“God bless Nigeria” oh yes, he has. The common phrase we use to excuse our individual need for attitudinal change, our misplaced priorities as a nation, the real cost of our selfish tendencies, our resistance to change, misplaced values, lethargy to national progress, and the outcome of our collective failure.
Has God not indeed blessed Nigeria? It rains but there is flooding and the streets are messy because we (not God) haven’t made water channels and proper drainage. It suns but we (not God) are yet to tap into solar energy opportunities. If you absent mindedly throw a seed of fruit on the ground, to your surprise, in Nigeria it germinates.
We have water resources in abundance, yet people lack clean drinking water. We have the best brains the world over, no kidding. We have diverse cultures that are beautiful and fascinating, yet we exert the most of our energy on our differences, hating, fighting and blowing them out of proportion. We have oil, we have lands to farm, we are at peace, not at war. How else should God bless us?
We don’t experience earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, land slides, hurricanes or tornadoes, wildfires, tsunamis, cyclonic storms etc what else do we want? How else should God bless us?
Do we expect God to handpick leaders for us, manipulate our electoral processes and “put them there” for us? We expect God to take our minds and change them to suit his, when we have free will, at least, to a great extent? Do we expect God to ‘put’ good leaders in political office for us? We want God to build our hospitals, schools and roads? To fix our education sector and our economy?
What other blessing do we want? Are we not more than blessed already? Most of us have refused to play our parts as citizens, followers and leaders. Leaders come from society and if we had a value based society, we will have value based leadership. When children are not trained to take up responsibility and have a broad mindset, to be good citizens and provide value, when they eventually hold leadership positions, they are myopic, selfish and irresponsible.
We need a change of attitude. Yoruba can’t cohabit with Igbo peacefully, Igbo can’t cohabit with Hausa peacefully, blah blah blah. A polarized nation is a weak nation. If a Yoruba man is best for a post, because he is Yoruba, Hausas won’t let him get there. If an Igbo man is best for the job, Yorubas won’t let him have it. Eventually the person who occupies the position gives only mediocre value, everybody suffers, yet we are satisfied because he is a “son of the soil”. Mediocrity therefore rules and things go from bad to worse and we ask God to bless Nigeria?
Leadership is not value based anymore. Followership and Citizenship are O.Y.O (On your own) based. We are encouraged to “think about yourself” and not anyone else. However, when we calculate our GDP, GNP, GNI, Gini coefficient and other national statistics, we estimate the collective contributions of every individual Nigerian. We are therefore tied together, even though we mistakenly think everybody is on their own and it is unfortunate. Practically, the more productive Nigerians we have as individuals, the better our national statistics and the better off we are to a large extent as a nation. Look at China today.
Organizations know the value of a vision and mission statements and why it is imperative that everybody knows them, understands them, fits into them and runs along with them. What is the vision of Nigeria? How do you fit in? What are our milestones? What are the key performance indicators? What are our core values? Are the right people in the right places? Are we building strong institutions rather than individuals? How do we strategically move from where we are at present to where we want to be?
As we ask God to bless Nigeria today and everyday of our lives, let’s remember that we are already blessed and are constantly being blessed but no matter how much blessing we ask for, we need to change our attitude. Our attitude to work, to politics, to other tribes, to national progress. We need to get our priorities right, seek to add value and understand that the O.Y.O principle is only a temporary good and a long term evil.
In addition to saying “God bless Nigeria”, we need a change of attitude, a change in our thinking, a change in our perception of tribal differences and religious dispositions. Diversity should be our strength not weakness. God bless Nigeria, but my brother ehn, you must play your part o. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE.