‘Nigeria is not just your heritage, it is your legacy.’| Top talking points from @DebolaLagos’ #ThursdayTalksLagos chat

It is believed that ‘1 in every 3 Nigerians want to leave the country for foreign shores.’ To examine creative ways of stemming the disturbing trend, therefore, in lieu of the need for citizens to harness the power of their office, organisers of #ThursdayTalksLagos focused its November edition on Greener Pastures: “The Role of Citizens and Leaders in Nigeria.”

Group CEO, RED | For Africa and guest speaker, Adebola Williams at the panel moderated by Oluwamayowa Tijani of The Cable in providing answers to the question ‘Are there are greener pastures?’  noted that “the grass is only greener where it properly watered, manured and weeded regularly.”

‘Debola Lagos’ as he is popularly known bemoaned the fact that a lot of Nigerians compare their country to the first world at the slightest opportunity, forgetting that shanties exist in those climes. He further explained that a major distinguishing line between Nigeria and a number of countries around the world is the lack of and/or deplorable state of basic infrastructure and benefits.

We keep pointing fingers, forgetting other fingers are pointing at us

Reminding everyone present that there is a growing number of ‘Nigerians shinning in Nigeria,’ he urged them to look into the mirror and think beyond personal survival but communal survival noting that “until people start taking responsibility we will keep pointing fingers.”

Although he alluded to the fact that many a time, it would seem like the entire system in the country is set up against the ordinary Nigerian, he posed a question a to the audience, “If the system is set up against you; what are you doing to correct same?”

“Anywhere you are in the world, always remember that you are water to Africa. This will allow the grass to get greener, so you don’t meet a desert when you are back,” he said.

Leaders need to take the mandate of leaving a legacy serious

“It is difficult to build institutions with majority of politicians dominating the space. You need leaders who are reform-minded. People who want to take the job as an assignment they must pass.”

Popular Participation

On the issue of popular participation, he noted that it was important that Nigerians learned lessons from the last two general elections by believing in their convictions henceforth and look towards building blocks for a new movement.

He listed the number of weapons been used by the political class against citizens to include apathy, ignorance, corruption, ethnicity, religion amongst other things after which he charged Nigerians to use the #OfficeOfTheCitizen to:

a) Hold government accountable

b) Find bridge builders and convince the gatekeepers in government

c) Seek international support for the ideals and changes they desire to see.

Thursday Talks Lagos which holds on the last Thursday of every month is an initiative of Enough is Enough (EiE Nigeria); a network of individuals and organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability through active citizenship, The Future Project (TFP); a not-for-profit organisation committed to building empowered citizens across Africa, through (inclusive) enterprise and (active) citizenship and BudgIT; a civic organization that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change.

The initiative is proudly supported by YNaija, the internet newspaper for young Nigerians, focused on the issues and ideas that matter for an evolving generation.

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