Steven R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the books that will always play itself softly in the mind of this writer whenever there is time for solitude amidst life’s hustle and bustle. It is one of my own classics; I won’t wait for one literary body or the other to proclaim it so. I won’t want to bore you with Steven’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People though, but it is highly recommended as a good read by this writer. But I have been thinking lately about Covey’s habits and its correlation with effective Nigerians. And just like the other motivational and business books out there, I realized that there are not the ‘Nigerian habits’ outlined as habits of effective people. Imagine a book about how you can start a small business and there is no consideration for the cost of diesel and you as a Nigerian think that book will work for you? Fine, Covey didn’t write the book for Nigerians. And I want to believe that neither did the authors of the common ‘How To Start And Grow Your Business’ books. To this writer, until the likes of Dangote, Otedola, (fill in the names of our numerous business moguls) et al tell us how to grow businesses in Nigeria, all these foreign books will pale and grow into moth-ridden papers on numerous bookshelves that will not be fit for cleaning oneself after a number two before we can know the secrets of successful home-grown businesses. And that will take a long time. But I am going to write one for us because I also realised that if I don’t, no one else will. And should I say that you have to read this if you want to be an effective Nigerian? Well.
These are the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Nigerians written by a Nigerian for Nigerians. Let’s go…
1. They are religious: You have to be religious to be effective in Nigeria. Please note that you don’t necessarily have to truly have the fear of God in you to be effective. You just need to be religious and call the name of God in vain all the time and you are almost effective. The men of God in Nigeria are the most effective ones. They command a crowd of followers that is the envy of any magician. Religious people in Nigeria are worshiped and that makes them super-effective. No president has ever made it to Aso-Rock without the blessings of one man of God or the other. Elections are won by the religious ones only. Every successful business owner will tell you it is God’s doing. This simply means that if your business is not successful, you are not religious. Need I say that the most effective terrorist group in Nigeria today plays the religious card?
2. They are reactive: Covey says effective people are proactive. In Nigeria, you have to be reactive to be effective. You must wait till something (usually bad) happens then you condemn it out rightly and initiate committees to look into why it happened. Effective Nigerians don’t vote, yet they will complain when someone, anyone wins. There are no committees to make things work, rather there are committees to find out why something, anything, everything fails. And oh, Nigerian youths are waiting for 2015 before they can start tweeting about why this government, that government, or any government for that matter won’t work. And this will be after the elections.
3. They are connected: The most potent test used to know who is more effective. Do you know anybody in the corridors of power? Do you know any high- ranking police officer? Do you simply know any police officer? Who do you know? We have seen effective people having business cards that say they are friends of the people in government. And they get things done, seriously! If you by accident get into a fight with anybody for that matter and he or she reaches for the phone and you can’t do same, please run. That means you don’t know anybody who will bail you when you get to the police station. Researches have shown that most people in prisons are not the guilty ones per se. They are just not effective. They don’t know anybody.
4. They are very patient: Like this writer, effective Nigerians are very patient. We have been waiting for almost fifty years to get it right. We are prepared to wait longer. If that is not being effective, I don’t know what else is. We repeat the same old pattern of wasteful government every four years and then wait patiently for the same government that has failed us since donkey years to deliver the dividends of democracy. We are still waiting…
5. They are happy: Nigerians are the happiest people on earth. They are the least depressed too. Effective people are happy and are not depressed. Just be happy no matter how battered you are in life and you are on the way to being an effective Nigerian. Whatever happens in Nigeria happens for nothing. Nobody will come out to protest or just voice their indignation. Everybody has a plan on how to cushion the effect of bad policies of the government. Nothing can take our joy! No electricity, buy a generator! No portable water, buy bottled water! Poor educational sector, go to England! You need a medical check-up, go to Germany!Just be happy. And if you can’t afford these ‘cheap’ prescription drugs for happiness, join a religious group and get high on their opium.
6. They are salary-earners: Effective Nigerians, like this writer, are not risk-takers. And although we celebrate entrepreneurship, we would rather some fool would pay us salary at the end of the month. That will always make us feel effective. We can always buy stuff we need and demand for a raise as soon as there is inflation in the country. We will never be ineffective by going out on a limb to start a business venture or provide services that we can get by paying for. We will put millions in the bank as fixed deposit rather than invest in manufacturing. And although the banks rip us off by giving little interest, we are thankful for it at the end of the month.
7. They play the Ethnic Card perfectly: The reason why Boko Haram is bombing all of us including themselves is simply because the president is not a Northerner. That is what is in the minds of all Nigerians. Soon we will have an amnesty programme for them that will gulp billions of naira. Effective. It was MEND before Boko Haram. It was OPC before MEND… it will be the turn of another ethnic group after Boko Haram. Your guess is as good as mine. Geo-political zones are just a way of telling ourselves that although we are one we are not.
That’s it, folks. If for any reason you don’t like this, then it’s because you are not from my tribe.
– by MUYIS ADEPOJU