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I SEE A VISION
Evergreen Ray Onyenadum
Copyright © 2014 by Evergreen Ray Onyenadum
NOT TO BE SOLD
All rights reserved. Written permission must be secured from the publisher to
reproduce any part of this book.
I SEE A VISION is a product of observance of, and deep meditation on life
experiences. An outpouring of the writer’s heart aimed at illustrating the writer’s
dream for fatherland.
The writer of I SEE A VISION cannot claim to be an expert in speech writing. He
is not a politician neither is he an authority on governance. He is just another law
abiding Nigerian in the crowd.
In the light of the foregoing, any flaw observed in this little volume is fully
attributable to the personal human deficiencies of the writer and is regretted.
I have read about a certain Ali Hafed, in the speech ‘ACRES OF DIAMONDS’ by
Russell H. Conwell, who wandered into countries of the world in search of
diamonds that laid in the waters in his garden. Now, that’s the funny part. The
painful part is that Ali Hafed, a wealthy man who had orchards, farms and money
died in his quest in unknown land, and the diamonds in the waters in his garden
were discovered and possessed by another man.
The moral from the foregoing paragraph is that whatever good we may seek in
other countries of the world is right here in Nigeria. By ‘Nigeria’, I do not refer to a
geographical location west of Africa, or to a land with rich and diverse culture, a
land where natural as well as mineral resources have been deposited in
No! I refer to a people blessed by God in no small measure. A people hospitable
and loving. A people knowledgeable and enterprising. A people who remain
happy against all odds. A people who continue to make the most of the harsh
realities of life.
The truth is: the good we desire is in us. The security, the jobs, the quality
healthcare, the infrastructural development, the good governance, they are all in
us. As a matter of fact, the change that we so desperately need in this country
today is in us. The multiplier effect of this simple truth, in its manifestation, lends
further credence to the fact that, “where there is a will, there is a way”.
To the man who believes today, change is possible!
Thank you! Thank you very much! Thank you! Thank you all!
Let me express my profound gratitude to you all for the privilege of addressing
this great audience, and to the men and women who have worked hard to make
this gathering possible. Your efforts are appreciated as we work to make our
country a better place to live. Your efforts are possible today because you love
this great country more than ever, and because you have passion for change.
Today, by your presence here, Nigeria is honoured.
I’m happy to join with you in what will go down in history as the most productive
movement in pursuit of a new Nigeria. Let me assure you that the resolve we
make here on this day will impact lives forever. But, we must understand the
enormity of the task before us, the task to reverse the failures that spoil the good
name of our country.
Make no mistake about it: I have no illusion that there are fellow Nigerians who
will do whatever they can to frustrate our resolve today. They will do this because
they don’t want you and I to share in the good things coming out of Nigeria. But,
their actions will mean nothing as ever, because we know that in the pursuit of
change, consequences only strengthen and not weaken. Today, we accept the
reality of change. We believe in the possibility of change. And, we will meet the
demands of change.
My pain in the situation that we find ourselves today is made worse when I hear
comments that imply that our country is a mistake that should not have occurred.
So, I ask: what is wrong with Nigeria?
If one of us can say that Nigeria is a mistake, I have no doubt that any of us can
say that she is the capital of hell. Now, I am aware that there are consequences
over the years that qualify to earn our country bad repute. But, there are also
great times that qualify to earn her a good name. The truth is: we cannot
appreciate the value of change if we cannot identify where we have gone wrong,
and if we cannot be worried by the cost of our mistakes. So, judging by the fact
that Nigeria cannot exist without her people, the question I put before us today is
not: what is wrong with Nigeria but what is wrong with us?
Today, ours is a country where people in power are chiefly identified as those
behind the socio-economic inequities in our society. Wherever you go, you hear
that our leaders are irredeemably corrupt. And so, today, the hope that we
nurtured in our wait for better life is put in jeopardy.
Today, many want to rewrite their history of poverty by way of fraud. Today, many
want to partake in the looting of the Treasury. Today, many would happily kill their
fellow man, if that would make them rich. Today, many see a future that must be
defined by wealth. Today, honesty and integrity play no part in the success that
people seek. The thought to put restraint to acts that blight our country is far from
many because they are preoccupied with greed.
But this is what greed does: if you preoccupy yourself with thought about how you
can acquire all the power and the wealth, and by all judgment, your efforts do not
level up with your desires, you may be working yourself to a life susceptible to
criminal proclivity. Against this backdrop, many today, pick up lifestyles that
become clogs in the wheels of progress. Make no mistake about it: greed
ensures that those who promise to deal honestly end up living the menace of
Today, let us blame no one for our problems any more than we can’t blame
ourselves. Until we put an end to the culture of greed and self-centeredness, we
can wave goodbye to the hope of a reborn Nigeria.
-----------------------Now, our woes today are a combination of a number of factors. One of such
factors is the rush for power by people whose dispositions are no less
counter-productive than those who do not believe in the promise of change.
Many of us, overtime, have lost faith in our elections. In the years that we observe
the race to power, we are outraged by the shortcomings that greatly determine
the outcome of our elections. We see intimidation and brutality make nonsense of
our franchise. As a result, we come to the conclusion that men seek political
office, after all, for their own gains.
Speaking of franchise; our right and freedom to vote, today, is jeopardized by an
element of fear. In the context of our country, people redefine franchise as the
fear to vote. But, we fear to vote not because of consequences credited to those
in power. We fear to vote because of ourselves. Yes, ourselves. If we do not want
to be in the news as the man or the woman who lost his or her life to electoral
violence, our fear is informed by the fear that people may have been armed to get
rid of us, if need be, to serve the interest of another man. If we do not want to
wind up in the custody of law enforcement, our worry is compounded by the fear
that hoodlums may have joined up to constitute a nuisance. We get the feeling
that their misdeeds might just rub off on us.
We must remember that no action to seize political power at all cost is possible
without human involvement. Such action is possible by people who are willing to
fight a cause they do not understand. These people are conscripted into political
gangsterism to serve the purpose of individuals who arm them to destroy us.
They and the men they die for appear to be conscious of our views and opinions,
yet, their actions are no less criminal. They discourage men and women whose
genuine concern over our welfare is unmistakable. Power and wealth, for this set
of Nigerians, dwell in the domain of politics by violence. Away from this, there is
But, we do not need these people to cause any more problems for our country.
We do not need them to continue in acts which ultimately foist criminal leaders on
us. We do not need them to continue to frustrate the development of our country
because we can no longer tolerate it. They have a chance to right their wrongs
today. They have a chance to earn our respect.
Now, it is only right to remind us of a key consequence of this appalling situation
so we can appreciate the concern here. It is the visitation of untold hard times on
fellow Nigerians. When I meet with some of these people, I listen to them. I listen
to them talk about how politics here has been without good governance and how
that has made their lives more miserable.
These people have a hard time making ends meet. The thought of having to
spend the little they labour so hard for kills them faster than the reality of living
poor in the midst of wealth. As I walk the streets, I cry inside of me. I see children
growing up under horrible conditions. I see mothers looking miserable from stress
and hard labour. I see fathers looking frustrated because the burden of family
makes nonsense of their efforts to sustain their families. They ask: when will our
God remember Nigeria for the sake of those who still have integrity?
But, let me point out that there is a hopeful side to this, and that has to do with
your optimism. That has to do with your passion to bring about change even in
the midst of hopelessness. Your determination today gives meaning to ‘faith in
simple dreams’. I encourage you to hold on to the spirit to keep pushing forward,
as we continue to bear witness to the pains. The truth is: whatever you go
through in your strides to succeed in life, it helps you to appreciate the value of
Speaking of consequences, today, we have a problem with infrastructure
development. Take our road infrastructure for instance. Much as you know, our
roads today are a sorry sight. They have become death traps from dilapidation
and neglect. Our children are forced to hawk on these horrible roads because
they must support their parents. They put their lives at risk. There is nothing to
justify why these kids should be out there labouring, if there was true prosperity
for all. How many more problems must we create for ourselves? Must we
endanger our lives and work our way down our short life expectancy path to
prove that we are a can-do people? I say No!
I say we can put some extra cash in the pockets of families who are in financial
distress so children can finally be free from hard labour. Not only can we ensure
that families do not have to spend their monies on things that could be avoided or
on things that could cost far less, when we have foolproof measures that ensure
free and quality education, affordable healthcare and food security, we can also
ensure that they are happy to spend where they have to.
---------------------Still speaking of consequences; we have also seen the manifestation of poor
leadership in the state of our electricity. Now, I feel very bad about this. The state
of electricity in our country today is shameful. This has wrought untold hardship in
our lives. Today, many businesses are in misery on account of woeful electricity. A
lot of these businesses have shipped out of the country. Those around continue
to contend with astronomical costs.
In this great country today, a great many see the possibility of having steady
power supply as a miracle that is yet to happen. This is more evident in our
children who often shout, ‘Up NEPA!’ when electricity supply is restored in our
homes. But, their exclamation of joy in this regard is indicative of a problem
because steady power supply should never be a miracle.
Our nation has become a dumping ground for generators. In the world today, we
are the highest users of generators. But this is no achievement. Today, we see
and hear of our brothers and sisters who die from inhalation of carbon-monoxide
and from generator-related explosions, whether or not of their own carelessness.
We need to ask ourselves: what is development without steady power supply? In
our pursuits in life, we must not relegate this question to the background. We
must pay attention to attention-worthy issues. We must keep issues that bother
on development in the front burner because they are the bases for any
To this end, we must remember that true development must cut across all divide.
To those who do not enjoy electricity in their homes today; to those who must
walk long distances in search of potable water; to those who cannot have good
nutrition because they are poor; to those who have children but no money to train
them; to those who make their homes in the bush because they cannot afford the
demands of the outside world; to those who do not have shelter over their heads,
we must give attention as we work to chart a new course for our great country.
We must concentrate our efforts on the epicentre of the strength of Nigeria.
-------------------Now, that epicentre, which is all of us, has another problem: healthcare. You have
heard over and over again, that for every one doctor here, there are over a
thousand patients, and that for every five hospital beds, we have over a thousand
patients also. It is understandable if those who make these analyses want to
embellish a point. The truth is: many Nigerians have limited access to quality
healthcare. When you observe what these people do in the name of health
practices, you wonder how we can call ourselves civilised people.
Before our very eyes, funds meant for research and development grow wings.
Patients wait endlessly to be attended to because hospitals are crowded. Critical
cases are met with no sense of urgency and patients die avoidable deaths.
Cases are misdiagnosed. Wrong treatments are administered for the wrong
ailments. Fake and expired drugs are rebranded and prescribed- and this is an
affront to the continued fight against the menace. Striking health workers take
centre stage while cut and nail doctors carry out clinical procedures with reckless
The struggle to correct this aspect of our national life must be championed by all
of us if we must succeed. It is a responsibility that we must all share in. We
cannot leave the fight for a few people. We cannot go to sleep while somebody
else strives to clean up what threatens our wellbeing. We must ask ourselves
individually: what is my role in all this? If my actions mean that I must continue to
be faced with consequences that stall every effort to make things right, I am no
less unpatriotic and I do not mean well for my country. Today, for the sake of the
survival of Nigeria, let this collective responsibility leave the motto ringing in our
hearts, that, if we do not have a healthy nation, we cannot have a wealthy nation.
This is a vital point; and I am burdened to illustrate in simple terms, little things we
do that will not augur well for the health of Nigeria. Where values are altered by
the priority of wealth, these little details will mean nothing. Today, good sanitary
system, which is a sine qua non in the promotion of good health, has fallen below
standard. Poor hygiene can pass for a norm here. Our immediate environment
gets littered with much filth. Gutters and drainage channels get bloated with
stagnant waters, swarming with all manner of waste. And people continue to pass
faeces on our waters.
The time is now when we must put an end to these unhealthy practices. We need
our health – and our lives- to enjoy the change that we pursue.
----------------Now, beyond healthcare, we have another problem that we can’t pass over, and
that is the degradation in many of our schools. You will agree with me that any
country without a functional education system cannot be relevant in this
Many of our institutions of learning, today, suffer a disturbing fall in standard. The
foundation for enthusiasm, values and passion for excellence, on which they
once stood, is rather no more. Today, values are downed by a mad rush for the
acquisition of wealth.