I remember a story my mum told me about how when she was pregnant for me, one of her cousins had offered her an all expense paid trip to England for the delivery. At the last moment, my dad declined the offer, so I was born in Nigeria. For a long time, I always wondered how things would have turned out differently for me if my dad had only said yes. I probably would be flashing my red passport around instead of a green one.
Up till my teenage years, I never thought anything good could come out of Nigeria. I couldn’t wait to grow up and catch the next flight out of Nigeria and never turn back. I saw how the ‘janded’ kids in school got more attention from the teachers, how aunties and uncles from all over the world seemed to be faring a lot better than those at home. Things however changed as I became older and I found out that my world view had been through the eyes of a child.
I joined organizations that helped me understand that it is not only the American dream; you can also have the Nigerian dream! We can sit and complain from dawn to dusk about the seemingly innumerable problems and issues that we face in Nigeria. The sad truth is this: talk is cheap and all our complaining, nagging and bickering does not change a thing!
I personally believe only in constructive criticism, identify the problem(s) and proffer possible solution(s). There is one message I continually preach: “Be the change you want to see!” I know, it sounds cliché, but it is the truth! A lot of us can see the faults of others but never our own faults. If each and every one of us can simply do what is right and not compromise, our collective effort will eventually make this country a better place. Don’t use those substandard materials on that project, don’t give your family member the job when he clearly doesn’t merit it, don’t see that uncle so that he can help you with your admission even when you know you don’t have five credits… the list is endless.
If only we can imbibe the culture of integrity and honesty in our daily living, we would spark a change that would turn Nigeria around and make it the best place to be on Earth! The grass is not greener on the other side. Water your grass, expose it to sunlight, put fertilizer on it, and it would flourish! God bless Nigeria!