We do not need a soothsayer to tell anyone of us that all is not well with our dear country. Everything seems to be upside down. Security is in a mess, the unemployment level is intolerably high, our roads are death-traps, schools are in shambles with unstable academic calendars, hospitals are in bad shape, corruption stinks everywhere, hunger is written on the faces of people, bad governance, ethno-religious crises, and lack patriotism have become common features in our daily lives.
Is this the way things would continue? No. What then can we do as individuals and groups to bring about the change that we badly need? To continue to keep silent and do nothing is to say everything is fine and postulate that we should maintain the status quo and continue with the rot.
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The truth is that the situation of things has become so bad now and I doubt if any mortal can single-handedly transform our nation from this quagmire into a sane society; but at least, we can each do our bits.
This is my turning point, that I should become this change agent. To start with, I would begin to drive with caution. No more over-speeding, excessive honking, driving with invalid documents and against the traffic – whether on busy roads or deserted ones. No more joining of reckless security and patrol convoys to evade hold-ups. To continue behaving this way is akin to road terrorism and partaking in the same lawlessness that we blame our leaders for.
It is high time I started asking after my neighbours, family members, friends and colleagues that once needed my attention, but I chose to neglect them in the past. At times, what these people require from me may not be money or material needs. Words of encouragement, visitation, or telephone call can save lives and make someone happy in their trying moments. I would turn a new leaf in the New Year and become more responsive, caring and give listening ear to anyone that approaches me for assistance. I would never wait for them before doing so.
My participation in future electoral process would be better than before. Without further delay, I would obtain my voter’s card that I have refused to collect due to my apathy to the exercise.
With my reorientation and new disposition, there is no need to sit on the fence any longer. With my strong conviction, things would begin to change for the better when credible, competent and capable candidates are elected into public office. I must be active in realising this desire for my dear country.
I would never partake or abet rigging, electoral malpractice, or fraud. Hopefully, more fellow men and women would join me and be equally passionate at enthroning quality leadership at all levels for our nation.
I would discourage people from littering the environment with waste, especially at night. We got to stop the spread of the ravaging Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) together. Certainly, there are other things that I hope to do towards making a difference in this New Year that are too numerous for me to reel out. Notwithstanding, I would be wary of my actions and inactions to avoid shedding of innocent blood under any guise.
Rather than seeing law enforcement agents as enemies and bad people, I would cooperate with them to stamp out cultism, senseless killings and other crimes from the land. Adequate attention should be devoted to bringing up cultured and disciplined citizens. There is no room for procrastination. The time to act is now. Beyond fulfilling the New Year mandate, my pledge would transcend this month, but continues thereafter, as long as one lives. I would be constantly reminded to be firm and take a decision between need for good and ‘the doing good’ conflict, as Lenrie Peters suggests. Just like managing success, I would struggle not to waver in this arduous task of pursuing a noble cause conscious that the unforeseen and pull-forces that drive us away from doing the right things are more formidable and compelling than the push-forces that lead man into the path of honour, dignity, progress, and life. For me, it is really time to build courage, take the gauntlet and make a difference.
Adewale Kupoluyi writes from Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta