The Responsibility We All Bear As Nigerians

(By Abayomi Jegede)

Every successful nation has values it thrives on and a vision which every of its citizens run with. I recently read that the government of China has a 100-year plan for the country and I’m not even sure that Nigeria can boast of a five-year plan. Let’s not forget that where there is no vision, the people perish. It is a popular norm that America thrives on values such as equality, transparency and freedom for all and each time the president gives a speech, those factors are emphasised. A country like Japan has empathy, hard work and innovation as principles to guide. For us to truly move forward as a nation there must be singleness of value, purpose and vision which must be emphasised from time to time. This will give us a sense of direction as a people and help us dwell together in unity.

PEOPLE are complaining everyday about the country we live in. The rich, poor, young and old are lamenting about a nation that should be flourishing but instead is characterised by such terrible vices as corruption, low standard of living, inadequate infrastructure/health facilities, high mortality rate and massive unemployment to mention a few. We know quite alright that Nigeria should be a better country and that we are currently performing below standard. A lot of factors have been blamed for our many challenges such as bad leadership, distorted economy and so on. If truly these are the major factors responsible for our peril, then we should fare better as a nation already as these problems have been tackled directly or indirectly in the past. The truth is that the things that matter most are usually unseen and as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe rightly remarked “things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least”. After an incisive look at the situation and a thorough research, I have been able to come up with factors I believe are really to blame for Nigeria’s present state and possible solutions to these problems:

No singleness of vision and values: Every successful nation has values it thrives on and a vision which every of its citizens run with. I recently read that the government of China has a 100-year plan for the country and I’m not even sure that Nigeria can boast of a five-year plan. Let’s not forget that where there is no vision, the people perish. It is a popular norm that America thrives on values such as equality, transparency and freedom for all and each time the president gives a speech, those factors are emphasised. A country like Japan has empathy, hard work and innovation as principles to guide. For us to truly move forward as a nation there must be singleness of value, purpose and vision which must be emphasised from time to time. This will give us a sense of direction as a people and help us dwell together in unity.

Inability/ unwillingness to make sacrifices: The greatest decision of all time as far as any American citizen is concerned was reached on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia when 56 men signed a document that later brought freedom to America. One of these men was George Washington. These men confronted fear, pain and worst of all death but they were in the end victorious and have brought freedom to their nation. They even changed the history of America in the process. The problem with us is we all want immediate gratification. We have people who go into politics now just for the purpose of making money. We want to work for ourselves only ignoring the future generation. “The duty of every generation is to provide its shoulders for the coming generation to stand on so they can see tomorrow more clearly,” said Pat Utomi. If we are truly going to change our status as a nation, we need to obey this rule. We need to start thinking less of ourselves and more of the next generation. We need to start making sacrifices.

Refusal to take responsibility: I believe strongly that the moment we stop blaming the government for everything, we will start making tremendous progress. John F. Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. This is the first step to taking responsibility. Let’s stop blaming the government for all our problems. There is a lot we can do if we try. Men like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were driven by a passion to see their country get better and they did succeed. If few Nigerians will make a decision today to make a difference, to break free from poverty and provide for the poor, we will see that things will begin to get better and the government will have no choice but to support our cause. I once asked one of my colleagues what he will change if he becomes the president of Nigeria, his reply was “I go chop money die, what’s there to change?” until we let go of this greed mentality and start playing our own parts in the development of our nation, we can as well forget about progress. “If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean,” Mother Teresa.

The youth has lost its voice: The Nigerian youths have lost their voice with unemployment now the order of the day. The youths are busy chasing after temporal things leaving the most important things to suffer. Despite the enormous population of the youths, innovation and creativity seem to have ceased. People are busy inventing new ways to duplicate what teenagers from other nations have made in a society where fake products abound. The youths have no values. They break every law of the land and expect to get away with it. Examination malpractice has become a norm. There is Internet fraud everywhere and other countries are afraid of doing business with Nigerians. The youths need to wake up and begin to take responsibility for their lives. We should stop waiting endlessly looking for jobs and begin to create employment. We need to change our guiding values and begin to participate in the politics of Nigeria once again. Finally, we need to start preparing ourselves for the future ahead of us because either we like it or not, we are the future of Nigeria.

I believe strongly that if we can examine ourselves as individuals and as a nation in these areas highlighted in the foregoing and begin to make amends in areas where we are currently deficient, the change we have all anticipated and dreamt about for years can begin to materialise. Let us embrace solid values, make quality sacrifices and move out of our comfort zones. Let me leave you with these words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” It begins with you.

“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.”

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