The audacity of hope - that is the title of Sen. Barack Obama's new book. It was also the title of his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he was contesting the race for the Senate of the United States.
This phrase resonated with me the first time I heard it, and it has kept on ringing in my mind constantly in the last few months due to the news coming out of Nigeria and the changes occurring there.
Things are not perfect - air crashes are two for ten kobo, unlawful impeachments are the order of the day, and more and more people go to bed hungry with every new night. For every gain that has been made since Obasanjo became president, 10 other things are still where they were or even worse. But every time I read about people like Dora Akunyili, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Donald Duke; about the changes that are taking place, that we are almost debt free, about the success stories, about courageous people daring to speak out, about people returning home to contribute their own quota, or doing their bit from the Diaspora, I dare to hope.
I feel optimism like I have not felt in years, I feel like things are finally going to change. I try to see the positive side of every story I hear. Sometimes, it is easy, like the Obasanjo and Atiku feud. My positive spin on that is that they will expose each other and rid our society of themselves at one go. Good riddance to useless rubbish. Or take Obasanjo for instance – I do not admire him at all, and I think he has no proper understanding of what democracy is. I have to give the devil his due though, and acknowledge the fact that he has surrounded himself with people who care and who are making a difference, irrespective of ethnicity (in fact, most of the inept members of the Obasanjo government are Yoruba, e.g Aborishade). El rufai and NOI, Akunyili, Soludo and Ribadu are not your typical political praise singers. They are making a difference in their own way, and it is a visible way. I tell myself, “It is easier to destroy than to rebuild”. “The long time it is taking to get things back up is due to the total decay that was inherited by this government”, I try to convince myself.
Even with this audacious optimism, I suffer setbacks. It is impossible to put a positive spin on things like plane crashes and stories of senseless loss of life, political assassinations and tales of money “laundry”, all of which is due to irresponsible leadership and a deeply ingrained corruption culture.
The wise one Solomon said "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" in Proverbs 13:12, so I know that this rekindled hope might be my undoing- if it is deferred for the umpteenth time, maybe my heart will become sick. But right now, I am going to keep on hoping, hoping that at last a new day has come for my beloved country. I am going to be audacious in my hope, because looking at the current reality on ground in Nigeria that is the only type of hope I can have at this time.