Nigeria is a country that is so blessed that it is ironic to see all the suffering its nationals face; not just suffering, but also having to endure a bad reputation home and abroad. Those at home face many hardships, but those who think they have escaped by running out of the country face untold suffering with no friendly face to comfort them.
How can Nigerians work together to deal with these problems and make the fatherland home indeed? Here are a few propositions:
Develop the country: Nigeria is too old to remain in the realm of promise. Children, not old men, show promise to become great in future. A country older than 50 is way overdue to start delivering on promise. Power, infrastructure, quality of life; all these ought to have improved over time. Leaders and citizens alike need to come to that place where they are ready to make the unique sacrifice of doing the right thing. A positive change begins with us.
Change how we see ourselves: America believes in its name. If there is crisis in any country, you can bet that they are already making arrangements for any individual who can present an American passport. We watch them act it out in their movies, fictional or based on true stories, and wish OUR government could be half as caring. But you see, it is all from the mindset. The American government has adopted the mindset that every citizen should count. That mindset is what makes all the difference. It makes it easier to send troops to evacuate citizens trapped in a war-torn area, or extradite detainees from foreign countries, or make laws beneficial to the average citizen. What mindset does Nigeria have as a government and as a people?
Cast our shadow: As the ‘so called’ Giant of Africa, where is our power felt? Is it as the biggest technology consumer in Africa? Is it as the greatest cause of problems in any country we enter? No, as Guinness claims, we are truly ‘Made of More’. We have outstanding Nigerians breaking records all over the world, within and outside our county. We just need more of us to make a bigger shadow and show the world the greatness in us.
Move beyond ‘Me’ and ‘Gimme!’: A self-serving spirit pervades Nigeria; it reflects in our speech and attitude. When we want to help, we help ‘my brother’ or ‘my person’, because the aim of helping is to avail ourselves of the ‘one good turn deserves another’ and ‘keep it in the family’ rules. A country as diverse as ours can never survive such closed sharing. We share along tribal lines, and even some confused individuals would rather extend opportunities in their power to give, to less-qualified expatriates rather than qualified fellow citizens who need it. As said before: change how you see yourself. All humans are created the same despite the colour of their skin or accent. Stop deluding yourself. Nigerians are invaluable.
We can change the status quo. Mandela was one man who roused others to action such that South Africa’s shadow dwarfed others. We need one man to make other men wake up to the reality of our promise. We need You.