Opinion: Sentiments have never built a developed nation

by Bobby Udoh

The essential first step to the building of a developed Nigeria is that you and I accept responsibility for Nigeria.

So far this year, we have witnessed so many events that have stirred deep sentiments amongst the majority of Nigerians. From the fuel hike protest, to the various Boko Haram killings, to the Jos killings, to the recent Mubi killings, to the huge flooding, to our 52nd independence anniversary, to the Bakassi handover, to the Dana Air crash, and to the recent jungle killings at the University of Port Harcourt community. May comfort and healing come to the surviving victims, and to the families of those who died. But all these are signs of our underdevelopment as a nation and people.

It is true that the calamities and the casualties are rampant and rightfully, citizens have raised their voice. But it is also true that just the expression of these sentiments have not and will not build our nation.

For all our sentiments, Nigeria remains underdeveloped and doesn’t even qualify to be called a developing nation because she is not moving forward. Until we convert these sentiments into concrete actions, these stark realities and the response they are meant to generate from us will continue to elude us. The outcome will be the continuous underdevelopment of our nation (that is, more calamities).

Every developed nation and those who are developing follow a particular path and that is a critical mass of citizens who have committed their thoughts, words and actions to the building of their nation. To them, the work of nation-building is not a task left to those in government but primarily that of the citizens of whom the government officials (past, present & future) originate from.

Putting aside our sentiments, what must you and I do to build a developed Nigeria?

We Must Study

This is the mindset phase which is critical to transform us from our current mindset that has made our nation remain underdeveloped.

To study we must:

Accept Responsibility: The essential first step to the building of a developed Nigeria is that you and I accept responsibility for Nigeria. We may not be responsibility for how she came to her current state but for us to create a better future we must take ownership (responsibility). We can only change what we own. Let the failure of government and her agencies be ours; let the violent killings of Nigerians by terrorist and armed robbers be our pain; let the untrained child & adult be our burden; let the death of so many Nigerians due to poor medical facilities cause us to cry out; etc.

Undertake a Review: We do need to ask ourselves why we need a developed Nigeria, why it has to be us, and what values we must hold to do this. Accepting responsibility provides the willingness but the review provides the assessment of our motives and purpose which will result in the resetting of our values.  The review phase is the soul searching within to produce a people not only willing & committed but also with a full awareness of why we need to change and the sacrifice it entails.

Identify our Area of Focus: All sectors of our nation are in a state of emergency (including Faith or religion) because of our underdevelopment. But we all have different passions and areas that most burdens us. Using that knowledge, we must identify areas we can initiate & sustain change using our specific God-given gift, skills, experience and resources. We must ask questions like what am I good at? What do I love doing? What needs can I serve? What is life asking of me? What gives my life meaning and purpose? What do I feel I should be doing?

Draw up a Plan: At this stage we take our thoughts & desires and put them into a plan of action with timelines. An efficient & effective action plan reflects a thorough study phase and also it ensures we can have an effective Practice.


We Must Practice

This is the action phase and its effectiveness is dependent on how much work we’ve put into the mindset (study) phase.

Launch Initiatives: The first type of initiative is the pioneering initiative and this is making the opening move, leading the way, in an activity. It does not necessarily mean doing something never done before but starting an action to address a specific problem or harness a new opportunity. It could be a business (like a new power solution), research (like malaria vaccine), invention (like new & cheaper building material in place of cement), social work (like homes for HIV patients), advocacy group (like anti-corruption group), political movement (like a new political party), etc.

The second initiative is the participating initiative and that is participating in an existing activity. It could be general activities such as paying taxes, punctuality, observing traffic rules, participating in the electoral process as a voter, candidate or party member, participating in the activity of a charity/foundation/advocacy group as a volunteer, participating in an enterprise or business that will address a national issue, etc.

Sustain Our Momentum: Initiative is focused on taking the first step while momentum is focused on sustaining that step and giving it more pace and scope.

Leadership expert, John Maxwell, puts it best, “A train travelling 55 mph on a railroad track can crash through a 5-foot thick steel-reinforced concrete wall without stopping. That same train, starting from a stationary position, won’t be able to go through an inch-thick block in front of the driving wheel”. This illustrates the power of momentum.

Momentum produces people who see less problems but more possibilities; they focus less on the past but more in the present & future; they gain confidence from results so far, which then leads to more creativity, can-do attitude, discipline, teamwork, increased passion, sense of fulfilment and courage to launch new initiatives. In effect, momentum turns ordinary Nigerians doing ordinary things to great Nigerians doing great things.

As part of practice, we must initiate and sustain the culture of reading, to update our knowledge, give fresh insight, and to keep us humble. We must invest sufficient time into reading books, journals, and blogs to enable our continuous personal, faith and professional development.



Only a developed Nigeria will significantly reduce the calamities we witness amongst every day and to achieve that, a huge demand will be placed on our resources (time and money). Hard work remains the key ingredient for success and that is what is required of us. It is therefore time we cut back time spent at religious, sporting & other leisure events and pour more time into the continuous study and practice of nation-building, as only this will guarantee the development of our nation.

So I ask you, what would you do to guarantee that Nigeria becomes a developed (free, just and secured) nation?


Bobby Udoh is a nation-building evangelist, passionate blogger, impact public speaker and trainer. His book ‘Nation-building: How to build and sustain a developed Nigeria’ is a must read for every Nigerian who desire a developed Nigeria.


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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