OPINION: 2013, The Year of Responsibility – by @RichardChilee
Like me, many Nigerians will never forget the year 2012 in a hurry mainly because the year began on a sad note. By this time in January 2012, Nigerians the world over were grappling with the news of the fuel subsidy removal. In Imo State where I was at the time, transporters didn’t waste any time in tremendously increasing the cost of transportation so much that I had to borrow extra money from my grandmother to enable me travel back to Port Harcourt.
Like me too, many Nigerians borrowed money from friends and relatives in their respective places of travel, others that couldn’t borrow had to stay back until the situation, that led to the occupy protest, that shook the government, that halted the economy of the country, and that took the lives of young Nigerians, was settled. As the year 2012 unfolded, it unleashed further terrors on Nigerians, spicing our January experiences with severe touches of religious, economic and political irregularities.
Let me quickly point out that the situation of the country in 2012 wasn’t all bad; it has its good side. Top on the good list is the year made us more aware that our country has been in the state of near comatose and on the verge of collapse unless something serious is done to salvage it in a hurry.
Today, we are in 2013, happy new year to everyone who made it through.
If the year 2012 was the year of awareness to sensitive issues in Nigeria, the year 2013 must be tagged the year of immense responsibility geared towards addressing and changing the debilitating issues confronting us. As Nigerians, we shall resolve to be more responsible for ourselves and for our actions because one responsible action breeds countless reactions that will have a tremendous impact on the future of our country.
A cursory look at the present state of our country shows, with increasing accuracy, that the missing link needed to bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to go in the near future is responsibility. A responsible government will not be associated with immense corruption. A responsible government will not allow the roads to go unfixed and better described as “death-traps.” A responsible government will not render the hospitals moribund. A responsible government will not keep the judicial system ineffective. In the diary of a responsible government, the citizens’ care and concern are its ultimate priority. But in Nigeria, all the necessary amenities are nonexistent because our government isn’t a responsible one.
In 2013, our government must be more responsible, they must change who they are today for whom they must become tomorrow. They must change from being like irresponsible parents who profess lip service to their children without backing it up with tangible and sensible evidence. They must provide the enabling environment that will allow and bolster economic activities. They must understand and that the desired change must begin with them and the change will never come as a miracle in churches or from heaven; it will come only when they decide to make percentage improvements on their daily activities, it will come only when they make an ego free admission that they have been wrong in the running of the country. These give them the opportunity to see things in a whole new different ways and tackle things responsibly.
As citizens, we must learn to depend less on the government to provide everything for us and learn to depend more on our own initiatives to do the best we can for ourselves. We must understand that excessive dependency is a terrible disease, it takes away our pride and civility as a people, it keeps us limited and stagnated and makes us utterly irresponsible. The more we depend on the government, the more we have less confidence and reliance on our own competencies and skills.
We must learn how to create our own jobs, no matter how small. One small job created in Lagos today will generate an avenue of taking people out of the streets of Port Harcourt tomorrow. Creating our jobs also creates ripple effects, it gives others the drive to create their own small jobs and take others out of the street.
We must base our criticisms on credibility and sound judgement. More importantly, we must become the changes we want to see in the government, because the leadership of a country is always a direct reflection of its citizens. How can we expect our leaders to act responsibly if we, as citizens, cannot act responsibly? Let’s not easily forget that the leaders are always drawn from the society and if we are not responsible as citizens, we cannot be responsible as leaders since we cannot offer what we don’t have. Therefore, a driver must drive responsibly and stay on his lane, a doctor must be responsible and act according to the ethics of his profession, a lecturer must be responsible and do his jobs effectively without the demands of handouts and sex, and a lawyer must act responsibly and deliver his judgements with fairness and justice according to the rule of law.
Well, I know being entirely responsible isn’t going to be a task too easy for us, especially because we aren’t used to it, but we must seek to make little improvements where necessary. Responsibility isn’t like the Holy Grail that cannot be achievable; it can be achieved with consistent dedication to reaching it.
When we succeed at climbing the first hill, the victory we have achieved will give us the needed power and vigour to climb even bigger hills. The singer, Timi Dakolo, in his beautiful and patriotic music, titled Great nation, sings “We are all we have, we’ll defend our land…We believe in Nigeria and we know we’ll get there.” We have to keep pushing for the required changes, keep believing in ourselves and keep being holistically responsible, sooner than later, Nigeria will get to our collective desired destination.
Welcome to 2013, the year of responsibility.
Written by Richard Chilee. Follow him on twitter @richardchilee