Changing Nigeria in 2022: We all have roles to play - By: Vincent Nwanma | Dailytrust

Changing Nigeria in 2022: We all have roles to play

2022 New Year sign on a glowing background. Happy New Year 2022 night defocused lights texture greeting card images
2022 New Year sign on a glowing background. Happy New Year 2022 night defocused lights texture greeting card images

Nigeria’s precarious state of affairs today is a product of the cumulative roles that all the stakeholders have played or failed to play, one way or the other. Whether and how fast, the country gets out of this apparent quagmire, will also depend on whether or not every actor plays his/her role well. Either as individuals or collectively as groups, and institutions, we have all created this mess, though our roles are obviously of varying degrees. The fact is that neither you nor I can truly hold up our heads that we have not in one way or the other been a party to creating the mess in which we find ourselves.

Before you claim to be a saint, I hope you know that your inactions, either in not speaking up for the truth or in correcting ills in society may be your own fault lines. I do know that many Nigerians are forthright but they often just mind “their business”, as we say in local parlance – and that may be the problem because when you think that the nuisance your friend, families, colleagues in the office and neighbours, are creating is not your problem, the crisis we have today is the end result.

Incidentally, whilst you didn’t create the mess, we are all paying the price and in fact, some of us that may be “innocent” of the “civic crime” may be paying more than the real offenders, many of whom may not even have repented, rather they continue to plunge the country into a worse mess.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Nigeria. Indeed, this country is comparatively more endowed and positioned for greatness than many of today’s superpowers.  However, there are too many things wrong with us Nigerians, one of which is our failure to acknowledge our civic duties to Nigeria and do them. I am not talking about tax here. I am talking about more important social responsibilities that we owe the country. 

As a citizen, it is not enough for you to be civil, you must also encourage civility in your own conclave. The menace in the country today reflects the decadence in our primary sources of socialisation: the family, school and religious institutions. Every terrorist or thug threatening our peace is from a family. In fact, many of them passed through and perhaps are still members of religious congregations, and of course, they are products of an education system, be it formal or informal. 

Hopefully, this year will challenge Nigerians, and by extension Nigeria, in significant ways but the determinant of that will be for all actors in the society to accept their roles and decide to play them well. Society is a puzzle, and our individual and collective roles help to fix it. We cannot continue to do the same things and expect a different result. As Nigerians, we need to make new resolutions about playing our different roles, as citizens, politicians, and of course the government.

The bane of Nigerian society is that most actors are only aware and conscious of the duties of others but not their own. Many people know the duties that the government or state owes them. They know that it is the duty of the state to provide social and public goods: roads, power, potable water, etc. They know the government has the responsibility to provide healthcare to the citizens to guarantee good health for the workforce to build a healthy economy. 

But the same persons shy away from their obligations to the state. They flout and disregard the simplest of duties they owe the government so that it can, in turn, provide the minimum amenities that modern society requires to function. The same government official who neglects his duty is complaining that the country is not progressing and the same thug who just robbed innocent citizens of their hard-earned money is complaining that the government is not providing basic amenities.

The failure or dereliction is manifest on both sides, the people and the government. Our governments have failed in significant ways to play their roles as the state. Besides the Almighty God, the next most powerful entity in this world is this institution called GOVERNMENT but unfortunately, many of those saddled with the responsibility are often greedy fellows, who rather than thinking of our collective goals, are so myopic that they only think of themselves and themselves alone.

Invariably, the government and its various institutions wield so much power in the affairs of nations, so much that whether nations succeed or fail, can be linked to the strength or quality of the government in playing its role. 

In 2022, the chicken must come home to roost. Individuals, groups, institutions, and governments must rise to their roles so that this nation called Nigeria can rise again. On its part, the governments – federal, state and local (if this still exists in reality) must give us back our nation. The government owes us a duty to defend us as citizens. Beyond the politicians and supposed “public servants” who control the instruments of government, societies are products of the actions of their members – individuals and institutions. The actions and inactions of everyone will determine whether or not things would change for the better or worse. We must not only do good but ensure others do good.

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