Loving people unconditionally is something I’ve always struggled with. Some people are just so difficult to love!!
But they are!!! Lol… Yes yes yes – including myself!
Arrogance has often been a major challenge; so too have pride, anger, and a tendency to be easily irritated.
I’ll stop there. No need to add any more.
Yep, that’s me – a few hundred miles away from ‘far from perfect’.
I recognised a while ago that a radical change is necessary.
A change of heart.
A change of mindset.
A change of attitude towards others.
Like many, I’ve done my fair share of agonising over Nigeria’s lack of progress; wondering how we’ll ever be able to overcome our seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
A few months ago I realised that contrary to the general notion that change must come from Nigeria’s governments and leaders, change must in-fact begin with me; and before you start pointing that trigger happy finger of blame at me – you too!
The average Nigerian has a natural tendency to love and protect.
However as a result of decades of erosion of both public utilities and public amenities, as well as an almost complete collapse of security, our nation has become one in which every man / woman is his or her own local government.
A direct consequence of this is our tendency to focus only on our own needs; our own house; our own plans; our own solutions, and so many other ‘our owns’.
One nil to the ‘blame the governments and our leaders’ division!!
But for how long can we continue to blame the government?
Is it the government’s fault that we continue to focus only on ‘self’?
Is it the government’s fault that we refuse to hold public officers accountable?
Is it the government’s fault that we are not able to unite in our pursuit of progress?
Is it the government’s fault that selfless love for one another has all but disappeared?
Is it the government’s fault that love and service to one another have been replaced with pride, arrogance and a rather oppressive nature?
To all the above I yell a resounding ‘NO, IT IS NOT!’
If we continue to believe that change must occur solely from the top then it shouldn’t come as a surprise if we find ourselves having this same conversation in fifty years time.
Well, maybe not me, as I’d be ninety, and will hopefully have moved on to greener pastures.
The change must surely come from you and me.
I’ve coined the phrase ‘being our brother’s keeper’ on more than one occasion recently. However I’ve never really explained what I mean by it.
Since we all live in the same country we may as well do our best to get along – help one another; support one another; encourage one another to be better – for the sake of others as well as ourselves.
Don’t for one second think that I’m a socialist.
Every man and woman has a right to be as successful as he or she wants to be.
However we should all have an equal opportunity to succeed – a free and excellent standard of education and healthcare; call it Welfare Capitalism if you like.
In a welfare capitalist society, whilst each and every person is encouraged to do the very best they can to succeed in life, there exists an underlying nature / foundation of love and service to one another; an environment in which we want every man and woman to be given equal opportunity to be as successful as they want to be – for the good of each other, the community, and the nation as a whole.
In such a society, the willingness to serve one another is paramount.
It is this distinct lack of willingness to serve one another that is holding us back.
It obscures our ability to think of others before ourselves.
It obstructs our desire to sacrifice our personal gains for the sake of our nation’s progress.
It enables us to conveniently ignore the plight of those in serious need.
To make matters worse, wherever you turn – whether the business environment, the media, church, or society at large, the same message is being projected –
‘Better Yourself’ – ‘Improve Your Lot’
Once again, I am fully in favour of people being the best they can be. But I’ve also come to the realisation that we urgently need to add ‘love’ and ‘service’ to our innate desires to succeed.
Is it too late for our generation to make amends????
It’s never too late to make amends.
Change must begin at some point, from somewhere.
If we can make a start, then at least we give our children something to build on.
A few months ago I wrote an article titled ‘Has God Turned His Back on Nigeria’.
God has definitely NOT turned His back on Nigeria.
He never has, and He never will.
We are the ones who seem to have unwittingly turned our backs on God.
By focusing way too much on money and ‘self’ rather than ‘love’ and ‘service’ to one another.
By systematically creating a formula based relationship with God.
By allowing pride and arrogance to rule over humility.
By promoting self interest as against selflessness.
I implore more churches to give greater significance and time to the importance of ‘selfless love’ and ‘service to one another’.
We ALL need it.
I know I certainly do.
But I digress. Sorry.
In order to positively change the course of a nation which, I believe, has always been destined for greatness, a change of heart is necessary.
I’ve just read what I’ve written so far and it’s quite clear to me that I’m restraining from what I really want to say.
Therefore, at the risk of sounding a little idealistic, here goes.
It doesn’t matter how well this or any other government does. So long as we continue to remain in a mindset of ‘take take take’ then we will never possess the jewel that every nation needs to truly prosper.
We need to be proud of one another; proud of our nation.
It is impossible for patriotism to grow in an environment where every man and woman is only interested in their own needs and goals; an environment in which we continue to expect governments to perform miracles and yet we ourselves are unwilling to play our own important and necessary roles.
Let’s break it down.
To grow a sense of patriotism in Nigeria we need to break out of the shackles of ‘self’ and develop an attitude giving. No – not money!
Giving in time – for one another
Giving in love – to each other and to those in need
Giving in terms of ideas – to improve our environment
Nigeria can progress extremely quickly.
But it needs a partnership between the government and the electorate to do so.
We ALL have a role to play.
This is why it is so important to use those talents that God furnished you with to serve Him and others first.
This is why it is so important for churches and mosques to focus on messages of love – for God and for each other.
Nigeria will not progress if we continue to preach messages of ‘self’.
So long as we continue to preach messages of ‘self’ then all that will happen is that we develop a fragmented society with lots of mini millionaires, lots of big millionaires, a few billionaires, and a whole lot of frustrated and unhappy people (including the millionaires and the billionaires!!).
Is this really what we want??
What is the point of having zillions of naira /dollars if you have no peace of mind?????
The bible says that ‘love’ never fails.
Let’s give it a go. We’ve tried everything else.
Isn’t it time we did something to show that we ALL love this country we call Nigeria???
It can be done in the most basic manner – so simple.
I mentioned this in an article several months ago but no one responded. I’ve decided that I will continue to do so until it gains momentum. If it doesn’t gain momentum I may look rather silly.
But you know what?!!
I don’t care!
What matters is that I tried.
Let’s choose a day in which we will all come out of our houses and hold hands, and then pray for 10 minutes. Please ensure you lock the door on your way out – and windows!
Everyone – both Christian and Muslim. We are all one. We are all stakeholders in Nigeria, and God loves ALL of us.
I have this vision of a day in which people are holding hands and praying for Nigeria and each other for ten minutes – on every street, in every community, in every state – throughout the whole country.
Asides from the monumental power of the prayers, can you imagine what such an action will do for love and unity in this country?!!
Can anyone out there see what I’m seeing????
It is on such foundations that unity is built.
It is by such acts that we begin to foster a mindset of being our brother’s keeper.
We are in this together – both government and the electorate.
It’s time for all of us to recognise that the future is in OUR hands.
The bible says that Love never fails.
Let’s give it a go.
Can anybody see what I’m seeing????