I have always believed that the task of nation-building should rest the citizens of Nigeria. However, I also recognise that change is usually led at the initial phase by a minority.
This minority put in huge sacrifices that form the model that many other citizens emulate as they join the movement for change. Throughout history, we see examples of these again and again to the point that we can conclude that this is the only way true and lasting change commences.
So our focus in Nigeria shouldn’t be on the majority who don’t see the possibility of a developed Nigeria. Rather, our focus should be the minority leading the initial nation-building phase. But many of the citizens in this category do not know or in some cases, do not accept the price we must pay for the change we seek.
But there are no shortcuts or easy routes to change. In fact, the deeper the crisis, the deeper the price to be paid and since we all agree that Nigeria is in a terrible mess, we must accept that the sacrifice needed to turn the tide will be great.
Therefore, it is pertinent for those who feel that deep burden for a better Nigeria to accept the sacrifice the process will demand. Not to mention the fact that citizens who hear us talk about change will only be persuaded by the evidence our sacrifice exhibits.
Here are some:
Family & Friends: Leading change by researching, developing and implementing solution in any sector will most likely cost us our families and friends. The reason is simple, we are going against the prevailing culture as we implement our nation-focused way of thinking, speaking and acting.
Just insisting on doing the right thing will offend many of the people close to us and interestingly, several will see that we are leading change but their problem will be, it should be someone else paying the price rather than us.
This sacrifice intensifies when you have opportunity to make a lot of money from the system but you do not only refuse to do so, you also fight against others doing so.
Career: Many of those who lead change will have to sacrifice their careers in order for them to dedicate more time in pursuit of the desired result. We will lose benefits such as respect amongst colleagues, family, friends and society, financial rewards, influence and the security a steady income gives to us.
Persecution: Many of us who pursue change in our nation will face confrontations with several government agencies, organisations and influential individuals who consider our thoughts, words and actions a huge threat to their corrupt lifestyle.
Some of us will be imprisoned, face illegal eviction out of rental property, the loss of owned properties, blockage of business interest, rejection from religious organisation and even death.
Lifestyle: It should be obvious from the above listed points that the biggest price that will be paid is the lifestyle we’ll have to adopt. To many it would be defined as hardship but to those who have understood the purpose for paying the price, it will be defined as a simplified lifestyle.
This lifestyle will involve less access to the luxuries of life and even some of its basic comfort. Tough as it may seem, this simplified lifestyle will ensure complete focus on the purpose being pursued and it also becomes a tool for influence on those who seek evidence and a model to those who seek to become change agents.
It is essential to note that great men and women in history all paid huge prices to achieve those things we celebrate today. It would not be different for us in this generation or for our future generation.
However, I recognise that this article is not for everyone. It is only for those who are fully persuaded that Nigeria was called to greatness, by God, for the benefit of her citizens and for the benefit of Africa and are willing to consider the price. Until we pay the price, purpose will not be achieved.
The sacrifices of this generation will deliver to the next generation a model for the sustenance of the development achieved but it will also deliver to us life’s ultimate goal – fulfilment.
If you really desire change in Nigeria, I ask you, will you pay the price for her development?