How to we go about changing and helping Nigeria to progress?
That is the million dollar question.
There is no right or wrong answer.
My philosophy has always been to educate myself not only in the conventional sense, but actually to spend time studying Nigeria. Understanding Nigerian politics, studying the people, and trying to find a way to fix it.
This is not going to be a one woman/ man job, but I believe the answer is in the YOUTH.
I'm not trying to be sappy, but it's the truth. We sit down and we listen to our granparents or our parents tell us how Nigeria used to be. We sit and savour in that nostalgic moment.
However, when looking at how the older generation has handled Nigeria, they act as their parents did.
They wallow in greed, intellectually discuss the need for change and some find excuses when corrupt.
"Thats the way Nigeria is, or that is the way Nigeria is always going to be."
Backtracking ever so slightly, lets look at this scenario.
You are in the car with the driver, (I have been guilty of this scenario too), he takes the wrong turn and LASMA catch him. LASMA are the Lagos Road Traffic Police.
LASMA: Oga, you no know sey that you no fit take this wrong turn. (Boss, you know you should'nt have taken this wrong turn)
Driver: Yes sir, pele. (Sorry)
LASMA notices you in the back seat, after already analysing the kind of vehicle you are in, and seeing how put together you are in the back seat, to him, this is the prime opportunity for him to get something extra.
LASMA: Sista, fine geh, how are you. (Sister, beautiful girl, how are you?)
He attempts to speak proper English in order to appeal to the cultured woman you are.
Girl: I am fine thank you Oga, but I beg, make you let us go.
LASMA looks at you in shock at the fact that you have broken out in Pidgin English (Broken English), as he realises this will be harder than he previously thought he decides to up the stakes.
LASMA: Why should I let you go, don't you know you have broken the law. You have entered the one way and so...
Girl: I understand sir, but I need to go and pick up my baby sister at the airport. She is there alone and without me there with her anything can happen.
LASMA: Your sister ehn, your sister ehn, well I'm sorry but you must get ready to pick up the car at the police station. Unless...
Driver: Says something in Yoruba (I do not understand) and the Police Officer slightly agrravated says.
LASMA: Oya, if you give me something now, you can go.
Girl: I don't have much money on me, like I said I am on the way to the airport.
Unknown to the police officer, she has 15,000 naira, the equivalent of about £60 in her purse.
LASMA: Oya, how much make you give me.
Girl: Here's 5,000 naira, to the driver - Uncle Micheal, let's go.
LASMA: Thank you ma, enjoy your day.
See how he has now called you Madam, due to the payoff.
I promised myself never to do that again, and since that day I haven't.
Now the driver as we drove off, told me that I gave him too much, and he would have let us go with a smaller amount. I told him to focus on his driving so that we are never in such a situation again.
In that higlighted scenario we have seen corruption, greed and manipulation.
The police officer, isn't paid what he should be paid. System of pay and regulation in Nigeria is the worst. Someone needs to see to that being changed.
An honest man, wouldn't have asked for the money in the first place and would have impounded the car.
That would have been an inconvience to the person in the car and to their daily plan, so they paid him off.
Its all about opportunity and convinience in Nigeria. How do we fix that?
For 1) Be the honest person and refuse to give a bribe. Let your car be impounded, most likely because the police guy is a lazy bugger anyway, he won't even take the car. If he's an honsest guy then that's fine. Have your car impounded and don't be so silly next time.
We always complain of corruption within the govt and don't realise that we too are guilty of it, even in the smallest way.
2) The bigger issue, pay regulation. I don't know how to go about fixing that save from being governor, or a minster. But on a smaller scale pay your staff they way they should be paid, treat them well, clear your conscience.
3) Tell your driver to be more careful, make sure he's actually had driving lessons (ID's are faked all the time). He might be driving your kids someday, then what?
4) Most importantly: keep up to date with the recent law changes, which actually do occur, that way you're not in a pickle and if the police try to swing a fast one past you - you can't be fooled.
With the older generation, all is not lost, but the younger ones, we are the future leaders of tommorrow (again not to sound sappy), but it's important - don't give or take bribes - be the honest man.