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A stunting sense of entitlement (2)


LawlessThey drive into fuel stations amidst the long queues occasioned by fuel scarcity and demand and get fuel at the ‘right price’ while others look on helplessly. Their most common victims are motorcycle riders who they practically force to part with their hard-earned income.

Myriads of this malaise litter our society. This is an impediment to our ability to experience genuine development. Children and youths are taught that passing exams is a birthright and can be achieved at all costs. Various sections of the country are demanding for all sorts of things ranging from secession to the outright establishment of a country devoid of western education.

Ethnic groups are demanding that their sons or daughters get a political position. Business owners are demanding that their staff ‘kill’ themselves to yield profit. The power distribution companies feel they are entitled to ‘collect’ money from customers whether they provide the service or not. Political ‘god-fathers’ feel they must appoint people to political offices and determine how the people are governed. Corrupt politicians feel they must not be taken to court and everybody feels that they are perpetual creditors to the nation; that Nigeria owes them everything.

All this is not to say Nigerians are not justified to demand their due. The point is that fulfilling ones obligation to society is a necessary pre-requisite to receiving what is due as a citizen. In fact, if everyone, from the highest placed citizen to the lowest (in the political sense) does what he or she should do, it is only natural that everyone will receive what is due to him or her. A service rendered by one is a service received by another. For example, when people agitate for so-called ‘rights’ and protest alienation from the polity, each of the agitators needs to ask: Did I receive any form of inducement during the elections to manipulate the electoral process? Did I even vote? Do I pay my taxes? Do I bribe government officials or security agents for any reason? Do I break traffic laws? Culpability in any of the above grossly reduces the moral right of the individual to protest any form of perceived injustice because he or she is part of the problem.

We have to make a U-turn at this point and begin to sound out to ourselves the question: What can I do for Nigeria? It is only when we all start thinking in this manner that we can become self-empowered as a people to deliver ourselves from the pit we are in at the moment. All the agitations must shift from ‘give me this or that’ to ‘let me do this or that’. We need to think beyond ourselves and reach out to help to build our nation.

We must let our legal systems work; we must let our educational systems work; we must let our security systems work; we must let our political systems work. We need to shun selfishness and rise above the fray to a higher level of understanding: when everyone is thinking about how to help, everyone gets helped. We have not exhausted the possibilities of making our country great.

Nay, we have not even started exploring them. We become a nation when we agree to be united by a common set of values. Our children must be taught to know and understand the problems we have in our society and also taught to ask the question: ‘How can I help?’ The present attitude of Nigerian youths asking for political inclusion with little or nothing in mind on how to contribute is a reflection of misguided parental influence. Let every individual begin to see where we are and understand that for us to move forward, we must all come to the table with something positive to enhance our collective worth as Nigerians. Nigeria is our country; we must be the good we want to see.
•Nwobi (08083271111)

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