UNTIL YOU CHANGE YOURSEFL FOR GOOD, NIGERIA WILL BE THE SAME
An article written by Savn Daniel, 25th Of October, 2014
A Russian novelist, essayist and short story writer, who goes by the name Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, once opined, and I quote him verbatim: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
If we truly want or so desire for a modern, progressive and great Nigeria, then, its transformation process is a responsibility we all must share(thanks to Dr. Kuksenko). The brand of Nigeria we hanker after is tied to our deportment. It originates from charting the right affairs and embracing the acceptable cum good values. In all intent and purposes, as Nigerians, we are the problem and solution to this nation. Until we wake up from our slumber, fix up the mess and acknowledge these hard truths, we will remain where we are.
It is instructive to note that changing any democratic and civilised society leaves in shade mere tattling. It surpasses toy-matching [y]our appliances, making doddering propositions that have the proficiency of tearing this nation apart in a bid to be activists. It eclipses engendering defamatory and disparaging statements, knowing that it is potent of pulling the fence of nationhood painstakingly built by our founding fathers. As a people, contrary to our differences and what some monstrous politicians wants us to believe, we are one, and must strive to be the transformation we want to behold. If Nigeria is bad, it means we are bad- the retributive prospect of the whole melee is that we remain Nigerians as noted by the preamble of our grundnorm- The 1999 Constitution Of The federal Republic Of Nigeria(as amended); no matter how we try to shy away from these facts, this is Nigeria, our fatherland.
Most of the people blustering and yelling ‘corruption’ do not even know the [main] problem bedevilling this nation, yet, they want us to follow them. And this writer is under reasonable compulsion to ask: “Can a blind man lead another blind man?” If this nation we hold dear is dubbed a dysfunctional state, it is we who are dysfunctional not the state; we are the problem not the state. I think I can say this: “There is no such thing as a dysfunctional state. There are only dysfunctional people who are bent on making life difficult for others”. The trees are harmless, the land is fertile, the air is fresh, and its fragrance is just beautiful and pricelss . . . The solution and the problem lies with the people. Again, there is nothing wrong, bad or evil about Nigeria. Based on this writer’s observation, there are four categories of people in Nigeria: problem initiators; the problem munchers; unreasonable exploiter; the solution therapist; and the problem solver. It is either you contribute to the society or take away from Nigeria. Which are you?
One can not affect a system [positively] if he/she is not a change agent. You cannot change a system when your values are grossly despicable. You cannot change a system when there is something utterly wrong with the way you perceive people [who hold different views from yours]. You can not change the system when your creed, ethos and principles are anti-human. You cannot change the system if you see yourself as being better than everyone else. The mere criticising of the system/Government of the day, without a corresponding and effective action will change nothing. I reiterate, it will change nothing. Just as Dr. Kuksenko noted in page 10 of paragraph 1 of line 10 of his book, “Building Systems For National Transformation”: “If truth be told, only changed Nigerians, can change Nigeria. A new Nigeria can only emerge out of New Nigerians”. How sweet are truths that whenever it is said, the firmament acknowledges its truism, and the sanctity of its expression. When we begin to change our value system, something different begins to happen to us.
If we do not ask the right questions, we will never get the right answers, and may never do the right things. Until a man knows the direction of his compass, he may never know where he is navigating to, and even “why” he needs to plan-a-course. As a people, we must take responsibility for our welfare, for our actions and inactions. If every Nigerian will make it a duty to do what is right for six months, you’ll be amazed at what this nation will snowball into- stemming from the refusal to taking bribes; shunning corruption; being honest in all ramifications of our life; speak and preach the truth as if our life depended on it; respect differences; keep to time; respect our elders; value life; appeal to authorities; and obey their conscience. If we keep up with this attitude, Nigeria will be a better and enviable place to be. Mere nagging, ranting and cursing does not change a society, only good values do.
The United States of America, United Kingdom, Singapore and every other developed countries are what they are today because people got up and stood for what they preached, believed in and want. There is a saying that “Evil men thrive when good men do nothing”. Imagine what would happen if 70% of Nigerians changed themselves? Just envisage that! At this juncture, it is gut-wrenching to note that the Nigeria we’ve had over the years is a state where complaint, nagging, whining and rhetoric are charted as solutions. It is in this light that some have resorted to cheap blackmail as a struggle for liberty- the warped version of activism practised here in this neck of our wood.
Change is a gradual process, never automatic. Any change that is automatic comes with devastating casualties. For knowledge to be appreciated, it must be applicable, felt and pragmatic- it is the fusation of the abstract and pragmatic knowledge that brings change in a society. Could it be said that the problem with Nigeria and her citizens is not the knowledge( for the knowledge is there), but the ability to apply the desired knowledge capable of bringing the desired change that is being yearned for. Change doesn’t come by nagging, just talking, neither does it come by castigation. Change comes by working and walking the talking.
It is lamentable, nay humiliating that we have failed to understand that governance is bilateral in nature. It takes the combined efforts of the people and its leaders to make governance effective and realisable- it is never a one man affair. We are where we are today because we are doing the same things over and over again, expecting crystal and earth shaking results- that’s tantamount to insanity.
This writer firmly and unrepentantly beliefs(until the contrary is within reach) in making effective use of the available, positives values against the negatives; using the potentials against the deficiencies- good values. Imagine a Nigeria where you can misplace your pouch full of money in a public, somewhere, somehow- we know this things do happen- after three days, yet you can find it in the same position, place and state as it were; imagine a Nigeria where people will make honesty their watch word; imagine a Nigeria where people will see the life of every other Nigerian as precious as his/hers; imagine a Nigeria where peace, love and unity will be an obligation everyone is committed to perform. Can you envisage that? That can only happen when Nigerians begin to see the need to do so- a place where we will be the very change we clamour for. A state where law and order will thrive. In order words, a Nigeria void of cutting corners starts with us. The worth of any nation is depended on the amount of its values- love, compassion, tolerance, humility, patience, truth, honesty, peace, unity, diligence, apathy, justice, equity . . .
To sum up the aforementioned, let us look at this quote from an unknown author: “Industry is the mother of work.” Let’s put an end to the nagging campaign, and start working on ourselves- our values, beliefs, personalities. The Nigeria we seek and hope for begins with us, it means working in ourselves, raising our values. It starts from us.
I beg to sign out here. Be the Nigeria you’ll be proud of. It is a trite fact that good values are priceless to men of conscience. God bless Nigeria, and God bless you.