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So, You Want Change? by Viola Okolie


So, You Want Change? by Viola Okolie


So, you want change?

No, I am not a bus conductor or a pepper seller, in this day and age, only small boys hang around asking for that kind of change. Remember we are in an era where you simply swipe your card and pay the exact amount, no “shange” required.

You want a change? In leadership or in followership? In you or in me? In us or in them? I ask because I think I can offer you the sort of change you need, but you have to be patient and read this through.

I drive through an estate gates and the security men who are supposed to, in this era of bombs, blood and bomberklatts, check the trunk of my car for possible explosive devices, keep the barrier down, flash me their brightest smiles, a salute and wish me “Merry Christmas”.

I know what they want – they want “change”.

It is not yet the 25th of December, they have not yet done the jobs for which they are being paid, but they want “change” and it can come by wishing me a “merry christmas” 5 clear days before the Blessed Virgin Mary went into labour.

I drive up to a police check point and the police man flags me down with his torch light. I slow down and do the “inner lights, baby o pullover” thing. He signals for me to wind down my window. I do and he flashes his teeth at me:

“Madam the madam, anything for the boys? Your boys are loyal”.

What does he want? He wants “change”. I have not been checked. He has not done his job, he has asked no questions that I might need to answer, shown no reason behind his “stop and smile”, other than a request for “roger”.

And yet you want change.

I watch a Presidential aspirant step up to the microphones to introduce his VeePee. For the first time in almost a decade, I watch a human being living in this century, reach out his hands and tap the microphone, then blow a gust of air into it to check it is working!

Call me biased, I agree, but I burst out laughing. Here you are, surrounded by a bank of micro phones and peddling the “change” mantra. You are the so called symbol of change, you have promised me change… and you choose to tap the microphone first and blow air into it first to ensure it is working. Imma sit back and let you run the “testing the microphone” check on the banks of micro phones.

Nothing has changed about you in the past 3 decades. No added qualifications, no added value, no added embellishments. You have not “changed”, yet you want to give me change.

I pull up to a traffic light with 126 seconds on it. There are no cars coming from any other direction, except you and I, headed in the same direction, but the traffic light says “wait”. You jump it and run the lights and as you dash past me, I look at your bumper sticker and shake my head in amazement.

It says, “APC – Change”!

This is the fault of the President, he needs to come and stand by that traffic light and make you “change” or else!

I get back home and sight my friendly neighbourhood little girl playing on the streets. I have just chilled water in the fridge but I need a little bit of sugar in my system. I hand over N200 to her to buy me a bottle of coke. She returns and hands over the coke, but not my “change”.

I stretch out my hands for it and she says, “Aunty, please do Christmas for me”. A little child being fed by the parents and completely provided for in every way, will not run an errand for an elder without demanding compensation – but the change must be enforced by the President.

You do not hesitate to insult one who disagrees with you for holding a contrary opinion – and you are promising me change.

You wait for gratifications and “value added tax” for carrying out your job functions – and you want to give me change.

You “chance” someone else on the roads in heavy traffic, scratch cars and are ready to pull off your shirt and fight on the streets at a moment’s notice – and you are screaming “shange”.

You litter the streets with all sorts of rubbish, flung out of your car windows, discarded along the streets as you walk along, flung out of your house door or window – but all that will stop when you vote in one leader.

The bottom of your measuring bowl has been knocked in, effectively shortchanging whomever buys from you of a few kobos – but there is a change we need and it is coming soon if you vote in an extremely old man who has not changed himself in the past few decades.

You inflate prices, deflate egos, tell fabulous tales, disrespect constituted authority (and return to brag about it on social media), look the other way as your rogue commits a crime, turn a blind eye to perceived inconsistencies, intimidate those less priviledged than you are, curse, lie, steal, cut unauthorised and illegal osho, yet – there is a change around the corner and you want it desperately.

Come with me please and stand before this mirror. Take a good look at yourself and say to yourself, “I am the change I seek”.

You are the change you seek.

You are the change you seek.

No one else can offer you that change except you are a toddler needing your dirty diapers “changed”. No one Individual has that magic wand but collectively, when we do our individual bits, we can begin to work the change we want – for ourselves, by ourselves and in ourselves!


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