I have observed, in the relatively few number of days that my consciousness has stayed with me, that almost every man is what he is or does what he does because of what he desires to gain from it. It is rare, almost infinitely, to find a man who tells you he is what he is because he wants to help people, or because he loves to help people, or because he desires to put smiles on the faces of people and will deploy his abilities in that direction. The usual story is to pursue fulfillment, but these days fulfillment is anything and everything that occupies a bank account and gives one a million reasons why he is a better human being than the other person. I am not quite finished.
Let us peruse the mind of a girl who has been told that she should study to become a medical practitioner because of the “prestige” it offers, or because the security it comes with is so tight it is impossible to find oneself out of a job, or because it rains currency in medicine. Now consider law, engineering, pharmacy, architecture, accounting, and all other “lucrative” professions known to man and substitute for medicine. The result is always the same: a zombie who works for money, fame, and more money and more fame, but little, if ever, conviction. Parents are principally at fault here because they confuse their stewardship roles with that of deciding their child’s fate. No parent has that responsibility, a child decides his fate by how much he has come to understand who he is and what role he has to play in life. If this is misunderstood, or if the decision is made for him, countless problems arise. One of which is a loss of purpose and direction. The country will be filled with citizens who only work to get paid and not because of a sense of duty to the next person. Another problem explains why we have inordinate amounts of students who apply for the same course of study into institutions yearly with only a ridiculous fraction securing admission. It also explains the undue amount of pressure tertiary institutions go through when conducting the admission exercise where officials are promised large sums of money if they can help ferry a prospective student in. And by the way, what kind of education does one seek to have in an institution where bribes are used to lay a foundation?
Our average politician is less concerned about how many homeless or jobless individuals litter the streets, but is more interested in how many bills he can divert into his pockets, or failing that, how much power he can accrue to himself so that he becomes a demigod to his counterparts, comrades, and critics. A daily observation of our national headline news reveals a political landscape that is as barren as it is stricken. I have read far too many stories about public theft, acts of greed, corruption, malice, and foolishness to become surprised by a similar event. There are not enough robust discussions and debates, neither are there enough engaging topics to occupy the Nigerian youth so he can gravitate towards greater heights and vanquish the lure of internet scamming and other related trending vices. A nation’s future is only as secure as the minds of those who will one day lead it. I have little confidence in the quality of leadership the youth have witnessed so far, but if anybody who is Nigerian is reading this piece, then a responsibility falls on him or her to do something today that will change tomorrow for good. A great way to start will be to encourage the reading culture. I perceive that if a great number of our current leaders had bothered to peer into the minds of leaders who shaped the fate of their nations through the books written about them, we would have fewer pot-bellied jokers in public offices today and more men and women who know what to do and how to do it.
In conclusion, I challenge present and future parents to engage their children beyond their selfish interests and instead choose the greater good. Lord knows how many Messis and Ronaldos have been sentenced to working desk jobs for life. It’s sad. And no, for the record I do not think that all Nigerian public office holders are houseflies and salamanders. Thankfully, I am not that cynical. However I do believe a few are, and so far they have succeeded in making a mess of public office duties. But that will change if we decide to do something about it, for the love of our future. And I love the future of my nation too much to leave it in the hands of attired bandits, starched garments and all.
I am just musing aloud.