Monday, January 30, 2012

The Song That Nigeria Wrote...

"Every Country has the Government that it deserves" - Joseph Marie de Maistre (French Philosopher)

Despite the fact that more than seventy percent of Nigerians live on less than $2 per day; the first thing the Government did in 2012 was to make life harder by almost tripling the price of fuel. Invariably, the cost of food, transportation, etc.. all went up, and yet the basic income/salary of the average Nigerian stayed the same. No matter how you look at it, it's unfair. If the Govt took steps to make life a little better for its citizens; if we had electricity, or Security, etc.. it wouldn't be so bad. If they invested in refineries, so that we could refine/produce our own oil products, we wouldn't be buying our own oil back at exorbitant prices, and there would be no need to subsidize fuel.

For some of us, the Fuel Subsidy Removal was just the straw that broke the camel's back. In a Country already plagued with decades of unresolved problems, the Government, in one fell swoop, made a decision, that at least in the short term, made life harder for the majority of its citizens; most of whom already had it hard to begin with. There's still nothing close to constant electricity for most of Nigeria; nothing close to quality basic education for all, healthcare, clean water, good roads, etc. In a country already dealing with tribal strife and armed robbery raining terror on citizens, we entered a new year now also having to deal with organized Terrorist Groups like Boko Haram claiming the lives of so many innocent citizens on an almost weekly basis, with the Government showing no signs of slowing them down.

But the blame should not go to the government alone. If Nigeria’s leaders are guilty of consistently providing failed, corrupt leadership, the citizens, on their own part, are guilty of consistently supplying apathy. We vote our leaders into power (or we sit at home and let others decide who should lead us). We see them inflating budget numbers, stealing, disrespecting the offices they hold, trampling on the citizens they are supposed to protect, and blatantly refusing to do the jobs we elected them for; yet we respond by saying "God dey" and "its Naija". And every election cycle comes and goes, yet the story remains the same.

We can no longer accept this of ourselves. We are to blame for the leaders we put in office. We are to blame for the state of Nigeria. We owe it to future generations, not to hand them the same Nigeria we are seeing today, or one that has deteriorated further. Change comes when we decide it should. We have two powers as citizens; the power to vote, and the power to protest. I was encouraged by the thousands of Nigerians that FINALLY took to the streets to speak up for what they believe in. This is just the beginning. We must continue to protest, non-violently, in every medium possible, until the Government starts to do a decent job, or until we are angry enough at their actions, that by the next election cycle, we change the Country by voting for the kind of people who actually deserve it, and not the status quo.

It is with this in mind, that I'm teaming up with fellow associates of the October 2011 Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI), to create a song and music video, that will hopefully inspire Nigerians worldwide to be a part of the Change they want to see in the country. The song is supposed to express the expectations we have of our Leaders, as well as what we expect of ourselves; the hope is to create a song that inspires each person to believe in the dream of a brighter future for Nigeria, and to play whatever role necessary to make that dream a reality.

However, instead of just creating a song to preach to Nigerians, we've decided to give every Nigerian a chance to be a part of it, by allowing everyone to contribute lyrics to the song. The idea is for this to be the song created "by Nigerians for Nigerians about Nigeria". We will upload an incomplete draft of the chorus idea for the song, so that everyone gets a feel for where the song is going musically. We'll then open up online mediums (Twitter, Facebook, email etc) to Nigerians all over the world to send in suggestions for lyrics. The lyrics will be collected and vetted by members of the NLI class; the final lyrics will be used to craft the verses and the final chorus for the song... and the hope is that this song, created by Nigerians for Nigeria, will travel far and wide; and the message will be communicated to every leader and citizen of this great country...

We will continue to protest by speaking up; we will continue to stand up for ourselves and for our country. And if our issues continue to be ignored, when the time comes, we will Vote for Change on EVERY level. We must, because Nigeria must change. Nigeria WILL change.

~ B.W.

PS: Step-by-Step Instructions as to how you can submit lyrics to be a part of this project will follow shortly... please join us and be involved. Thanks!!

P.P.S: Special Thanks to Segun Demuren and Tolu Ogunlesi for their guidance, suggestions, and editing in this write up.