Nigeria is 58 today! Yaay!
Did I get a smile from anyone?
Who is excited about this? For a moment as I typed 58, I hoped it wasn’t 58 I was about to type, I had to refer to my calculator to cross check. Are we really 58 already?
One day during assembly in primary school it struck me as I sang the line in the national anthem that said, ‘…the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain’. I realized that labour was probably in vain already and maybe we should delete that line from the anthem already.
Today, my heart is so heavy and I am presented with a problem, we are all presented with this problem but its not insurmountable. The solution would not happen overnight.
But am I going to join everyone to complain? I don’t need to count the woes we already know them, everyone is talking about the problems ; at church, in the market, in the bus and in the classrooms.
Even as much as try to ignore the problems, I am confronted by them every day. The poverty I see just in front of my house, fathers withtheir 2-year-old daughters rummaging our waste bins for food and collectables or the terrible road I would ply to school. It’s not something I can shut my eyes too even if I try.
So what do we do? There is a popular approach to this: ‘I will not give back anything to a country that did not give me anything’ mindset. Most people are trying to leave Nigeria by any means possible. Catch a plane or trek through the Sahara desert if I have to.
What we have is 2000 doctors leaving Nigeria annually? Are they to be blamed? I don’t think so.
What do we do from here?
- SPEAK OUT!
Bad leadership has thrived on our complacency based on the fact that we often choose to accept the status quo as the way things are. There is a common saying that Nigerians always find a way to adjust to suffering.
Social media is a tool of entertainment, a way to build great businesses but also an agent of social change. It allows each and every one of us a voice that can be heard globally. You can lend yurvoice to creating change in Nigeria.
Let’s start talking about the change that we want to see, not just about the problems.
It is very easy to sit on the sidelines and complain, it is very easy to write tweets and type in comments but we also need massive action. You might think your little steps are too little to change the world but they can! If we all put in our little steps to create a compound effect. Find ways that you can participate.
Register to vote during elections, follow and use the hashtags (yes! Even something that might appear to be that insignificant).
There are so many people championing the cause for a better Nigeria. Support them. Don’t be their greatest critic or talk about how unrealistic their dreams of transforming Nigeria are.
Participate and volunteer your time and resources in community development programs. You can start with this: from October, I’d be teaching civic education to primary and secondary school students across the state I live, you can volunteer here!
- BE INFORMED!
Stay in the know about the different things happening in the country, for example, a lot of people talk about the not too young to run bill but they don’t even know the stipulated age is.
A good way to learn about the different things happening is by following accounts like Budgit and other accountability and advocacy organizations on social media ( Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Follow, like, share! You can aso sign up for newsleters so you can stay in the know.
Learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a lot of other relevant happenings.
Yes, why not you? You are a changemaker. The first thing about changemakers is that they ask why not me? They are not superman or superwoman, they do not own or wear capes or have an IQ above the ordinary. They are the people that decide why not me.
One of the challenges that Nigeria has faced is the lack of good leadership. Are you a good leader? Sometimes, we think that leadership is something that is reserved for a few, or an ability that a person is born with or that leadership is a position/title. No, it isn’t! Everyone is a leader. Leadership in its simplest form really is the ability to influence others. I wrote a lot about that, you can read it here.
Groom yourself to be a good leader. Lead yourself. Nigeria is a better place because of you. A simple example of leading yourself to be a good person is deciding to be a person of integrity when there is a lot of bribery and corruption taking place every day. Another example of leading is deciding not to litter the streets or throw your nylon, plastic wrap, bottle out through the window of a moving vehicle.
Pray for Nigeria. Words are really powerful! We create the world around us through the words that we speak. Every day thousands of people utter so many negative words about Nigeria. Instead of saying something negative. Choose to say something positive about Nigeria. Bless Nigeria with your words! Let’s speak the future we want to see!
Nigeria is a country blessed with a lot of resources and with a lot of amazing people! Including you. One thought to leave with is this: Nigeria is blessed to have you! Make Nigeria a better place because you are in it. Keep doing amazing things!