They say one picture says more that what a thousand words can capture. But for the picture above, you can count in tens of thousands. Many things have been said since the pictures became popular, and I called to speak with the man in the shot, Audu Maikori, CEO of Chocolate City (the label that handles MI and Jesse Jags, among others), to ask him why he dared the barrel – and what was on his mind while he literally paved the way for the surging crowd.
Wow, this picture has kept my phone ringing all day and I didn’t even know the moment was captured. I was moved by the fact that many young professionals, celebrities, students and senior citizens came out to express unhappiness about the various things that have kept Nigeria in the dark – and the law makers we ‘elected’ couldn’t even come to meet them to placate them. Having spent 2 hours in sun, they didn’t even have the courtesy to come out and meet their constituents. The pictures from the Jos crisis really got to me; when you compare what Jos has now become to how Jos used to be a beautiful city that had no respect for race or tribe, one would do whatever needs to be done. At that point, my mind was focused on the need for action. I thought, ‘if this is the way, then let’s do it!’ Some people say why risk your life like this? But when I think of the people that died in Jos for just being citizens of our once great country, it pales in comparison to what they went through. What I got out of this experience is that we the youth must use our votes wisely in 2011, we need credible and responsible leaders.
Audu is one more reason why those who are still scared of standing for change should note that we have a unique opportunity to change Nigeria through the power of our numbers, resolve and collective anger in 2011. We will register enmasse, turn out to vote, post live updates (pictures, SMS, video, etc) from the voting centres, wait until the winner is announced and confirm that the results are accurate. If not now, when will we save Nigeria from the minority that keeps assuming that the majority are a bunch of resilient fools. If not us, who? We, as young people, are the majority that is right – and we say enough is enough!