Nation-building: The Role of Every Citizen (PART TWO).


By Revival Ojedapo.

When one considers all the natural resources that abound in Nigeria, we can almost evoke thoughts of the biblical promised land. A land flowing with milk and honey. However, a people have to prove themselves worthy of the land they possess, else, the land, no matter how blessed, will turn sour. In other words, the fertility of a nation will yield no fruits unless the people till the ground.

It is true that there are hardworking Nigerians spread all over the country. People going about their businesses with full focus, reaping the fruits thereof. But, it is also true that there are some who have adopted a lackadaisical attitude in their works. We should be grateful to the former, for they have, despite odds, managed to keep the colours of our flags from fading.

However, their work is partially undone by those who have decided to fold arms, because of the feeling of entitlement, and resentment they have towards their government. They put less effort in their vocations, thus, causing a sequence of unproductivity in their respective sectors. It is this cycle of negligence that comes back to bite the ordinary citizen.

The government is responsible for several ills, admittedly, many of their activities favouring corrupt practices. Most of the time, however, the government is only the reflection of the general society. It is not all the time, but in Nigeria’s case, one can only confirm its veracity. Regime after regime, and the people are still clamouring for change. Then, we have to take the cliché seriously, that says, “change begins with you”.

One need not mention damaged electoral processes, of which voters are equal culprits, before we begin to see the the complicity of ordinary citizens in their own fate. From the youths who are deployed for compulsory service to the experienced workers occupying sensitive positions around the country, you’d find more incompetence than can be dismissed.

The role of the citizen in nation-building is aptly captured by Wendell Berry when he wrote,
While the government is “studying” and funding and organizing its Big Thought, nothing is being done. But the citizen who is willing to Think Little, and, accepting the discipline of that, to go ahead on his own, is already solving the problem. A man who is trying to live as a neighbor to his neighbors will have a lively and practical understanding of the work of peace and brotherhood, and let there be no mistake about it – he is doing that work…
A man who is willing to undertake the discipline and the difficulty of mending his own ways is worth more to the conservation movement than a hundred who are insisting merely that the government and the industries mend their ways.

Blame game is fast becoming a culture in the Nigerian space, and it is an habit that does more harm than good. First of all, it solves nothing; and secondly, it tries to absolve the common people from any responsibility. Therefore, every Nigeria is called upon to display a greater resolve in the face of the already widespread injustice, and show more diligence and discipline. Perhaps, the returns won’t be instant, but we’d be building a better nation for a future that could only be grateful.

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