Too often, it can be frustrating being Nigerian AND living in Nigeria. It often looks like there is more to complain about than to celebrate. As someone has said, it often feels like everything in Nigeria is trying to kill you. As we mark Nigeria’s 57th Independence day anniversary today, this is an opportunity to reflect and to consciously choose a way forward.
It is true that a lot depends on our political leaders. No doubt. The Nigerian population has been failed again and again by leaders who have promised and not delivered on their promises. That is huge. Let me put it this way: I am 44 years old and not one federal administration has delivered what it promised us in all the years in all of those 44 years. Not one.
So, what do we citizens do? Do we throw up our hands and resign ourselves to despair? I say no.
One fateful day in November 2006, I started a website called GoSmartMobile to share free and useful information about mobile technology to help Nigerians put phones and services to good use. Later, I made the switch to MobilityNigeria in 2008 (and later MobilityArena). Why did I start down this path? I saw one thing in Nigeria that excited me. One thing that I knew I wanted to spend my life doing. One thing that I felt I could make a difference doing. Mobile technology.
MobilityNigeria was a pioneer tech blog in Nigeria and has remained at the fore-front of tech blogging not just in Nigeria but on the continent. But tech blogging in Nigeria wasn’t a vibrant field then years ago. But I set myself to it and stuck to it even when it was the most tedious thing to keep pursuing. As a result of MobilityArena’s leadership, a whole industry has blossomed around tech blogging in Nigeria today. There are scores of Nigerian tech blogs in existence today. It is true that many have come and died. But many more are thriving today. And it will get better if we keep at it.
What is my point? We can each take one thing. Just one thing (well, if you can embrace two or three or ten, all the better). We can find that one thing that excites us and invest in making a difference in that field. Make that your contribution to the building of the Nigeria you want.
Through this blog, people have come to understand mobile phones and services better. Individuals and small businesses have learned to deploy mobile systems for their operations. Other tech blogs have been inspired to start. We have crusaded for better services, helped attract attention to the potentials and opportunities that exist in Nigeria, and much more. That small spark that I felt in me when GSM technology arrived Nigeria in 2001 has brought me down this road and helped me contribute my bit to the Nigeria project.
Why do you need to embrace something that excites you? It is because in the kind of harsh environment we live in, everyone needs self-motivation. And nothing is as effective as motivation from doing something that really, really excites you.
I do not know about you, but doing something that I am sincerely excited about keeps me going.
Do it; Don’t talk
Nigerians love to talk. We are widely known as a garrulous people. Even our leaders govern by speeches. A lot of talk and not much commensurate action. Choose to be different. When you make a decision to excel, just go do it. The famous line from the movie, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, says, When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”
That is good advice. When you have decided to be exemplary at something, just go do it. Let your results do the speaking.
Happy 57th Independence Day Anniversary!
Nigeria may not be all that we desire it to be right now. I am betting that for most people, it isn’t even close. But we will get there. Embrace that thing that keeps you excited and motivated and use it as a channel to contribute to nation-building. It may be technology, agriculture, banking, teaching, or even politics. Hopefully, someone reading this article and who gets inspired by it will one day become President or governor and deliver on their promises to the people.
Happy Independence Day. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.