Metropole Magazine

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17 Mar Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

The Responsibility of Privilege

Most people do not think of themselves from their position of advantage, they do so from their position of disadvantage. This comes from our continued focus on what we don’t have while paying little attention to what we have. When we pay close attention to thinking about what we have, we’ll finally come to realize one simple truth; we are privileged!

Privileged not because we have all we need. No one does and no one seems to think s/he has enough anyway. Privileged not because we are the richest in the midst of our peers or because we can afford expensive holidays. We are privileged because in a society where poverty and lack are the norm, where most are hungry and angry but voiceless, we can be their voice.

We can be the ones who can help to break down the walls of delusion of our leaders who continue to believe and assume that just because they live in a privileged box of wealth and social pretentiousness, all is well and the society has been transformed. 

If you blame Mr. President for being disconnected from the realities on the streets of Nigeria, take a moment to see if even you are not already disconnected from some other realities. How many of us are still conscious of the fact that, there are Nigerians who live on far less than N200/day? How many of us know that a N2, 000 gift could be the beginning of a petty trade for some others? Even in our own relatively lower estate compared to say the president, we continue to shy away from the fact that, while we remember what does not work for us and our businesses and daily jobs, there are millions of Nigerians who would give everything to have what we take for granted.

The point here is not for us to think ourselves superior and important, the point is for us to understand that we have a part to play in the lives of people far less opportune than us. We can begin the change we crave for ourselves by in some cases being the change some of these far less privileged Nigerians crave. We can spare some change to have these ones begin a petty trade. We can reserve a token from our own daily expenses to help a child go to school. We can be the answer to the prayers of Nigerians who, despite their hunger, cannot complain because they’ve lost their voices.

We cannot afford to suffer from the same delusion that has kept those in power away from the truth and the realities on the streets. We cannot live in the enclave of delusion that some of our religious fathers continue to live in, believing "all is well" when as a matter of fact, nothing is close to that.

What started as a proclamation of faith has become the conscious reality of powerful men and women who, if they spare just a moment to speak to power about the pains and penury of the Nigerian masses, could spring the hope that would help birth a new garden of change and succour for underprivileged Nigerians.

We have work to do, not just for ourselves and our individual dreams, but we have work to do by starting to empathize with those Nigerians whose shoes we do not wear, whose pains we do not feel but can at least try to understand. If we do understand these things, we would have started a change process where each of us refuses to be quiet because our own lives has been bettered, where we all continue to speak and continue to demand for the rights of those other Nigerians who don’t have a voice to begin with.

If we forget these things, we would not be different from those who forgot where they came from just because they went to Abuja and took a sip from the cup of power.