Can the change come from the top?

SIR: In less than a decade, the term “ change” echoed and vibrated hugely in the Nigerian space. This vibration was so strong that concepts such as hope, restoration, and better life were drowned. The majority of us wanted change. I suppose we knew that change means to make someone and something different. No doubt, things have significantly changed at least for many of us. Whether this is a desired or an agonizing change is an issue for everyone who has been affected to decide.

Who can change and what can change? Arguably anyone and everything can change. For example, Dr. Ben Carson changed from a D – student to an A- learner. Equally important is the apt case of the Singaporeans. Singapore changed from a paralysed economy to a buoyant one. These are remarkable and desired changes. On the negative side, too, nations and individuals have descended from the top to the bottom. While the above questions seem pertinent, it is more prudent to ask, “ Can the change come from the top? I suppose it should, since the power to make and enforce laws are deposited in the top.

To call a spade a spade, for us – Nigerians, our own change may not be top effected. The “ Ogas” at the top, starting from the councillors to the presidents are, arguably, incapable of bringing us the much-anticipated change. When next we hear them talk about change, transformation and better life, we should hit the hay. Evidently, the hope of this country may not be in their hands, political party, regardless. Change only comes through change. For emphasis, those who claim to change our economic woes must first change themselves.

If they change their money politics, then, we may believe they can positively alter the economy. As long as they remain convinced that votes are economic commodities that can be bought and sold, they can’t bring us the change we want. Anyone who will ask us to sell our votes to him cannot positively impact on our nation. Anyone on the side of a government that despises peaceful protest, cannot bring us the change we want. Anyone who will intimidate and selfishly censor the reports of the media cannot change our economic woes.

Those who play the harlot political game cannot effect the change we desire. Those who value power above integrity cannot bring us the transformation. Those who employ thugs during an election cannot revamp the economy. Those who are nepotistic in their national appointments cannot bring us the change.  Those who wish to continue to be paid humongous salaries in the face of an entrenched debt profile cannot impact on the economy. Those who play the party game instead of speaking truth to the power that be, cannot bring us the change. Men who value their appointive positions over social justice cannot bring us the change. Those who expend our collective money on endless foreign trips cannot bring us the change.

For us as a nation, change will come from the bottom when we can say to them “ yes, you are from my state, but you messed up, I am not voting for you. Yes, we hold the same religious belief, but you messed up, I am not voting for you. Yes, you are a member of my party, but you messed up, I am not voting for you. Change from the top, in our context, is illusionary.

  • Samuel Ogunnaike, Lagos.

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