None other, perhaps, in my humble opinion, than any other event in the existence of twitter, Nigerian social-networking stratosphere has been shaken to its foundations by a trending topic on twitter, than the recently trended #30PercentOrNothing. In keeping with the needs of most Nigerians-youths, especially-all manners of saviours and messiahs have appeared at one point or the other. Most times, a repetition, other times, unprecedented. Periodically, a seasoned mind-bogger and a renowned spin doctor with a considerable reputation, might rally and rouse the flames of revolution in the youths. And an enraged, or perhaps frightened youths will hungrily pick up the trend, make the necessary noise without second thoughts, only for that highly anticipated requisite action to become instantaneously and permanently frozen. It goes without saying then, that the Nigerian situation is aptly captured by the different animals left on Manor Farm, after their highly praised revolution, as painted by George Orwell, in his ‘Animal Farm’.
That trended topic on twitter, a few days back made a deep impression on me, that I sought to add my voice to the unresolved intrigues and rage (as would naturally befit any Nigerian socio-political drama). The trend I was referring to was the #30PercentOrNothing noise that emanated from the doorsteps of twitter user, @MrFixNigeria. According to all sides of the gist, MrFixNigeria felt that the Nigerian youths were heavily cheated from the arrangement and governance of the country and as such, he felt youths should seriously agitate for a 30% inclusion in present and any forthcoming government of the country. As is usual with novelty in Nigeria, he has within a short notice, alongside his supporters literally taken over Nigerian social networking. The paradoxical nature of the situation, to me, had been as a yoruba adage succinctly captures it: the matter is like fart in your mouth and salt is added to it; you are torn between spitting it out and swallowing it. I really don’t have any problem with MrFixNigeria’s demands and the foremost yearnings of his supporters; everyone is entitled to his feelings and the way he chooses to express it should not be a concern of others. But, I am consoled by the adage that, ‘one should not swallow poison because he is afraid to spit it and offend others. Moreover, a feeling can only be a feeling and nothing more. If after fantasizing of stealing, one goes ahead to steal, then I am afraid, he must go in for it. Though afraid of social ostracism and stigmatization typical of Nigerian youths, many a youth might decide to add his two-kobo weight to the ongoing agitation without second thoughts and proper weighing. I will rather, as a matter of logical reasoning choose to take the matter with a grain of salt.
The current clamour for youth inclusion in the scheme of things, cannot be far-fetched from the ‘normal’ Nigerian mentality of ‘it is our turn to nibble at the national cake’. Perhaps, because the originator of the trend saw the massive chunk of the national cake delegates to the just concluded National Conference took home; or maybe as is usual in the Nigerian political scene, an Abuja appointment is patiently waiting. With the mannerism of setting up committees for this; committees for that, it isn’t unusual that MrFixNigeria will soon be appointed Chairman of the Committee for Youth Inclusion in Governance. A make up office at Abuja will hurriedly follow suit. Real estates at Abuja and long line of modern automobiles will also be in the offing.
So as not to be labelled a sardonic, tongue-in-cheek and confused person, I humbly implore you to properly scrutinise the performance indices of youths that have been granted opportunities to be in one position of service or the other. Gratifying their ‘personal’ success was the foremost policy to be implemented once they’ve occupied such offices. Current National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) president, Yinka Gbadejo is a classic portrayal of the above ideology. Polytechnics’ students across the federation sadly were forced to sit at home as a result of the inglorious strike of their lecturers, that of course, was coming on the heels of the infamous ASUU strike of the recent past that kept University students at home for six months. All those while, Yinka Gbadejo was wining and dining with the very people that could answer the question why students were at home: his co-students for that matter! Yinka Gbadejo may have gained some cheap reputation by being a delegate at the National Conference, but creases of disappointment didn’t cross my face when he couldn’t proffer a single imput at the Conference. The current Presidential assistant on new media, Reno Omokri is a youth. What Reno Omokri has thus far been able to achieve is to ‘rightly’ paint the opposition party with all shades of black by cheap propaganda. Weakening their strongholds by smearing ideologies, even to the extent of using a fake alias, Wendell Simlin, to achieve his incivility. We have a Jude Imagwe in the person of person of Presidential adviser on Student Affairs, a youth. His only advice, as can be guess by overt manifestations of his boss, I guess, is to refuse the simple demands of teachers in higher institutions, so they can go on embark on strike actions.
Without any misplaced hope or embittered disillusionment, let me quickly clarify at this point that I am not a member of the ruling PDP, neither was I sponsored by the opposition party. I humbly implore you to gaze down from the summit of your lofty position and recognize me as that common Nigerian youth, then you will appreciate the great and unmerited suffering inflicted on me by a cruel fate. That will make me just an ordinary Nigerian who seeks to uphold the rule of law. That ordinary individual who seeks equity and fairness. In the like manner a snake in your bedroom will not hesitate to bite you as the one in the bush, so I see the composition of the ruling PDP and main-opposition APC. They are practically made up of the same bunch of old folks who have stubbornly held on to power since independence. The same chicanery that have constituted our present government to be tumult soaked. Members from both sides have successfully mismanaged this country for long. Their operational basis is what Tammy Koroye would describe as, ‘a revolving cycle’ forever recycling them into the fabrics of Nigerian politics.
What then of the so-claimed youths, MrFixNigeria, and his such-like band are clamouring for their inclusion in the roadmap and pathways of governance? The ones who are more interested to see the current edition of unrealistic reality tv shows, than show concerns about their own affairs? The ones who in their quest for the fleeting vanities of life will engage in rapaciousness that mocks reason? The ones wallowing in indecencies and irrelevancies, that will end up consuming unconsumables at alarming rates because of their ignoble and pernicious cravings? The speed at which avarice drives them to indulge in obnoxiousness lends credence to the uphill task MrFixNigeria has embarked upon.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that this whole hocus-pocus was carefully spurned by a master puppeteer, skilled in puppetry, who seeks to compel attention by all means or a meal-ticket of the originator, because who knows, with the current massive unemployment, man must wack. Digressive measures and diversionary tactics have repeatedly proven effective to those at the helm in this country, such that in such a dog-eat-dog clime, it wouldn’t be out of place to find out that this whole 30Percent noise was originally designed to permanently keep youths at bay. To continuously chain them to the complexities of emotions, flattery and deceit; humans being duplicitous, self-absorbed, slaves to intense passions, fickle and gullible. It was customary for those who wish to gain favour from political office holders to so do by offering them gifts and those things which such office holders deem precious. I sincerely hope that the current clamour will not turn out to be such ‘gift’. A window of opportunism which was hurriedly grabbed by MrFixNigeria.
However, I am certain that the earnest yearnings of our founding fathers must be fulfilled one day. It takes a daring, bold and audacious individual, who would have a quality of personhood that could turn shared morality into fighting spirit, and thus prove that our founding fathers were not wrong in their quest for our independence from British imperialism. Such pragmatic individual that will tear through the general praxis of corruption and corrupt tendencies; that will uphold honesty and not be bought over for a cheap price tag. The pitfalls of irresoluteness, lack of spirit and fear should be far off from the region of this current clamour. This way, the revolutionary spirit and it’s consequent vicissitude of appropriate leadership, which the country has greatly lacked will come to fruition. To this end, I will not hesitate to align my spirit with a genuine #30PercentOrNothing movement. A 30PercentOrNothing that will ensure I as a youth is ably represented in the scheme of governance, not the type that will produce more Gbadebos, Imagwes , Omokris and their ilk.
A real populist ideology is the one which is totally porous-proof. The type that withstands negative vettings. That should be the one being put forward by MrFixNigeria. MrFixNigeria should be stubborn and never yield an inch. Though he may suffer ridicule, his spirit should remain unshaken. Every genuine agitation that has passed the acid test will become a concept; perfect in form, explicit in meaning, with a striking balance, strength, harmony, lucidity and intellectual force that will be the true yardstick by which other principles are measured. I hope the #30PercentOrNothing agitation pans out as such.