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It is hard to prosper in a nation that you don’t ‘water’

By Gbenga Adebambo   |   18 March 2017   |   3:57 am

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) once said, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’’ A victim mind-set causes people to focus more on what they can get rather than what they can give. It is a recipe for recurring frustration and failure. Sometimes, when I hear the way people talk about Nigeria and the leaders, I wonder whether they will ever be blessed in Nigeria.

The way Nigerians talk negatively about Nigeria is actually one of the things that have perpetuated the decadence in this nation. I have never seen any country attracting much vituperation from her citizens like Nigeria. The major problem that we need to overcome in Nigeria is our myopic and negative views about the state of things.

No matter how hard you work, you can’t prosper in a nation that you don’t “water.” I took a critical look at some of the richest people in Nigeria; their love for Nigeria remains vividly unparalleled. In fact, it is the love they have for Nigeria that pushed them to invest massively in Nigeria even when all indicators were to the contrary.People like Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Folorunsho Alakija and others.

Dangote’s company logo was picked from the nation’s coat of arms (the Eagle); Mike Adenuga’s Globacom colour (lemon-green) is a modified version of one of the central colours in the nation’s flag. These people are succeeding in Nigeria because of their undiluted and undaunted love for the nation. You can’t succeed in a nation that you don’t love, a nation that you don’t believe in, a nation that you are not proud of, a nation that you can’t sacrifice for, a nation that you are always cursing, a nation that you don’t “water”.

I remember those optimistic and patriotic songs that instill a sense of strong belief in Nigeria in me back in the 70’s and 80’s when we were growing up. These songs became part of my formative years and they so much molded my growing up to love Nigeria strongly.

Singers like Funmi Adams (Nigeria, my beloved country), Onyeka Onwenu (One Love), Evi-Edna Ogholi (Message To the Youth, There is No Place like Home), Mike Okri (Time Na Money), Sunny Okosun (Which Way Nigeria), Veno Marioghae (Nigeria Go Survive), Christy Essien Igbokwe(Seun Rere, Let’s Change The System, Saboteurs), and Stella Monye were all unrepentant in their audacious belief in a better Nigeria. They sang it even when it was not yet obvious to them; they watered the nation with revolutionary songs. They were all ardent believers in a new Nigeria. Onyeka Onwenu’s latest effort titled, “Inspiration for Change,” focuses on the need for an attitudinal turn-around in Nigeria.

Today, it is poignant to note that we now have artists that have thrown caution to the winds and are using their influence to raise a generation of non-challant, rebellious and pessimistic youths. Some years ago, an artist sang a song that rented the air with the catchy words- Nigeria jagajaga. Today, the same artist has gone into oblivion; such is the fate of his kind.

In which way can we “water” Nigeria? How can we put a stop to this decadence that was triggered by our actions and inactions?
THROUGH YOUR WORDS: Professor Niyi Osundare said, “To utter is to alter”. Your situation is temporal but what you say in your situation is permanent. Our words should not be a response to our situation or circumstances, but a response to the word of God. It is not what you are going through that defines you, but what you say in what you are going through. Be a “possibilitarian,” always speak possibilities. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Impossibility is found only in the dictionary of fools”. No matter the results that are coming out of Nigeria presently, we must never forget that results don’t tell us who we are; results only tell us where we are! Your situation doesn’t define who you are; it is what you say in your situation that defines you. Don’t speak your situation; rather speak God’s word to your situation.

THROUGH YOUR PRAYER: The Bible says in Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” God does not answer to your complaint or worry, only to your prayer. Do you pray as much as you complain about Nigeria? Instead of cursing our leaders, let us pray for them. I have never seen a man complain his way out of a problem. Let us imbibe the attitude of praying for the nation daily. Our problems are more spiritual and attitudinal than physical.

THROUGH PATRONIZING MADE-IN-NIGERIA GOODS: Our uncensored and unpatriotic consumption pattern is killing the nation. The way we consume is central to the growth of our economy; it also affects the way we are perceived in the eyes of the world. How we consume, and for what purposes drive how we utilize our resources and create products.

In a continued effort to sustain the foreign exchange market and also encourage local and indigenous production of some items, the federal government through the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) recently banned the issuance of foreign exchange for the importation of 41 imported commodities, some of these items are rice, cement, margarine, palm oil, vegetable oil products, processed meat products, toothpicks, tomatoes/tomato paste products etc. The level of inferiority complex amongst Nigerian consumers is so demeaning to the extent that we have added toothpicks to the list of our imported goods, something that can easily be made locally. In order to revive the economy, we must be recommitted to the patriotic patronage of our local contents. To all the Nigerians out there, I am emphatically saying that: “PRODUCE WHAT WE CONSUME, CONSUME WHAT WE PRODUCE!”

THROUGH GIVING BACK TO THE SOCIETY: What philanthropic work are you doing to reach out to the less-privileged, the orphans and the widows? In which way are you giving back to the society? Instead of finding faults, why can’t you find a remedy? Look out for avenues to reach out to the unreached. Some people claim they don’t give because they don’t have. The reverse is actually true: You don’t have because you don’t give! Be part of an NGO that is giving back to the society.

THROUGH CHANGING SITUATIONS AND NOT LOCATION: Most of our youths are thronging out of the country for the wrong reasons because of their victim mentality. A liability cannot be turned into an asset just by the change of environment, it is an intrinsic phenomenon. It is sympathetic to know that most of Nigerian youths have become economical fugitives and global liabilities. This attitude has stunted and decimated national growth.

THROUGH SEEING THE BEST IN THE FUTURE FOR NIGERIA: It is apparently true that you can’t feature in a future you can’t picture. The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious. A man without a vision for his future, always returns to his past. The eyes are useless when the mind is blind and where there is no faith in the future; there is no power in the present! We must change the myopic lens through which we have been observing the future of the nation. We are great, going somewhere great, to show forth great things.

THROUGH BEING AN AGENT OF CHANGE: Jim Rohn said, “Life doesn’t get better by chance, it gets better by change. No one can go back and make a new beginning but anyone can change and make a new ending.” We must believe that we are agents of change, there is no time that a man has so much abused his existence than when he leaves the world the same way he met it! We are living in a country that has perpetuated decadence and eulogized impunity, the most abused word in Nigeria presently is the word ‘Change’, the gospel of change has now become a mischievous way of indicting the government in the face of obvious dereliction of individual duties and responsibilities. Nigeria has become a country where everybody is desirous of change but nobody wants to be responsible for that change. Barack Obama once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to design it.’’ Let us redesign Nigeria with our words, our prayers, our contributions and our positive belief in a new Nigeria. We must make the Nigerian system work by upholding the virtues of excellence, commitment, dedication and responsibility; it does not matter what you do but rather how well you are doing it. From political office holders, private workers to the cleaners on the streets, we must discharge our duties not as victims, but as responsible citizens. Our attitude of impunity and irresponsibility has decimated national growth. Vincent Lombardi said, ‘’The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.’’




  • Soye

    I can’t agree with you more Gbenga. Your assessment is so apt.

    Nigerians treat Nigeria like it’s ‘temporary’ – a ‘non-permanent’ place of dwelling. When all’s done everyone back to their ‘permanent’ place of habitation. An analogy I often cite to those who care to listen: Nigerians treat Nigeria like a school dormitory or rental apartment. The place is hardly cared for only abused with a false sense that a more befitting ‘permanent’ place awaits them. The reality is we have no other country but this. There is no other country to move as a ‘permanent’ future place of dwelling.

    The degree of corruption is another factor. Not to appear naive to think corruption does not exist elsewhere, but the degree in Nigeria is one that keeps me up at night. Who in his right frame of mind would self destruct and watch him/herself vanish into oblivion. Corruption is equivalent to taking apart ones own house piece by piece and selling it for scrap for quick gains. First the windows, then the doors and roof until nothing is left but an empty shell with some crazy imagination that after all i can always move back to my ‘permanent’ place. Wakeup call: There is no other country; no other more ‘permanent’ place. This is it – Its called NIGERIA and the sooner we realize this the better.

    As for leadership, without direction / focus the country fails miserably. Everybody – I hope -understands the importance of infrastructure, affordable power etc to nation development? They serve as building blocks of any transformational agenda. A nation that claims to strive toward development without commitments to such cause makes a mockery of its citizens intellect.

    The dearth in infrastructure for example has so crippled this country financial to the point our economy is running suboptimal at best. Benue State for example, known to be the food basket of Nigeria, records over 80% waste annually in harvested crops simply because of our inadequate infrastructure system. The farmers are unable bring their goods to market losing billions of dollars as a result due to crops wasting (decaying) away in farm lands. Imagine the transformational and multiplying impact this could have on any economy cutting across the entire value chain up to and including exports, job creation, tax generation etc. Add nationwide power availability and we could be talking earning potentials well beyond our wildest imagination. While many leaders continue to blame our woes on previous administrations, we fail to realize Rome was not built in a day. It takes a sustained political will, irrespective of which government in power, to pursue goals that promote nation building towards greatness. So to our leaders: don’t bite off more than you can chew. A little progress (sustained) here and there goes a long way. Trying to tackle all at once is not the right approach and has not helped us going back history. A good analogy to keep in mind: Nigeria is like walking into a very messy room. We know the room needs to be cleaned but where does one start. Without clear direction – recognizing constraints of resource and time – attempting to undo the mess all in one sweep (4-8 yrs) is next to impossible. Rather than tackling one problem at a time – in this case, perhaps clothes on bed (e.g. Power) – while leaving the next problem to future administrations (shoes all over the floor (e.g. Infrastructure), we fail to get anything done in our attempt to clean the entire room all at once (Nigerias problems).

    So I’m in agreement, we all need to see Nigeria from a complete new pair of lens and treat and care for our beloved nation like our own with love and a sense of patriotism. As JFK rightly said: “think not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”

    Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Amen.

    Muyiwa Akinyosoye

  • Soye

    I can’t agree with you more Gbenga. Your assessment is so apt.

    Nigerians treat Nigeria like it’s ‘temporary’ – a ‘non-permanent’ place of dwelling. When all’s done everyone back to their ‘permanent’ place of habitation. An analogy I often cite to those who care to listen: Nigerians treat Nigeria like a school dormitory or rental apartment. The place is hardly cared for only abused with a false sense that a more befitting ‘permanent’ place awaits them. The reality is we have no other country but this. There is no other country to move as an alternative.

    The degree of corruption is another factor. Not to appear naive to think corruption does not exist elsewhere, but the degree in Nigeria is one that keeps me up at night. Who in his right frame of mind would self destruct and watch him/herself vanish into oblivion. Corruption is equivalent to taking apart ones own house piece by piece and selling it for scrap for quick gains. First the windows, then the doors and roof until nothing is left but an empty shell with some crazy imagination that after all i can always move back to my ‘permanent’ place. Wakeup call: There is no other country; no other more ‘permanent’ place. This is it – Its called NIGERIA and the sooner we realize this the better.

    As for leadership, without direction / focus the country fails miserably. Everybody – I hope -understands the importance of infrastructure, affordable power etc to nation development? They serve as building blocks of any transformational agenda. A nation that claims to strive toward development without commitments to such cause makes a mockery of its citizens intellect.

    The dearth in infrastructure for example has so crippled this country financial to the point our economy is running suboptimal at best. Benue State for example, known to be the food basket of Nigeria, records over 80% waste annually in harvested crops simply because of our inadequate infrastructure system. The farmers are unable bring their goods to market losing billions of dollars as a result due to crops wasting (decaying) away in farm lands. Imagine the transformational and multiplying impact this could have on any economy cutting across the entire value chain up to and including exports, job creation, tax generation etc. Add nationwide power availability and we could be talking earning potentials well beyond our wildest imagination. While many leaders continue to blame our woes on previous administrations, we fail to realize Rome was not built in a day. It takes a sustained political will, irrespective of which government in power, to pursue goals that promote nation building towards greatness. So to our leaders: don’t bite off more than you can chew. A little progress (sustained) here and there goes a long way. Trying to tackle all at once is not the right approach and has not helped us going back history. A good analogy to keep in mind: Nigeria is like walking into a very messy room. We know the room needs to be cleaned but where does one start. Without clear direction – recognizing constraints of resource and time – attempting to undo the mess all in one sweep (4-8 yrs) is next to impossible. Rather than tackling one problem at a time – in this case, perhaps clothes on bed (e.g. Power) – while leaving the next problem to future administrations (shoes all over the floor (e.g. Infrastructure), we fail to get anything done in our attempt to clean the entire room all at once (Nigerias problems).

    So I’m in agreement, we all need to see Nigeria from a complete new pair of lens and treat and care for our beloved nation like our own with love and a sense of patriotism. As JFK rightly said: “think not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”

    Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Amen.

    Muyiwa Akinyosoye

  • Soye

    I can’t agree with you more Gbenga. Your assessment is so apt.

    Nigerians treat Nigeria like it’s ‘temporary’ – a ‘non-permanent’ place of dwelling. When all’s done everyone back to their ‘permanent’ place of habitation. An analogy I often cite to those who care to listen: Nigerians treat Nigeria like a school dormitory or rental apartment. The place is hardly cared for only abused with a false sense that a more befitting ‘permanent’ place awaits them. The reality is we have no other country but this. There is no other country to move as an alternative.

    The degree of corruption is another factor. Not to appear naive to think corruption does not exist elsewhere, but the degree in Nigeria is one that keeps me up at night. Who in his right frame of mind would self destruct and watch him/herself vanish into oblivion. Corruption is equivalent to taking apart ones own house piece by piece and selling it for scrap for quick gains. First the windows, then the doors and roof until nothing is left but an empty shell with some crazy imagination that after all i can always move back to my ‘permanent’ place. Wakeup call: There is no other country; no other more ‘permanent’ place. This is it – Its called NIGERIA and the sooner we realize this the better.

    As for leadership, without direction / focus the country fails miserably. Everybody understands the importance of infrastructure, affordable power etc to nation development. They serve as building blocks of any transformational agenda. A nation that claims to strive toward development without commitments to such cause makes a mockery of its citizens intellect.

    The dearth in infrastructure for example has so crippled this country financial to the point our economy is running suboptimal at best. Benue State for example, known to be the food basket of Nigeria, records over 80% waste annually in harvested crops simply because of our inadequate infrastructure system. The farmers are unable bring their goods to market losing billions of dollars as a result due to crops wasting (decaying) away in farm lands. Imagine the transformational and multiplying impact this could have on any economy cutting across the entire value chain up to and including exports, job creation, tax generation etc. Add nationwide power availability and we could be talking earning potentials well beyond our wildest imagination. While many leaders continue to blame our woes on previous administrations, we fail to realize Rome was not built in a day. It takes a sustained political will, irrespective of which government in power, to pursue goals that promote nation building towards greatness. So to our leaders: don’t bite off more than you can chew. A little progress (sustained) here and there goes a long way. Trying to tackle all at once is not the right approach and has not helped us going back history. A good analogy to keep in mind: Nigeria is like walking into a very messy room. We know the room needs to be cleaned but where does one start. Without clear direction – recognizing constraints of resource and time – attempting to undo the mess all in one sweep (4-8 yrs) is next to impossible. Rather than tackling one problem at a time – in this case, perhaps clothes on bed (e.g. Power) – while leaving the next problem to future administrations (shoes all over the floor (e.g. Infrastructure), we fail to get anything done in our attempt to clean the entire room all at once (Nigerias problems).

    So I’m in agreement, we all need to see Nigeria from a complete new pair of lens and treat and care for our beloved nation like our own with love and a sense of patriotism. As JFK rightly said: “think not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”

    Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Amen.

    Muyiwa Akinyosoye

  • Soye

    I can’t agree with you more Gbenga. Your assessment is so apt.

    Nigerians treat Nigeria like it’s ‘temporary’ – a ‘non-permanent’ place of dwelling. When all’s done everyone back to their ‘permanent’ place of habitation. An analogy I often cite to those who care to listen: Nigerians treat Nigeria like a school dormitory or rental apartment. The place is hardly cared for only abused with a false sense that a more befitting ‘permanent’ place awaits them. The reality is we have no other country but this nor do we have an alternative country to move to.

    The degree of corruption is another factor. Not to appear naive to think corruption does not exist elsewhere, but the degree in Nigeria is one that keeps me up at night. Who in his right frame of mind would self destruct and watch him/herself vanish into oblivion. Corruption is equivalent to taking apart ones own house piece by piece and selling it for scrap for quick gains. First the windows, then the doors and roof until nothing is left but an empty shell with some crazy imagination that after all i can always move back to my ‘permanent’ place. Wakeup call: There is no other country; no other more ‘permanent’ place. This is it – Its called NIGERIA and the sooner we realize this the better.

    As for leadership, without direction / focus the country fails miserably. Everybody – I hope -understands the importance of infrastructure, affordable power etc to nation development? They serve as building blocks of any transformational agenda. A nation that claims to strive toward development without commitments to such cause makes a mockery of its citizens intellect.

    The dearth in infrastructure for example has so crippled this country financial to the point our economy is running suboptimal at best. Benue State for example, known to be the food basket of Nigeria, records over 80% waste annually in harvested crops simply because of our inadequate infrastructure system. The farmers are unable bring their goods to market losing billions of dollars as a result due to crops wasting (decaying) away in farm lands. Imagine the transformational and multiplying impact this could have on any economy cutting across the entire value chain up to and including exports, job creation, tax generation etc. Add nationwide power availability and we could be talking earning potentials well beyond our wildest imagination. While many leaders continue to blame our woes on previous administrations, we fail to realize Rome was not built in a day. It takes a sustained political will, irrespective of which government in power, to pursue goals that promote nation building towards greatness. So to our leaders: don’t bite off more than you can chew. A little progress (sustained) here and there goes a long way. Trying to tackle all at once is not the right approach and has not helped us going back history. To further explain, another analogy is: Nigeria is like walking into a very messy room. We know the room needs to be cleaned but where does one start. Without clear direction – recognizing constraints of resource and time – attempting to undo the mess all in one sweep (4-8 yrs) is next to impossible. Rather than tackling one problem at a time – in this case, perhaps clothes on bed (e.g. Power) – while leaving the next problem to future administrations (shoes all over the floor (e.g. Infrastructure), we fail to get anything done in our attempt to clean the entire room all at once (Nigerias problems).

    So I’m in agreement, we all need to see Nigeria from a complete new pair of lens and treat and care for our beloved nation like our own with love and a sense of patriotism. As JFK rightly said: “think not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”

    Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Amen.

    Muyiwa Akinyosoye

    • Dear Muyiwa,
      Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. I am in total agreement with your points. ‘am really excited knowing that we still have people out there that believe strongly in a new Nigeria! Proudly Naija.

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