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Jide Olowookere: Nigeria is Not on the Map

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I appreciate God for the opportunity to see the end of 2013 and cross over to another year with great minds.
This is not a popular motivational mumbo jumbo – Dare to dream! Follow your dreams!! Dream Big!!!
You know the drill now: Find something you love and put everything you have into it. Take nothing for granted. Apply yourself every day. Keep an open mind. Follow your bliss when faced with hard decisions—listen to the still small voice only you can hear. Don’t let material success or power fool you into giving up the simple human pleasures you will cherish above all in the end. And yes—be lucky like Nelson Mandela and others who spent their life in prison fighting for what they believe.

BUT this rendition is not enough. This rhetorics can’t meet the demands of our day.
As a socially conscious individual, the ills of our nation really move me to tears. From the Civil War where families were killed in bomb blasts to the multiple plane crashes we have suffered; to the multitude living in abject poverty and sleeping on the street; the height of corruption and corrupt minds, the demands of our day calls for MORE.

As I watched the coverage and read the news of death, illness, poverty, oppression, murder etc. every passing week, I began to ask myself some hard questions.
What would it be like if we can bring relief to this country we depend on for our future?
What would it be like if we can make some difference?
I have pored over the few recent happening in the country, not from some morbid fascination but because I want you to understand what we have lost.

How fathers and mothers suffered the loss of their children. How the happiest of men become a shadow of themselves due to profound losses either personally or in businesses.
I am not trying to spoil your day with dark portraits from another place. But as one of Nigeria youth at this moment, this time together is to be more hallowed by the remembrance of how precious life is, and how fragile and fleeting.

How negligence on our part as individuals has created a lot of agony for others. How our irresponsibility has dishonoured the works and legacies of leaders who have fought their way to the top through hard work.
Nigerians wake up! Take hold of this day…pull it close…squeeze from it every drop of joy and friendship — for we are taking charge and building a better Nigeria.
Trust me: The Black Swans in our life will come soon enough—“the dark birds of history”—dramatic, unpredictable events that break across our assumptions and ambitions and force us to reckon with the extreme, the wicked, the unknown, and the impossible. I speak as one who was born without a silver spoon, who has walked in the rain with tubers of yam across many road bends, sleep nights without food, work hard for months without being paid, as I continually thought of the days of wine and roses.

If I am to live to be 100 years and in the great procession of time, my life is no more than the blink of an eye. It is not how long you live that determines the quality of your presence here but what you see with that eye and do with your hand.
It’s time to make some difference in every stage of our lives. Today, I see young men or women like me who are going to transcend the normal arc of life. Champions – who would break through, inspire, challenge, and call forth from just leaders the greatness of spirit that afire this great country’s imagination.

You know the spirit of which I speak. Memorable ideas spring from it: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”…“created equal”… “government of, by, and for the people”…“the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”…“the right mindset.” This will be the transformational period in our country leadership. Enabled by young men and women who participate rather than abdicate. Young people who will stand their ground to fight oppression and every other society ill. These are interesting times. Times we may never experience if status quo remains. Times we may never experience if we continue the traditional politics of “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
I seriously believe that moral leadership will transcend the realities at hand and we will change the course of our history in Nigeria.

Never have we been more in need of transformational leadership. It’s not right that we are celebrating a Centenary as a nation with hatred, agony and oppression. No country can ever survive two civil wars or grow with bad leadership. How long are we going to continue to make socio-political blunders with far – reaching consequences?
We cannot win if we as individuals don’t have an incubator for right values. When we don’t all demonstrate the will or courage to sacrifice for what needs to be done. When some are fighting and some are lounging in the mall.
Nigeria needs leaders who are credible. I believe this to be the heart of democracy. I know it to be a profoundly religious truth.

In Akure where I grew up, to my father’s greatest honour, as he saw it, was to serve as a trustworthy man against the backdrop of the shutdown of his working place. In those days, he taught me things that matters – faith, persistence, hard work, consistency and freedom of the soul. But time and time again, as my dad prayed the Lord’s Prayers at every family devotion, I realized that our sustenance was never in the first person singular. It was always: “Give us this day OUR daily bread.” We’re all in this together; one person’s hunger is another’s duty.
Generations are linked together by mutual obligation. Through the years, he went on; we human beings have advanced more from collaboration than competition. “Leave me alone” has never worked. We had to move from the philosophy of “Live and let live” to “Live and help live.” You see, civilization is not a natural act. Civilization is an appearance of courtesy stretched across original human hunger.

Like democracy, leadership has to be willed, practiced, and constantly repaired, or society becomes a war of all against all, which we are experiencing today.
Few institutions have done some things to shape Nigeria’s moral imagination, but they get tired along the way because of a conflict of personal interests. If our leadership system is going to be fixed, I believe someone with this DNA will be needed to do it. It’s possible. So as we leave 2013 behind and welcome a new year, take with you this counsel “to assume our existence as broadly as we can, in any way we can. Everything, even the unheard of, must be possible in this life.

Nigeria needs to live as a symbol of a freedom where people of all tribes, religions and nationalities could live together as a nation under credible leadership.
Not as a kingdom. Or a superpower. Not a place where the strong take what they can and the weak what they must. But as a Beloved Nation and the core of civilization through credible leadership; the core of democracy, and a profound religious truth. We need not go searching for the Beloved Nigeria on a map. It’s not a place. It exists in the hearts and minds—our hearts and minds!

I know and I pray that we as people who will lead Nigeria towards it.
Welcome to 2014, a year to raise credible leaders; to bring about social justice; to sustain our great nation.
Thank you and God bless you.

Photo Credit: un.org
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Known for his tireless work ethic, energetic and mind driven presentation, and approach to life issues, ’Jide Olowookere believes in the ability of the human mind to positively create whatever he wants. And also believes in the survival of Nigeria to reach its common destiny. He works as a Graphic/Web Designer, Ideas Recreator, Writer and Speaker.

Known for his tireless work ethic, energetic and mind driven presentation, and approach to life issues, ’Jide Olowookere believes in the ability of the human mind to positively create whatever he wants. And also believes in the survival of Nigeria to reach its common destiny.He works as a Graphic/Web Designer, Ideas Recreator, Writer and Speaker.

19 Comments

  1. Anna

    January 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I’m not Nigerian.. But I love this site.. This is the best most honest Article I have read on this site so far

    • Jide Olowookere

      January 2, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Thanks a lot Anna, we need to be honest with ourselves to bring about the needed change. Keep reading bell a Naija.

  2. ..just saying

    January 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Brilliant!

    “Give us this day OUR daily bread.” We’re all in this together; one person’s hunger is another’s duty.

    Enough of the complaints people. Let’s join hands together to PUSH this nation forward.

    • Jide Olowookere

      January 2, 2014 at 10:04 am

      Yes, until another man’s hunger becomes an individual responsibility, the change we want might not be visible. Let us together birth the Nigeria we want in our hearts and act it. Cheers

  3. Chaste Charity

    January 1, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Splendid…Proud of You only regret we couldnt meet at WarmBath…GET MORE PROACTIVE WITH ARTICLES LIKE THIS

    • Jide Olowookere

      January 2, 2014 at 10:06 am

      Thanks Chaste, we will together work towards achieving the common destiny we need a nation.

  4. Theresa

    January 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Brilliant piece Jide! I also believe that “This will be the transformational period in our country leadership. Enabled by young men and women who participate rather than abdicate. Young people who will stand their ground to fight oppression and every other society ill.”
    I look forward to being a part of the much needed change we all need in our dear country.

    • Jide Olowookere

      January 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Hi Theresa, yes the transformation is now, and it starts from you and I. Get enabled in your community as we together make difference in our lives and nation. I believe in You. Cheers

  5. Bird's Eye

    January 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Hmmm

  6. dayo ADESUA

    January 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    So proud of you jide…..up school! Keepin’ doin’ what you do best.

    • Jide Olowookere

      January 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

      @ Dayo, thanks a lot bro, I believe in your ability to make a change in our nation. We will keep doing whatever it takes to be a good leader personally as we collectively walk towards a common destiny. Cheers. Up School!

  7. Thelma

    January 1, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    One of the great problems Nigeria has is its leadership, or lack thereof. But worse than this is the people of the country. What difference do we as individuals try to make? I see people on a daily basis abuse the minuscule power they have, then I imagine them being put in control of something bigger and the thought makes me shudder. Nigeria can and will move forward when we as individuals/youth change our orientation. Unfortunately everyone wants instant gratification, or are still trying to carry the crosses life thrust on them.
    like you rightly said, even well meaning individuals/organizations have done their part to try to shape Nigeria (morally) but soon after they lose the plot, or are derailed or like you said, get tired because of conflict of (personal) interest. Which brings me back to ask, what’s the way forward?
    You say we need credible leaders, I believe we need followers who would hold the leaders accountable. Otherwise, credibility be damned.

    thelmathinks.blogspot.com

    • Jide Olowookere

      January 2, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Hi Thelma, the way forward is you and I, transformational leadership is personal, if you can’t lead your self you can follow. I trust we will together, see and right a new vision for Nigeria. Cheers

  8. onyi henry

    January 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    pls i lyk 2 knw were the african movie awards held

    • ..just saying

      January 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      I implore you to brush up your grammar.

  9. Grace

    January 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I enjoyed your article. However,I think you have to work on your punctuation and sentence structure. There are one too many commas and some sentences are so long they lose their essence and message…Sorry but I’m just particular about English.
    If you don’t communicate your ideas well, they get lost in transmission.

  10. Benicio

    January 2, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Half way through the piece and i was hit with that spasm you get when someone says what you had just been thinking. Great piece, nice read.

  11. @IamMcPetros

    January 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Nigeria Is Not On The Map, Nay! That’s A Fallacy, Dude Cut That Crap. Lol. Nice Article. I rep 9ja with my bella.

  12. tara gbuyi

    March 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    A very brilliant article….it sank right into my head and makes me believe there is still hope in Nigeria only if u and i can come together,love one another,make ur needs my responsibilities and vice versa…..there is still hope in Nigeria….good job Jide

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