Contrary to what some of our leaders appear to believe [certainly by their conduct], Nigeria is not getting any younger.
It’s all too familiar now…every year precisely on the 1st of October the President or whoever is in charge declares it to be a time of sober reflection.
We are instructed to take stock and inevitably conclude that we haven’t quite achieved as much as we should.
And then we are told to pray for our country, grin and bear it.
By 2nd of October, it’s back to the status quo.
Repeat every year till further notice.
Yesterday Mr Yar’Adua told us ‘there will be no easy solutions’ to Nigeria’s problems.
Delivered with what was perhaps meant to be grave concern but translated as remarkable insouciance.
Why must a nation’s independence always be a time of sober reflection?…like the drunk who experiences sobriety long enough to discover he’s now 40 years old and unmarried.
Most Nigerians I know with a modicum of intelligence, admit that we have squandered so much so recklessly over the years.
And they will also admit that we cant neccesarily continue as we are and expect different results.
One of the things that amazes me about the Nigerian nation is the way in which people now choose to measure success.
You are doing ok, if you work in a bank and they pay you certain amount of millions.
You are doing even better if you have a generator and a newish car [never mind the roads].
It would seem you have arrived if you drive a 2008 Honda Accord [Continuation of Discussion?].
So far gone are our value systems now after 48 years.
Is it any wonder then that in the quest for these markers of success no one really stops to think of the Nigerian state?
I have never forgotten the quote I first heard from Dr Pat Utomi:
The individual selfish end is best met when the common good is advanced
This is something which successive administrations have never quite grasped or even bothered to understand.
I am infinitely better off in the long run if my brother is secure in his own success.
The way the Nigerian system is currently built does not do much to stop the ‘get rich or die tryin’ attitude of the average Nigerian.
A system with not even a semblance of social security is merely storing up trouble for the future.
How do you begin to survive in a society like Nigeria if you happen to be poor?
This system which consigns the poor in society to their own fate resulting in an existence that is altogether inhuman most of the time will get us nowhere in time.
What’s our perennial problem with making even the simplest dream become reality?
The job of any serious leader is to have a vision and more importantly get the people he/she leads to buy into that vision to the point where they feel like they are a part of something important and consequently take ownership of their own piece of the larger dream.
Contrary to what many believe, the job of a President is not only to appoint ministers, award contracts and visit foreign countries.
The President needs to be consumed day and night by the vision he has for the Nigerian nation.
After 16 months in office, most Nigerians should have an idea of where the President is leading the country and how exactly he plans to take us there.
But instead we spend so much time wondering where he is and then wondering if he will make it back in one piece from his latest stint in hospital.
We also fret about political brinkmanship that may deny the Vice President the chance of succeeding the President in the event of the President passing on.
We are better than this.
There’s nothing wrong with being ill I dont imagine there is any enjoyment to be derived from frequent visits to the hospital.
But the Nigerian people deserve far better than this.
We need to know that the person leading us is physically up to the job and even if not we should know what the limitations are.
We cant continue wasting time worrying about this kind of stuff while the Niger Delta continues to entrench lawlessness.
48 years is enough.
We cant continue in a system that turns our young men and women into people who chase after money and material security with all their energy and will increasingly push the boundaries of what is acceptable conduct in this pursuit.
We cant continue in a system that makes the have-nots to live a life so debasing and demeaning to the point where they are almost non-human beings.
Every single government policy from now on should be one that includes as many people as possible because even if I am rich I want to be able to sleep well at night and drive through Lagos traffic with my windows down.
We need to get serious and act like we are building for the next 48 years….like we want to leave something decent for those not yet born.
As well, the general citizenry needs to begin holding up it’s leaders to higher standards.
I am sick of us glorifying mediocrity like it’s the real deal.
Until people begin to question their existence and the deal they are getting from their elected leaders we will remain stuck in this cycle.
Until we get to the point where we look at ourselves and say ‘I think I can do better than this….I think there should be more to this nation than what is currently available’…until then….that very foolish consistency will remain the hobglobin of our very small minds.
We need to reject the mediocrity on offer..wherever it is offered and demand better.
At the 48th time of asking we need to do infinitely better than we are currently doing.
God bless Nigeria.