Monthly Archives: June 2012

Do We Care Enough

We have to seize our country back

Nigeria belongs to us. It’s time to seize it back from the hands of an uncaring, greedy and corrupt group of people .

Nigeria belongs to the people of Nigeria.

We have shut our eyes to the oppression and atrocities that are committed on a daily basis for too long. By doing absolutely nothing we have cooperated with a crude, vulgar and selfish political class to further our own oppression.

I want you to ask yourselves this question.

‘What have any of the governments of the past 30 years given us in terms of public and basic utilities?

Do we have stable and reliable electricity?

Do we have clean running water?

Do we have security?

Do we have any semblance of good public education?

Do we have reasonable healthcare?

Once again I want to make it very clear that I am not, and never will be an advocate of any kind of violent uprising.

What I am advocating is the active but peaceful use of our power as the electorate.

A government cannot govern without the consent of the electorate. It is NOT possible.

My primary concern right now is not actually about how and whether or not we can hold governments accountable. Trust me, in a country in which the electorate is politically and socially awake that is actually not a big deal at all.

My primary concern is whether or not we actually care. Do we actually care what happens to Nigeria? Or do we only wake up for a few days from our seemingly permanent slumber when disaster strikes? You may think I’m sounding a little harsh but I want us all to ask ourselves the following questions.

1. How many air disasters has Nigeria had in the last twelve years?

2. How did we as a nation react to each one?

3. How long did our anger last?

4. What did we as a people do about it?

5. What happened in the long run?

The answers to the above questions tell me one thing and one thing alone.

The answers tell me that WE are the ones to blame for these disasters; not the government or the aviation sector.

Just like the national strike in January we blew a lot of hot air, only to quietly return to our normal day to day affairs soon afterwards. Why? Because we simply don’t care enough.

Note – I’ve only focussed on air disasters here. There’s a lot more that happens on a daily basis that doesn’t even make it to the front pages of the newspapers.

What we have in Nigeria, as a result of uncaring and incompetent governments is a country in which every man is his own local government. In other words, each of us has our own ‘back up’ to all public services. As a result of government after governments’ inability to provide basic public services to its people we long ago decided to simply look after ourselves.

The result is a country in which it’s people have next to zero patriotism. Everyone is focussed on sorting themselves out. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a criticism. Indeed I am exactly the same. I just want us all to be very clear about what we are dealing with here.

It is time to stop blaming the government.

For decades we blamed our former colonial masters.

Today we have shifted the blame to the government.

Citizens of Nigeria – WAKE UP!!!

The fault is ours. It has been for years.

I repeat – no government can operate without being given the authority to do so by the electorate.

So, first of all we need to test our patriotism.

Do we care enough about each other and about Nigeria?

The truth is that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out the solutions to Nigeria’s problems.

But there is no point in offering solutions to a people that do not care enough.

Therefore we need to test our love for our country.

I suggest we have an ‘I love Nigeria day.’

We will keep this very simple.

1. This day will be a day in which we show love and service towards each other.

How?

Do something loving for at least one person. No – not your spouse, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, family member or friend.

Do something loving for someone you’re not that close to; or someone you don’t even know.

2. It will be a day in which we all fly the National flag on our cars and in front of our homes.

3. It will be a day on which residents on every street will come out at 10.55am, hold hands along a straight line and pray for our country
at 11am for just 5 minutes. I am talking about both Christians and Muslims. We must stand together as one in a show of love for our country and for each other.

I suggest that ‘I love Nigeria Day’ should be a Saturday.

The simplicity of ‘I love Nigeria Day’ is what makes it most effective. It is a simple way in which to show that we do still care about one another. In my view if we as a people cannot unite to do this then there is no foundation on which to build anything from.

It is a test of love

It is a test of unity

It is a test of whether or not we actually care.

If you agree with this then I want you to forward this article to as many people as you can.

I believe we do still care.

But I want us all to be sure of it before going further.

If we can successfully work together to make this day happen then we will all know for sure that we are united in our desire for a better Nigeria and hence ready for the next stage.

Little Steps and Giant Leaps

Judging from the responses to the article ‘Has God turned His back on Nigeria?’ I think I can safely say that we all agree that God has definitely Not turned His back on Nigeria.

It seems therefore that the blame for Nigeria’s failings lie squarely at the feet of Nigerians.

By Nigerians I refer to two sets of people.

1. Those that have abused and continue to abuse their positions of power and leadership for personal gain.

2. We, the electorate that continue to pray and worship, and yet refuse to take ownership and responsibility for our dear country. Please don’t get me wrong. I love my God very much, as I’m sure you all do. This is in no way a criticism of christians or muslims, or any other religion for that matter. But can I honestly put my hand on my heart and say that I have not shied away from my responsibility as a Nigerian Citizen in the past? I think not.

Before going any further I want to remind us all of something very important.

The reason president Jonathan is so secure in his seat right now is because for the first time in decades millions of Nigerians went out to vote. After falling for the hype surrounding President Jonathan and our ‘fresh start’ millions of us, myself included, went out and voted for him. Yes, I’m sure that rigging occurred in some areas. But overall I think it is quite fair to say that he won the election pretty fairly. This is the reason his position is both secure and credible right now. We voted him in. Regardless of our opinion of his performance so far, we gave him the credibility and authority to govern.

So where does the power really lie?!!

Real power lies in the hands of the electorate.

Real power lies in the hands of you and me.

By ownership and responsibility I am talking about two things in particular.

1. Love and service to one another

What I am about to say next is not mumbo jumbo. It is not supposed to make us feel good about ourselves. It is not intended to get us excited. On the contrary, my hope is that what I’m about to say will make us all pause, think, decide and commit.

You and I are not here by chance. We all have certain talents that we have been blessed with. We didn’t earn it. We didn’t buy it. We were born with it. Our creator gave them to us. Those talents that you possess are not for your glory and personal gain. They are to be used to love and serve others. They are to be used in order to fulfil whatever our God given purpose on this earth is.

If we can ALL dedicate ourselves to using our talents to fulfil our purpose, Nigeria will make giant leaps in a very short space of time. To each of us, what we do individually may seem like small and irrelevant steps. But put all our steps together and they become giant leaps.

However, so long as we all continue to use our talents for the pursuit of personal gain and personal security, Nigeria doesn’t stand a chance. Why? Because so long as we continue doing this our focus and attention will never be on what truly matters, and Nigeria will continue to be governed by people with personal and selfish agendas.

A couple of days ago I was discussing the issue of living in Nigeria with a very dear friend of mine. He was fed up with Nigeria and was considering moving oversees with his family. I told him that I fully understand how he feels (I really do). But I also asked him to ask himself and God what his purpose in life is. I told him that if his purpose in life lies in Nigeria then he Cannot and Must Not jump ship. But that if his purpose in life is not in Nigeria then he should feel free to get out as soon as possible.

Each of us has a God given purpose in life. For some, that purpose is in Nigeria. For others it is somewhere else.

For those of us that know that our purpose is in Nigeria, it’s time to stop the procrastination; it’s time to stop fearing what others may say or think; it’s time to stop allowing the past to hold us back.

Remember – it is Not about you.

It is about those around you.

It is about our country.

It is about our children’s children.

I said this yesterday, and I’ll say it again now. Do we really want a future in which our children’s children are forced to dwell in foreign lands with no identity?’

Pledge

I recently made a pledge to myself. I pledged to myself that I will use the talents that God has blessed me with to fulfil His purpose for me. God’s will is for His kingdom to reign on earth. Therefore I know that so long as I am focussed on achieving His purpose for me I am also playing my part in God’s good and perfect will for Nigeria.

2. Holding governments at all levels accountable

I have no idea who the councillors of my local government are. I have no idea who the chairman of my local government is. In-fact I have no idea which political party forms my local government. This stark reality is rather sad. It’s sad for me, and even sadder because I have no doubt that there are so many more like me out there. One of the biggest reasons that we continue to experience bad governance in Nigeria is because we continue to allow the wrong people to be selected. Note – not elected. They are so easily selected because the only people that can ensure transparency, fairness and credibility (you and me) have decided to completely abandon and ignore the political process. So long as we continue to ignore the political process we will continue to have the wrong people in government.

Let’s not allow the words ‘but this is Nigeria’ to enter our minds. Yes, this is Nigeria. Yes, the political system is fraught with corruption, violence, deceit and rigging. But the change must start from somewhere.

I’m sure the words ‘but this is America’ may have filtered into the minds of black liberation and civil rights activists in America in the 1960s. But they didn’t allow those words to deter them. They didn’t allow intimidation and oppression to deter them. They kept their faith. They kept hoping, and the kept going in their fight against racial inequality and oppression. They paved the way for Barack Obama to become America’s first black president.

The change must begin with us. Politicians will only start to behave when they realise that the have to. The right people will start getting elected only after we start making it a lot more difficult for the wrongs ones to be selected.

Pledge

I’ve decided to make three pledges to myself.

1. I will find out who and of what political and social bearing my local government is; then find out whether or not it is actually doing anything.

2. I will register as a member of a political party by December 2012.

3. I will inform and teach people about the power of the electorate as often as I can.

I believe that we all need to make personal pledges and commitments with regards to our various roles in the future of this nation. I hope this article inspires you to make your own personal pledges.

The future prosperity or otherwise of our country is up to us; whether or not each of us is willing to play our God given role, using our God given talents to help our beloved Nigeria to fulfil her potential.

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Many of us cannot grasp the magnitude of loss and despair that those who lost loved ones during the last few days will be feeling right now. we can only pray for God to comfort and strengthen them. Let us pray fervently for them this week.

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HAS GOD TURNED HIS BACK ON NIGERIA?

During the past twenty four hours a few people have expressed their opinion that as a result of an immoral and corrupt polity, as well as an unprincipled and lawless society, God has turned His back on Nigeria.

We Cannot, We Must Not allow ourselves to even entertain such a thought. It is exactly what the devil wants us to think. Yes, we may have leaders that do not care about the state of this nation; leaders who only care about the amount in their bank accounts; but at the end of the day unless we the electorate have a significant change of heart then we have no-one to blame but ourselves.

We are the ones that continue to allow bad leaders to govern us. What real difference is there between those of us that refuse to stand up for our rights and make governments accountable for their poor level of performance because we are too scared of what we might lose out on financially, and those in positions of power who cut corners in order to maximise their profits. Not much difference in my view.

Until we, the electorate finally learn that good governance and long lasting success is actually in OUR hands we will continue to be tossed and turned like kippers on a barbecue. The blame does not lie with God. He definitely has Not turned his back on Nigeria. He is crying for us to wake up from our slumber and selfishness. He wants us to elect the best people into government, in order for us to enjoy the awesome resources he blessed us with.

“Don’t be deceived my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above..”

James 1 vs 17

Oil is not a curse. God blessed Nigeria with oil. He blessed us with minerals. He blessed us with agriculture. He blessed us with natural gas. He blessed us with practically everything.

It is the greed and selfish nature of man that has let this country down. Not God.

It is up to us, the electorate, as to whether or not we want to continue like this. We had a great opportunity to significantly change the attitude of this government in January. But, unlike other countries that have made significant breakthroughs, we were not willing to pay the price – myself included.

Take a look at the history of countries that have made significant breakthroughs in governance and freedoms in the last one hundred years. Somewhere along the line a heavy price was paid by someone, a group of people or a particular region.

I’m sure the Israelites often felt that they were cursed whilst in captivity and bondage in Egypt. However within days of God taking them out of Egypt many were grumbling, believing that it would have been far better to continue living in bondage in Egypt than to be walking in the wilderness, despite the fact they were on their way to the promised land of milk and honey. Here lies the crux of the matter. Many of us would rather continue to wallow in a cycle of bad and corrupt governance than risk the dangers of saying ‘enough is enough.’

It’s up to us. Do we want to continue with ‘better the devil you know?’ Or is it time to say ‘enough is enough?’

This is not a message of violent revolution. It is a message of taking responsibility and holding people accountable. We simply have to start holding our governments accountable. We cannot continue to think that whatever we do won’t make a difference. It WILL make a difference; even if you cannot see or fathom it.

A man taking his dog for a walk along a beach littered with thousands and thousands of star fish noticed a young boy picking up each star fish one by one and throwing them back into the water.

“Young man, what are you doing? There are thousands of them. What difference do you think you’ll make?”

The young boy picked up another star fish, threw it in the water and said “it will make a difference to that one.”

Let’s ensure that the right people are elected into government. Then hold them accountable. It is not too late. We can still turn this country around.

We cannot afford to give up on Nigeria. We cannot afford the very real possibility of our children’s children dwelling in foreign lands with no identity.

God has not turned His back on Nigeria. He still loves us very much. But He has, and will always be a God of free will.

To truly enjoy God’s love we have to start loving ourselves.

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ASK NOT WHAT GOD CAN DO FOR YOU BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR GOD

‘ Who ever does not love does not know God, because God is love’.
1 John 4 vs 8

Many of us have aims, objectives and desires for this year, which we have been fervently praying about. I am sure that so long as our prayers are in line with His will, God has already answered them.

So, today I want us to forget what we want and focus on what God wants.

‘Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the river Euphrates – all the Hittite country – to the Great sea on the west’. Joshua 1 vs 4

God wants us to seize territories for him by spreading His love, His light and His way. ‘Territories’ does not only refer to land – but also industries, sectors, governance, economies, and much more.
 

Ask Him
‘in what way do you want me to extend your kingdom’.

He will show you, because such a prayer is in line with His will.

Spend more time praising, worshipping and thanking God. As you do this He will show you how you are to specifically serve His kingdom.

Those gifts and talents that are so peculiar to you were given to you specifically to enlarge God’s kingdom on earth.

Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God.

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