Monday, May 24, 2010


NIGERIA: Town Hall Meetings Project (THMP)

Please welcome...every one of you who went beyond the awkward sounding name for this group, and you sensed a seriousness in the theme of the cause that you now belong. On behalf of pioneer conveners of this cause, we welcome you to the NIGERIA: THMP.

As a post independence Nigerian, I have had the luxury of inheriting, along with the rest of us, the initial bubbly feeling of being born into a free nation with prospects of greatness and opportunities for grandeur. After all, we were, and is still, the largest black nation in the world. We account for almost half the population of Africa. The population of Lagos State alone is greater than that of the whole of Israel and Mushin Local government has more people living inside than the whole of the nation called Kuwait.

I remember that Volkwagen Beetle was sold for N1200 back in the 1970s, and a brand new Mercedes 500 SEC sold for N50,000 even in 1982. I remember receiving free train/palne tickets at end of school at the Federal Government College, Kaduna. I remember that in Shagari's day, bad as it was, the minimum national wage was N125.00 and since that translated then to $250 and 100 GBP, it was worth a lot to those of us that just left secondary schools in Shagari's first term.

I remember that, even till the early 1980s UK entry was visa free for us and the cost of airline tickets for me to study A Levels in the UK was about N250 return. Even though I got admission into the University of Leicester, it made no sense to ignore JAMB scores that brought me to Unversity of Lagos, where I later earned both a Federal and Lagos State Government scholarship. From there on it still felt that we all had hopes of fulfilling destiny.

What went so wrong?

I hope that those of us that have chosen to join this group believe that we are taking the question out of the electronic media, out of home gossips and printed critiques, to the very heart of the community. I hope that we belong to a class sufficiently passionate about the next 50 years of Nigeria that we will go beyond forever complaining to tirelessly planning to rebuild the nation that hosts our mortal beings. I hope that we will come together to help our leaders and emerging leaders with a documented compilation of the thoughts, ideas, ideals and mission principles that will help us retrace our path to national greatness. I hope we will all become problem solvers rather than problem articulators.

Can we turn hope into action? A la Obama?

This is the cause that we have begun. I have prayed deeply before embarking with my co-conveners on this journey, and I have raised a team of people, even to Aso Villa, to agree with us on this quest, in prayer.

The rest is left to us pioneer members of this new movement, which Mr John Oluwagbemiga has called New Nigeria Movement. Believe us when we say, we are coming to a place near you.

Lets get our buckets, spades, chisels and hoes. Lets get working, through inspired dialogue, to chart a path for a blessed nation.

Lets have a documented vision for our nation that will take us further to the next 50 years and beyond...lets change this nation...YES WE CAN.

Tell your friends...contribute your words...attend our meetings...join our committees...the time is now...there may never be another.


George H. Ashiru
NIGERIA: Town Hall Meetings Project (THMP)

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