By Joy Ehonwa.
Now that October 1st has come and gone, what is different? What has changed? Green and White DPs, Happy Independence BBM broadcasts and text messages, and then what, business as usual?
The first step in reclaiming Nigeria is for us to change our attitudes and consequently our actions, forming new positive habits that will become part of our everyday lives. So, here are 7 things you can do for your country:
1. Follow the news and be up to date on current affairs. Read a newspaper every day. Luckily most newspapers have online versions. Magazines and blogs are great, but they can’t replace the dailies. You’ll understand why when you start.
2. Mentor a young person. Encourage them to open up to you, and be available to give advice on whatever challenges they may be facing, from career choices to relationships. Of course this includes encouraging them to read the papers and watch the news as mentioned above, and answering whatever questions may arise.
3. Discover Nigeria. Know your history. Ask questions. Develop a thirst for a better understanding of this country you claim to love (or declare you’re tired of). If nothing else, this will help ensure you don’t look stupid and clueless when your aforementioned young friend asks you questions about Nigeria. ConnectNigeria.com’s Discover Nigeria series is a great place to start. Most of them are short and easy to read.
4. Discover yourself. You’re either part of Nigeria’s solution or part of her problems. Are you making a difference where you are? You’re not a Nigerian by mistake; you have a role to play in building this nation, and no role is less important than the other. Find out what your purpose is and pursue it. This of course means that you’ll have to stop spending all your time on social networking sites and actually, you know, live.
5. Read your Bible every day, if you’re a Christian. Our inadequate understanding of Scripture is not helping. It’s not helping at all. As a matter of fact, it is contributing in no small measure to the rot and decay of our society. Going to church every Sunday to listen to a preacher is not enough. Many Nigerians hear, believe and act on so much garbage in the name of Christianity, they’d be appalled to find that majority of these practices have no basis in Scripture. Study for yourself and see.
6. Be responsible. Pay your utility bills. Turn of your pumping machine as soon as your tank is full, instead of wasting water. Pay your taxes. Obey traffic rules. Don’t litter, and be sure to dispose of waste properly. You get the gist.
7. Love your neighbour. Develop genuine love for your countrymen, regardless of their religion, ethnic group or language. Seriously, love them. Place yourself in their shoes as often as possible, and treat them the way you want them to treat you.
God bless Nigeria.