Well, it has been a year since The Nigerian Proclamation. I must confess that it has been extremely hard to remain faithful to the reasons why the Proclamation was written and at this point, I simply hope that future generations will live in the Nigeria of my dreams.
For those that are unaware, I wrote the Nigerian Proclamation as a means to voice my concerns about the April 2007 Nigerian elections. In the Epilogue to the Nigerian Proclamation, I explained that,
"My goal was to give myself and others a way to express their disappointment and frustrations over the recent Nigerian electoral process and the state of Nigerian affairs, in general."I wanted others to be able to use the 'Proclamation' to express symbolic protest against Nigeria's electoral process and various failings exhibited by Nigeria. Luckily, fellow Nigerian bloggers took the time to put up the Proclamation on their blogs. We were even supported by a good number of non-Nigerian bloggers who stood in solidarity with the principles of the Proclamation.
SURPRISINGLY POSITIVE RESULTS
The participation of so many bloggers served as a message to everyone, myself included, that Nigerians, and particularly, young Nigerians could focus on crucial Nigerian issues and find a unique and innovative means to come together and take a stand as they have with the current Brutish Airways debacle.
Not too long into the day, May 29th 2997, the BBC chose to focus on the Nigerian proclamation. This additional spotlight gave Nigerian bloggers the international attention that they deserve. For myself, the Nigerian Proclamation also provided the incredibly exciting opportunity to participate in a United Nation's report on the possibilities that the internet presents in reinforcing democracy around the world.
BUT, IN REALITY...
Despite this success and the various opportunities that ensued, I realize that despite my passion for Nigeria, and as much as I want to be a tool for constructive criticism and positive change, the road to the Visionary Nigeria I dream of, will continue to be a long, hard road to toll. Great visionaries like Awolowo dreamed of a close-to-perfect Nigeria and talked about the very issues that Nigerians like myself harp on daily. If they never realized the dream, who am I to believe that I will see the 'promised land'?
The fact that Nigerians continue to complain about the same things they complained about decades ago, has forced a change in perspective. Simply put, I only hope that my children will have the opportunity to witness a Nigeria that can feed and provide not only for itself, but the entire African continent. It would be amazing if my children witness a Nigeria where all have access to free education, free health care, free electricity and drive, ride bicycles or walk on safe roads or sidewalks lined with trees to provide shade. A Nigeria that is the envy of the entire world.
That is my dream for my children and as such, I will continue to commit myself to the principles of the Nigerian Proclamation. As such,
- I WILL CONTINUE TO DEMAND THAT ELECTED OFFICIALS BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND IN-ACTIONS.
- I WILL CONTINUE TO EXPECT DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES TO BE HONORED, RESPECTED AND MAINTAINED.
- I WILL CONTINUE TO BELIEVE THAT ALL NIGERIANS ARE EQUAL UNDER THE LAW AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH.
- I WILL CONTINUE TO APPLY MYSELF TO IMPROVING THE LOT OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL NIGERIAN REGARDLESS OF GENDER, RELIGION, TRIBE OR SOCIAL STATUS.
- I WILL CONTINUE TO STRIVE TO MAINTAIN A UNITED REPUBLIC DESPITE OUR DIFFERENCES.
I can only encourage others to do the same or more. And, I can take this opportunity to thank the various bloggers and individuals in my life that continue to remind me of the goals of the Proclamation and to whom I remain eternally grateful for their help then and now - Ugo Daniels, Oz Omodudu, M @ the Afro Beat, Dee and the Wise Old Man, to name a few.
I must also take this opportunity to send another message to Yar'Adua, the President of Nigeria. I read a small portion of your interview to the Financial Times. I noticed, in particular, your response to the question on your achievements in your first year as President. While I will reserve any judgment on whether your response is factual or not, I can only state that to tell the entire world that
"you find even in personal dealings, business dealings in the market place, between individuals, there is no respect for decent dealings that are governed by civilised behaviour. Respect for the rule of law is the basis for civilisation."There could be an inferred implication that Nigerians are not of a great "civilization" and that only you, dear sir, can lead them to this 'civilization' via your 'Rule of Law' message. I cannot help but think of the Nok people, the Benin Kingdom, the people of Ife, whose religion has spanned the globe, or the Magajiya, Queen Amina the warrior whose name has been passed down to generations of Nigerians in absolute pride for her successful war skills.
Nigeria has been and continues to be home to great civilizations and for the nation's president to infer otherwise to a foreign publication, regardless of the current climate in the country is troubling. It simply confirms the stereotypes that many have of Nigerians and reinforces the fears held by many that Nigerian leaders, far too often, speak badly about and look down on their own people. Such talk cannot exist in an administration that has professed a desire to rebrand Nigeria. Consequently, I hope that Yardy will not express such an attitude and that other Nigerians will refrain from doing such, as well.
Nevertheless, God bless Nigeria and all its people. And may the principles of the Nigerian Proclamation and the good intentions of those committed to Nigeria's greatness come to pass in my lifetime.
- The Nigerian Proclamation
- Epilogue: The Proclamation
- The Nigerian Proclamation: Making A Statement
- Nigerian Proclamation on BBC
- 2 Years Later: Nigerian Proclamation