Every nation building effort might come to nothing in any nation when the mindset of the citizens does not change or is not being constantly renewed. A different mindset is one of the most important things that this nation needs to move forward. When you listen to some people you can simply tell that they have a mindset problem and this nation is not just about a few people. The changes that we desire can be initiated by a few people but they will be sustained by all of us. So if only a few are thinking in the right direction and many more people are thinking in the wrong direction there will be a problem.
There are too many parents with the wrong mindsets and they have passed them on to their children. We have too many teachers with the wrong mindsets and they have also passed them on to their students. The wrong mindset of the past leaders we have had in this country, those who believe in stealing from the country and getting away with it, is now seriously affecting the present crop of leaders and even those aspiring to become political leaders. Everyone is thinking about stealing money and getting rich. When they steal enough and they are tired they also think about putting their children in positions to continue the stealing.
When I take a look at the everyday life of the ordinary Nigerian, it is so clear that the government or leadership is not the only problem that we have. We as individuals on the street are doing too many things to inconvenience ourselves. A commercial driver may hear that there is a little traffic in an area and he instantly jacks up the fares to that area. If you want to travel at some periods of the year, especially the festive period, transporters naturally jack up the fares. When you ask them why they will tell you it’s a festive period. They are not incurring extra expenses or finding hard to get fuel but they will increase prices. When you also drive on the streets you are amazed at how people drive. Someone who will lose nothing by just waiting for you and allow you drive by will not wait for you. More than fifty percent of road users will immediately start driving on one way when there is traffic until the road is completely blocked and no one can move.
There are people in the civil service who have been given money to run their offices but they see the money as their personal gains. So when you visit the offices of our civil servants, you feel so ashamed because the office is in a mess. You cannot count the number of broken furniture or windows that you will see. I was in one office at a time and the air conditioner came on sounding like a generating set! Yet the person in charge of that office collects money for things like that. You also have a lot of people who will not show up in their offices until it is time to collect salaries simply because they are government workers. From day one in the month till after the third week you will not see them. But they will show up to claim the money they have not worked for. We must do things right in this country and also realize that the reason our leaders are not doing things right is because most of the citizens are not doing things right. The leaders emerge from the citizens and some have argued that a country gets the kind of leader that it deserves.
Sometimes I heard about a luminous object that was used when a state government fixed a road in an area. Some people saw that it was reflective and thought there must be much more to it so they tried to dig the newly constructed roads to steal them. When you drive on the road you find people throwing things out of their cars. They don’t want their cars to be dirty but they want the streets of the country to be dirty.
Every Nigerian needs to think again and also review how things are done. It is because of the mindset issue that we are having tribal clashes over the smallest arguments. When a Nigerian starts a debate, he or she can hardly finish it without adding religious or ethnic colouration. A complete mindset renewal will also go a long way in giving us the new Nigeria that we desire.
I believe in the nation Nigeria and I see it emerging in new ways. It will be a nation with citizens whose mindsets are renewed. It will be one in which the police officers are satisfied and not taking their aggression out on the civilians on the street. I look forward to that time when no one either in the police force or any other government institution will ask for bribe to get things done for you. I anticipate that time when we will not get into crazy traffic because there is no traffic officer to catch us. I am so excited about those days that I picture where no one will drop a pin from their cars when driving even when no one is watching or will catch them. The time is coming when we will look more at making each other comfortable rather than doing things to inconvenient ourselves.
This nation will change and I see it starting with a new improved mindset from you and I.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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