Our collective responsibility for change
NIGERIANS have at different times in the past voiced out what they expected from their various governments at different levels. They have equally demanded for what they considered to be their basic necessities and rights. These include stable electricity supply, good roads, provision of basic education, basic health, employment for the teeming population, security in the land and an end to corruption.
In recent times, specifically shortly before the 2015 presidential election and up till today, the demand or clamour for and expectations of these things have increased tremendously. The focus of expectation had, however, been directed mostly to the President-elect and the upcoming All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
The chorus of expectations and demands has mostly been portrayed as if it is the leadership alone that is expected to make our expectations to become a reality. It is true that to whom much is given much is expected. The leadership will be expected to provide the enabling conditions and environment to let the expectations and demands to happen. The leadership is expected to take decisions, to change policies, enact laws that will satisfy and fulfil the yearnings and expectations of Nigerians.
Again, those at the helm of affairs – the President, legislators, ministers etc – will be expected to lead rightly, show and live an exemplary life that will satisfy the true and right yearnings of the populace. The truth is that the general populace and our leaders – all of us – have roles to play to fulfil our collective expectations as Nigerians. Frankly speaking, all hands must be on deck to take the nation to the greatest height.
A down-to-earth practical approach to have our expectations fulfilled will be to direct the chorus of expectations to every citizen and foreigner that lives within the confines of this geographic entity called Nigeria. It should be directed to both the leaders at all levels as well as those who are being led.
The chorus of expectations should also be directed to Nigerians in the Diaspora. Let us put the chorus of expectation simply this way: Let the President and all his officials (ministers, directors, advisers etc), the law makers at all levels, the governors and officials, without fear and favour, be sincere and plain in their actions. Let them seek the common good of all citizens and the progress of Nigeria. Let them see their election and/or appointment as a call to sacred duties. Let all law enforcement officers and those who adjudicate the law be just in their attitude, actions and judgement.
Security personnel (military and paramilitary) officers should stop the abuse of their authority and power. The officer in any office must see bribery and gratification for official duties as if they are leprosy and therefore, shun them. Let those who present electricity bill, water bill etc avoid presenting inflated or fake bills. The market woman and man should desist from using false measurement and avoid sale of expired goods and fake products. Let the manufacturer stop the production of substandard products. Let the importer bring in genuine products, let the Bishop, Prophet. Pastor or priest, Imam, Alfa, Babalawo etc stop deceiving those who patronise them, but tell their spiritual clients the truth and counsel appropriately.
Let them stop false teachings. Let them desist from inciting their followers against other people. Let them stop the fleecing of their members in the name of God. Let fathers and mothers rise up to their responsibilities as parents. Let the younger generations (the children) follow the godly lead of their parents. Let all (the high and the low) at work be treated in a humane way and let respect be reciprocal.
Everyone has something to do to bring about a fulfillment of our collective expectations. Let all think of what to do to make life better for all, instead of the thought of what to take to gratify selfish lust.
If we are to realise our collective aspirations and expectations, we need an ethical revolution. Such ethical revolution must both challenge and appeal to our individual and collective consciences. That revolution must challenge unwholesome policies, abuse of powers, unethical and shameful practices.
We need an ethical re-orientation that will make institutions work at their optimal levels – an orientation that will make living in the country pleasant but less expensive; an orientation that will make corruption, stealing and enrichment at the expense of the state, a shameful thing not only to the culprit, but his family and townsmen and women; an orientation that will make high life profile meaningless; an orientation that will fan embers of true nationalism, that is similar to the pre-independence years.
We need an orientation that will enthrone national ethics of merit and not mediocrity. Now is the time to make our Nigeria the envy of other nations.
•Ven. Adeloye is a priest of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).