Those who need to change for Nigeria to change

By Ogunaike Samuel
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Change has always been on the minds of Nigerians - whatever their social or economic background. Owing to this, it is the firm belief of the majority, that, once change is truly ushered into the Nigerian polity, all personal plights will evaporate. A student, for instance, who lacks the self-discipline to sit at his studies, quickly takes cover in the fact that there is a need for a national change. Again, those who have demonstrated the lack of self-will and self-sacrifice in achieving their lofty goals have similarly found the status quo of the nation as a convenient alibi for their lack of personal progress . It is not uncommon to notice that while teachers are waiting on their students and the government to change in order for things to academically change, surprisingly and paradoxically, the students are eagerly awaiting a change in the attitude of their teachers and the government for things to intellectually change. In sum, leaders look up to followers for things to change while followers expect leaders to change if things must change.

Change, no doubt, is paramount if a nation or a people will experience a better time and life. It can not be denied that both churches and mosques, at one point or the other, have marched their members to the mountain or other sacred places to pray change for the nation. Strangely, some have argued that, we have had the change, at least, life in Nigeria, is relatively better than what it was a decade ago. The change, here, as I have conceived it, is not just an improved electricity, but a stable electricity; not just an increase in the number of tertiary institutions, but a completely non striking public university; not just the recruitment of LASTMA officers to manage traffic, but traffic free roads; not just the sharing of a meagre cash to the traders, but to bridge the income gap between the rich and the poor; not the compulsory patronage of Nigerian hospitals during a pandemic, but a proud frequent competitive use of public hospitals by those who jet out of the nation to cure headache, malaria and catarrh, fully sponsored by the tax payers' money; not just providing meals for school children, but empowering their parents to be able to provide for themelves; not just patching the roads, but making them durable ...

This brings us to those who need to change in order for us to have a change. A man who does his work diligently, pays his tax, provides his own water, generates his own light, and wakes up in the dawn to beat the traffic, in my perspective, does not need to change. To ask him to change is to seek to turn him from good to bad - this, we shall not do. The man who pays his staff when it is due and provides both training and good welfare for them, in my view, does not need to change. To seek such a change from him is to ask for the worst.

Who, therefore, needs to change for Nigeria to change? He is the man in the corridors of power. Those, whom, we have voted for upon the promises of change need to change from promise makers to covenant keepers. They are those who keep defecting from one party to another for self-gain. They are those who sit in the government office asking for a bribe before a contract is awarded. They are those who keep budgeting millions of naira for renovation and will not desist from budget padding . They are those who allocate mouthwatering estacodes for a trip, whose contents could be communicated via teleconferencing. They are those who exercise a draconian rule in a democratic state and time. They are those whose hobby is to siphon the nation's money while parading themselves as the last good men. They are those who operate numerous foreign accounts to plunder our nation - dashing the hope of the less privileged youth. They are those who sing a song of heroism, knowing full well, that there is no significant achievement to ,yet, celebrate, except the accomplishment of their own personal and collective goals. They are the police officers who aid crime and commit crime themselves. Last but not least, they are the soldiers who treat citizens like animals. If they change, Nigeria will change and when they change, we will know.

Samuel Ogunnaike is a Lagos-based IELTS Trainer.