The outgoing Nigeria’s First Lady was recently quoted during the ferocious election campaigns as suggesting we stone anyone who talked about CHANGE. (Change was the slogan of the opposition party). While I am not a fan of hers and I do not recommend we take her orders literary, I believe there is a different way of looking at this.
Let’s challenge our leaders to change by stoning them with ideas. The good thing about the stoning metaphor is that when you are being stoned by a crowd, you either run for your life or you negotiate with the mob. This is especially urgent when a party claims to be progressive and seeking power on the platform of change. Change shouldn’t just be a change of surnames of power but real changes of attitudes and approach.
Sometimes one wonders if progressive ideas are alien to the African continent. Many politicians or military rulers seek power on the platform of protecting specific interest group. They rarely get interrogated on what their real intentions are. They shy away from debates and real discussions except from their praise singers.
Is it that the African populace is more concerned with basic sustenance to start demanding progressive change? What about highly educated Africans both at home and in the diaspora?
Is it that they are not loud enough? Luckily, the social media is making it possible for many of them to air their views to a very large audience. Interestingly, many governments around the world now recognise the power of this new media especially as more and more people get on board.
The problem with the views being aired on social media though is they are uncoordinated and incomplete often due to the limitation of the number of characters. The views therefore often remain very loud noise waiting to be converted to a coherent song.
This makes it easy for politicians to ignore them. Perhaps, what is needed is to take that extra to move the ideas generated closer to the politicians. A very good example has the the Bring Back Our Girls campaign that started as twitter campaign that politicians thought they could ignore but then moved to the streets and communities and so becoming a force to be reckoned with.
It seems that what is required as the next step in seeking progressive change is to form lobby groups. There are so many areas lobby groups can focus their interests on. And I believe that the power of the social media can help mobilize people crowd fund the activities of specific lobby groups. Now, the most progressive idea I would like see any African government seeking ideas lobbied on:
Education: It is surprising that our education system is still focused on teaching about Lord Luggard and Mungo Park instead of also exploring the African icons that shaped history. The outcome of our education system should be to help children build self confidence by understanding their place in the world. Instead of an education based on strict discipline, it should create room for exploration. Gone are the days when people went to school to pass exams. Pupils should be encouraged to ask questions and challenge the status quo.
— Christopher Ejugbo (@cejugbo) April 4, 2015
Education should also be compulsory as well as free up to a certain age. There is no reason why children should be hawking when they need to be at school.