Find the first part of this article series here.
Are our leaders to blame for the state of our nation? Absolutely. But so are “ordinary Nigerians” who do not live in Asokoro or Bourdillon, who do not have the finances to fly to London on weekend shopping sprees, or throw billion-naira parties.
It’s easy to point at the political elite (whose amassed wealth has questionable sources) as the cause for our decay as a nation, but what about the street lout who harasses innocent commuters? Or the primary school teacher who cheated his/her way through school and is now teaching other people’s children jargon? Or the crass bank teller or dishonest shop attendant?
Here are more simple ways we can all change Nigeria, one day at a time.
Treat Your Employer’s Business Like It Is Your Own
Turn up to work on time. Carry out your duties diligently. Don’t look for excuses to abscond or leave work earlier than you should. Be honest in your dealings. Don’t badmouth your employee to every customer/client who cares to listen.
Don’t Throw Trash Out Of Your Car Window
Keep your empty pure water sachet, Tom Tom and Gala wrappers inside your car with you or inside a nylon bag until you get to a place where you can discard of them properly. How many of us throw biscuit wrappers on the floor in our living rooms? So why do it to public property?
We can’t complain about our streets flooding each time it rains if we litter the street with trash every chance we get.
Be Polite & Considerate
We should learn to treat people with respect, whether or not we know them and whether or not they require a favour from us. We should be courteous and polite. We should treat people the same way we expect to be treated.
Go To Driving School
Go to driving school and get a licence. Much of the agony we face on the roads during our daily commute is because the average Nigerian does not know the rules of the road (what to do at a junction, how to approach a roundabout, who has the right of way, what the “slow lane” means). We teach ourselves to drive and find a way of securing a licence without attaining theoretical and practical knowledge. Motor accidents caused by ignorance have led to countless deaths.
Mind Your Business
A colleague has gone away for the New Year and returns in January looking round and well-fed. Mind your business. Stop commenting on people’s weight gain or loss.
A friend of yours has been married three years and still has no children. It’s not your business. Some people do not want children, some people are waiting for the right time, some people are battling infertility and it’s taking a toll on their mental health. You have no idea what the next man or woman is going through. Minding your business never hurt anyone.
Treat Your House Help With Dignity Or Send Them Packing
I can’t keep track of how many horrible stories I’ve heard of house helps (domestic assistants) being maltreated, some to the point of death. Some of these house helps are children and you wonder why we do this to each other. If you will not treat your help with dignity (the person who cooks your food, washes your car and caters to your children), then simply send them packing. It is not in the Constitution to have a house help.
If you say you’ll be at a meeting at 2pm, keep to time and if you happen to be running late, let the person know that you’re having challenges keeping your word. It’s wrong to just be getting out of bed and, when asked where you are, say you’re stuck in traffic.
We blur the lines a lot because we say “a white lie doesn’t hurt”. But if you can avoid lying but still choose to, it becomes a problem. If you do not appreciate being lied to, you probably shouldn’t lie to other people.
The next generation
Again, our children are watching our every move, and if we want to make Nigeria a better society for them tomorrow, we have to change our attitude and mentality today.
Ibiene is a writer and an editor. She loves good books and poetry and resides in Lagos. You can find more of her work here: www.ibienebidiaque.com