A few days ago, I got a disturbing call from a friend who was away on holiday in the United States of America. It was a panic call, but not panic in the regular sense of the word. He was not calling me to report an accident or a challenge he was encountering and needing a bailout from. He called me to confirm from me if there was any hope for Nigeria or if we should forget about it and weigh our options outside the country. He called me because, truth be told, to continue to live in this country and not succumb to the temptations to relocate if you can, is perceived as a form of madness by many outside our shores. He called me because I’m one of those people who seem to have got their placenta’s buried in the Nigerian soil and still have stayed connected to it.
I tried to assure him as much as I could, while betraying the obvious fact, that even I was simply living by faith, and cannot really point at any factual visible basis for my hope. I have since the phone call however taken time out to really think yet again, and re-evaluate to see if I’m not living in a fool’s paradise. Here are the summary of my thoughts.
1. The response of an organization to changing times, advancing technology and chronic challenges, is to ensure that the organizations design is modified and the key resources capable of helping the organization access the future are engaged. The solution to the company’s problem must be found in the requirements stipulated for their hiring process. In a similar way, if there truly is a God in heaven, who rules and reigns in the affairs of men, then the solution to a Nations problem, must be found in the children that were born in that nation in anticipation of the problem. This then means that an intelligent God, must have placed you and I in this nation because inside of us, is the answer to our nations problem. Our mere existence her, and our burden for this nation is enough indication that there is hope, and the hope is not in our escape, but our participation.
2. If we have the capacity to change our nation, and we do not, then our conscience will hold us as life prisoners. If we do not have the capacity to change our nation, then we are free from our conscience, and living here when we can’t contribute to the change we desire is a slower form of suicide. If you miss the roads, you may not miss the hospitals and if you miss the hospitals, they may not miss your home. If we do not have capacity to change our country, then we don’t deserve to stay in it. If you can relocate, then you must, but if your heart betrays a burden for this nation, and your conscience is pricked at the thought of relocation, then you must put your hand to work and join us to execute the hope.
3. The change we seek is not in the government. The change we seek is not in corporate Nigeria, neither is in the church. To take our eyes that far is to resonate with the fool whose eyes are at the ends of the earth. The change we desire is not in corrupt government officers, unfaithful pastors or disloyal brethren, the change that we seek is within us. WE cannot grow our influence by focusing on the things over which we have no influence or control. The starting point of all change is inside. As we influence what and who we can, we will naturally be rewarded with more, and as we synergize in hope towards change, our synergy will cause bigger ripples and take us faster to tipping point. We must begin from where we are, and deliberately plan to participate and get involved at the governance of our nation. Like Jim Ron says, things don’t change, you change, and your changing changes everything.
4. Politics is dirty – so what? Shit is dirty and smelly, but we still all use the toilet. There were many things we were told were dirty while I was growing up, but being dirty wasn’t the basis for not participating, it only meant after you participate, wash your hands. It is in the best interest of those in power to make all others seem unqualified for the position. For as long as we or our children have no aspiration for national leadership, we will never get there. We need to drum it into the ears of this generation, that the highest position any ethical and intelligent human being can occupy is that of political leadership. Let’s stop kidding ourselves that it’s a 9-5 job, or that it’s entrepreneurship. They all pale in significance and power compared to political leadership. WE have no choice in this matter, it’s either we get involved or seek permission from our conscience to relocate.
Sometimes it’s quite daunting to explain to people who bad things are in Nigeria. 90% of Nigeria has not seen beyond Nigeria, and are living without expectations of anything save that things were better in the past. I have been privileged to travel with a some people on their first flights outside Nigeria, and have seen the glow in people’s faces suddenly replaced by a sudden realization these nations are also run by human beings. I reiterate passionately however, that there is hope for Nigeria, but that hope is not outside of us, it’s in us, and we can start NOW