By Banky Wellington
Delivered At The 5th Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium In Lagos
I recently celebrated my birthday and was fortunate enough to go to Dubai to attend my friend Tuface Idibia’s wedding… and I want to start off my speech by showing you a couple of pictures of Dubai, because what I saw there inspired me.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is the same oil that was discovered there in the 1960’s that they used to transform that society. The very same oil that was discovered here. But what have our leaders done with it?
Benjamin Franklin once said “when you’re finished changing, you’re finished”. I’d like to take that a step further by saying “we must be a part of the change we seek, or risk being changed ourselves”.
The question is no longer “will Nigeria change”… but rather, it’s “will it change for the better or worse” and “who will lead that change”.
History is rife with instances of regimes, institutions and societies seeming stable and unshakeable… but young people being fed up with the status quo, became the catalysts of Change in their societies. In recent times we’ve seen young people all over the world clothe themselves with the “change” mantle and become a part of the movement. We’ve seen that no matter the society, and no matter the circumstances of oppression and corruption, change is possible if the people decide that enough is enough. From Tunisia, to America, to Egypt… young people are changing the world every day. Nigeria should be no different.
They say “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We cannot continue the same behaviours, year in, year out and expect better results. Except for prayer, you can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect things to be better. And even with prayer, you actually have to get up and do something after all they say heaven helps those who help themselves.
Things young people can do:
1. Be involved in the political process:
:Register to vote
:Actually Vote for the right candidates.
:Or Sit back and let someone else steal your voice.
2. Peacefully protest
:Media: Old & New
-Twitter, Facebook etc – I believe that even though the internet accessibility in Nigeria is still low, we cannot ignore the importance of such platforms. They serve as tools that can help in the movement. And things are changing everyday… many phones today have some internet capability or the other.
:Efforts like Occupy Nigeria, Light Up Nigeria, Enough is Enough, etc.
:Newspapers, blogs, etc.
3. Become fully involved in the Political process.
:It’s easier to talk about and/or criticize people that are working than to do the work yourself. Join a party and try to help influence policy. We can level the playing field if we all get involved in this Movement for Change. And it’s not just at the federal level. Young people need to start getting involved even from the local and state levels in order to properly influence policy and society.
4. Use whatever voice or platform you have… constructively. I’m a musician and so you’ve seen me singing and speaking publicly about the need for the change in our country, but you can use whatever sphere of influence you have: be it with family, friends, school, neighborhood, church or mosque. Everyone has a voice and a role to play.
I’m here because I’m a dreamer. Everything I have now, that God blessed me with… was born out of my dreams. I dreamt of becoming a singer; dreamt of owning my own Record Label company, and other businesses. Dreamt of being able to influence my surroundings, my city, my state and my country through my work. But some people stop at dreaming while others actually wake up and set about trying to make those dreams come true.
I dream of a changed Nigeria where each child, no matter the background has a dream of his/her own, and is given access to education, healthcare, and basic amenities in life to make those dreams come true.
I dream of a changed Nigeria where the opportunities abound for anyone willing to work for them; where every man, woman and child is given a fair shot to avoid poverty and become a success at whatever they set their minds to do.
I dream of the day in Nigeria where we finally live up to our potential – as citizens, leaders, countries, and as a Continent.
If our children and future generations witness Nigeria in the same conditions we have her today, then we would have failed them. That’s why I’d rather be here, speaking with like minds and putting my hands to the plow, than sitting at home being an arm chair critic.
We’re all here because we want to be a part of Changing Nigeria for the better. That’s why we are getting involved. Whether or not each person’s intentions are pure… only God would know… only Time will tell and only History will judge.
However I’d rather be a part of the movement for change, than be one of those that are content to sit back and criticize. I’d rather be a player on the field, or a coach, or a worker on the team, than be a fan in the stands, or home watching on tv.
One of my favorite sayings is “the best way to predict your future is to create it”. We can extend that to say that we must create the Nigeria that we want to live in. We must all speak up. We must all work for it. We must all stand up and be counted, if our dreams are to become reality.
I’m Banky W, and I stand for change. Do you?
Banky Wellington can be followed on twitter @BankyW