Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Lessons from 2016 political revolution

"Everywhere a majority that was promised growing equality sees social power monopolised by people with money, property,connections and talent; they feel shut out from both higher culture and decision-making"-Pankaj Mishra

2016 has brought in a new political revolution, what great thinkers like Pankaj Mishra refers to as 'the age of anger'. According to him "the seismic events of 2016 have revealed a world in chaos-and one that old ideas of liberal rationalism can no longer explain.

 More than 50 countries were hit with this sudden phenomenon. From Brexit to recent elections in the USA, Gambia and Ghana, ordinary people are finding the courage to say no to the world of 'widening inequality'.
The momentum is growing ,waiting to swallow political leaders who fail to heed the call for real change. Back home we have witnessed a video of a legislator chased away from his constituecy by angry mob.
There was a huge protest that greeted Ex-Governor Adams Oshimole's state pension and N200m retirement home in a state struggling to pay minimum wage, pensions and one of the highest unemployment records.
 Our legislators are the highest paid in the world even when some of them possess ordinary school certificate qualifications which only qualifies them to national minimum wage salaries.Some of them enjoy jumbo salaries still recieving state pensions as ex-Governors whereas there is massive unemployment in their states with no safety nets. The supreme court has recently ruled that it's illegal for state Governors to hijack LGA's and appoint care-takers, yet there is no political will to enforce it.

The internet has bridged national borders giving people the opportunity to connect with the rest of the world to see how it happens in their backyard. People now have enough information to digest and make important choices.
 Social Media has broken 'Spun Politics' and government monopoly of news given ordinary people the freedom to express their anger and discontent to politicians. It's not going to be business as usual.

 Perhaps, Michael Mansfield is right: "we need to create a democracy for the 21st century in which the power of the people predominates over the people in power..., it is time to go back to the drawing board, to sweep away the vestiges of inherited priviledge, and reinvigorate the direct connection between citizens and government.

This is the time for political leaders to act to avert further wrath of anger by the people who felt they have been abandoned by their leaders.

In the words of Professor Stephen Hawking : "the world leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than the present. we must help people to retrain for a new world and support them financially while they do so. We are living in a world of widening not diminishing financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living but their ability to earn a living at all disapperaing, no wonder they are searching for a new deal"

This is the time to think differently,

Uche Okeke

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