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« Fugitives as Governors in Nigeria? Dariye & Alamie!: The Tragedy of Looting Governor Alamieyesegha of Bayelsa | Main | Negative Uses of Body and Personality »

November 22, 2005

The Key to Progress in Nigeria Lies in Sincerity, Not Cynicism

by D. Akinsanya Juliuson --- There's not enough kindness in this world. People are far too quick to criticise and complain. Where is their compassion, their tolerance and their patience? There's not enough kindness in our own country Nigeria, either. We can't do anything about anyone else's harsh attitude, but we can at least resolve not to reply in kind.

The key to progress in Nigeria now lies in sincerity, not cynicism, warmth not coldness, communication not isolation. To do our best, all we have to do is refrain from doing our worst. It is perfectly possible to hold an entire conversation without sharing a single piece of useful information. People do it all the time. They exchange platitudes and pleasantries, gossip and hearsay. They make amused observations about the passing show. They may argue or agree, but they rarely reveal their most important feelings and fears. Their deepest hopes and most powerful passions stay secret. And then, they wonder why nobody ever seems to really understand them. In our country, Nigeria….Let’s dig a little deeper today. All good things though must come to an end. But then so, too, must all bad ones. We know that, bad things can drag on for a heck of a long time before they finally leave our lives. Why then, should we assume that good things are likely to depart any faster? We Nigerian’s mustn’t worry about a problem that doesn't yet exist. As for the problem that does? Well, let’s not worry about that either. If we truly believe in God, then we should have nothing to fear. A natural process is playing itself out in our beloved Country. Let’s accept as much and we will surely see that there are good things about the bad things.


Even though they say, nothing is for ever. How true. In the beginning, there was nothing! Once the universe has crumbled into dust, there will be nothing! So, clearly, nothing is indeed for ever. That’s nicely reassuring, isn’t it? It puts it all into perspective. We spend our lives thinking about anything other than nothing. We are fascinated by “Somethings” – so much so that we hardly care what shape or form they take as long as they are not nothings. We need to be aware today in this country that “Nothing matters” – in the nicest possible sense of that phrase. It has only just begun. We have embarked on a process that has much further to take us. There can be no turning back so, we shouldn’t even stop to think about ways to reverse the tide. Let’s relax, trust the heaven wheels as they now turn relentlessly. They might be bumpy and the journey exhausting at times, even now, but, hey, that’s a small price to pay for the chance to wind up somewhere wonderful. Let’s review the situation in a little while.

I believe, we’ll surely feel better then. Although there are processes that we cannot control, factors we cannot alter, situations that, we cannot change. We can gnash our teeth and strive to achieve the impossible - or we can relax a little and resolve to be more trusting. There is much that we cannot influence, we do have power in one key area of the life of our nation and this we will soon discover is the only power we need. But is there really such a thing as justice? How on earth can we truly tell if something is fair or unfair? Might we be kidding ourselves? People are notoriously good at believing what they want to believe. Something in our nation seems wrong. Naturally, we yearn to put it right. But what if, in our efforts to rectify the matter, we inadvertently cause it to deteriorate? We must proceed with a little caution now. We must allow for the possibility that everything will work out perfectly well without too much intervention. Patience may be a virtue but impatience isn’t much of a vice. When we think of all the wild ways we can be wicked, we go through a long list before we get to it. We live in a world of opportunity. We have countless chances of possibilities. Why, then, do we often feel so restricted? Perhaps it is because we react badly to the sense of overload. Just as people who surf the web too much become “less open to new information” in response to being bombarded. So we all tend to feel a little intimidated by a world without frontiers. Nigeria, I believe in the absence of the enemies of progress, will surely rise again.


I might not be a seasoned philosopher in the classic sense of that word but I certainly have incisive skills that would put many psychics to shame. I can always tell, from a brief moment of listening to a person's tone of voice, if they are happy or sad; lying or telling the whole truth; tense or relaxed. I can similarly instantly assess hidden nuances in the situations that I wander into or the organizations, I interact with. At the moment though, it’s about intuition and judgement. Why can't people be nicer to each other? Why must they always criticise, complain, bitch and bicker? Why can't they cooperate? Why must they always prove points and nurse grudges? Regardless of the reason, it's a game we no longer need to play, especially in Nigeria of today. We can't make anyone else be more fair or friendly, but we can put our own best foot forward and risk being considered naive or weak. If it breaks a deadlock and brings about progress, that's a small price to pay. Even if it seemingly brings no such tangible results, it will make us feel better about whom we are. I believe we will be amazed by what eventually comes from this important change, if we truly believe.

People love to watch other people making mistakes. They take much more interest in their tragedies than in their triumphs. Of course, when we see someone suffering, we feel sympathy. Just a little bit of us, though, experiences a wave of relieve. At least my life is not as bad as that we say. Would any of us in the name of the living God ever stoop so low as to keep some folk in a state of discomfort, just so that we could feel better than them? (I’m asking the true children of God in our midst). Well, it is to be hoped not. If we carry on doing what we are doing, there are sure to be consequences. But then we can’t just decide to do nothing. We must trust our instincts and give it a chance to guide us. We are of course right to feel wary of all the unknowns and uncertainties in our country’s current situation. Yet, simply because so much is unclear, it is impossible to make an informed choice about the best possible way to proceed. We either play our hunch or we let ourselves be talked by some parasites….into playing someone else’s. Welcome to Nigeria, the planet of knowledge and the main campus of the University of Life.


That which does not destroy us makes us stronger. Or so they say. They are, of course quite right. But they gloss over a rather important implication when they make this statement. It's not simply 'that which does not destroy us' but only 'that which looks horribly, convincingly as if it really is going to destroy us' which makes us stronger. Before we can face a fear and then transcend it, we first have to experience the fear. Before we cross a road, though, we need to look both ways. We can't just assume, because there's no traffic to our left, that the view from the right is equally clear. Nor can we look and then stride out regardless of what we have seen. The process is not a piece of pointless protocol or an academic exercise. It's essential and it must be taken seriously. As with roads, so with all paths needing careful navigation. We must always check carefully before making a move. When the time is really right, we'll feel really sure. Till then, better to hesitate than to make a mistake. To me that is simply enough for the wise. They say there's no substitute for experience. But there most certainly is. We use it all the time. It does the job terribly well. The world-class, world-famous substitute for experience is... imagination! Sometimes, it's far better than a substitute. It's a deeply preferable alternative. But, in fairness to the originator of that old saying, sometimes, yes, imagination IS no substitute. Sometimes our imagination could be our enemy not our friend. It could put us off an idea that we really ought to try. Not until we do a little practical exploration and THEN make up our mind. There is beauty, even in ugliness. There is hope, even in sorrow. There is magic, even in mundanity. We've just got to look for it. It isn't easy to see. But potentially, that makes discovery more comforting and rewarding. We are always looking, at a series of things that we do not particularly want to see. It's not that they are all bad; it's more that they do not match our expectation. Can we alter our idea? Can we adapt? Can we find some way to see those clouds as 'silver lining delivery systems'? We can, if we are willing to try. If there is something we have the power to change, let’s change it. If there isn't, let’s change the way we are looking at it. However, in life we must know our opponent and know when we are outgunned.

Cultural & Public Diplomacy Practitioner, Specialist Investigator and Honorary Representative

Posted by Administrator at November 22, 2005 07:14 AM


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