One of the outcomes of the state of our underdevelopment is the culture of shortcuts. By shortcuts, I refer to the illegal routes, methods or approaches that get us to destination, and I call it a culture because it has become a way of life for most Nigerians.
We take shortcuts when driving which usually leads to traffic congestion; when taking exams by cramming, cheating and bribing; when we seek the contacts we know at the airport, bank & any other organisation instead of waiting for our turn on the queue; when we do things last minute and depend on money to get us through the consequences; etc.
In summary, we have become a people that no longer value the age long principle of working long and hard before seeing the fruits of our labour. Yet, the truth remains, a principle is a principle and nothing changes its cause and effect. By that I mean, shortcuts cannot deliver what a principle offers and in this case, the excellence & legacy that accrues from long hard and purposeful work.
So what motivates us to the culture of shortcuts?
Lawlessness: The state of our lawlessness from government down to the people has created a citizenry who do not see any value in doing things the right way or with patience.
Laws are created but not enforced and when it is, it’s not to the letter. So called ‘VIPs’ see themselves and their families as above the law and we the ordinary citizens see bribery & cheating as a means to survive in our lawless state.
As a result, shortcuts have become the way of life and so far, there is little to discourage this culture.
Lack of Planning: Again, from government to us the masses, lack of sufficient planning has become our way of life. We apply this culture in every area of our lives and the outcome is we are ill prepared for outcomes not anticipated. We are also used to doing thing last minute.
This lack of planning means we have to resort to shortcuts to compensate for lack of time to do things properly and to deal with unexpected outcomes. The ‘Nigerian Time’ culture motivates us to shortcuts
Entitlement Mindset: This mindset that believes government is responsible for us makes us think we are entitled to anything. This mindset encourages us to seek to attain things at the shortest time possible irrespective of the rules or the law.
With this sort of belief, we usually ignore the process but seek out the shortcuts. By the way, government is accountable to us and we are responsible for her.
To learn more about the entitlement mindset, read my article on “Entitlement Mindset: A Hindrance to Nation-building”
Low Thinking Capacity: Because we have a very poor reading culture, we lack the capacity to think long and hard about the repercussion of our daily culture of shortcuts.
With a low reading capacity, we are short-sighted and regularly execute our shortcuts with full conviction because that is all we know and believe there is.
It is essential to note that every shortcut leads to the breakdown of a process, a law, an equipment, a community and even the loss of life. The main outcome is the continuous underdevelopment of our nation.
To build a developed Nigeria, we are going to have to think, speak and act differently. We need to:
Make a Decision: We must acknowledge that things can’t go on like they are currently and it is our personal responsibility to do something, no matter how little. This thought process will lead to a decision to become part of the solution and not part of the problem.
When we make a decision to change how we think, our society will still be lawless, our churches will still be preaching instant wealth which fuels shortcuts, our government will remain lawless, our friends & family will still be practising shortcuts. But we must remain firm in our decision to be the initiators and model of a better way for Nigeria.
Change mindset: After a making a decision, we must change the way we think and see things. We cannot continue with the current’ thinking which justifies our shortcuts because we say ‘that is the way to survive in Nigeria’ and ‘everyone is doing it’.
Rather, we must do things because we know it is right irrespective of how painful & hard it would be to do in a lawless society. With a change in mindset, we will influence family, friends, community and nation rather than them influencing us. This occurs as a process and not in an instant, and is a journey that inputs into us responsibility, compassion and courage.
Read extensively: It is the culture of reading that creates in our minds the capacity to think and evaluate carefully each word we speak, each action we take and their repercussions. This is not a hasty process and it discourages shortcuts but rather encourages sufficient planning.
Through reading, we will also learn how to do things better and gain encouragement from great men and women who lived before us and fought similar battles to lead the change their society desperately needed.
This nation will be built by her people and not a messiah (a great political leader). After all, it is out of the community of Nigerians with a change mindset transforming family & community, would we have a credible group of people to go make a difference in a political scene.
True and lasting change starts from bottom up and dealing with the culture of shortcuts is a critical part of initiating &sustaining nation-building.
Would you become part of the community of nation-builders?