ake back your fish, and teach us how to fish, was the message given by teenagers in Damongo, Ghana, not only to their congressman, Samuel Abu Jinapors, but also to the entire country of Ghana.
The young Ghanaians were seen putting bags of food into a white Hilux van provided to them by NPP (New Patriotic Party) lawmaker Jinapors, who represents their district in the country’s parliament, in a video that went viral on Monday (19th July 2021). They wanted work, not rice! And they believe that is the best course of action.
Without a question, Ghana has faced economic difficulties in recent years, but they have fared far better than Nigeria. However, the actions of these young people, which show that they must have endured in the face of adversity while politicians are drowned in luxury, are a clear reawakening. Ghana’s younger generation appears to be on the verge of birthing a whole new country. Is that true of Nigeria?
The Ghanaian youths’ admirable display of integrity contrasts sharply with what occurs in Nigeria, particularly during elections, and what may still occur as we approach the 2023 general elections. This is despite the fact that the masses have been severely harmed as a result of politicians’ incompetence and enormous plundering of the national purse.
During the 2019 general elections, there were claims of party officials tempting people with as little as N1,000 in cash to buy their votes. People were also given branded food goods such as packs of noodles, 5KG of rice, and so on, while some party operatives went around the streets collecting voter’s card numbers and bank account details in the run-up to the elections, offering to pay them a certain amount of money.
Today, everyone, including certain stakeholders, who colluded with unethical party members in the vote-buying game would be able to tell a better story about the impact on the people and the polity as a whole. The Book of all books states unequivocally that “God cannot be mocked,” and that “whatsoever a man sows, he shall reap.” Now, both the saints and sinners are paying the dire consequences of such unscrupulous actions that occurred during the election in 2019 and previous ones before that. Truly, we are all reaping the fruit of what we sowed in 2019 and it does not seem to be stopping any time soon. I hope we have all learned our lessons and hopefully, the electorates, for once in their lives, are going to refuse to be influenced by money/foodstuffs but, by their conscience come the next election in 2023.
Even with the example set by youths in Ghana, it appears that the youths in Nigeria have not learned anything. Because of the widespread hunger in the country, several Nigerians have stated that if they are faced with a similar situation, they will take the rice and vote for someone else. What is the point?
Is it not more powerful if the devil’s gift, which is never without conditions, is flung back in his face? Nigeria’s problem, to be honest, is not so much about leadership as it is about followership. Are the followers doing the right thing, we wonder? Are they promoting the rulers’ vast corruption, as a result of which the masses are still exploited?
Leadership in Nigeria is awful because the foundation on which the country was rooted is awful, and since the leaders were previously followers, this only means the followers are awful as well. It is self-evident that these youths in Ghana, who have posed themselves as loyalists, will never agree to rob polling stations with cutlasses and firearms in order to install or enthrone any candidate at any cost.
Jinapors will be tortured by the disgrace he has brought upon himself by his own actions for the rest of his life; a condition that can only be alleviated if he devotes himself to youth empowerment.
Given Nigeria’s diversified resources, it is apparent that politicians who have continually mismanaged these resources have purposefully put the people in dire straits in order to win their votes by handing them peanuts during elections.
Unfortunately, unlike Ghanaian youths who returned bags of rice to their legislators, many Nigerian youths have a reputation for selling their future for pots of porridge and presenting themselves as deserving and eager tools with which politicians rig elections.
The sad reality is that the same youth and, of course, the masses will suffer the consequences of selling their votes: lack of access to quality education and health care, lack of food and employment, while also dealing with insecurity and housing challenges, as many live in slums under bridges and shanties with no running water, electricity, or good roads.
The politicians who purchase votes, on the other hand, all live in luxury; their children have excellent education overseas, they travel for medical treatment, and they do not even pay for their air time, let alone pay through the nose for a simple meal like the poor. Even the daily sufferings of these slave masters on the roadways due to traffic are unaffected.
Hopefully, the Ghanaian youths’ demonstration will serve as a catalyst for Africa’s renaissance.