The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) just marked its first year in office; and the verdict has come in. Even by the president’s own admission it has not been a rosy start. So, it can be accepted that performance has been below par, vis-a-vis people’s expectations – at all levels of governance. This writer can only hope that the sophomore year would be better; but that is not the focus of this piece.
The focus is you my reader, and I, the writer. It is clear that Nigerians yearn for real change, which has been slow in coming; so our evaluation of PMB and our Governors has been critical. Sometimes downright uncharitable. Fair enough. That is in the nature of democracies. If they can’t take the heat, they should get out of the kitchen, right? But it is true, is it not, that everyone wants change but most are loathe to change themselves?
Let us do a critic of ourselves – how many of us pay our taxes; and for those who do, how many make honest, exact declarations of their taxables? How well do we keep our environment clean; or how well do we degrade it by our actions or omissions? How do we evaluate and react to issues of common interest – based on reality or on primordial interests? We do it, do we not, I mean cut corners in commercial transactions, one with each other – with false weights and measures? How many arrange grades for their children and wards to secure admission into higher institutions? The list is endless, from the family unit to the community level..
Yet we are quick to criticize authority; yet we bemoan ‘our fate’ and that of our nation. We have declared an open season on our leaders (in most cases, for just cause); but who criticizes us? Do we even allow for it? Our collective attitude reminds me of that child who needs his mother’s attention all the time – whining when he doesn’t get it – but who refuses to do his part of sleeping after been cleaned and fed! Our expectation from our government system must be balanced with personal responsibility.
Dear friends, a good and working nation begins with us. At the micro level of individual and family units. If we understand and internalize this, we would soon realize that the equation of governance tilts in favour of we the citizens of Nigeria, not in our leaders. Where our leaders realize we are able to do our bit, and would not pander to their primordial baits and tendencies, soon enough would they sit up and govern aright.
Personal responsibility leads to corporate security. Let us understand and resolve to do our bit from today. Change should begin from us; and not just by voting! By the choices we make in our personal lives; by choosing to do the right thing when no one is looking etc. Then we can dare hold out leaders accountable. Anything else would be sheer hypocrisy, wouldn’t it?
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!