Clement Oyinlola

Clement Oyinlola

Editor’s note: When a term, word or phrase, begins to find residence on everyone’s lips, it’s important to readjust our collective mentality to its original meaning. In this piece, our Guest Writer, Oyinlola Clement, leads our hungry minds through the consequence of the meaning of CHANGE on Nigeria’s present political climate, and in arranging the scattered picture of our collective future. Oyinlola Clement is a sophomore Electrical/Electronics Engineering student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Enjoy his thoughts…


We are fast approaching another moment of election. This time, the average Nigerian citizen clamours for change. However, the thoughts and questions roaming in my heart are numerous and are pertaining to the communal definition of CHANGE. Yes, many of us are optimistic about this and we’re eagerly anticipating its manifestation, but I think it is essential we know the difference between the kind of change we want and the kind of change we need.



There is a plethora of definitions and synonyms given to the one-syllable word ‘change’ but I will select and focus on just a few of them. CHANGE means “to make radically different”, “to give a different position, course, or direction”, “to replace with another”, “to make a switch from one to another”, “to undergo a modification”, “to undergo transformation, transition, or substitution.” Change “implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another.” CHANGE also means alter, remodel, review, recast, etc. Considering the above definitions, I think we have neglected all these and given ‘Change’ an entirely new definition.

Straight to my point: let me focus on the two major aspirants for the all-mighty presidential office in the upcoming General elections: Incumbent President Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari. Obviously, this isn’t General Buhari’s first attempt at the Presidential polls, perhaps Nigerians didn’t see him as a potential leader then. Like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Muhammadu Buhari wants to become Nigeria’s number one citizen – years after his regime as the military Head of State.

Be that as it may, my questions now are: When did General Buhari suddenly turn to our savior? Why are we so sure it’s General Buhari that will bring the CHANGE we need? It surprises me that the myriads of Nigerians that want General Buhari as President of this country never rallied around him this way when he contested for the office of President in 2003, 2007 and 2011 respectively before the amalgamation of the main opposition parties into the All Progressives Congress. In my own point of view, he was not recognized as the man who could lead this country then, but now he’s seen as the long-awaited messiah. A dear friend puts it this way: “President Jonathan himself took paint and brush and painted General Buhari a saint.” I don’t know if you get that, but I will simplify it in my own way.

When President Goodluck Jonathan was campaigning in 2011, the phrase common to the lips of many Nigerians was “Goodluck Nigeria” – an obvious indication of GEJ’s approval. Therefore, we must ask ourselves: ‘what has changed?’ and ‘why did the then Pro-GEJites suddenly back off ?’ These are questions keep begging for answers, and without providing right answers to them, we may never identify the kind of change we need nor the agent of change. I don’t know if what we are experiencing now is the Goodluck we saw then or something else. Neither can I tell if the Change we zealously anticipate would take us off guard when and if manifestation begins.

Let me end with this thought: Nigeria needs more than a change in political party or change in President and government officials. I think we need a change in system, change in intricate parts of government, change in course, and change in direction. If this is not the change we want, we can’t afford the change we need. If we must see at all, we must endeavor to see beyond 2015. God bless Nigeria.

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