My Responsibility to Nigeria’s Development- a submission by Olugbemi Jesunbo
“With 36 states making up its Federation,
Nigeria is a nation with so much starvation,
Not just of food, clothing and shelter but every deprivation,
The frustration, vexation and constant question- “where’s salvation?”
It starts from my action and your action, our joint cooperation,
From the way I see it, the first step is participation.”
“I am Nigerian” is an identity that I will ever hold on to. This is not necessarily a matter of taking pride in my country because truth be told, the current state of affairs of the country leaves much to be desired. It is rather a matter of deep-seated love and hope in a country that seems only to constantly let down her citizenry. The question of “who is to blame for the prevailing situation in Nigeria?” is no rhetorical one. It is bound to open up an endless debate among Nigerians, with everyone pointing accusing fingers at everybody else. The important question to be asked instead is this: “What is to be done?”
In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed a massive exodus of her citizens to other countries in search of greener pastures. This is as a result of several factors which are not limited to the deplorable socio-economic and political state of the country. A report published by Africa Poll Institute in 2021 revealed that seven out of ten Nigerians are willing to leave the country, should they ever get the chance to. The visa processing centers across the country are continuously swarmed with applicants wishing to procure their ‘way out’. However, the reality is that not everyone can join the bandwagon of citizens taking flight from Nigeria, whether by choice or not. Also, those who have migrated cannot leave the country with their entire relatives. These conditions leave not only the rest of us in the country, but also those who have left, with no option than to look inward. How can we participate in the development of our country? More specifically, how can I participate in the development of my country?
With thirty-six states and a population of over 200 million, the first place to start from is the often ignored part of our humanity-the treatment of others. It starts from my interaction with the people around me. With random acts of kindness, people are reminded that we are all first humans before distinguishing factors like tribe, religion and social status separates us. A reminder of our humanity affects the way we see others and handle positions of influence. One at a time, I am able to influence those around me, as they in turn affect others. This results in a chain reaction, filling the country with citizens who care enough for others as to out their needs first and produce leaders who are anything but self-serving.
Another way by which I can contribute to the development of my nation is by investing in my education. This is not only a function of a formal school setting but a general enlightenment of the mind. I can only impact those around me as far as I know how to. The broadening of my mind by learning from my experience and those of others, coupled with engagement within a formal setting affords me the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to others around me and the nation at large. Education promises a brighter future than ignorance and illiteracy.
Obedience of the laws laid down within a country is also a way by which I can contribute to the development of my country. While it is true that the current situation of things in Nigeria is enough to stir up resistance against the government, obedience to the laws can achieve better results. When I play my part as a citizen by paying my taxes, assisting enforcement agents in promoting peace and orderliness and staying loyal to the country, my actions encourage development by making the work of the government much easier.
Conclusively, the topic of development for any nation is one that must include every citizen. The government cannot perform this task alone. Hence, rather than pointing fingers, it is high time we all rose up to the task.