People Perish For Lack Of Knowledge – By Oke Umurhohwo

SO THIS MORNING at the motor Park, the driver of our vehicle brought two extra gallons of fuel to take along with us on the journey, he claimed that there is no fuel on the road.

I painstakingly resisted looking at the great risk but couldn’t help voicing out my concerns, especially considering the bus would warm up at least seven hours into the journey.

The driver threatened fire and brimstone, he was bent on refunding my cash should I refuse to conform to the norm other passengers had adopted- silence. On another day, I would gladly take my money and go to another vehicle but on this particular day, there was acute bus scarcity.

After the driver’s threat, I was left with the options of either keeping quiet, entering the bus or the possibility of not travelling at all as getting another bus was practically impossible today.

I kept quiet for a while and observed what was happening. I understood the driver was able to threaten me because my one seat was inconsequential compared to the other 15 people who were not complaining. So I started a form of campaign cum enlightenment talk, telling the other passengers who cared to listen that we could all DIE on the road as the heat would warm the fuel making it more volatile and likely to explode.

The driver was at first quiet, he thought no one would listen to me, but unfortunately for him, two other people started complaining of taking fuel along with us.

Sensing that more people might join my cause, he quickly brought my cash and called some boys to push me out of the park. I collected the cash and told the remaining passengers to collect their cash as well if they want to celebrate Christmas in good health. That it’s better to get home late but safe and sound than to put their love ones in grief.

My last word seemed to have struck a chord as all the passengers started demanding for an immediate refund as well.

The driver seeing he had lost the battle with all the passengers about leaving, decided to sell the fuel at the park so that everyone would stay back.

“Your witch don work this morning oh” he said to me even as I smiled at the early morning victory for democracy.

On the road, I began reflecting on what happened and comparing it with the situation of Nigeria and that of the Youths.

The driver represent the political elites of the country (APC, PDP, KOWA, APGA, etc). The don’t care if putting fuel (embezzling our common wealth) in the vehicle (Nigeria) would put the country at risk of destruction and underdevelopment as far as their selfish interest is maintained.

The passengers are the citizens of Nigeria. Despite the obvious threats to our country by the driver (political elites), we remain silent, suffering and smiling. Sometimes, we take it a step further by fighting for this political elites on the basis of tribalism, religion, region, etc.

On the Youth situation, the old men that have been ruling (not leading) us are the drivers of the bus (Nigeria). They keep recycling themselves, defecting and rebranding themselves just to continuously maintain a hold on power.

There is no generational change or handing over to the younger generation. They would rather sit tight and die in power than hand over. The best they do is groom their immediate family members to take over while Nigerians (the passengers) look on.

Just like what happened in the bus this morning, if I had not complained and taken action by enlightening the other passengers to the dangers of allowing the driver have his way, we all would most likely enter the bus that way, putting our lives in terrible danger.

Today, I charge you reading this post, don’t conform to the current Nigerian trend of “siddon look”. Be the difference. Nigeria and Nigerians deserve far better than what we are seeing today.

Take it upon yourself to teach and explain established facts and truths to other Nigerians. Teach them what the concept of democracy really portends to them. Teach them their rights as enshrined in our constitution.

Only when Nigerians are enlightened and know what they deserve can we unanimously demand for dividends of good governance. This way, the old guard and the political elites would have no option but to listen and make good on our demands.

The happenings on the current political landscape have shown that all public affairs activist, media outfits, and bloggers have been bought.

Therefore, if well meaning Nigerians don’t come together and saddle themselves with the responsibility of educating innocent public on every move of the government, political actors as well as the political elites and expose all their antics in using them as mere electoral tools, good governance might be a cosmetic slogan in the mouth of the government for generations.

May God bless us all.

-UMURHOHWO is the Co-coverner, Youth in Government NGR and Director of Research, Restore Nigeria.

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