The Time for Change is now!

We live in very interesting times in the global village as you may already be aware. Anioma families are finding it hard to make ends meet or send their ward to school. Our Youth are pressured to sometimes do the un-thinkable just to be able to survive. Anyone who is as attentive as required will agree with me that our Youth are now threading a path that their parents never tread.

 The Time for Change is now! by Prince Emmanuel O. Ohai

I thank you all who will be joining our historic Telephone Conference in advance. I also wish to thank those who were unable to join. My reason for writing is to share my Vision with you all. First, let me crave your indulgence in advance, as I am likely to digress from time to time. I know a lot of you will be calling in from Nigeria as well as from all the four corners of the world. For me it is an exciting time in the history of our Community. Already this Morning, I have spoken to two members of Umu Anioma Group in Asaba and they are as pumped as I am. In this momentous occasion in the history of our beloved Anioma Community we are called as leaders to take the bull by the horn and change the trajectory of our people. We all know that the task before us is an onerous task. As daunting as the task may be, anyone who under-estimates the power of ordinary people by throwing darts at us will be on the wrong side of history. Anioma people as can be seen from our history and the acts of our fore-bearers are brave people. It is with that courage and braveness in mind that my vision that I am about to share with you was formed. 

My vision in one sentence is: We have to change in other for them to CHANGE because the future of our people depend on us changing our mindset from that of Self-centeredness to a more robust one of general good of all. 

As you continue to read from me you will know and understand who I mean by “Them”

Folks, you do not need a College Degree to know that the Federal and Delta State Govt. do not have the interest of the Anioma people at heart let alone the interest of other Nigerians or Deltans at heart. I know there are people reading this message who work for the Delta State Govt. To those people, I say keep doing what you are doing and we will do what we feel is necessary to emancipate our people.

Folks, we live in very interesting times in the global village as you may already be aware. Anioma families are finding it hard to make ends meet or send their ward to school. Our Youth are pressured to sometimes do the un-thinkable just to be able to survive. Anyone who is as attentive as required will agree with me that our Youth are now threading a path that their parents never tread. In the news we hear of Kidnapping, Prostitution, Armed Robberies, Cultism, Militancy etc. In spite of the God given oil wealth, there is penury and hunger in the land as never seen before. The frustration has resulted in inter-ethnic and religion inspired killings and vices as enumerated above. The recently released results of WAEC and NECO showed a colossal failure as only 2% of the candidates passed the required credit in 5 subjects including Math and English. Please note that in yester years the Minimum requirement was 6 credits and in spite of lowered expectations the results were abysmal. Needless to say, our educational system is in crisis.

The world economy too is troubled, as there are at least 3 wars going on in the world right now. Nigeria’s ONLY source of revenue is presently threatened by Militancy in the Niger Delta and in the immediate future by the emerging new world that the Western Countries are diligently working towards. That new world order will be one in which the Western World seek to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. President Obama likened his commitment to that Mission to that which President John F. Kennedy showed when he made his famous speech in which he promised that America will be the first country to send man to moon. Needless to say we all know that it came to pass within the stipulated time. From all the information that I have gathered thus far, America and other Western Countries are well on their way to changing the world economy which is presently Commodity [Oil & Gas, Diamond, Gold, Uranium, Cooper etc.] to one that is “Knowledge Based” 

Research and Development investment is critical as innovations in Medicine, Space Exploration, Information Technology and the Sciences will become the indices for determining which countries are rich or poor. Basically, Nigeria’s crude oil will be worthless if not from internally generated strife from the Militancy in the Niger Delta, perhaps from the very likely accomplishment of independence from foreign oil by the Western world.

Now this emerging reality challenges us to prepare from what appears to be inevitable. As we speak right now, Toyota and Honda have developed Electric Cars which they hope to start producing commercially in July of this year. Also the United States Postal Service have developed Electric Mail delivery trucks and the other major mail and package carriers such as UPA and FedEx also may have commenced their own push for independence from foreign oil.

To make matters worse. All the revenue from the oil windfall has been squandered by a reckless, corrupt and mediocre leadership. To the extent that all sectors of our national economy are in shambles. Absolutely nothing to show for all the oil revenues except for a few billionaires who don’t know what to do with Money. Yes, folks what we have is pockets of individuals in ALL ethnic groups who have been hand-picked by a corrupt and criminal cabal to share in the loot.

The truth of the matter is that with all the proceeds from oil sales and with the abundant human capital there is no single city in Nigeria or Delta State that has the basic public utilities such as pipe borne water, 24 hour un-interrupted power supply, mass transit systems such as electric trains or rail cars, or good and motor-able road networks that create the enabling environment for investment and development.

All the preceding is the reason why the Vision for Umu Anioma Group came to be. There is no question in my mind, that the current crop of leaders in ANIOMA and, indeed across Nigeria are a colossal failure. 

Their Greed and pursuit of Selfish Interest ONLY has prevented them to see the inevitable catastrophe. If anyone thought things are bad now, please wait another 5 years or so when some of these new advances are rolled out. I know that there are agents of the status quo who would rather we don’t do anything and wait till the hour but inspired leadership calls us all to act now to avoid what in my humble opinion will be disastrous considering that our educational system in Nigeria is in crisis state.

We need to take our message to the grassroots. The grassroots need to know the truth and they also need to know that all hope is not lost. Since the CHANGE we seek is from the bottom up, we will be asking for their help as we brainstorm on the way forward. 

If we are committed to this Vision enough, I am confident that we be able to use Umu Anioma Group as the vehicle to unite us under a common purpose.; a purpose that puts the general good of all, over any self-centered interest. Furthermore, I am hopeful that we can brainstorm and come up with

an action plan that would save Umu Aniomas from the emerging reality of a “Knowledge based World Economy. As for Education for instance, I know Isaac Eke, Joy Ogbechie, Henry Ijeh, and Tonia Ideh four great Umu Aniomas have written and bared their minds about the rot in our educational system and the work they would like do to bring about the desired CHANGE in our Educational System. I believe we can do more and finding ways to improve Curriculum, Instruction and Infrastructure in our Educational Institutions in Anioma will be of utmost importance. These and other areas of our polity will be addressed in the same fashion by standing Committees to be formed as we progress. 

Folks, please make no mistake about it, in other for any CHANGE that we desire to be attained and sustained, we have to have the ears and eyes of the grassroots. The vision is a deliberate vision that will not be hypocritical or pretentious. If we don’t CHANGE the mindset of our Anioma people first it doesn’t matter how much money is poured into any particular sector of our economy in Anioma good results will elude us. For example, the reason why there is a rot right now is not because the Govt. is not pumping money into the economy. In Nigeria for instance, approx. 99.9% of the Revenue is from Oil sales. Out of this amount, available statistics show that approx. 80% of Revenue from oil is spent to run the Govt. e.g. Run the National Assembly, State Assemblies, Federal Government Ministries and Parastatals, State Govt. Ministries and Parastatals, pay Salaries of all the Special Advisers and workers

Etc. Only approximately 20% of the Revenue from Oil is spent on building and maintaining the infrastructure. The processes for awarding the contract for building these infrastructures as you can imagine is flawed and slanted towards the few and connected who return a 50% cut to the Govt. official responsible for awarding the contract. I am sure you get my drift. The current system is corrupt and not working for about 99% of Nigerians. 

In the past week, in our Umu Anioma Yahoo Group Forum, we have heard from at least 1 person in the 1% bracket. This individual was prompted to admit being pro status quo. The individual offered an opinion which I thought was interesting and should not be ruled out completely. The opinion was to the effect that we face reality and not be caught up too much in idealism. His suggestion was that we work [without recognizing the work that we already are committed to] within the existing ruling party political framework which frankly imposes the status quo on all Umu Anioma. From my vantage standpoint, I think more than anything an issue raised by such un-popular suggestion is one of whether we in the Umu Anioma Group have a “Two-Prong” approach just in case….. 

Based on the preceding paragraph, my proposal is start we continue to choose our leaders, continue with the membership drive and bring awareness of the vision to ALL Umu Aniomas worldwide. 

An Anioma Leadership Foundation, in my humble opinion, will be in a better position to address such issues raised.

Umu Anioma, please make no mistake about it, the road we are about to travel is going to take many turns and twist but with God on our side I am confident that we will reach the Promised Land. The Promised Land being an Anioma where the children and adults alike rise above whatever adverse conditions to live gratifying lives.

Even though the message, I bring today is a message of Unity, Hope and Change. The major goal of the Umu Anioma Group is to build an emergent Community out of the Anioma Community that can learn, adapt and grow. We will develop a new social reality that will require ALL of us to make painful adjustment away from self-interested behavior. I must not fail to recognize that in spite of all the vision and brilliant ideas that each one of us may have, there is also a political reality and expediency that tells us that we can only succeed if we submit to the forces of the evil cabal. Our approach is to tolerate those Umu Anioma who feel they MUST work within the existing structure as long as they don’t constitute themselves as hindrance to our own Umu Anioma Mission.

Basically, it is possible for us to exist side by side with the eventual aim of harmonizing for the general good of all. Anioma Youth are the most brilliant and un-assuming people that I know. We certainly will be willing to entertain all ideas. As the leadership of Umu Anioma takes shape, I am confident that issues that relate to the preceding will be one of the initial issues that they will tackle. In my mind I feel that there is room for a two prong approach. This feeling is borne more so out of my new behavioral change for the good of all. I hope those who see a possibility in towing the status quo are prepared to make and win their arguments when the time comes. 

As we change, we are going to strive for inclusion, openness and development no matter what. 

Instead of thinking how the whole world or the whole of Nigeria may live the right manner, we should think more about how we ourselves may do so. If we live in the right manner, we shall all discover a way of persuading others to do so by setting example. 

This CHANGE that we seek MUST begin with looking inside. It will require us to engage in moral reasoning on almost all the issues that we are confronted with. Once we alter our own behavior to fit the values we seek in others and ultimately the vision for Common Good, those around us will be attracted to change as well.

Folks, please make no mistake about it, the kind of CHANGE we seek is revolutionary because it is principle driven. Historically such principle driven behavior challenges the status quo [Man know Man; Chop-I-Chop System] and forces people to choose between what is easy and that which is the moral thing to do.

This behavior of CHANGE is capable of dividing a Family or a Church as the issues will be narrowed down to one of self interest or general good of all. Those who represent the status quo and are small minded may initially see the new VISION as a threat to their selfish interest but once the CHANGE agents show commitment and consistency these agents of the status quo will eventually change and see we face a common future which can presently be described as bleak.

In other words, if we don’t CHANGE first, they won’t CHANGE.

An emergent Anioma Community that is capable of honest dialog, one that enacts new forms of behavior and is often at odds with corruption and hereditary hierarchy.

Our new emergent Community will be built on intense commitment that is voluntary. It is our hope that members are willing to join in this noble effort that requires them to make significant personal sacrifice that will ultimately result in their own transformation.

To that end, I am going to propose that we create an Organization that will be named the Anioma Leadership Foundation. The initial members of this Anioma Leadership Council will consist of all those Anioma Indigenes who feel the desire for CHANGE. The modalities of the structure etc. will be discussed by a Committee that will be constituted. This Anioma Leadership Foundation will have amongst its responsibility the day to day running of Umu Anioma Group. 

In order for the Anioma Leadership Foundation to accomplish its goals, it would be absolutely important that it has no hierarchy in its Organizational Structure. All members of the Anioma Leadership Foundation will be of equal footing. This will ensure that the Foundation is not pressured by external forces, and the individual member of the Anioma Leadership Foundation is more likely to see new possibilities. It is my hope that with such an emergent Community in place our Mission of CHANGE for the COMMON GOOD can emerge. 

In concluding, I recognize that asking ordinary people to CHANGE carries a lot of risk. The dilemmas we face is that of making a change for the collective good or allow ourselves and the futures of Anioma children to die a slow death through our self-centeredness.

Folks, it is time to CHANGE. I further recognize that CHANGE is not easy. Asking ordinary people to change is not easy but I ask you all to keep an open mind. There will be sacrifices but an easier way to look at the CHANGE that we seek is to see ourselves as being ANIOMA-CENTRIC. Anioma-Centricity means as Change Agents we will be Champions of the paradigm CHANGE that empowers us to be aligned with a Vision for the general good. That is ANIOMA-CENTRICITY!

As the convener of the Umu Anioma Group, my commitment to CHANGE [or Anioma-Centricity] is resolute. I believe this CHANGE has to be from ground up. Our Umu Anioma Youth will be the catalyst because they shoulder the burden of leadership tomorrow. I am ending this message with a quote by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy [JFK] of the United States that goes thus: Ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country.

Umu Anioma, if we rephrase that quote to say (and be challenged by it): 

Ask not what Anioma can do for you – ask what you can do for Anioma…

I am confident that we will in the very near future be able to impact the lives of all our people positively as it is my very strong belief that our best days as ANIOMA people are still ahead of us.

God bless you all abundantly and please join us tomorrow for the Umu Anioma Inaugural Telephone Conference/Meeting.

Ofu Obi Bu Ike Anyi

Viva Anioma!

Viva Delta State!!

Viva Nigeria!!!

Prince Emmanuel O. Ohai
Convener, Umu Anioma Group.