“Recycle Your Thinking, Rethink Your Style”

Barrister Austin Okeke Writes From South Africa.

The practice of using the number of crowd one is able to pull as evidence of popularity has gotten us nowhere.

President Nelson Mandela’s regime brought a ray of hope that lit up the skies of South Africa. It was jubilation galore and we were all dancing on the streets of Africa and beyond.

We could feel and touch the economic opportunities that abound.

But in the real world, it takes a sound economic policy and its implementation to realize the economic objectives; in order for the people to reap the benefits and fruits thereof.

Although Mandela was an embryonic crowd puller, he never capitalized on it, and didn’t use that gift to the detriment of his people.

He commanded us to go to work; there is so much that must be done to get the man on the street engaged and involved in the economic activities of the new era.

Thabo Mbeki although not a crowd puller per se; he, however, sort of toed the same line as Mandela.

As a sound economist and administrator; what else would one expect from such a genius.

All hands were on deck, except for few distractions here and there as a result of human nature. The South African economy generally was doing well.

Then comes President Jacob Zuma; the populist and crowd puller per excellence.

During his regime, never had we witnessed uncountable theatrical shows on the streets of South Africa.

He enjoyed theatrics so much so that he literally forgot what he was elected to do as the President of a beautiful country like South Africa.

He couldn’t understand the demands and the expectations inherent in the Presidency.

It was all a mess at the end; South Africa plummeted economically, socially, politically and lost its lustre internationally.

He so much neglected his people that one would think that he had no advisers around him.

He however enjoyed crowd pulling; he still does, even as he faces severally counts of corruption-related offenses now as an ordinary citizen.

The same people the political leaders had failed to empower are the same people that run around the streets to patronize their theatrical performance on the streets.

Of course, the crowd would come out because they are not engaged in any economic activities during working hours. They are jobless.

Thanks to the political leadership.

They are jobless and very vulnerable to accept the temporary handouts they are paid to participate in the theatrical shows on the streets.

The other day, someone posted the crowd pulling photos of the Deputy Senate President of Nigeria to a WhatsApp group; he had just been set freed by Buhari and his Gestapo – styled law enforcement agencies.

Buhari unsuccessfully staged a coup in the Nigerian Senate.

He resorted to kidnapping the Senate President and his deputy, but was in the process, outsmarted by Senator Bukola Saraki the Nigerian Senate President.

People’s reactions to the crowd pulling photos of the Deputy Senate President was with the usual brown-nosing and praise singing mentality.

We must recycle our thinking and rethink our style.

Even some of the people I had discussions with concerning the crowd pulling photos of the Deputy Senate President commented alike; Slavish mentality.

I just shook my head in utter disappointment. I was speechless to witness grown-ups behave in such an infantile manner. God help us.

So I thought to myself, what shall I do?

This rot must be rooted out of our society if indeed we are serious about moving forward. Hence I decided to express my mind hereunder.

The evidence of followership is not in the number of crowds that you might gather in one outing, or in the number of crowds that might patronize your theatrics; the fact that multitudes came out in their numbers to support you during working hours, is the shameful evidence that you the crowd puller has failed to empower the same crowd because of your greed and wicked selfish interests.

It is indicative of a backward society with a very low productivity or the lack thereof. It makes no sense whatsoever.

The evidence of followership indeed can be found in the number of the same crowd that is not able to join in your theatrical performance on the streets, because they are constrained by work and economic demands in their respective occupation and profession; lest they impede commercial traffic.

They are at that productive hour of the day, engaged in one productive activity or another; and not to jump to the street to hail you at any time you decide to stage a show.

This, on the contrary, is the evidence that you the crowd puller, in fact, succeeded in empowering your people using your good office as a President, Parliamentarian, Governor or Local Government Leader, just to mention only these few.

It is indeed these sort of shameless theatrical shows that we must get rid of, in our self-renewal exercises, because they are the vestiges of the past that have plagued our society for long, and still is.

With respect, I must say that the Deputy Senate President of Nigeria is not alone in these dramas; most of the leadership in the entire black nation are guilty of the same offenses.

Although they shouldn’t have posted the crowd pulling photos the way they did. I wonder who his advisers are.

They should instead post the photos of all the developmental projects they successfully implemented in their respective communities and constituencies, with constituencies budget that were allocated in respect thereof.

After all most of them have been in the office for close to 16 years now. That’s enough time to build cottages industries that are capable of creating jobs and sustaining employment.

The photos were posted as if to brag that the Deputy Senate President is indeed a crowd puller.

He might just be indeed, but that is a very bad publicity stunt, especially in the face of obvious revolution of the Nigerian youths whose future seems to be bleak in the geographical area currently known as Nigeria.

Crowd puller of the economically empowered or the economically disadvantaged?

We must get our acts together and recycle our thought processes.

It shouldn’t be about me, myself, and I any longer.

Leaders should see themselves as being in a position of service and not of status.

What should count should be, how many crowds of people have I empowered using the public and indeed the private office that I occupy?

I once had an experience of the depth of the rot in our society when I traveled for an assignment to Abuja Nigeria in 2009, during the late President Yaradua regime.

One day I found myself in the office of the then Minister for Education; Honourable Minister Egwu. Many people were at his reception waiting for one federal contract or another.

I was there by chance; I ran into one of the leaders of my village development union in Abuja. He had been sent by the community to remind the Honorable Minister of an abandoned federal academic project slated to be built in my village. Very typical of the Nigerian government ain’t it?

I was duty bound to join the late Romanus Igwebuike (aka odorbro) on the assignment. May his soul rest in peace.

While seated, showing on the Nigerian TV was a replay of how Senator Itta Giwa was disgraced out of her office because she had embezzled huge sum of public funds.

Then I asked, is the crowd going to lynch her for stealing public funds?

The people seated with me echoed nooo o, why?

Oh no, poor me, I didn’t remember they were all waiting for lucrative contract opportunities from the Minister of Education.

I retorted, why not. If a crowd of angry could lynch a pickpocket on the streets, whose wealth had been stolen by Itta Giwa and her likes, and who is only looking for daily bread; why not lynch the cause and true source of the economic problems; the real thief.

They all went dead silent, with the exception of one gentleman who appears to be from the Northern part of Nigeria. He liked my comment and encouraged me to go on.

We must begin now to bandage the knife, not the wound.

We need to sober reflect. We must encourage the practice of setting aside time in silence for deep reflections on “how we got here”

In the face of the busy lives we have, getting children ready for school, getting through heavy traffic to work, taking public transport, battling the thieves we have voted into power as political leadership, and everything in between; we always do have the solitude to examine our conscience and relationship with our Creator. God is real.

Then too are the invasive distractions of television, the internet, and social media.

We should muster the ability to stop and take a deep breath, to turn inwards, no matter how briefly; and to be aware of God, more with an attitude of listening than of doing all the talking.

This is the simple meaning of prayer.

The Ubuntu culture and principles; reminds us that ” I am because you are. You cannot go it alone.

The love for your neighbors is the inherent and solemn love for yourself.

The manner in which you treat your fellow human is a true reflection and manifestation of the way you treat yourself, regardless of how well you might want to conceal it.

From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

Others are a better mirror of your image and character than the object you call mirror inside your bedroom.

Father forgive us for we know not what we do -Jesus Christ

I thank you.

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Austin Okeke
Austin Okeke 33 posts

Barrister Austin Okeke Writes From South Africa

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