Change begins with me
Just in case you are wondering if this is another effort at government propaganda, think again. I was born and raised in the Middle Belt of Nigeria and grew up with lofty dreams of a desirable country. I remember vividly that every now and then I would come across areas of concern ranging from inadequacy of key infrastructures to inequitable access to social amenities, etc. However, like many others I concluded that tomorrow would be better off. ‘E go better’ became the mantra.
Unfortunately, however, it appears that the long-awaited change has remained elusive, sadly in many cases the situation has gone progressively worse. For example, I attended a unity school, which was a pride in those days, but many of these institutions have become a shadow of themselves. The same story is applicable in many other areas.
Earlier this year, I looked at the time, I had crossed into my forties and much of the desired social change remained in the ‘pipeline’. The nation’s economy was in recession, there were many instances of kidnap, security issues persisted. Fear and uncertainty ruled supreme. That was when it occurred to me that perhaps, I have taken the wrong approach by being an observer cum hoper in chief. Like many of my colleagues across the country, I had kept faith that perhaps the next government would make my life better and had become an expert at analyzing trends.
However, on the 10th of February, 2017, I came to a decision that I will no longer give any government as excuse for my predicament in life. I resolved to take my destiny in my own hands, not by taking my life (God forbid) but perhaps I could become part of the solution despite my obvious limitations. It is clear that the major challenge we have is a leadership problem, however, how long will the 170 million of Nigerians continue to sit in the pavilion of life’s cinema and wait for a handful of people to make our lives better. While I am a big fan of making those in government accountable, perhaps it’s time to ask, ‘what can I do to improve the lot of my society?’ In my view, this is the question that ought to be paramount in the minds of many of us. It is such thoughts that have aided those in developing countries to continue to push the envelope while many of us sit and wait for handouts.
When the average citizen of this country looks beyond grumbling or perhaps solving for just self and family and seeks to make things better for others, we will suddenly realise the pathway to sustainable change. More importantly, those in government will realise they need our cooperation to make the positive change we all desire.
Let us not forget that those in government today are a product of the system and unless a miracle happens, the situation will get progressively worse because many of our children are already learning the wrong behaviours. What saddens me is that there is huge potential in our human capital. I have had the privilege of visiting a number of countries and have come across Nigerians who have risen against all odds to be noble citizens of their communities and one is tempted to ask, why can’t this be replicated in our own country? It’s a new day folks, and there is a silent group who have begun to do what they can with the little they can. I ask that you join this party because we are here to stay!
• Tunde Adebola wrote from Canada.