By Abayomi Ogundiya

We say to them; “without you there is no us”, when, in fact, without us there should be no them.

Recently, I saw a promo on television. It read: it is better to vote for something you want and not get it than for you to vote for what you do not want and get it. (However a paraphrased version, it captures the exact sense of what was communicated). First thing I thought was: what is the difference? If you chose something and you did not get it, what did you get? Apparently, you got what you did not want, or even worse – nothing. And if you, for whatever reason, chose something you did not want and you got it, you still got the same thing – what you don’t want. Now, it’s amazing that these guys will say to our faces that we have no choice but to receive whatever they decide to give us, regardless of our rights and entitlements.

Why do we have to choose between a greater and lesser evil? Why do we have so many political parties and only two Presidential candidates (all the rest are just escorts to the polls – do you even know who they are?)? Why should we have a country filled with intelligent people numbering in the millions and yet we can’t produce good leaders? Why do our cries land on deaf ears? It’s simple, because one man was never meant to depend on another for his progress in life. And every time we cry to the people in leadership, we tell them that our fate is in their hands. Every time we entreat them as though they were our benefactors, even though most of them have enriched themselves corruptly with our abundance. We say to them; “without you there is no us”, when, in fact, without us there should be no them.

As long as we lift up our eyes to political leaders for progress in our society and personal lives, so long shall we remain at their mercy. Our paradigm must shift. We must recognize that the responsibility and indeed the power to build our nation lie in our hands. It is only when we arise to our responsibilities as citizens that we can have sufficient power to challenge a corrupt leadership. A Yoruba proverb, loosely translated says, if you haven’t taken a hold of the sword, you mustn’t ask how your father died lest you die like your father.

Rather than emitting worthless cries, we must arise and build capacity individually and collectively. We must work towards becoming people who can influence the nation positively. We must determine to be that generation of Nigerians who finally changed the nation rather than just complain. We must arise and build the economy of OUR nation by building legitimately prosperous companies and enterprises. We must reform OUR educational system by building excellent institutions, not for fortune or glamour or social divide, but to invest in our future – our children. We must stamp out corruption from OUR nation by personally refusing to be a part of it. We must keep Nigeria clean by personally refusing to litter it. We must do what we can. WE MUST BE ACTION ORIENTED! What are you DOING to make Nigeria a better nation?

We are fortunate to live in a time in the history of our great nation, Nigeria, where an imminent change for progress into true nationhood, cohesion and prosperity is upon us. This change that I speak of will not be delivered to us by a political party but by our own diligence to attain all that we could but we haven’t yet. Every great person and nation was forged out of a crucible of great trials. When the night seems darkest, the day is about to break. Our challenges will not kill us, they, like the furnace heat reveals the true beauty of gold; will cause our true beauty to be revealed. On what side of history will you be? Will you be among those that contributed to the nation’s progress or among those who betrayed her by their actions? Will you be among those who folded their arms and did nothing? Where will your place in history be? You decide! I believe that if we all built our capacity and did what we could, we would soon have the Nigeria of our dreams. So stop the worthless cries, and do something! When we all do, it’ll be easy to deal with defaulters, even those in government.

Abayomi Ogundiya is the founder and CEO, SLIMIC Publishers and lead Strategist at TENARC, a non-governmental organization. He is a social entrepreneur and nation builder, an insightful speaker and thought leader, a prolific writer and published author. Having led in various capacities, he is well respected for his ability to help people put together their innate resources to achieve worthy goals.
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