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Till we change, there will be no change – by Prince Charles Dickson

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Image: the author

So last week, I shared with us that story about how a young dumb boy made a sacrifice for the sake of his brother. I think it would be fair to give a quick summary for those that missed the story, as today’s admonition is a continuation or rather an interpretation of that story.

The story was about a lad whose brother pilfered other people’s items, and how he was nearly mobbed to death by those who thought he was the thief, unknown to them, he was protecting his brother. It is a story of sacrificial love, and in the next few paragraphs, I would share with us, a few reasons why we may be far from the desired change.

Not many of us would claim ignorance of the new term “body language” used to describe the change mantra of Mr. Buhari, the Nigerian president, and how many argue that it has been responsible for any visible improvement one can notice since the advent of the APC led government.

However the truth remains that there is still a body of stench, an odoriferous smell in the attitude of the everyday Nigerian, who is not willing to make any sacrifice.

We are all in the mob mentality mood, we all desire the change but not willing to change, we want others to change but we are not changing. There’s been a change of government but the civil servant is not changing, between a take home pay, that cannot take him home, and a living wage that practically kills him by all intent and purpose.

So, to him, it’s not corruption, but “his god” blessing him, in the face of hardship.

How many times have I asked how it feels, when a policeman says to you; “How are you, can I see your papers, I advice you tidy your papers, have a blessed day”. Strange, oh, very strange because this year alone despite the best of efforts by the Police High Command, almost half a dozen persons have been killed just for refusing to part with as little as N20.

Parents have a twisted picture of sacrifice, when they pay for their kids to get placement ion secondary schools, and yet we want to see change. While the quality of medicare available continues to drop, it is really sad when people tell you, except you know someone, even if you can afford it, you would not get any attention from our numerous teaching and specialist hospitals, which by the way are specials in nothing.

Mr. Buhari may have the best of intentions, but he sure has his job well cut out, when he is surrounded by a host of ungodly saints that are unwillingly to change, except for a change of chameleonic nature. Take the National Assembly, it has barely sat for 15 days, and been on recess for 12 weeks, and has gulped several millions of tax payers, no bill passed yet.

Amaechi with his moral baggage, Saraki with his own moral luggage, both men dividing Nigerians equally in a case of who is more corrupt, and who is not corrupt, and we want change, we want sacrifices made, but no one is willing to be that sacrifice.

We fight each other on the premise of our faith, we see a list and debate on the number of Igbos, number of Muslims, number of women, but hardly worry about those that are capable of delivering. It is a no sacrifice, except it suits us.

Every Nigerian is sharp, believing that nothing goes for nothing, you need to know someone that knows someone or else no admission into that school, an unemployed is asked to pay to get a job. Government fleece its own, and the citizens in turn fleece government the bazaar of corruption is mutual.

So, a neighborhood cries there is no electricity, but ask them to produce bills, of when last they paid, Lord Lugard would have been a teenager, and same applies to the power company that would send bills for electricity not provided.

We have millionaires everywhere even in our depressive and repressive economy because they are wealthy by acquisition, and not production. Every young person not only wants a job, but equally to be rich; the mindset is dangerously corruptly embellished. For example a young man pays to be a custom officer with the intent that it’s an investment that would be recouped.

I would end this treaty on sacrifice by sharing Shiv Khera, a renowned author and management trainer experience’s in Singapore.

“Six years ago in Singapore I gave a taxi driver a business card to take me to a particular address.  At the last point he circled round the building. His meter read $11, but he took only $10.

I said Henry, your meter reads 11$ how come you are taking only 10.

He said Sir, I am a taxi driver, I am supposed to be bringing you straight to the destination. Since I did not know the last spot, I had to circle around the building. Had I brought you straight here, the meter would have read $10.

Why should you be paying for my ignorance?

He said sir, legally, I can claim 11$ but honestly and ethically I am entitled to only 10.

In my opinion he probably did not go to school beyond the 8th grade, but to me he was a professional, and equally reflected the larger Singaporean spirit. To me his behavior reflected pride in performance and character.

In Nigeria, we have Taxi drivers that have returned millions, but the truth is that like many honest Nigerians, rather than the norm, they remain exceptions, ordinarily the change mantra of the current administration should echo beyond campaign gimmicks, but sadly it may all well be just a hullabaloo with no one willing to make the sacrifice.

Are we ready to make personal sacrifices for the general good, do we see that Mr. Buhari needs help, or we are just on a wish plane—Only time would tell.

Prince Charles Dickson is a Freelance Journalist on Research|Policy|Media|Private Investigation


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