By Ihechukwu Njoku
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I believe reflection on the state of our nation Nigeria, God's own nation, would evoke a deep sense of soberness and seriousness among all well-meaning Nigerians. Selfishness has eroded so deeply into the framework of our governance and society that motives and objectives are so often driven by what can be gained and the commitment channelled into a project is dependent on the immediate reward received. The seeds of selfishness and greed have reaped a harvest of mismanagement and abuse. Responsibility has been warped to the betterment of self and the detriment of the common masses.

Why? Because selfishness has overtaken service, greed has driven compassion to the shadows, personal interest has occupied the position of national reform. Stories of lavish living echo amidst tales of death and decay of the masses in poverty and pain. Surely, the essence of politics revolves around the common good of the people? Have we fallen so far that the very purpose of our leadership has been lost and forgotten in the zeal to get, gain and gather? When will people rise up with one heartbeat, one focus and one desire – the good of a nation and their people, not just plunder for their pocket?

Arrogance and pride are so deeply engraved into the fabric of our society that misappropriation and mismanagement have wielded their chaos and corruption as rapidly and regularly as the dusk turns to dawn. And our beauty seems to fade as time continues to wane

The beauty of a young man proud to fight for his country,

The beauty of quality education available for all ready to work hard,

The beauty of effective transportation and consistent lighting,

The beauty of a pastors sermon filled with hope, not condemnation,

The beauty of unity and oneness despite tribe or religion,

The beauty of a fearless walk through the roads at night,

The beauty of a dream and its journey to reality.

Sadly today, rashness and brashness have thwarted and thrown our rationale off course in an alarming manner. Normalcy has slipped to a standard where corruption and actions without consequential consideration are the order of the day. Dignity has decayed, and values have veered. What happened to those timeless principles that ignited our hopes of a great nation, God's own nation? Where did justice and liberty get lost amid the reasoning and rationale of our leaders? I once heard a wise man, Pastor TB Joshua, say, 'If your actions are motivated by selfish interests rather than God, you are mortgaging tomorrow's joy.' How true this statement has proved in the state of our nation today.

However, it is easy to air our views of these atrocities without daring to take on the challenge to be the change we desire to see. Consideration of what constitutes that bright future, and what that necessitates for me and you is the way forward now. For one thing we know - hope remains while life exists. Such beauty and brilliance can still be restored if we are ready to throw aside the toxic garments of greed and avarice and embrace the task ahead with a passion born of belief and boldness, and a compassion hinged on service and sacrifice.

We have heard much talk recently of re-branding this nation, but true re-branding starts from within – a re-branding of our hearts and minds, our intentions and motives, our goals and dreams. Until we redirect our focus and re-channel our energies and efforts to the common cause of justice, truth, honesty and integrity, the principles that form the fabric of any progressive nation, the downward spiral will only continue.

Let us stop deliberating aimlessly on our woes and worries and arise as a people together, with hope as our anchor and love as our motor. Let us look within in order to rediscover our route, and let us walk out this great journey to restoration and restitution, with the flame of endurance and the light of love guiding and governing each stepping stone and stopping interval - till we finish this race through God's good grace.

The same principles that ignited the vision of our independence must be re-centralised in the causes and courses of both our leaders and followers alike, if we are to realise that dream of a fruitful and flourishing Nigeria we can be proud of. Selfless service must be restored to both our purposes and promises.

Thus, there is hope for Nigeria – if we can spend more on others and less on ourselves, recognise and embrace our achievers, learn from our experiences, grow through our mistakes and consider the good of our county of greater moment than our own personal interests.

Ihechukwu Njoku
Lagos, Nigeria