“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” - Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)
Yesterday I was at the #lightupnigeria event which took place at TerraKulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. For any Nigerian on twitter who has at least seven* tweets, this simple combination of three words with a hash prefix has transformed from a simple twitter trend to a vein carrying movement with roots in the Nigerian youth. Lightupnigeria is a movement advocating better power supply in Nigeria. It started on the 14th of July 2009 and targets this advocacy at all stakeholders in the power sector using mass media in its varied forms. It believes that a structured, moderated national dialogue can go a long way to make the issue a thing of the past. It believes it can bring that critical mass together using social networks, both offline and online.
To this coin as with every other, there are two sides. We, being the universality of citizens speaking the same tongue, say we want development in every sense of the word. When we say or tweet these words, we show our frustration and impatience at the stagnancy of the state of things; erratic power supply, sporadic educational system at every level from primary to tertiary, and poor living conditions in general. We say we have had about enough of substandard living. We are not necessarily asking for Utopia, we just want to be heard and have our basic needs attended to. On the other side of the coin, we mean that even against all hope, we still would keep believing. In the words of Thomas Paine, “We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.” Even though we may seem lost today, angry and deprived at the “good ol’days” of yesterday, we must keep hope alive. There will come a tomorrow, our own tomorrow that has taken so long to arrive but would finally be ours. However, we will and must do more than waiting or wishing and put our minds, hearts and hands to work today, bruising them if we may, so that descendants would live the substantial Nigerian dream which we would have built.
As the future Nigeria launched its fifth season yesterday, the lightupnigeria team was well seated in the agenda, represented by likeminded and fun loving twitter users. In my opinion, it was a great collaboration and of course I tweeted the thought. I must say I was impressed with the turn out of tweeps (twitter users) at the event; Impressed because my expectation was not dampened. I expected that my Naija people would as usual, identify a loophole, come up with creative solutions and of course have fun while at it. Cheers to everyone that made it there spirit, soul and body or at least one of the three, tweeting, supporting and retweeting from every #lightupnigeria location in the universe. May #GodBlessNigeria.
Once again, it is that time of the year when we turn the working day into a public holiday as the age counter increments. Our Nigeria is 49 today and it’s expected that we are either lambasting our political leaders or celebrating our success stories and achievements on personal and national levels. Whatever sides we take, we must realise that we all have roles to play as leaders and followers in turning dreams to reality. I’ve asked myself, “What have I done for my country?” Are you asking the same question too? “What can I do for my country?” I will continue to #lightupnigeria in tweets and deeds, and be an active contributor to this change we so often hear about until it becomes physical to me.
“Let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country.” - Daniel Webster (1782 - 1852).
Keep the #Lightupnigeria flame burning. Happy Independence Nigeria!
For more details, please visit the lightupnigeria site.
* Why I chose seven? After the first introductory rants about “What is this twitter about?” you would then update with a totally random status just to monitor the mechanism, and by the seventh you would have returned from your tweet-hiatus feeling more familiar with the #lightupnigeria trend and looking forward to your 100th tweet.