The Nigerian elections have come and gone. Although the chants for change seem to have died down, it still remains the primary desire of the masses.
As the country prepares for a new dawn, it is time for certain vestiges of the past to be shed in the true spirit of change. Sadly, our elections once again underscored certain gaps within our society. While observing the election process, I could not help but wonder if our democracy can survive in an environment where individuals and groups use politics and ethnicity as an excuse to verbally stoke the flames of violence that could result in devastating casualties for all, regardless of the political party or ethnic group we might claim to belong to or support.
Today, South Africa is in the spotlight because of the worrisome case of Xenophobia within the country. A lot of us have been miffed at the excuses cited for these atrocious acts in which foreigners, including Nigerians, are blamed for the socio-economic problems faced by the South African youths.
It aggrieves us that we have all been placed in a stereotypical box. We raise our voices and argue that it is time for the South African populace to also understand that foreigners contribute to their development process. Yet at home, some people still find it hard to understand that there are more than 170million Nigerians and we all must not share the same opinion nor support the same political party. Some of us still find it difficult to comprehend the fact that as much as we all have the right to freedom of expression, it must be implemented with respect for the diverse cultures and religions that make up our nation.
Every individual, culture and religion in Nigeria has something to contribute towards the country’s development. Thus, as we all call for change, it is also time for us to change our perception of development as “a cultural right” to development as “a national right”. The change we seek has to begin within us. After all, it is said that a people can only get the government they deserve.