22 June 2009

Climbing on My Soapbox...Again!!!

Today I climb back on my little soapbox and prepare to tutor to our collective psyche! Today...I did my part in creating a change. I didn't march on the senate, neither did I barricade an oil company. I didn't kidnap an expatriate, or a 2 year old child. I didn't even blow up an oil pipeline (and contribute my part to further environmental degradation and what not).

No...I did none of the things my people (Niger Deltans) and generation (Gen X, abi na Gen Y or Z) have become famous for. I simply encouraged a young man. A young man who decided not to be one of the crowd, but to be a standard. He decided not to wait for government to improve society or his lot, nor did he wait for you or I, but in his own way and with his own voice decided to make his own path. I am a youth (though I think I saw a grey hair or two a couple of days ago) and am also a product of the Niger Delta! Before people start talking about my foreign education and all that, I might have spent the formative years in another man's land, but my life experiences and my understanding of life began here...in the Niger Delta.

I too have watched the land of my birth move from one low to the next seemingly impossible low, I too...have watched young girls, future wives and mothers, sell themselves to the highest bidder because that seems to be the only way left to make ends meet. I too...have seen the promising young man turn to crime, and be cut down by a policeman's bullet. I too...have looked down the barrel of a gun...while watching all I have worked for carted off by the 'original' owners. I too...have been wrongfully arrested and suffered police exploitation and oppression. I too...have struggled certificate in hand, under the boiling sun and downcast skies, looking for my daily bread. But I have chosen to make my own way, with no allegiance to any man, only God!

As is the recurrent theme in all my 'soapbox' confessionals (or rants as some have deemed fit to call them) I say 'ask not what your nation should be doing for you, but what you can do to turn things around'. I ask you not to put the blame for your stagnation on anyone's shoulders but your own. I ask you to take RESPONSIBILITY! Our government is useless...agreed, but isn't the government made up of people like you and I, two legs, two hands, and a head and eyes.

Not everyone we revere today had a godfather, not every face you see in our social events magazines was born with a silver (gold or platinum as the case maybe) spoon stuck firmly in their gobs. Some had no mother, no father, no joy, but lots of pride. Pride and faith...in themselves, in their abilities, in their ideas and dreams.

I seriously believe the Niger Delta is marginalised...but not by the fat cats in agbada in Aso, nor by the political class, but by the people themselves. Development can never come in the midst of war. And never to a people divided amongst themselves.
It isn't the agbada cartel eating our money, hoarding fuel to sell on the black market, or spending money for roads, hospitals and schools on foreign trips, mistresses and cars...it is our governors, and contractors who'd rather ride that new jeep, than build the good road he was paid to build. It is our very own people. As T. I said in his song 'Live Your Life' we are 'piss poor morally', so morally bankrupt and so wrapped up in self interest, that even with millions we willingly die for N1 (one naira).

The true meaning of militant and militancy has been hijacked by armed robbers, hostage takers and now murderers. The murderers of the 11 year old girl in Port Harcourt or the 23 year old undergraduate in Akwa Ibom (after collecting the 10 million naira ransom no less) should not claim to be fighting for any rights of yours and mine!

Are we like the foolish servant who buried his talents instead of multiplying them, because he did not want his master to profit? The Niger Delta is not just the engine room of the nation's foreign earning machine, but has a far greater source of income that is so highly under utilized...its human capital. Nigeria's got talent...Niger Delta's got talent! We have our Timi Dakolos and Timayas. Our Dokubos, Benemisias and Henshaws. Our Okaras and Amadis. We have our business leaders, our young entrepreneurs busy counting paper without government assistance. We have our talented inventors, our poets, our artists. So much potential...so grossly overlooked.

Nothing in life is easy, only dying...and we have no say with regard that, but regarding our life and how we live it...we have choices. Taking the path of least resistance and wasting your God given ability and potential is a sin! As someone remarked today 'anyone who says he's jobless has no vision'. We have all been endowed with gifts, but are too damn lazy to grow them. As it goes 'gold is tested by fire!'. The only true form of marginalization is self imposed. They may frustrate you, they may ridicule you, they may hate, but once you know your potential, you...like a rock...will not be moved!

So...to Vincent Nwilo (an intellectual militant)...author of Stories from Bori, I doff my hat, you are an inspiration to myself and others who strive to make a change.

Originally Posted:02 May 09

DISCLAIMER: All thoughts and opinions expressed here are all mine (crazy as they might seem). All works here are my original work (unless otherwise stated)

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