Going through the online news media in an attempt to stay abreast of what is happening back home, I was glad when I read our President had launched the “Change Begins with Me” campaign. Oh Finally! We have decided to implement what change really is, I said. I have always said in a few of my writings and discussions with friends on issues like this that the true change we need is a change of the mind – a change in how we think and do things. Every other change will only end up in total failure if we do not change our mentality as Nigerians.
So many people have called for revolutions but can’t seem to find who to lead it even on Google. They only fail to see the truth that the revolution that is easily comes to mind is not what we need as most of the time such revolution only replaces a bad ruler with a bad ruler. Nothing really changes but the name of the incumbent. The revolution we need is a revolution of the mind, This is the only way we can achieve what we need. Change our thinking, and change our character and change our future.
While we all expect our leaders to be good and saintly, we tend to forget that our leaders are not imported and are a product of the society we are in. A society where primary school kids cheat for grades, where the police are corrupt and where everybody believes in doing things the wrong way. We are always looking to play a fast one on the next person. Our selfishness is what has brought us this far. It is all about me, I can have it all, survival of the fittest. The don’t dull yourself mentality, you have to be sharp thinking etc. I am not saying anything is wrong literally with these but we have applied most in the wrong manner and it is what affects us till date. Simply put, we try to do the impossible – eating our cake and having it. We are not ready to pay the price and yet want to enjoy the prize. We want the freedom but deny the responsibility. We simply need to change.
I once had a little initiative I pushed with a friend for a while, It is called My Character Counts Initiative and our goal was to cause change in our country Nigeria one person at a time. One of our favorite sayings at MCCI is “Everybody does it doesn’t make it right.” Popularity is not a measure of good. Most of the time, bad habits gain more popularity rapidly relative to good habits. However, it is our duty to ensure we consciously ensure good becomes popular as that is the only way we can have a better society.
I laud the initiative of our President but fear for its success. However, I remain hopeful and assured that even if it’s only able to reach 5% of the population it can be considered a success which we can build on as we progress; afterall Rome wasn’t built in a day. I will also like to drop a few points that I believe will also help achieve some success.
- I will suggest some citizenship education in all primary schools and secondary school up to JSS 3. The purpose of the education is to prepare the young generation to be good citizens and prepare for them a very good foundation that will be difficult to destroy as they grow. While in higher institutions we can have varieties of clubs and groups that are focused on preaching the values of being a good citizen.
- A good way to start will be teaching and enlightening people on the six pillars of character:
- Trustworthiness: Integrity is something you either have or you don’t. Teaching people to be trustworthy goes a long way in fighting our institutionalized corruption.
- Respect: This is very important as a lack of it has formed the bedrock of most of the problems we do have. A good example are our inter-ethnic and religious clashes that never ends. If only a group respects the other group and I respect you and vice versa. Our troubles will not end.
- Responsibility: People have to be taught to be responsible for their actions. You can’t take what belongs to others and expect to walk free. The fact that there’s always a consequence for every action or inaction should be instilled in everyone.
- Fairness: If only we will all be fair in the treatment of each other. Someone will not take the allocation meant for two million people and make it his/her own. We need to let people know it pays to be fair and evil not to be.
- Caring: We need to learn to love and care for each other, properties and for the environment. If we cared for each other especially the aged and people with disabilities our society will be a better place. If we cared for our properties (private and public) we will have a better society with its beauty very visible to the eyes.
- Citizenship: The fact that everyone has to be a good citizen cannot be overemphasized and it encompasses all the other pillars.
I wish our President and all my fellow Nigerians the best and the success of this Drive for Change. Looking forward to a better country that we all will be proud to call our own. I am a proud Nigerian and believe in a new Nigeria.