Saturday, 24 September 2016

MustRead: CAN ONLY YOU CHANGE NIGERIA?

In a country with an average population of 170 million, what difference can only one person make?

Was told a perplexing story by a friend about an incident that occurred on a major drive in Gwarinpa, Abuja. I was been driven by the friend and a driver in another car helped us to kick start a well needed discussion when he displayed the usual road user misbehavior in Nigeria. Once we were through that, he started to narrate an incident that happened earlier.

In a regular after work traffic, a driver instead of joining the holdup and wait for his turn to move, maneuvered his way into an illegal lane and started to shove his way forward with his near James Bond moves. An aggrieved Nigerian targeted him and tactically blocked him, at least to point out his misbehavior to him. Then the unusual happened, the Nigerian James Bond stepped out of his car and spectators expected he was going to angrily land the man a slap for obstructing him. But I bet the guy shocked everyone even the narrator of the story when all he did was ask the young man just one question: “Hey guy, CAN ONLY YOU CHANGE NIGERIA?” He said that and walked back into his car. 

In his usual inpatient way, he again found a space and sped off. Hmm, the question left the aggrieved road user speechless. As I was told the story, my response was, what! How can anyone behave or think that way? The guy knew he was doing the wrong thing but in his mind he justified himself with the notion; “it’s usual to break the law in Nigeria” and anyone who does differently will get the “CAN ONLY YOU CHANGE NIGERIA” attitude. We got to our destination and I dropped off his car, but over a month later, the question wouldn’t drop off my mind.

Giving the mind boggling question some thought, I discovered it’s not the first time I heard the question being asked. It is usually used interchangeably with “a beg leave that thing.” In all cases those words are used to mean, lawlessness is the norm in Nigeria and one person’s effort in keeping the law or attempting to act differently cannot effect any meaningful change. 

So drop your pious talk/act and get ahead by joining the over-loaded van wagon of lawless citizens, after all only you no fit change Nigeria. In a country with averagely 170 million people, what can only one person do? To worsen the issue, our leaders don’t care. Sadly, this have become the mindset of most Nigerians.

Emerging Discussions on Change:
Everything has been blamed for the bad state of things in Nigeria; economy down turn, corruption, drops in oil prices, bad governance, over-dependence on foreign goods etc. While the itemized factors play a role, it is to my delight that discussions on the true dragon of our Nation’s development have emerged or is emerging. Read a couple of articles that attest to that, read quotes from them below- 

 “We are in a bad state as a Nation because we have an attitude of not caring, we take advantage over everything and everyone. We see something done wrong and say Let It Be.” – Anonymous. 

“In my opinion, Nigeria’s biggest problem is not corruption, a bad economy, terrorism or crime. These are just symptoms of the problem we face in Nigeria. Nigeria’s biggest problem is that we are not united. Fix that and you fix Nigeria! – Ben Bruce. 

 “I propose that our problem in Nigeria is that we lack a sense of history and we live only in the present moment which means that we are always reacting and hardly ever pro-acting” – Reno Omokri.

“In a nutshell, the Actual Reasons for Nigerians' Lack of Patriotism is not Democracy. It is not Corruption. It is not Modernism. It is not Westoxication. It is not the Hard Situations of Things in the Country. And, it is not the President. The exact Reason is: “YOU and ME”. Yes! The Reason is each and every Nigerian's Mindset, and the way that he or she Reasons and Reacts each time; each day, and each place.” – Sadiq Chuks Orji 

Taking examples from nations who forged ahead in spite of limiting economy issues to become successful, Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew key message on the driving force behind Singapore's success is: "The quality of a nation's manpower resources is the single most important factor determining national competitiveness. It is the people's innovativeness, entrepreneurship, team work, and their work ethic that gives them that sharp keen edge in competitiveness."

We are the wealth of Nigeria, its growth and development is in our hands; mine and yours. It is to our peril to ignore this truth. We can’t continue with “Only I cannot fix Nigeria attitude” and expect our leaders to magically change their corrupt ways. Anne Frank, a courageous 14year old child who penned down articles in the face of death, giving us an example of striving to make positive difference in the worst situation said: “I don’t believe that the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago!” 

The Common man is guilty?
How would Nigeria’s Mr. James Bond in the story above blame the Federal Government for bad state of road when he himself is guilty of beating traffic? In my opinion, if the people get their acts together, the government will act differently. To a large extent, WE, the people of Nigeria have to take responsibility of a better country wherever we find ourselves. We must consciously create an environment, where corruption and lawlessness cannot thrive. 

A Unified Nation:
As propelled by Ben Bruce and quoted above, one of Nigeria’s greatest problem is that we are not united. We are either PDP or APC, Igbo or Hausa, Christian or Muslim, Man or Woman, Youth or Adult. With one group always fighting for superiority or equality. One of the planks based on which Nigeria’s development and drawback hinges is her unity in diversity. Nigeria remains the only nation of the world with the highest population of Black race. The only nation with more than 250 languages and diverse ethnic groups. Integrating the value of a United Nigeria in our communities and the entire nation as a whole have become highly essential to our development. Cultural and religious tolerance must be preached to enhance peaceful co-habitation and curb most of the ethnic/religious rivalry that have led to the death of many. Citing the Agatu massacre, Jos killings, Lafia/Benue riots and others as some of the aftermath of disunity. Fix it and you fix Nigeria!


Giving discussions above, one will be right to hinge real issues of Nigeria on: 
1. Wrong mindset/attitude of citizens
2. Lack of Unity
3. Lawlessness


(These issues will be discussed extensively in subsequent articles.)

When we take a look at how people of the developed nations conduct themselves good governance or not, it calls for a total attitudinal change for Nigerians. Majority of citizens in foreign/developed nations where a good number of Nigerians often find themselves are said to be ardent law abiding citizens. Laws that guide the land and keep it coherent need to be strictly adhered to. 

Back to the question: Can Only You Change Nigeria? YES! 
One man with the right attitude and right course has the power to influence many more. The fight for racial equality in America can be traced to Martin Luther King. South Africa’s victory over Apartheid can be traced to Nelson Mandela. Examples abound and a good course in Nigeria can also be traced to you. In whatever little way, you can make a difference. #ChangeBeginsWithMe.


Features on my Blog:
#15WaysToBeTheChangeYouWantToSeeInNigeria 

#15KeyPointsFromNationalAthem 

#3KeyAttitudeOfANigerianPatriot

#BeAVoice 

#Patriotic Stride with Mercy Ebute coming to you soon………


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