAN SEE HOW I INTEND TO DO IT”.
You must have, you SHOULD have a proven track record before aspiring to that seat.
Bello possesses it.
We must understand that the only people capable of changing what goes on in our country in OUR generation remain those who have been born in this time, and understand the special requests of those in this age.
You cannot gift a 99-year old a brand new Ferrari and expect premium utilization. Neither can you take a 79 year old skydiving without risking a heart attack. There are things that must come at a certain age and time.
That is the solution to Nigeria’s woes.
No one can deny that Nigeria remains one of the most blessed countries in the world, certainly the apex in Africa. There is nowhere Nigerians migrate to that they do not excel. Ask yourself this question. Why does it not happen in Nigeria? It is simply because we have all the ingredients to prepare a perfect Pounded yam and Egusi, yet we give it all to a specialist in continental dishes.
A recipe for disaster.
A former Nigerian Senator and vastly popular wordsmith, Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon, once described Nigeria as “A country that wallows in a state of menicisetal statism, cankerous tribalism, ethnocentric chauvinism, syphilitic parochialism, epileptic nepotism, catalytic parapoism and state brigandish.”
While whatever that means remains beyond me, it says a lot about where Nigeria currently finds herself that it requires such a mouthful of words to describe. They are words that highlight the failure of a generation. It describes to all and sundry a vivid reflection of how they handled Nigeria when they were bestowed with that task.
It is time to pass the baton.
What do you want to say to your children when they ask what you did to better Nigeria’s fortunes when it was your TIME?
I know what I would like my answer to be. I want to say that I participated actively in putting a bridge builder at the seat of power. I want to be able to say that I supported One Nigeria when others sought its disintegration. I want to say that I was one of the hands that ushered in an age where all Yorubas, Igbos and Hausas thought of themselves as one, and joined their hands towards making Nigeria better for us all.
I want to be able to say that I did all this by supporting Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, the only person capable of making this all happen.
2023 sounds like it.
It looks like it.
It feels like it.
Let’s make it count.
Follow Aina Samuel on Twitter @ainoorh and Facebook @Sam Aina