In my previous post where I wrote on ‘The Nigerian Way’ I shared some personal experiences of bad attitudes in Nigeria. I concluded that post by hinting at some practical measures to correct the negative behaviour. In this post I will highlight and elaborate on how things should begin to change in Nigeria:
1. Building a family unit: A lot of what a Nigerian learns from birth comes mostly from their parents or guardians. It is noteworthy that values (good or bad) shape a child’s behaviour. This ultimately would have an adverse effect on society. Moreover, parents have a responsibility to promote the right values in their children or wards. Parents should also engage their children or wards constantly so that there is a bond. Where there is a strong connection in the family unit it is usually harder for outsiders to penetrate the bond with their own values and beliefs.
2. Education: A big problem Nigeria is facing is the poor quality of education and the lack of it. It is unfortunate that some graduates from Nigerian universities cannot type a business letter. Yet it is no surprise that the elites and privileged few send their kids out of the country to study. Our neighbour two doors away (Ghana) boasts of better education. In addition we still experience a spate of strikes and cultism in some of our universities that disrupt academic learning. But let me start right from primary education. Our national anthem and national pledge should be instilled at an early age. The history of the country needs to be compulsory so pupils learn about our journey pre and post independence.
3. Interacting with the Local Government: It amazes me how many Nigerian citizens vent at the President and State government. But citizens seem to have forgotten about the local government. This arm of government is within our reach. They’re in our neighbourhood. What stops us from having town hall meetings where we ask what their agenda is for the community? Also, why wait four years to vote for candidates whom we know nothing about? In the past some of them have even given out cash and food gifts in exchange for votes. Tell me, is a 50kg bag of rice worth selling your right to vote? To the poor man this makes absolute sense. Eat now because I am hungry then worry later – that’s their philosophy. But if the LG isn’t kept in check then we can expect little or no development that will benefit the community.
Consequently, all these measures are not meant to operate in isolation of each other. Rather, they should work concurrently. It would take a couple of years to get 170 million people to have a fairly common, positive mindset. But like all things, we need to start somewhere. Long live Nigeria…