Opinion: 20 truths Nigerians must tell themselves

by Hemenseter Butu


President Jonathan is worse than his advisors. Anyone who believes that Goodluck Jonathan is a good man who’s just surrounded by “bad” people must be the most gullible and naive person ever. Who appointed the “bad” people? Who refuses to fire the “bad” people? Yep, there’s your answer.

Behold my 20 truthful opinions. Enjoy….

1. PDP won’t lose any election you wish they’d lose. They will only be voted out by you.

2. No country ever achieved good governance, unless the people demand it.

3. We need a revolution, albeit we need a bloodless one more, we need one regardless. This is 2014 and not a day passes by that DISCO or GENCO doesn’t tamper with my electricity supply. No day passes that a minor isn’t raped but our National Assembly made up of both PDP, APC, APGA etc lawmakers doesn’t care enough to do something. Roads are still relatively bad, the police still wrongfully arrest, assault and harass innocent citizens. Name it, it’s still happening and we are as usual doing “siddon look” (abi these days it’s “siddon tweet”).

4. President Jonathan is worse than his advisors. Anyone who believes that Goodluck Jonathan is a good man who’s just surrounded by “bad” people must be the most gullible and naive person ever. Who appointed the “bad” people? Who refuses to fire the “bad” people? Yep, there’s your answer.

5. There is time for everything. Time to rant and time to act. Time to petition and time to protest. Time to vote and time to protect those votes. Time to seek sustainable change and time to seek continuity….

6. Nigeria needs subsidies. Not in the form it was being offered and not necessarily for petroleum, but we do need them. Be it in form of agricultural inputs, unemployment benefits, manufacturing industry stimulus etc. European companies receive it and America subsidizes its indigenous businesses all the time. They are of course renamed to mitigate criticism but that’s just semantics.

7. You can quit your job (the one you hate), or your education and still be successful. My friend has a Bsc. Engr degree from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, but he is a professional goal keeper in the Nigeria Premier League. Likes of Bill Gates, Benson Idahosa, and Lawrence Ellison are sterling examples of this truth. This is mostly true for people who have guts and already developed skills, and for who their school/job has been a distraction, a hindrance if you will.

8. You need to leave your family house. Your parents need you, yes, but they need you out of there even more than they realize it sometimes. Some of us have responsibilities that make us feel it’ll be cruel to leave at some point. Parents know this and they use it to blackmail their children emotionally. But ask yourself: is it better to be an entrepreneur/worker who can afford to pay for services for your parents or to be home offering them those services yourself?

9. We all need to be computer literate. It is a truth we’ve been hearing for almost a decade plus now. Few act on it, still fewer who act actually gain computer skills that are truly indispensable in the market. Yet in the next few decades, computers will replace a lot of processes and only the literate will survive.

10. Failure is overrated. I’ve never been an absolute optimist, but I know one thing. Listening to people discourage me has always been the surest way to get something done. When they say it can’t be done, that is the very moment it is doable. Permit me to digress a little as I feel some people can relate to the point I’ll make.

When I was still a kid, I didn’t have the knack for playing adventure games on handheld consoles (Nintendo Gameboys® really). But it didn’t stop me, I’d play a difficult stage repeatedly, over and over and over for weeks till I cleared it. That was the way I knew to succeed, to fail till success came.

11. Hard work sadly isn’t overrated. In whatever form, be it thinking up strategic innovation or even laborious manual work, it will yield results that being lazy won’t.

12. There are new skills in the labour market. Some of those on your CV aren’t skills. Some of them are too ambiguous to even sell you which is what your CV should do. Some are needed for a banking job and not a para-military job, so change your CV before sending out. One solution doesn’t fit all in this case. Presentations like having “articulate skills, analytical skills, good interpersonal skills” don’t do you any good on your CV because of ambiguity. Try earning skills like “attention to detail” “thinking on your feet” and “ability to ask questions and share knowledge” etc These are skills everyone is looking to employ nowadays. Well everyone worth working for anyway.

13. Stop thinking 7 days ahead and start thinking 7 years. Don’t let anyone discourage you using the biblical saying that one shouldn’t worry about what one would wear or eat the next day. The same bible says God showed Joseph seven years into the future so he’ll store enough food to feed the world. Moreover being anxious and planning aren’t the same thing.

14. We cannot all be leaders. No matter from which perspective you look at it, it is next to impossible. Following is a necessary sacrifice. Sometimes it is an honour. However we can all be good and responsible followers who hold leaders accountable.

15. No matter how much faith we have in God it is not enough to make Nigeria better. Not unless we pray, fast, believe and ACT. Faith without deeds, like they say, is DEAD.

16. Some things are mutually exclusive; used in this context as a paraphrase for you can’t eat your cake and have it. The new age idea of “what is the essence of having my cake if I can’t eat it” is flawed. Of course you can eat your cake, just don’t expect to have it afterwards. For example, you can’t be a Pastor and still flirt with church members. You can’t avoid making difficult and/or pressured decisions all your life, then magically become a tremendously good leader or business man.

17. We are living in a fantasy called “potential”. Nigeria has huge potential, but that is just what it is………..potential. Other countries, Israel, Mauritius and Singapore have less but they are hitting targets regardless. Every now and then, a western figure makes an ego massaging statement of how Nigeria is positioned just rightly to grow or how Africa is waiting on Nigeria to kick start some economic revolution and we are satisfied, quoting it at every chance we get, like kids do to nursery rhymes. While in reality, It’s like holding a huge catapult drawn at for 53 years plus and expecting the walls of Jericho to fall.

18. The most important part of any idea is how to fund it. We all have ideas, some of us have a really cool ideas. Fewer of us have that one idea that will be a global hit. The one problem across board is access to funds. This is made even more difficult because we live on the other side of the Atlantic. Nonetheless, drawing investors is the only way to drive a project. So when you plan that breath taking idea, always factor in how to sell it, or you only have yourself to blame, plus the society is already how it is. It won’t change just so your idea can be executed.

19. Assumption is an evil spirit. It’s right up there with procrastination and laziness.

20. Finally, a well known truth: “To thine own self, be true”. By all means lie to save your skin like Abraham did about Sarah to the King of Egypt. Lie to your children to keep them from panicking in the face of danger. Lie on your CV to secure that job, you’ll learn on it. Lie to win that contract, the next bidder probably will if you don’t. But never…ever lie to yourself. This truth sadly cannot be over-emphasized.



Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail