Change: Are you contributing your quota?
Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
Dismantling an old order of things and replacing it with something new and progressive is one of the most daunting tasks anywhere in the world. As Machiavelli rightly observed, “…there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.”
Change, when successful, though often lauded, wears the face of an individual. The movement that dislodged apartheid wore the face of Nelson Mandela. It is Gandhi we recall when discussing non-violent resistance and it is Martin Luther King Jr. we remember when we recall the civil rights movement. Yes, leadership always plays a major role in bringing about positive change and movements often need symbolic figures to be effective, but they are practically impossible without the collaborative efforts of the people.
In every society where positive reformation has occurred, it has been because the people, dissatisfied with the status quo, took responsibility for the change they wanted to see. This is as true of revolutions that changed regimes, as it is of movements that transformed society from one level of development to another. It has always been mass involvement – almost everybody contributing something.
The change we seek is to see disciplined, orderly, and ethical behaviour in our private and public lives; in our homes, communities, and marketplaces. It is in simple matters like:
• obedience to traffic lights and encouraging others to do the same;
• refusal to litter our streets and dump garbage in the drainages in the middle of the night when no one is watching;
• refusal to jump queues and to bribe our way into and out of situations;
• empowerment of young people;
• respect for our women;
• equity and fairness to every person regardless of status, tribe, religion or partisan leaning.
This will imply that we insist on right and orderly behaviour in our communities, stand against those who refuse to comply, and hold those who have been elected or appointed to higher standards. Simply put, change must begin with our sense of values. Change begins with us. It takes a community. It takes a people.
Your contribution then is important. You are either part of the change or not. You are either doing something towards it or against it. If you can write, write; if you can farm, farm, if you are a business person, do it to the best of your ability, albeit within the ambit of the law. We cannot sit down and just expect things to change. We can all contribute something.
The imperative of diversifying the economy, for instance, will require dynamic policy management from the government, but it will also require bottom-up innovation and a renewed drive to produce/manufacture for both local and international market. What young people have done and are doing with little government input in technology, music and film is a pointer to the vast amounts of potential we can yet explore as a people. For the future we desire, the time is now, but I daresay, leadership begins with us, the people.
Nigeria Has A Great Future