A decision is a powerful thing, a decision leads to events, and events are not singular, they affect people far removed from the decision maker, events lead to history.
At 6pm on the 1st of Dec 1955 in Montgomery Alabama, Rosa Parks decided to break the law; she refused to stand up and give up her seat, as was the law since 1900 to a white passenger on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in response she was arrested by the police.
Her arrest led to the Montgomery bus boycott, which was coordinated by a young unknown black preacher, named Martin Luther King. The success of the boycott promoted Martin Luther King to national prominence made him the father of the Civil Rights movement, and led to the “I have a dream speech” and ultimately the passage of the Civil Rights Bill and the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. Therefore, you see a premeditated decision is the most powerful thing in the world.
Back to Rosa Parks, it was bad for her, following the success of the boycott she suffered, she was in jail, sacked from her job, her husband also had to quit, and she had to leave Montgomery because she could no longer get a job there. She was hounded, they both suffered from ulcers, they never had children. When she was 91, she lived in a flat, could not pay her rents, she was about to be evicted, but the owners gave her the flat rent free, she survived on charity. Nevertheless, when she died in October 2005 she was laid in honour in the Rotunda of the US capital, the first woman in the USA to receive the honour. So a good decision might bring you pain, but offers great reward.
I do not think Rosa Parks knew her action that day would be so far reaching, in fact she had never met Martin Luther King before the boycott, and Martin Luther was a new comer to Montgomery. She didn’t refuse to stand up from her seat because she wanted to help elect a black man into the White House in 2008, No; she just wanted to fight her own little fight in her little Montgomery.
In life, we will be presented with choices to make a decision, and sometimes the decision may not seem material at first, we could be asked to pay a bribe for a vote, we could be asked to take a bribe in return for a vote, the decisions we make will have far-reaching consequences.
We must not only fight the “Abuja” fight, we also should stay focused on our Local Government Areas and Wards. Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist, in fact, she was the Secretary of the local NAACP, but she did not take her fight for civil rights first to Washington, then Alabama then Montgomery, she started small in Montgomery then Alabama then Washington.
The lessons for Nigerians who just as Rosa Parks are living in the bondage of no roads, power or hospitals, is first make a premeditated decision to cause a change, then act local first with a global strategy in mind.
For example, go online to the Ministry of Finance Website http://www.fmf.gov.ng or Accountant General of the Federation http://www.oagf.gov.ng or the budget office http://www.budgetoffice.gov.ng. Print out 100 copies of the allocation your LGA receives monthly, go to your bad road/street, and distribute the copies to every house hold and challenge the ward chairman to get the LGA chairman to fix the bad road. Will it work? I do not know but at the least, the Ward Councillor will make a mental note to patch the road before those troublesome street tenants “spoils his garri” Imagine if every ward Councillor was hounded in Aba to fix the roads, imagine if every Ward Councillor in Aba was hounded to clear rubbish from the streets?, imagine if every ward chancellor was hounded to set up a primary health care clinic in Aba?
Imagine if every ward chancellor in Aba was hounded to set up a small SME for the “boys”? Just imagine if all Aba councillors were hounded for the 10 years we have had this democracy, there would have been no kidnapping in Aba.
Our problems are local, not international, your ward chancellor has no police escort, he still lives and sleeps in your area, his kids still go to the school next door, but do you know him? As we remember the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement Rosa Parks, I ask you to make a decision not to stand up. Let us fix our problem Nigeria.
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