By Prisca Sam-Duru
Take back your fish, and teach us how to fish, is exactly the message youths of Damongo town, Ghana, sent to not just their lawmaker, Samuel Abu Jinapors but also the entire country of Ghana.
The young Ghanaians in a viral video that began trending on Monday, were seen, heaping bags of rice into a white Hilux van, gifted them by NPP politician, Jinapors, who represents their constituency in the country’s parliament. They demanded for jobs and not rice! And that, they believe, is the best way to go.
No doubt, Ghana has in recent times has had economic problems but they have been doing incredibly better when compared with Nigeria. But the action of these youths, an indication that they must have persevered in the face of some level of hardship while politicians swam in opulence, is a clear reawakening. The younger generation in Ghana appears set for the birth of an entirely new nation. Can that be said of Nigeria?
The highly commendable show of integrity by the Ghanaian youths is completely opposite of what occurs in Nigeria especially during elections and, what may still happen as we get set for the next general elections come 2023. This is in spite of how badly the masses have been battered due to politicians’ ineptitude and massive looting of national treasury.
During the 2019 general elections, there were reports of how party officials were luring voters with cash as meagre as one thousand naira, to buy their votes. Branded food items were also distributed to people while some party agents went round streets prior to the elections, collecting peoples’ voter’s card numbers and bank account details, promising to pay some amounts of money to them.
Today everyone, including some stakeholders, who connived with unscrupulous party elements in the game of vote buying, would narrate better, its impact on the people and the polity in general. There are no two ways about it; “God cannot be mocked, whatsoever a man sows, so shall he reap”, says the Holy Bible.
It does appear that Nigerian youths, even with the example Ghanaian youths have displayed, have not learned anything. Due to so much hunger in the land, some Nigerians have said if confronted with the same scenario, they’ll take the rice and vote for somebody else. What’s the need?
Would it not make better impact if the devil’s gift which is never without strings attached, is thrown back to his face? The problem of Nigeria honestly, has gone beyond just leadership but more about followership. We ask ourselves, are the followers doing the right thing? Are they encouraging the massive corruption going on among the rulers, hence, their continued exploitation of the masses?
Nigeria’s leadership is bad because the country’s foundation is bad and that only means the followers are equally bad since the leaders were once followers. It is obvious that these Ghanaian youths who have presented themselves as honest followers, will never agree to hijack ballot boxes with cutlass and guns, to enthrone any politician for whatever price.
Jinapors will forever be haunted by the shame brought upon him by his own action; a condition which may evaporate only if he dedicates effort towards youth empowerment.
Considering how richly endowed with diverse resources Nigeria is, it’s crystal clear that politicians who have consistently mismanaged these resources, have deliberately plunged the masses into severe hardship with the intention to win their votes by throwing peanuts at them during elections.
Sadly, unlike the Ghanaian youths who threw back bags of rice to their lawmaker, many Nigerian youths have been notorious for exchanging their future with pots of porridge and; presented themselves as worthy and willing tools with which politicians rig elections.
The sad reality is that it’s still the same youth and of course, the masses that will suffer the resultant effect of selling their votes; no access to quality education and health care, lack of food and employment while at the same time, contending with insecurity and housing challenges as many reside under bridges and shanties in slums, with no water, electricity and, good roads.
In contrast, the politicians who buy their votes all live in affluence; their children enjoy sound education abroad, they embark on medical tourism and, do not even pay for their air time how much more, paying through their noses to buy simple meal like the poor masses do. Even the sufferings encountered on the roads daily due to gridlocks, do not affect these slave masters.
Hopefully, the protest by the Ghanaian youths would constitute a catalyst that will ignite a renaissance in the whole of Africa.