OPINION: True Citizens Give a Damn – Okolie Ifeanyi Kenneth @okolieken

Published:20 Dec, 2012

OPINION: True Citizens Give a Damn – Okolie Ifeanyi Kenneth @okolieken


It’s an undeniable fact that our present government in Nigeria has not impressed the majority of the populace as most of our expectations are yet to be met.
A majority of our roads are still in a poor state, unemployment is still an issue, power supply is still epileptic, our refineries can still be likened to an Aids patient who has no cure, our health care system is in a deplorable state, and our educational system is a shadow of its self and the nation’s judicial system is an irony of what it should be, just to mention but a few.


Our nation is bedeviled by generations of problems which we expect to magically be taken away in one full sweep, really could that be possible? Maybe yes, maybe no or maybe we have a role to play as true citizens who give a damn, so as to make our dreams a reality. I have come to realize that criticism is very easy as many of us have become in our nation (constructive criticism has its place of course), however its pertinent that we look at the requirement for our development as a nation from another vintage point “the role of the citizen (you and I) in, beyond just the role of the government”.


As I find my way to work on the regular Monday to Friday hustle, I am a witness to many anomalies amongst my fellow Nigerians, who are as well passionate about transformation as I am. Daily I see piles of rubbish at the center of a major road, not put there by government but by an army of ignorant Nigerians, I also see well dressed men and women throw things out the windows of their cars or commercial vehicles without giving a damn, I see presupposed well learned men and women beat traffic lights and then try to bribe their way out when caught in the act.


I daily see an army of youths droll the streets, they have become heavily dependent on the government and also blame the system for their woes that they have come to forget that they have a brain that can be developed and master any skill for which they can become a master of, and invariably become an asset to their societies rather than liabilities, regularly I see irregularities within both privately owned businesses and government agencies, from the gate director (gate man) to the director of establishment (or CEO), I also see daily an army of individuals who just do not give a damn if their actions directly or indirectly imparts on the general development of our nation, but who just want to see transformation, furthermore in so many areas I see every available spaced defaced with adverts by churches for one breakthrough meeting or miracle programme or the other (the church ought to be the pivotal tool for transformation but today a number of them especially is some suburbs are now part of the problem).
I wonder with great interest how all this could add up to the exact recipe for the transformation we so yearn for in 2020 or any other year we set for ourselves. Many of us have just resolved to focus on success as individuals others see the airport (or sea port or Sahara desert) as the next escape route, and some have also resolved to just take life as they see it (no be my papa get Nigeria), and to further complicate our problems we consciously or unconsciously raise an army of irresponsible Nigerians by our speech and actions, by recklessly destructively condemning the government and our nation by making such statements as; this country is a waste, we are finished in this country, this is not a country, we are in a dead end in this state, there is no hope for us etc. forgetting you have a responsibility to protect this nation, constructively criticize the government and ensure the next generation are molded with the right set of values. We further validate our irresponsibility by acting it out at every given opportunity by giving and receiving bribes, throwing things out the car and telling them to throw theirs, abusing every single person we see in traffic, beating the traffic lights etc. I dare to ask;

  • Who can effect change?
  • Who is responsible?
  • Who is ready to accept change?


I dare to say that we the citizens are the government and every society gets what it deserves. A society filled with the wrong values and cultures that are anti-development cannot breed a leader that would do otherwise. We as individuals must understand that we have a role to play; we must realize that our singular actions as a unit have a colossal impact on the whole when pulled together. We need to have a paradigm shift, our attitudes need to change, and each of us needs to understand that we contribute to our collective progression or retrogression by our attitudes on a daily basis. Below are some of my thoughts on what should be the attitudes of true citizens who give a damn;

  • True citizens who give a damn pay their bills and taxes, so they can have the moral and constitutional right to challenge the government they voted in
  • True citizens who give a damn take responsibility of their environments because they know they are immediate benefactors (not the government).
  • True citizens are custodians of their nations pride and constitution.
  • True citizens who give a damn understand that they only have one nation and they would give it their best and would also stand as a collective against whoever would work contrary to that.


True citizens do give a damn and do their best to do what needs to be done according to the laws of the land; true citizens do not have a dependency syndrome but are independent of one another and interdependent of one another including the government.

A society with such a paradigm cannot breed a thief as its leader.

Here is my point: we give what we have and get what we deserve. If the majority of us do not get it right with ourselves we can as well forget about any form of transformation. I however believe that we can get it right, may be not to a 100% in this generation but at least our generation would take the step to live Egypt so our children can get to Israel.

True Citizens Do Give A Damn … I DO!!!


By Okolie Ifeanyi Kenneth

Follow on twitter: @okolieken

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