The popular saying, “be the change you seek”, has become more relevant to us as a people more than ever before. This is because Nigeria is undergoing reconstruction. There are people who never see anything good about Nigeria. To them, the synonym for the word worst is Nigeria. All what such people know how to do best is to blame everybody and the government for all the ills bedevilling Nigeria, except themselves. But they forget that whatever they desire to see on the outside starts from the inside –themselves!
Fellow Nigerians, to make Nigeria a better place is not left in the hands of the government or politicians alone. In fact, more rests with us the citizens. Yes, you heard me right! Because the change you’re expecting the government to effect will be limited if you are not willing and ready to change! Remember, “It takes two wings for a bird to fly.” However, the change I’m advocating here is not a mere slogan. Rather, the change I’m talking about is when you do or become what you want to see in Nigeria! It begins with you! If we are still having Egyptian mentality and expecting to get to the Promised Land of Canaan, then, we’re in the dream bed of futility! The seemingly insurmountable problems or ills you see in Nigeria are not the problem, but we yes, we are the problem! Why? Because of our negative attitudes!
Now, do you desire a clean and green environment? Then, you can be that change when you stop littering the environment around you! If you hate bribery and corruption, then, you, too, must not give or take bribe! If you want to see an orderly and disciplined Nigeria, of course, you must have to be orderly and disciplined in your daily conduct! That is how you can change Nigeria! You can only change Nigeria by altering the attitude of your mind! The great psychologist- philosopher, William James said, “the greatest discovery of my generation is that people can alter their lives [society/world] by altering their attitudes of mind.” So, whatever you’re obsessed with in Nigeria, that is what you’ve to process for change to happen!
My fellow youth of Nigeria, our country will not change until you change yourself! It is the picture you create in your mind that will determine the structure, culture and the future you see in Nigeria. We the youths can only boldly hold our leaders accountable when we’re accountable and responsible! The Nigeria you want to see is right there within you! All you have to do is to change your mindset or attitude toward Nigeria. Keith Harrell, author of Attitude is Everything, remarked, “It’s no secret that life seems to reward us most when we approach the world with positive attitude.” Charles Swindoll summed it up this way: The single most significant decision I can make on a daily basis is my choice of attitude…Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life [Nigeria]; the longer I live, the more I’m convinced that life is 10% what happens to us [how we see Nigeria] and 90 per cent how we respond to it [how we can change ourselves to improve Nigeria].
Dear friend, when once you are right, Nigeria will also be right! It’s not a big deal! You can do it! For instance, because I’m passionate and ‘desperate’ to want see a world (Nigeria) of people, especially the youths/teenagers living a morally balanced life, I’ve started a ‘revolution’ –I’ve been going to secondary schools to hold seminars for the students with the theme, ‘you can be a world changer!’ And by God’s grace, I’ve been able to mould thousands of young lives. If I, a struggling youth can do it, you, too, can do it! You don’t have to be in a position of authority or a celebrity before you can effect positive change in Nigeria. You can do it right where you are, with what you have. Yes, “Do not think of what your country [Nigeria] can do for you”, declared John F. Kennedy, “But think of what you can do for your country [Nigeria]!”
However, I’m not exonerating the government of its responsibilities toward us the citizens. In fact, they owe Nigerians non-negotiable good governance! But my emphasis is that we should, as a matter of urgency, quit the blame-game and start to live the life we want to see in Nigeria! And this we can do by always doing the right thing, no matter what it’ll cost us, even if nobody knows about it. Remember, character is who you are when no one’s looking!
A glance at history shows that sometimes, it takes one person (like you) to start a change process: Mahatma Gandhi did it! Martin Luther King Jr. did it! Nelson Mandela did it! Mother Teresa did it! Rosa Parks did it! Oprah Winfrey did it! Back home, Gani Fawehinmi did it! Professor (Adorable) Dora Akunyili did it! She was obsessed with fake drugs, corruption, dishonesty –she changed it by being the ‘change’ herself! Former President Goodluck Jonathan wanted to see a Nigeria of politics without bloodshed. He did it! –he conceded defeat!
Dear great youth, the world is anxiously waiting for you to start that needed change in Nigeria! The world wants to see a new you! “You don’t change your circumstances to improve your life”, said John Maxwell, “You change yourself to improve your circumstances [Nigeria].”
Till I come your way next time, may I leave with you the words of late John F. Kennedy: “Some [people] believe that there’s nothing one man or woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills…against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. Yet, many of the world’s greatest movements, of thoughts and actions, have flowed from the work of a single person.” And that single person could be you!
• Boussa is a speaker, writer and stress/time management coach. He writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. (08036600945; email@example.com)