Metropole Magazine

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10 Mar Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

Nigerians are the Opposition

Nigerian music legend Chief Ebenezer Obey, in his classic ‘The man, the boy and the donkey’ sums up the reality of wanting to please people while looking to carry out one’s responsibilities. He said, to paraphrase, “nothing you do, by thoughts or action, that’d please the world.” As a young boy growing up, it was just a song that sounded right. As an adult, it is a life lesson.

I have watched some Nigerians label so many young active citizens as members of the opposition. Reno Omokri, in a piece last week, practically referred to the Nigerian internet population as dummies who cannot see except they are shown, who cannot think except certain overlords think for them.

This is the delusion of privilege. Having more than enough to eat and wear everyday eventually puts a man or woman in a position where he or she starts thinking that that is what is obtainable everywhere. It takes a level of self-consciousness for anyone who lives within the privileged power class to see beyond Abuja’s pretentiousness and see that, below the superficial wealth displayed by men and women desperate to announce their own arrival on the scene of riches and prosperity, most Nigerians remain poor.

How anyone expects these Nigerians to be quiet given a voice – say through social media, blogs or in certain cases the legacy media – is beyond me. It takes a deep level of delusion for anyone to say that young Nigerians like myself are angry because we are paid by the opposition to be. It takes a level of mental and emotional blindness for anyone not to see that no matter how desperate the main opposition, APC is, they are not as desperate as every day Nigerians for change.

Of course while most people want to see change at the top, they want it for different reasons. For the poor man or woman on the street, change would mean a new chance to see a government that cares. Having lost hope in the current system, the natural thing would be a desire for a change from a system that continues to live in its own box of transformational delusion. These Nigerians are angry and their anger, if expressed, can bring the system down. That anger remains latent and only needs a switch to become a force that’d unsettle the system. No one knows what that switch will be.

The APC, like most Nigerians, want change too but when it comes down to it, the APC – especially for most of the power-mongers within it – want change for a reason different from that of the masses. For many within the APC, they want change to remain plugged into power. They want change not to better their own lives or that of others, but to sustain what being in government already bettered in years past. No matter how angry the APC as a collective is with this system and government, I’d wager everything to say they are not as angry as everyday Nigerians who continue to see wealth they cannot touch, who continue to hear about the increased power supply but continue to live in darkness.

For these Nigerians, they just want a change that’d help propel their lives from living for nothing, to living for something; to move their lives from craving the basics of life in food and shelter to having those and then dreaming of life beyond such meagre levels of existence.

The opposition parties may voice their opposition to the government more articulately, they may be heard far louder than the Nigerian masses, but no matter how loud the opposition shouts, the pain, penury and poverty of the Nigerian masses shout louder. These are the real opposition. All it takes to know this is to walk the streets of Nigeria beyond the cosmetic display of opulence you’d find in Maitama, Ikoyi, Asokoro and other enclaves of Nigeria’s wealthy class.

So then, those who accuse people like myself and the Sowores, the Ekekes, the Maryams, the Rosanwos and Ogunlesis of being with the opposition are not wrong after all, only this is a different opposition. This opposition is not registered as a political party so the government cannot seem to register its realities and anger. This opposition is far angrier than any registered political opposition, and given the tools of change to express itself, would look to change the system faster than the officially recognized opposition.

Those of us who are privileged to have a voice cannot be blackmailed into silence as we look to help amplify these voices. No matter what tools of blackmail the government and its creations like Wendell Simlin use to keep us silenced and out of the scene, it would help the government to know that Nigerians are its main opposition and not the APC. The earlier this reality sinks in, the better for all of us.