A better you, a better Nigeria
BUILDING a better Nigeria simply means building a better you. This is the first and greatest of steps toward building a better Nigeria. “The strength of a nation,” says Samuel Smiles “depends on the character of the people. Individual development is national development.” We all wish to wake up one morning and find that everything has changed. We all are looking for one big change that will make our country better forgetting the fact that we are the change we seek. As the Chinese proverb goes: “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” To defeat the corruption in our country is to begin by defeating the greed inside of us.
Each new government promises it will never make the same mistakes its predecessors made. The leading lights in the administration promises to bring a positive change; to break the patterns of failure. They promise to make Nigeria a better place. But deep inside their hearts, they do not desire true change. They do not have the interest of the people in their hearts. All they want is for self-gratification. The new administration is faced with onerous challenges it inherited. This is evident, today, in many ways. There is still a high rate of crimes. There are insecurity, greed, bribery and corruption, examination malpractices, rot in the system, poverty, illiteracy, looting, money laundering etc.
However, with all these happening around us, we must not be tired of doing the right thing. We must not be tired of voting for people that will lead us. We will continue to vote and vote until we get the right set of leaders. We will make our mistakes, learn our lessons and avoid making them in the next election.
When we talk about change, we believe it is the duty of our leaders alone to make that big change. But the truth is: The change we seek will not come from space or from foreign funds until we have an individual change of attitude and behaviour. All the state funds, yearly budget, international funds and donations, and money borrowed from the World Bank cannot bring a physical change if we do not have a moral change. “Waste no more time,” says Marcus Aurelius, “arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
We have remained in the same position for several years because we expect the change we seek to come from the world, and get down to us. It will not come. It can only begin from us, then our family, then our community, our state, our country, our continent, and then the world. Of course, the government has a role to play but we also have our own role as the people of this great nation. Mother Teresa said: “Do not wait for the leaders; do it alone, person to person.” The government cannot play our role, and we cannot play theirs either. The government can collect our waste but it is our duty to clean our environment and gather them together.
We are the drivers of success and prosperity. From our thoughts originates our world. We have held ourselves, in a way, from our negative thoughts about the country. We should be careful of what we say and think about our country and ourselves. Imagine when 170 million people hold the same thought of cursing and abusing the country they live in, condemning the nation, accusing everyone of being corrupt except themselves, yelling and crying for change but are not ready to do anything about it. “The thought manifests as the word” says Buddha, “the word manifests as the deed, the deed develops into habits. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care. And let it spring from love, borne out of concerns for all beings.”
If you think the little things you do every day are too small to make an impact; if you feel your daily thoughts and actions do not have an impact in the general change you seek, try doing something bad in the presence of a child. In the past, I wanted to change the world, but then I realised I have to make a better me. I have to change myself first, then the world will change along side with me.
There is a story told of a man that went to a fast food restaurant opposite his building requesting that the owner clear the waste in front of the fast food. The owner of the fast food simply replied, he would. When he was about leaving the fast food, a regular customer there called him and said he should go and clean his dirty window. He found out that the day he decided to clean his window, the same day the fast food owner removed the waste in front of his restaurant.
We have all made mistakes in our lives. It is part of human nature. It is inevitable. There is always another chance for a man that is ready to change. But before we can ever hope for change, we must first examine ourselves; and take note of our strengths and weaknesses. Just as a doctor cannot treat a patient without knowing the symptoms, we will not be able to make a change without knowing what is holding us back.
If only we can live with a common purpose! If only we all have a unified thought of making Nigeria a better place. We have to turn to the Lord Almighty for blessings and guidance with all our hearts, soul and might. We cannot have two great religions of the world in our country, with all the churches and mosques; prayers and fasting and still be suffering.
As you make efforts to change towards being better, become an implant by forming the habit of encouraging others. Always look for the good in everyone and in everything. Confucius said: “There is good in everything but not everyone sees it.” We encourage people by seeing their good qualities and we also help ourselves by looking for them.
We get back what we give out. We reap what we sow; it is what we plant today in our home, work place, school and environment that we will harvest in the future. I learned this, at least from experience, that there is no greater joy than to help others succeed.
Remember, the clever begins by changing the world, the wise change themselves. Be Wise. Be Better. Change your thought and change your world. What we think of ourselves matters a lot. So change the way you see Nigeria. See a new Nigeria, see greatness and so it shall be.
I am not saying it is going to be easy, I am simply saying it’s going to be worth it.
• Obinna is a writer, entrepreneur and motivational speaker keen on youth empowerment and development. He lives in Lagos. 0703 674 3043. •Emeh.email@example.com