By Pastor Sunday Adelaja
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Having grown up in Africa myself, I know for a fact that arriving late for work, appointments, schools, classes, lectures, meetings, and churches is the order of the day. I don’t know of your experience, but in my experience, it is normal for people to come to meetings 3 hours late, even if we take only one hour as the average that would still give us a staggering statistics in negative economic effect.

If we open the eyes of our people to understand the value of time, it is unbelievable what effect that is going to have on the economy.

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”- Thomas A. Edison

Please carefully follow my reasoning below:

  • If every major meeting starts an hour late in Nigeria, when an hour is valued at 10 USD.

  • If 40 million Nigerians are late just for 1 hour a day, to work or appointments,

  • That will equal 400 million USD a day lost to lack of the value of time.

  • I assume 40 million will be the number of able bodied Nigerians of a working age in the minimum.

  • If we assume people go late to meetings 3 hours a day instead of one hour in a day,

  • At the same value of 10 USD, then the 400 million USD should be multiplied 3 times, making it 1.2 billion USD in a day, lost to lack of one single value – time.

  • Please notice that an average Nigerian worker might actually be able to produce a product worth more than 10 USD an hour.

  • The amount could actually be equal to how much we make from oil at the end of the day if we take this seriously enough.

  • If we lose 1.2 billion USD a day, in the case each of our workers loses 3 hours daily to vanity like lateness, jokes, gossip, empty talk, sleep on duty, social media etc.

  • If we have 20 working days in a month, and we lose 1.2 billion a day

  • That would translate to 1.2 billion x 20 days = 24 billion USD lost monthly to lack of value for time. Please think about it now.

  • If working months in Nigeria are only10 months due of the holidays,

  • That comes to 24 billion x 10 = 240 billion USD a year.

  • For your information, our GDP is only 2 times that amount at 510 billion USD.

Some might argue that a Nigerian worker does not make 10 dollars an hour. Maybe, but I would like to encourage you to do your own math and put any figure you want, it would still amount to a huge chunk of our GDP lost to vanity, frivolity, purposelessness, futility and ineffectiveness.

“Work hard, and you will have a lot of food; waste time, and you will have a lot of trouble.” Proverbs 28:19

When I talk about 10 USD an hour, I am not talking about the take away salary of the worker, I am talking about the total amount of the gross product a worker in Nigeria is capable of producing. Even though he might end up taking away just 1 USD of that as his salary, the amount of product produced is still relevant to the economy, because that is what results in the sub total amount of any nations GDP.

You could say, NO! People are never 3 hours late in a day. Well, my calculation is, considering the fact that somebody might be 1 hour late to work, another 1 hour late to church and yet another 1 hour late to an appointment same day. 3 meetings produce 1 hour lateness each, meaning 3 hours lateness in a day.

If you think it is not as bad in your own community, ok, that is good! But the point still remains, I encourage you to go ahead and calculate whatever number of hours you think people in your area waste due to just the factor of lateness. You must however pay attention to the fact that we don’t only lose time to lateness. We also lose time to jokes, gossip, empty talks, sleep on duty, social media etc.

A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.”

- Charles Darwin
Most Nigerians will agree with me that this is a conservative estimation. I have personally witnessed when Nigerian government officials, spend nothing less than an hour in observing protocols, introducing all kinds of dignitaries instead of using the time for active productivity.

We all must repent, we all must change our attitude to time. From the top government functionaries to the man on the street. From the University Professors to primary school teachers. From PHD students to primary school pupils. We need a total change in our attitude to time. This alone will propel our nation and continent to the league of advanced countries of the world.

My fellow Nigerians, can you imagine that we were able to build the 26th largest economy in the world without the right attitude to time? What a colossal amount of resources we are not yet tapping into in our quest for development. Just this quality of right attitude to time could perform wonders for our economy. If we bring that to play together with the fight against corruption, which I spoke about in my previous article, we could build one of the greatest nations on earth.

In addition to that if we manage to harness the potential of our diaspora, Nigeria would indeed become a nation of GOOD PEOPLE-GREAT NATION.

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Eph. 5:16-17

Ever since I started my active position on our national affairs, many have written me voicing their concerns like “When does this Pastor have time to preach in his church?”, “When does he have time to pray?”, “When does this Pastor have time to read the bible?”, “How come he spends so much time writing these articles?”, “Is anyone paying him?” I hope this article on the value of time opens the eyes of my friends and readers to receive answers to their questions. Even though I too have only 24 hours a day like any other person, I nevertheless have managed to master my day, to be able to do all I need to do, to achieve the goals that I needed to achieve.

I must confess that it’s quite a sacrifice for me to come out with a new article every day, especially since I write 10 pages on average. However, the love for my fatherland compels me. Yes, I have to devote between 6- 8 hours a day to these articles. But I still have time to do all I need to do in a day, sacrificing less important things. I try my best to make the full use of my 86, 400 seconds of life entrusted into my hands in a day by the Almighty. I must confess though that I have some experience in this, since I endeavor to write at least a book every week, for the second year running.

What I am trying to say brethren is, we must all lay a demand on our time, on every second of the day. We have to turn it into a valuable product as much as we can (the topic of how to convert time to tangible product is for another day). You will not believe this, most people in my church here in Ukraine don’t even know I am writing anything for Nigeria. They feel I devote all my time to them.

I know I have not expatiatedmuch on the methodology, systems and structures that must be put in place by Nigeria to ensure that we change our attitude to time. I would leave that to the government officials, who are full time workers for our nation.

I am trying to refrain myself from writing long articles, especially noticing that some of my readers are always commenting that my articles are too long. I would keep the rest to myself for now. Be on the lookout for the next ones!