In our world today, when things are goingbanana we need to look at the above. It defines who we are in the society. Man cannot live anyhow in the society without a name tag around him. The society is conscious of everything around it. Many people are becoming aware of the critical mess and failure of leadership. In those days people had no means to know who was who to enable people make choices of their friends or leaders or some people they can imitate to become great in life. With the advent of social media, we can watch and read many wonderful people who have inspired the world through their personal industry and talents.
We read about people who made history and have left their foot prints in the sand of history. Newspapers and televisions are always ready to point them out to us, now the internet and social media platforms highlight them more. They describe them and call them Icons of our time, legends, men or women of extraordinaire. I myself, I cannot resist to read about them to add to what I am to grow so that people can see me as they see them. A man defined by the society with social myth around him without morals cannot be a man of reference point. Neither can a man with dirty foot note in history be a reference point.I cannot forget the testimony of my own eyes when I was studying in Canada. The then Prime Minister of Canada Mr Trudau, anytime he was going to talk on television I would always run home in time to listen to him. Now who will I run home to listen to? Such people are rare today in the world. Majority of our present leaders can’t command attentions when talking on the television.
Men of excellence who lived exemplary lives and history judged them as good are often quoted to correct what goes wrong in the society. Whenever something goes wrong they mention their names to see how life should be lived following the legacies those men of excellence left behind. In different departments of knowledge people have made giant strides and have contributed a lot in the field of learning. In science, we see various men and women with their contributions.
In Politics we saw many people who contributed towards making politics what it is today and we saw many have dirty foot notein history for corrupting the political system. We saw President Julius Nyerere, as a political leader of his Country, tried to refine politics during his time and became a point of reference in politics because he saw politics as an apostolate where Christians purify the systems that create poverty and dehumanize people. Julius Nyerere, because of his life style in politics was seen as a politician of high level of morality and he is on the way to beatification. He is a reference point in African politics. In the religious field, Pope John Paul II of our time is a reference point whenever we begin to talk about Popes who touched lives during their papacy, Pope John Paul cannot be forgotten. In terms of awards i.e government awards Jean Paul Satre, a French existentialist, refused to accept an award from his government because he did not want to soil his hands with the government in power. Another person is the late Chinua Achebe who refused National award. People see them as people with principles whom people can emulate and follow their footsteps.
They are really people who did not want to live with contradictions in their lives. Those mentioned above knew the politics of award. They did not want to do anything that could make them compromise. Theywanted to live clean lives not soiled by dirty politics. There are many political leaders in Africa who really deserve dirty foot note in history because of dirty politics they play or played. They cannot be points of reference. Politicians fail to understandthat power is transient. It is not about striving forprestigious positions but power is found in servicing the needs of all as witnessed in President Nyerere’s life. Political life without reference point is no life. It becomes an unfulfilled life, empty, a life consumed in the things of this transient world at the peril of self. Those we see as referencepoints are our sources of inspiration, while those with dirty footnotes are in the dust bin of history. The rising protests across our country which first started to end the bad behaviours of SARS officers have escalated into other areas such as poverty, hunger, unemployment and bad governance
. This is indeed a clear indication that the youths and the entire Nigeria have woken up to confront the unjust system that has been torturing them. The protest with the way it would be handled by government and the issues addressed would go a long way to determine if the current government and her officials would be reference points to make the difference. Civil protest is among the fundamental human rights of the citizens and the government should resolve their concerns because the youths have power to enthrone and dethrone any government once they are coordinated with one voice of unity. The government should not undermine their strength or try to intimidate them with any force.
With the recent developments it seems that some bad sponsored elements are being recruited to sabotage their struggles to discredit the protest. With the destruction of government properties across states, the government might have no choice than to employ force.The youths might be singing their cadence of funeral if they allow the hoodlums to infiltrate among them and destroy their legitimate ideas. They should follow the examples of world youths who demonstrate without destroying government properties otherwise they will fail to be a reference point but with a dirty footnote in Nigerian history.
The youths are said to be the future leaders but over the years this has been like a dream that can never be realized with the recycling of old politicians and building of political dynasties by the old ones. Several issues provoke tears and anger among the youths. Issues like the bogus salaries of Senators and other government officials in a nation where the minimum wage is worthless amidst hike in prices of commodities with dilapidating public amenities, unemployment, insecurity, poor educational system and a depreciating currency.
This is the right time for President Buhari and his cabinet members to act and restore hopes among the citizenry to write his name in gold and be a reference point. All what the youths are agitating for now were among the election promises of the current government which seduced the youths to campaign massively to usher them to power after heavy criticisms of the previous administrations. Now that the youths are speaking up, will the government silence them by all means even when they benefited from their loud voices across all social media channels? The world is watching as the youths are speaking up! We have to thread with great caution. • Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.