Divide and rule is one of the mischievous governance tactics inherited by our political class from the British colonial administrators, using the bogey of ethni and religious rivalry so that the unity needed for national cohesion would forever be elusive.
When the politicians and their military cohorts saw the potency of this dirty tactic, they wasted no time in adopting it, in order to consolidate their tenous hold on power. Our religious and ethnic diversity, which ought to be our strength, have become our albatross. Unfortunately, this has led to a civil war, and is the reason this great nation is still divided along religious and tribal lines today, whenever political power is in contention. At other times, when nothing contentious is at stake, people of different faiths and tribes live together in peace and harmony.
Politicians have now mastered the art of playing the ethnic and religious card when jostling for political power or public office. They do this for personal aggrandizement, not to further the interest of their people as often claimed. Sadly, in the ensuing brinkmanship, they use the youths as the canon fodder, and that’s my great concern. When riots happen, count the number of the children of the ruling elite you’d see on the streets; most assuredly, you’d find none.
Ironically, it is our money that they loot after coming to power that is used to pay for the obscene life style of the ruling elite, and the expensive foreign schools their children attend. Who will pull the wool off the eyes of our youth? Nobody can do it but themselves. This should never be misconstrued as a call to arms; it is a call to the youth to resist being used and dumped by a rapacious, merciless ruling elite. As they say in street parlance, young people “shine your eyes”.
My candid advice to you is that, think hard about your future and how to make your young life better. Stay out of trouble. Riots or any violent activity on behalf of a politician can get you maimed, if you are lucky not to get killed, for peanuts. Your life is more valuable than that. Don’t live such a dangerous life. Your old, poor parents need you; your siblings and friends need you. Nigeria needs you; the world needs you. You were not created to be wasted by a selfish power-seeker who doesn’t care a hoot whether you survive or not, so long as he uses you to climb to power.
If you don’t know what to do with your life, I give you permission to ask me through the phone contact on this page. I will tell you something about self-employment. I haven’t worked for anyone, but myself since April 25, 1985 when I left my job as a columnist on the Punch newspaper to start my own media business. I didn’t succeed at first, but I later got my bearing after several false starts.
Thuggery, ritual killings, terrorism, internet scams, or any form of street crime may give you instant financial break, but it may cause you premature death. Why should you live such a dangerous life when you can be a millionaire by just learning from a life coach? You can become rich by studying how rich folks made it. Read their books, get mentored by successful people; align yourself with the powerful if you want to be powerful, rich and famous. Birds of a feather flock together. Haven’t you heard that if you want to be a millionaire, think like a millionaire? “for as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is”.
Ignore the ravenous politicians who want to recruit you to do a dirty job on the excuse that they are defending your interest. Most politicians have nobody’s interest at heart but those of their immediate families. Come to think of it, ordinary Nigerians live peacefully together, trade in the same markets, go to the same schools, and practice different religions in their neighborhood. We inter-marry across ethnic lines. Muslims and Christian mix freely in public places across every village, hamlet, town and neighborhoods without recourse to tribal or religious identities.
Politicians are the ones who shoot ethnic or religious arrows to create fear in order to justify their relevance as tribal thin gods who are out to defend your interest. And this happens only during elections, or when they lose the rat race for political office appointment. Dishonest politicians exploit our religious and ethnic diversities, which ought to be our strength, for their selfish interest.
I have friends, foes, and fans across ethnic, religious and gender lines. Most of my best cooks and domestic staff are Calabar, Benin and ladies from the south-south. I am comfortable anywhere in Nigeria. I have no ethnic phobia whatsoever. No politician can fool me. You’d have my vote if you convince me that you are a performance-oriented, competent, God- fearing and resourceful leader.
Friends, let me stop here. I believe you got my message. Let’s live together and work together. United we stand, divided we fall. We can sort out our differences, only in an atmosphere of peace. That’s why we have a parliament.
WEEKEND SPICE: None of us is as smart as all of us- Ken Blanchard.
Folks, let’s do it again next Friday. I love you all. Stay motivated.
Ladi Ayodeji is an Author, Rights, Activist, Pastor and Life Coach. He can be reached on 09059243004( sms & whatsapp only)