By James Patrick
One beautiful Chinese proverb once said, “one who asks a question is a fool for five minutes and one who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” You can never know more than what you ask. If a man wants to know more about a thing, the best way to go about it is not to seat down, looking or observing the thing without opening his mouth to ask questions about it. We as humans, whenever we meet people we admire or people we respect so much, we are always eager to know something about them. The first thing we normally do is to ask them questions about themselves; their life, their work, their business, what they do for leisure etc. This is the only way we get to know them or even get to discover new things about them that we never knew before. When a man meets a woman he wants to go into relationship with, ( either as girlfriend or for marriage), he would want to know her thoroughly. He would want to know everything about her. He would want to understand the framework of her mindset; how she thinks, how she behaves, how she treats those around her, her character, her attitude towards life and challenges, her world view, what’s of value to her, how she handles pressure etc. The most reliable way he goes about getting these sensitive information is by asking question over and over again until he gets satisfied. Then, how comes we as a people in this country call Nigeria, are in a social contract relationship with our leaders and we are not asking any question even when things go wrong? How comes we are in a leader – follower relationship with our politicians but we seem not to be asking them any question. The social contract theory we signed with our leaders mandated them to secure our lives and property as their topmost priority. Today in Nigeria, our lives have been reduced to that of an unfortunate cow that could be rustled into the bush by rustlers and nobody is asking those in leadership position any question. Today, both in the cities and most especially in our communities, our lives are now at the mercy of terrorist, bandits or Fulani herdsmen, nobody is asking our leaders the bitter question why? Why are we no longer safe in our own country? Today, our hard earned properties are been stolen away from us in broad day light, nobody is asking those whose primary responsibility is to secure these properties any question. Today, poverty, economic hardship, hunger, unemployment are almost becoming like the same clothes that half of the population in this country now wears and nobody is asking the question why?. Today, the north east insurgents are taking over our farmland, (we now pay to farm on our farmlands and pay another money to harvest our crops), they have invaded our villages, our communities for no justifiable reason and nobody is asking those in authority questions like; where do this bandits come from? Who are they? What do they aim to achieve? Who is bankrolling their nefarious activities? Who are those supplying them weapons? Where are they getting their food, water, toiletries, beverages, even inside the Sambisa forest? Who is giving them top classified Information about the movement of our military that enables them carry out several attacks on our boys? How comes the Boko boys know about the movement of our soldiers so well that they do ambush some military convoys – including a seating Governor’s convoy. How comes after a decade, we still cannot round-up the war against insurgency in the north east? How come after six decades after independent, our so call leaders can still not give Nigerians stable electricity, good roads, good hospitals, clean water and quality education? How long shall we keep on suffering and smiling with no expiring date to the end of our suffering in the nearest future. Today, prices of goods, most especially food stuff have skyrocketed and some basic food commodities are now beyond the pocket power of those earning minimum wage in this country, still, nobody is asking our leaders why?. Why……? Why is life ten times more difficult in Nigerian today than it was few months back? Why is a dollar been exchanged for a whooping 480 naira at the ‘bureau d change’?. Why is a bag of rice now sold for close to 30,000 naira? Why? Why every year, trillions are been budgeted for the year’s fiscal expenditure, still yet, our economy keep getting bad, nobody is asking those in the hem of affairs why? Why… Why is the poor in this country getting poorer while the rich keeps getting richer? Why does it seem like the economic structure of this country was specially designed to favour certain class of people at the detriment of others? Why are we having the richest man in Africa in a country that is the poverty capital of the world? Why are we still having people dying of hungry in the mist of plenty? Why would our youths graduate from the University, after painful years of rigorous studies, without any job to earn a living from for so many years? Why would a hardworking civil servants work for the government, giving his all for thirty five years without his or her pension? Why would a system be this wicked to punish the innocent and be rewarding the criminals among us?
All am saying in this write up is to prick our sleeping consciousness, it’s to awake the sleeping giants within us. Its to ignite the political awareness within us, I want us all to know that there are alot of things wrong with this system which continues to impoverish the followers in this country and nobody is asking the right questions – why? These evil we see happening in this part of the world continues to get worst everyday, just because we the follower have refused to ask those we put in leadership positions some critical questions. We have intentionally refused to ask the most important questions that affect our collective lives as a people. We have decided to place the egg before the hen instead of placing the hen before the egg. We have left those things that are very important to our daily existence, to those things that are not necessarily important to us. Things like religion, ethnicity and tribalism have reduced us to mare puppets or should I say, mare zombies who have no mind of their own. We have become so docile to the real issues while we keep chasing the invincible shadows of religion and ethnicity that has added nothing but more confusion, more pain, more division, more pillage, more sorrow and more suffering to our daily lives. To begin the discussion of the parasitic relation between the followers and leaders in Nigeria, (which we are not asking questions about), we need to start by asking the right questions. We need to ask those who are leading us the right questions. It is when we ask them the right questions, that is when we will get the right answers. And if we have the right answers, then we can now begin to take the right actions toward restructuring this country in a way that would favour everyone. As it stance now, it’s a reality that this current economic structure is not favoring all – its not favouring everybody but a handful of Politicians in the corridor of power, while majority of us, most especially the vulnerable once remain in squalor. The youths are the most hit because they are the once battling the high rate of unemployment, high inflation rate and high interest rate in the country today. The youths need to rise up and fight for their right. The youths need to put all their difference aside, to unite in one accord, with one voice and stand against this oppressive system that has vowed to keep all of us in economic bondage forever. Nothing will change if we the youths decide to change nothing. Nothing will change if we don’t ask those leading us the right questions. We are likely to remain in this despicable, deplorable, depleting and debilitating situations if we refuse to demand for a fare economic system that would be designed to favour all the citizens of Nigeria. The ball is in our court, as youths, to either ask the right questions or remain foolhardy forever, A better Nigerian is only posible when the youths begin to ask the right questions!
BY; PATRICK JAMES
PHONE NO; 08138534313