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
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.