Nigeria, Where are your Bricklayers?

“When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers” Colleen C. Barrett

Every day, many Nigerians cry out loud about the deteriorating state of our nation. These views are expressed on various Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, BB & Whatsapp Groups, etc), at various workplaces & leisure groups, and in our private homes.

Despite the intensity and frequency of our discussions about Nigeria, little has improved but rather, a lot more has gotten worse. Whilst this is going on, many more citizens have become adults and graduates, and have joined the swelling number of citizens complaining about Nigeria.

So, why has nothing changed despite the increase in intensity, frequency and number of citizens?

From my study of Nigerians gained from my experience from the ‘fields’ during the last few months of running the Regional Nation-building Conferences in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kaduna, it has become clear to me that we are nation of teachers and no students.

Referencing the Colleen C. Barrett quote above, we have too many ‘architects’ but lack ‘bricklayers’. We lack the citizens who will get up, generate solutions to our challenges and implement them.

We now have an increasing number of Subject Experts or Analyst, Bloggers, Public & Motivational Speakers, Religious Teachers, Personal Development Coaches, etc. With these, we are developing a culture of increasing religious events, political associations & their meetings, seminars/workshops/conferences, new books launches, religious & inspirational quotes on Social Media, etc.

We all seem to be saying so many things about Nigeria but why has change not occurred?

There are four core levels of any development – Study, Practice , Teach and Inspire. We study to become qualified to practice and we practice to become qualified to teach, and we practice & teach to become an inspiration to generations present and those to come.

With a nation of ‘teachers’ or ‘architects’, we have abandoned the critical levels of Study and Practice. That is why I believe we have yet to witness significant change in Nigeria.

On my blog, I have written an article on “Study: The First Step in Nation-building” and another on “Practice: The Second Step in Nation-building” and in them, I highlighted the key activities that must occur at each level. I also did emphasis that these levels are not one-off and by that I mean, ‘Study’ and ‘Practice’ must be continuous.

The truth is, the moment we cease studying and practicing, we lose the right to teach and when we insist on carrying on, our impact is highly limited. For most citizens, we’ve not even developed a culture of study and practice but love the benefits that come with teaching.

Let’s be clear here, we should desire to teach and must pursue a time when we do teach a wider audience than just ourselves & our immediate circle of influence. But, if we desire to build a developed Nigeria and enjoy her benefits, we must do less teaching and more studying and practice.

Incidentally, the best form of teaching is by modelling through our practice – via our work as ‘bricklayers’. No wonder many of us say we lack positive role models in Nigeria and the result is the dominant Nigerian culture that seeks to maintain the status quo.

The Nigerian culture inputs & reinforces our destination mindset (pursuit of possessions as a life destination), our entitlement mindset (we are entitled to the good life which must be provided for us by others) and the leisure mindset (we will spend most of our time on fun stuff and do less work).

Only those who will reject these fixed mindsets and pursue a growth mindset, will have a desire and the commitment to invest huge amount of resources (time & money) to study or research solutions to a national problem and then, invest more resources towards the implementation of their solutions.

Great nations are not built nor sustained by her politicians but by a critical mass of ‘bricklayers’ putting to actions their ideas that addresses a specific national challenge. These citizens model a sacrificial culture to the next generation who in turn commit their own resources to generate new & improved solutions.

Recalling Colleen C. Barrett words, “When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers”, I ask, will you remain an ‘architect’ or become a ‘bricklayer’?

Bobby Udoh is a Nation-building Advocate, Blogger, Trainer and Founder of The Cascade Initiative. This organisation organises the Nation-building Community through Events (Regional, National & Diaspora) where nation-builders are equipped to go build a developed Nigeria. For more details, visit –


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