If we want a better tomorrow, we must decide not to wait and rot on the promise of others but to take today, invest it and by ourselves make tomorrow what we desire it to be.
For Nigeria, whether or not it stands a chance of being a desirable place to live in the next 10 years and beyond, has ceased to be what the Nigerian government can make happen. Going by that reality, I am increasingly convinced that the future of our country lies in the hands of private citizens in the immediate short term and government in the long term. I will explain.
The future they promised us yesterday is not the picture we have today. The reality we were promised yesterday is far from the life we live today. Power, roads, housing remain dreams even for the rich in our midst. In some 50 years or so, our governments have shown that they are best at failing and better at just making promises. Remember the newspaper caption about Black Outs being a thing of the past by the end of 1986? I was two years old at the time and here I am writing about that same promise and things are actually worse today.
We cannot continue to provide the same answers to the same questions we have failed at for half a century. The answers to our national questions must now be provided by regular citizens, active regular citizens. If we want a better tomorrow, we must decide not to wait and rot on the promise of others but to take today, invest it and by ourselves make tomorrow what we desire it to be. We must use all the tools available to us and look to engage new ones. The revolution I seek is not that of guns and bullets, it is not that of blood and death, it is the revolution of minds and the renewing of hearts. If as a people, we individually and collectively change ourselves, our society will change. As long as we have more bad citizens, we will always have more bad public office holders.
Imagine if all the Christians, the genuine ones and all the Muslims that just finished fasting chose to be better citizens. Imagine the numbers that troop to the Mosque and Church for prayers. Imagine if they chose not to drop their toga of holiness at the gates of the worship centres and brought same to the secular Nigeria. Imagine that revolution. Our major challenge is that the bad ones amongst us make the news more than the good ones. They are also able to come together to achieve their common ends. This can change.
Beyond what efforts like #SaveOke #SaveGeorge #DanaCrashAction #SaveMeka and #SaveFunmi have achieved, there is something in here that shows that the coming together of seemingly ordinary citizens like most of us, can make change happen. If we are all focused on achieving a common end as Nigerians that care about birthing a new order, nothing can stop us. We need to build systems and institutions around our ideas/efforts to make them self sustainable and much more effective. The Green Deal Nigeria project is another effort to help drive entrepreneurial change that’d eventually force the hands of government to either replicate the successes of citizens or make policies available that’d help guarantee the sustainability of these efforts. If we are able to solve our common problems by ourselves, we can then begin to believe that we can do better than those at the helm. Until then, it is the difference between six and a dozen; we’d be no different from the people we believe are the cogs in the wheel of our national progress.
There is a time for everything, there is a time to carry placards and run on the streets to force the hands of government and there is also a time to lead where we are and show government how to do it. It is not even enough to write about solutions, it is time to solve problems even by ourselves. As citizens, we have achieved a lot without government and we can do more. Of a truth, we are good people and we can indeed make our nation great.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.