Friday, January 04, 2013

Project 2013

Life is hard, but what is more, Nigerians almost seem to take pleasure in making it harder for themselves and others- D.J Smith

Happy New Year, People! It was about this time last year our president gave us his New Year gift. Thankfully there were no surprises this year.
I read the above stated quote in a book and it aptly describes us as Nigerians.
So what’s this post about? It is about decisions and actions.
An anthropologist describing the peculiarity of Nigeria’s state and value systems likens our attitude towards our “situation” - especially corruption, to a traffic jam. He writes“drivers aggressively attempt to circumnavigate the traffic, maneuvering between lanes, cutting off competing vehicles, driving on the shoulders and frequently even racing between oncoming vehicles in the opposite lane - all the while loudly cursing and condemning other drivers who resort to the same tactics. On public transportation, passengers exhort their drivers to take drastic measures to get them were they are going as fast as possible, even as they lament the whole spectacle.”   Chinua Achebe believes that Nigeria’s issue is solely a failure of leadership and that the “average Nigerian” has no opportunities to participate in corruption. I disagree.  Nigeria’s issue is both a failure of leadership and the average Nigerian.
This year, the average Nigerian has to refuse the option of doing nothing. We have to individually decide whether we want our nation to become better or not.
It starts from the little acts of civility, refusing to “show others we are in charge”- funny story, I watched a movie and the receptionist in the movie threatened to fire the cleaner-, doing our jobs the way we should, refusing to give a bribe or refusing to benefit from corruption. We should determine to hold ourselves to the same standards we hold others.
If everyone decides to be punctual to work; determines to be exceptionally productive; sells genuine products and do not rapaciously seek profits through inflated prices, our lives would be better and richer and we would gradually build our productive base.  A reason that’s being given for our lack of growth is that our productivity is low. It is common sense to note that doing things the right way equals to higher productivity.  Our collective productivity would accumulate over time and when it is honed to an appreciable degree, we progress to higher and better skills i.e we go from being competent to becoming brilliant. For instance, a project manager oversees a simple road construction project and it is done well- good drainages, quality asphalt, no potholes. Other things being equal, he learns that certain materials can be added to construction materials that would generate electricity.
It is time to leave the traffic jam mentality and aspire for a free expressway.  In past weeks we have witnessed the unfortunate consequences of inaction (read the air and road accidents those in government have been involved in). Everyone needs to rise up to the occasion and contribute his or her part to Nigeria’s progress – however little. These incidents do not have to occur before we act, as we should.  That ‘free expressway’ may take a while to achieve and the journey may not be smooth; it certainly is not utopia-. However, it is doable and in the long run, worth it.


1 comment:

  1. Whilst I agree that change begins with the individual, I also strongly believe that good leadership makes a whole lot of difference. In every great enterprise, leadership is required if the vision is to become reality. Think of any great thing that has been achieved, be it in nation building or innovation, leadership was pivotal to success. The Israelites were God's chosen people but He chose to give them a leader in the person of Moses because He knew the importance of leadership. There are many people in Nigeria with good intentions but they are being frustrated by our lack of leadership.