How Can I Participate in the Development of My Nation? A submission by Mayode Christopher Eniola
The various political and economic upheavals, corruption, and failed policy implementations that characterize African society have crippled any hope for prompt transformative efforts from the leadership of its member countries. There is an alarming growth in the number of uneducated and unemployed people, coupled with a lack of technical skills for young people to build businesses and pursue industrial initiatives and technological advancement. Still more is the high crime rate, hooliganism, and drug use that shape much of the youth culture. This situation has fostered in concerned citizens, capitalists, and non-governmental organizations the vision that the way forward is to look to individual efforts, which will corroborate into the force for transformation that our society needs.
National development, is a process of reconstruction and development in various dimensions of a nation and individual development. Several countries have been designated as developed because they have advanced in all areas of development. The yearly Human Development Index (HDI) collects and analyses dozens of data points from many sectors to assess human development in countries worldwide, including GDP per capita, literacy rate, life expectancy, political stability, and access to electricity. Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Hong Kong are the top four listed countries. Nigeria, on the other hand, is classified as a developing country. However, for Nigeria to continue to climb the development ladder, it must address some significant challenges, such as economic crises, ethnicity, resource management, corruption, terrorism, and thuggery. There will only be solutions if the government and the public implement workable strategies. The point is that the government, corporations, and citizens all have a role to play in developing their country.
This needed collaborative effort made me realize the role I can play. Given my vocation, I have an advantage. I’m currently receiving pastoral training at a reputable theological institution in Africa. One advantage of studying theology and pastoral counselling is that you are equipped with tools to assist in individual and societal transformation. Notable theologians with such records are John Calvin and Abraham Kuyper, who brought significant transformation in Geneva and the Netherlands, respectively.
The bulk of my work has been to help addicts, drug users, and young people involved in fraudulent activities, such as ‘Yahoo Boys’, who are prominent for internet and financial fraud. Additionally, many young people today participate in rituals and kidnapping activities. In search of quick wealth. After successfully quitting the use of marijuana and engaging in fraudulent behaviour, I have taken it upon myself to help others escape this way of life and find purpose.
Like many of these young people, I thought escaping such a life was impossible. My conversion was providentially triggered by a series of talks and books I came across. With the partnership of your organization and my experience, I can reach more young people than I have in the past. The goal is to get in touch with these people and let them know they can improve. Different strategies for their rehabilitation and education will be implemented depending on their level of involvement and lack of education.
This passion inspired my 2022 book, “You Will Conquer,” which has inspired many young people. Recent among them is a middle-aged man who used to smoke and gamble incessantly but began to transform when he came across my book. Today he testifies that his personal and family lives is changed. I have also been contacting many secondary schools where I discuss my traumatic story so that they might gain wisdom from it. In these talks, I expose teenage students to the dangers of engaging in fraudulent activities (like Yahoo) and their potential to reduce their chances of benefiting themselves and society.
The development task is not easy and does not require an easy-fix answer. The social and educational change we desire in our nation can be achieved through strategic interventive projects and well-designed social tools. However, in agreement with the Precious Fountain Foundation ideology, I know it can be done “…one person at a time.”