By Ebele Orakpo
From Tunisia, to Egypt, to Sudan, to Cote d’Ivoire, to Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, the list goes on. These are indeed not the best of times for sit-tight leaders the world over,” noted Iyke as the Ikeja-bound bus snaked through traffic.
“God is at work, believe me,” declared Luka. “Some people actually think that leadership is their birthright. How can one man be on the throne for 20, 30, 40-plus years and till want to continue?” asked Luka rhetorically. Replied Maureen: “Power. Power is sweet, you know. When you sneeze, every one else catches cold”.
“The people have had enough. Not only do these selfish tin gods want to stay till death do them part from the people, they are grooming their sons to take over,” stated Isioma.
“When people are pushed to the wall, they react and normally, the reaction is not always palatable,” noted Iyke. “But most of these people are enjoying compared to some people in some countries where leaders are changed from time to time,” said TJ.
“True, but I am certain they are suffering deprivations in one form or another. They may have 24-hour electricity supply, water, fantastic infrastructure, employment and all that, but yet, they may be lacking something like freedom to be themselves, freedom of speech, etc. They may be subjugated in one way or the other which may not be noticeable to the outsider. I think that is why they are reacting this way. They were waiting for a catalyst, just one man who will start the chain reaction. And that catalyst was the Tunisian that set himself ablaze to protest the injustice of the authorities,” said Okey.
“You may be correct,” noted TJ “but another factor is human. I read in the Bible when the Jews began to protest that they needed a leader like other nations and Samuel went to God to complain and God told him to listen to the people because they have rejected Him as their leader and needed a human leader. Saul was then appointed king. They just needed change, whether for the better or for worse. I think that is what is happening now.”
“Imagine Col. Muammar al-Ghaddafi accusing Osama bin Laden of controlling the protesters in Libya. It is laughable. But of course, there must be a fall guy. Instead of conceding to the fact that the Libyan people are tired of his 42-year reign, he is pointing accusing fingers at Osama, saying he incited them. The man must go if he likes, let him keep killing his people,” said Luka.
“Reminds me of a story I heard about the devil. They said the devil was crying bitterly one day and people gathered and asked him what the matter was. He wailed the more and then said amid sobs: ‘People accuse me of being the mastermind of every bad thing that happens under the sun, both the ones I did and the ones I did not do’. When people die or incur loss out of sheer carelessness, they blame the devil so Osama is Gaddafi’s fall guy,” narrated Okey.
“But Ghaddafi has been a good leader. How are these people so sure that the incoming leaders will be better than the ones they have ousted? They may be going from frying pan to fire,” noted TJ.
“It doesn’t matter. They need change. It is also possible that the incoming leaders may be better; so it’s a game of chance. If they are not good, the people can still oust them. Power really belongs to the people,” stated Maureen.“I wish this sort of thing will happen in Nigeria so that our leaders will sit up,” said Isioma wishfully.
“Keep dreaming. In Nigeria, we cannot observe ordinary sit-at-home protests. After a day or two, people start complaining. We easily give up. And then there is the issue of ethnicity and religion which usually divides us,” said TJ, adding: “One Libyan rightly said that they cannot afford to back out because if they do, they will be killed and if they don’t they may die or succeed so it is better to die fighting,” said Iyke.
For Okey: “Things are changing. Remember how we all rose up against Obasanjo’s tenure elongation? So I believe that when the need arises, Nigerians can stand as one and speak with one voice. So our leaders must beware”.