by Nero Ughwujabo
A New Nigeria is possible – Progress is possible. But this does not happen by itself, we have to work on it by building a new vision for our Country; one that at its centre, is the citizens. I am reminded of a great quote:
A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more. – Rosabeth Moss Kanter
I am proudly Nigerian and this is not to ignore its challenges but a strong belief that my country can become something more. Let me start with the negatives so that we can get them out of the way – Nigeria is not perfect. Show me a country that is. What is wrong with Nigeria? The seemingly unending greed of its politicians; the endemic corruption; the ‘thugs’ and ‘agberos’ that crowd its public sphere pretending to be politicians when all they care about is self; inept and sub-consciously ignorant leaders (or non-leaders as the case may be); the incessant insecurity etc etc. They are all laid out for us to see and are discussed vastly across social media. I have also campaigned and agitated on these issues on numerous platforms, campaigning for change and leadership that is skilled and caring.
This aside, I love Nigeria. I do not push to brush the challenges that face us aside, rather, I want to encourage citizen action as one of the solutions to addressing them and to promote the role of citizens in nation building. Sometimes, the news coming out of our country is so negative and depressing, but we know that such news are not the totality of what Nigeria is. It is my view, that we need to flip the script and begin to embrace, celebrate and project some of what is positive about our nation. I believe that as citizens, we can help to uplift ourselves and inspire others to do the same, in a way that begins to build a new and motivational narrative. There are things we all love about Nigeria, I want to create an opportunity for all of us to share this with each other and with the world at large.
There is a great Nigerian saying that ‘No condition is permanent’; I believe this is true for Nigeria itself. We must look to a greater future, to a time when we would have faced down most of the challenges before us today. Walking in this direction is a challenge not just for government but for us as citizens, building new and better relationships with our various ethnic groups; strengthening what unites us rather than what separates; and working together to build the nation of our dream. To paraphrase the old President Kennedy quote; ask not what Nigeria can do for you, but what You can do. For starters, Keep Calm and Love Nigeria.