Dear Destiny Friends,
I will like to begin this article with a plea to my dear friends who are not Nigerians: please bear with me.
To those who don’t know my origin; I’m originally Nigerian before I became a United States Citizen.
To those of you who don’t know about October 1, 2021; Nigeria celebrated her 61st independence anniversary on that day.
It is pertinent to note that Nigeria was colonized by the British until she was ready to govern herself. But the question we need to ask ourselves is, is Nigeria truly independent?
Independence means different things to different people. Depending on the rubric that is used. To some, it means freedom to decide what one wants. It can also mean financial independence. One can even appreciate independence from a master-mentee point of view where the latter begins his/her entrepreneurial journey.
Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901 and since then, we have had four republics. The first republic started from 1960 -1979, the second republic started from 1979-1983, the third republic started from 1992-1993, while the fourth republic started from 1999- date (2021). It’s my personal hope and desire that Nigerians will not experience a fifth republic by getting a good leader who will see Nigeria as one regardless of where one comes from. We truly need a leader who can unite the country and not one who will disintegrate it because that’s the feelings of most Nigerians in the Southern part of the country, who are clamoring for self-determination because of how they are being treated. Sentiments apart, if we cannot live in peace, it’s imperative we separate in peace. It’s not compulsory to live together, especially when the system is not working.
When we take a statistical test about how Nigeria has fared in the last 61 years, we can reasonably conclude that we have not developed and progressed as expected when compared to our counterparts. Let’s not look too far, Ghana got her independence in 1957 from Britain. Nigeria was due to gain her independence around that time, but due to technicality, it didn’t come through. When you look at the development and growth that has occurred in Nigeria, you will just wonder if we are cursed as a country. Our leaders have really failed us, they have used poverty, ethnicity, religion, and tribalism to divide the hapless citizens who don’t realize the power they have.
It is rightly stated that every country, nation, or community gets the kind of leader they deserve. This is because if the citizens know what they want, they will put in the works to get results. It is because of lack of accountability that our leaders misbehave as they know they won’t be held accountable by the citizens, and to some extent, the courts when they embezzle public funds.
The question on the lips of every Nigerian is when will Nigeria get it right? Will Nigeria and Nigerians ever get it right? To some, Nigeria will never get it right.
Well, optimists believe we’ll get it right one day. According to Fela Durotoye, a leadership expert, for a country to develop there must be peace, progress, and property. Without peace, there can never be stability, when there’s instability, there can never be prosperity.
As it stands today in Nigeria, many families find it hard to afford three square meal and the basic needs of life. There’s insecurity, the economy is in shambles which has led to the downfall of the naira, the country is heavily divided on religious and ethnic lines, and there are no jobs for the teeming population.
The government is not helping the situation; they are only paying lip service to the sufferings of the citizens. The only time our leaders remember the citizens is during elections. The litany of problems facing Nigeria can destroy the country. For lack of better words, many Nigerians are merely existing instead of living. Nigeria is merely sitting on a time bomb and if not properly managed, it will explode anytime.
Therefore, the average Nigerian seems to have lost hope and have resorted to unethical means of surviving. The men have resorted to armed robbery, scamming, rituals amongst other crimes against humanity. Some of the ladies on their part, have resorted to prostitution and stealing just to survive. It is sad and terrible to be a Nigerian at this time.
It should be noted success in life is not about income, but impact. According to Fela Durutoye, success is about income, but greatness is about impact. To really know a great man, look at the impact he has made in the lives of people as opposed to the luxuries he showcases. This is because success is not what you make happen for yourself, but true greatness is what you make happen for others. So, I will leave you with this question, what impacts and legacy are you leaving for others to thread upon?
You can know a great country by merely looking at how she treats her citizens. In the USA for instance, the leaders debate on an endless basis on how they can serve the masses, but in third world countries, most of the leaders are only concerned about themselves. Civilized climes look at the per capita income, they ensure that the minimum wage is capable of sustaining an ordinary citizen, but can that be said of Nigeria? No. Per Fela Durutoye: successful people chase prosperity, but prosperity honors the great. Again, I will ask you, how do you want to be remembered?
In order to make Nigerian great again, the government must make policies and laws that favor the citizens, most especially the youths. They should focus on education, health, sports, technology, and entrepreneurship. The youths are composed of 60% of the population. They must make favorable policies that will enable the private sectors to thrive.
Why am I saying this? The future of Nigeria is on her youths. You must build the nation by building the people. If the world wants to determine how developed a country is faring, they look at the citizens. The government must make favorable policies that will benefit the teeming population. Just like your future is inside of you, when you invest in yourself, you are bound to succeed.
Again, Fela Durutoye teaches that the future is not just tomorrow, it is what you can obtain but haven’t’. It is not what you can do, but you haven’t.
Therefore, the future of Nigeria is not a timeline or a race to finish, the future of Nigeria is inside of all of us. Take yourself as an example, you might have great potentials, but due to the fact you haven’t taken time to utilize it, you are bound to remain on status quo, that’s the sad state of Nigeria, which hasn’t taken the bold step to utilize her numerous natural and human resources.
In conclusion, while we waiting for who will take us to the promised land, we have to do our part by being good citizens regardless of who is doing the wrong thing. Just as we started with Fela Durutoye, I will leave you with his personal creed:
1. I will make a personal impact on everyone I meet and everywhere I go
2. I will be a solution provider and not part of the problem to be solved
3. I will be a role model worthy of emulation
4. I will be my best in all I do particularly the things I am naturally good at
5. I will do the right at all times regardless of who is doing the wrong things
6. I will value time and make the best use of it
7. I will care and show respect to all through my words and actions
8. I will consciously build a great legacy starting now today and every day
9. I will live a life o integrity and honor
10. I will make my family and nation proud
SO HELP ME GOD.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via email@example.com