(By Michael Irene)
“To the next generation of Nigerians, something different must be gifted to them and that is, a new way of living. A new eye for seeing that for a better country, every individual has to work for the good of others. There has to be a collective effort to make the country work. Individualism and the “me” syndrome would not move anyone forward. For what would it profit a man who has acquired earthly riches and cannot help his brother down the street?“
As a father or mother, what do you tell your child about the country? As an uncle or aunt what do you tell your nephews and nieces? As a neighbour what do you tell your friend about the country? As a preacher and imam what do you tell your congregation about the country? As a teacher in the school what do you tell your students about Nigeria? As a businessman or a corporate head, what do you tell your staff about the development of Nigeria?
A child once told his father that he wanted to become the president of Nigeria when she grows up. His father told her that the dream couldn’t be achieved. It is a position for only those who have the ability to steal, con and deceive people and besides, because she was a woman that post would never be available to her. The girl simply walked away in sadness. The father rubbed his chin and continued to read his newspaper.
Another child came from school and told his uncle that he was tired of being a Nigerian. The surprised uncle asked what the matter was and the boy said their teacher told them that to be successful academically, they needed to go abroad. The teacher recommended the United States of America where dreams come true and the United Kingdom as the best place for education. The uncle was furious. He stormed out of the house and went straight to the boy’s school. He dashed to the principal’s office and expressed his disappointment. The principal asked him a question: “Is it not true?”
There are two sides to existing in Nigeria. First side is filled with the hard-core pessimists who see nothing good coming out of the country and the strong optimist who believe that Nigeria would be a better country in the future. These two sides clash and fortunately or unfortunately, inspire each other.
A poor man, whose neighbour drives a brand new BMW X5 and wears the latest designers clothes and shoes, prays so hard to be just like his neighbour. He curses the gods that made him poor. Everyday, he throws his money in the offering baskets with the hope that he would be better than his neighbour. One day, he sees the police picking the rich man from his mansion and watches how they beat him up. Then he begins to thank the gods for his situation.
Everywhere you go to in Nigeria, there is the mad rush to get it all. Materialism has taken over the mind-set of every kid. They want the latest smart phones, computers and cars. Engage most young Nigerian undergraduates in a conversation and ask about their future plans. It is always about amassing wealth without constructive planning. The, me, me, me, syndrome is always at play.
Religious houses have been turned into a place where the words are about how you can buy your way into heaven or how many virgins you can meet in heaven. The next generation has been wired to believe that the way to living a good life on earth is to follow verbatim what is written in the Holy books. Reason has been jettisoned. Everyday, dreams are prayed for and not worked on.
The corporate boss in the office only wants what’s best for him. He would drive to any length to make sure that he makes slaves of his workers. After all, there is no free lunch for a lazy man. And he tells his children that for you to be a successful Nigerian you have make your way to the top by any means necessary. Humanity, sometimes, is lost when pursuing riches.
There is a bad air flowing around town. It has filled almost every Nigerian.
The cure is simple. To the next generation of Nigerians, something different must be gifted to them and that is, a new way of living. A new eye for seeing that for a better country, every individual has to work for the good of others. There has to be a collective effort to make the country work. Individualism and the “me” syndrome would not move anyone forward. For what would it profit a man who has acquired earthly riches and cannot help his brother down the street?
These challenges present a social malaise that needs to be addressed by every Nigerian. Of course, we need new names, new attitudes, new focus and most importantly, new ways of loving. We would be playing a game of deadly ignorance if we fail to see that the next generation’s life depends on what they see in the present time. What are you doing to make the world a different place? What are you doing to make a mark in Nigeria?
The little girl who dreamed to be a president has a chance. That boy doesn’t have to go to America to fulfil his dream. The tools we need to help our tomorrow are here today. Would you use it to help?
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”