No disclaimers or buyer beware statements today, just a question.
Before I ask you the question let's check some definitions. Change...change can be defined as moving from one state of existence, or from one transitionery stage to another. Change is a natural constant, even the earth is constantly changing. Change could be rapid or gradual taking years or a millenium. Change may be subtle or pronounced. However, no matter its mode or its process, one thing remains... whether you like it or not things MUST change.
We tend to be very ambivalent regarding the matter of change. If it's a good change we're all for it and worthy advocates of the change of state. If the change is painful, hard or unwanted then the story changes.
In the recently concluded US Presidential election and campaign which culminated in the swearing-in of the first ever African-American into the White House, President Obama's main thread was Change, that the time had come to move from the status quo. The American populace agreed with him and voter turnout during the elections was the highest in US electoral history in at least 30 odd years.
On the 20th of January 2009, millions of people across the globe gathered in front of televisions and large screens to watch America make history. Nigerians appeared to be more overjoyed than the owners of the property.
Now my first question is...what makes America any different from our own obodo Naija? America didn't wake up civilized or organised but went through violent birth pains, and still is, to arrive where it is. Order didn't appear overnight, more often it came through a violent and bloody process. Is it the people that cause the seeming difference? It isn't that Americans are not also as criminally inclined (if not more so) than the average Nigerian but systems exist, that are generally respected by all, that provide checks and balances and thus limit peoples' criminality.
We may argue that systems don't work over here and that those in positions of power refuse to allow change. However i can't place the blame on the 'leaders' totally. I recently went to an office within the secretariat, I needed something done and a procedure exists for handling my request. However I needed it done NOW -NOW and the official processing time is 10 working days. Being the typical Nigerian i circumvented a lot of laid down rules. I waived the online payment only law, gave gratuity, and within 36 hours i was done. We demand change from our leaders but feel exempt from the process itself ourselves. Americans stated categorically that they were ready for change via their votes, may be we need to review our change policy. If we say individually and collectively "NO i will not circumvent the process just because i can...or because its painful or inconvenient", "i will not jump the queue, i will not sit at home and allow myself be defranchised." "I will stop bitching about what doesn't work and instead do my share to make it work".
The book of Proverbs is full of words of wisdom to the foolish. Severally people are cautioned about sloth, you want to eat but are too lazy to put the spoon in your mouth, what next? You drop dead of course after a while. We can not continue to ask, pray and beseech for change and then refuse our function as change agents. We constantly say 'e go better' but then wait for others to act as catalysts for the change. Now if the job belongs to no one in particular, and everyone is waiting for someone to do it, eventually no-one does it. I believe as we keep shouting YES WE CAN! But the real question is...do we really WANT to?
Posted: Jan 22, 2009
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