I recently wrote an article titled ‘A Reform-based National Political Party: Our Biggest Task for Nation-building’ and in it I stated why we urgently needed a political party that is led by reformers and the expected outcome. It is true that with reformers in the political sector, reformers can be given more voice and opportunity in other sectors.
We need to see reformers in every sector and truth be told, many of the reformers that will lead in the political space would have been reformers in other sectors. They would have been found faithful in ‘little’ and are therefore given ‘more’.
This being the case, there is a clarion call for a surge in the number of citizens who are first reformers in their homes and then in the marketplace (the wider society).
So, why do we need reformers?
We need a new way of thinking: It is common place to observe most of us hold and express views that reflect a thought process that has yet to come into the 21st century. New thinking will lead to new approaches.
We need innovative solutions: Our problems are many and complex. Therefore, there is an urgent need for innovative solutions to these problems and usually such solutions will have a multiple effect (one solution addressing many problems).
We need well thought out development plans: Reformers have the capacity to develop excellent long term plans that will have short and medium term gains.
A commitment to actualise development plans: In addition to having great long term plans, reformers strategise and work assiduously to ensure they actualise the plan in the short, medium and long term.
Role Models for the coming generations: As I have said repeatedly, change comes primarily by consistent messaging and modeling. There is a need for a clear cut message about the future we want and how we will get there. There is also a critical need to have models of citizens who are expressing that vision through their thoughts, words and actions. In so doing, reformers reproduce many other citizens like them thereby increasing the number of nation-builders.
We need hope to come alive in the hearts of citizens: The immediate impact of reformers is the ability to turn the negativity in our nation currently and get citizens to believe again in the Nigerian project and some will actually commit to becoming reformers themselves.
Knowing some of the key benefits reformers bring, what then are the qualities we need to be called reformers?
Growth Mindset: Reformers believe in possibilities because their mindset is not a fixed, but a growth-focused one. As a result, they are passionate learners, great thinkers, creative, team builders and players, innovators and visionaries. They see opportunities and solutions where most see a problem. This is what makes them focus on the potential of Nigeria and Nigerians and then commit to do all they can to harness this. This is a key quality of a reformer.
Compassion: Reformers are compassionate citizens. They go beyond pity to actually connect with the sufferings of others. Compassion is a key motivating factor for who they are, how they think and their commitment to make change happen.
Opportunity: Reformers harness opportunities, those given and those they created. Due to their growth mindset, they are able to see opportunities where others see obstacles and challenges. They do not only create or harness opportunities, they give others opportunities.
Responsibility: A reformer is someone who has taken responsibility for Nigeria. They admit that they may not have been directly responsible for how we got here but they have taken ownership for how we move from here. Because of this, they shoulder the burden for the change we seek and never back out.
Equality: Reformers see other citizens as equal to them and they, equal to other citizens. To them, it doesn’t matter which region, religion or background you come from, they see potential in all and seek to harness it. This helps them to avoid superiority or inferiority complexes.
Valour: Reformers are citizens of great courage and as such, they regularly challenge and change the status quo. This is what makes reformers a rare breed. To be honest, they have their fears but compassion for the suffering of others and their taking responsibility for the various problems stir up courage to overcome their fears.
Ambition: Reformers are ambitious citizens. Of course they have to be when you consider their zeal, passion, knowledge and commitment to initiate and sustain change. It must be made clear that their ambition is not self-centred.
Liberty:A reformer is a citizen who, first and foremost, works out of a liberated mind which is reflected in his or her independent thinking and actions, even if it means being the only one to think and act that way. Reformers are not conformist and strive to ensure other citizens can think, speak and act with freedom. With this freedom mindset, they create an environment for the expression of ideas (opposing and supporting).
Unity:Reformers may be seen as loners or minority voice because they are viewed as radicals or rebels but they believe in the unity of Nigeria and work towards it. They seriously oppose those who seek to divide to conquer because they recognize that the unity of purpose and mission is critical to implementing reforms.
Enterprise:One of the most visible signs of reformers is their enterprising spirit. They showcase innovation, drive, focus, energy, attention to detail, high productivity, etc. They tend to accomplish more with fewer resources and in a shorter space of time.
Spirituality:The main motivating factor for most reformers is their belief in a Supreme Being who created us for a purpose and equipped us to accomplish that purpose. They also believe, when we are done here, we will give an account of our stewardship here. For the few who do not believe in God, there is a strong sense of a call upon their lives. A call they can’t define but can only be spiritual and originating from God, who is Spirit.
With a strong desire to live a life focused on things greater than ourselves, we open our inner being to the transformation that occurs when we imbibe the qualities listed above and the more we yield to the transformation, the more we imbibe and the more we showcase these qualities. The outcome will be the acceleration of the building of a developed Nigeria.
Are you willing to become one of the reformers Nigeria desperately needs?