“a fruit does not fall far from a tree that bears it” – African adage
“each tree produces fruits according to its kind” – from the scriptural account of creation
Nigeria is a country that is renowned worldwide for its oil, its population and its corruption. Until recently, it is not rare to find people who do not know anything about Nigeria, its history and culture talk about its corruption, 419,cheating, etc painting a partial and incorrect picture of Nigeria and its people. etc.
The truth however is this: with a population of over 170 million people, 65% of which are youth, the competition for a means of survival is high and in the midst of this fierce competition, people resort to any means necessary to win. This is part of the primal nature of man- to survive at all cost. And this is what most Nigerian youths have been doing.
“But ain’t there other ways to survive?” you may think.
Yes they are.
Yet we can only see as far as our mind knows and Nigerian youths have been raised amidst adults that are themselves corrupt. They are mentored by leaders who cheat, scheme, lie, lick asses to achieve their goals and are schooled by teachers who are spiteful, hateful and resentful of how life has dealt with them as such they grow up not caring about how their choices affect their neighbours and the common man.
Given this innate need to survive and the rather interesting role models they have, the Nigerian youth grows up knowing that (in Tupac’s voice)’it is them against the world’ and so we adopt any means within our reach to put money in out wallets. Most of us go through the hard working lane- writing blogposts, working four jobs and other common place hustles- while a small percentage of us resort to ‘the other thing’ you call scamming, cheating, corruption and a thousand other appelations for 419.
Our excuse is this : “If everybody does it, why not me?”
We are used to living like this… we’ve been used to living like this that it no longer bothers us what the world think about us. As a matter of fact, we are one of the happiest people in the world. Our religious teachers respect it, our families expect it, our wives demand it and we do it. No regrets, no apologies!
However, there was a general election recently in Nigeria; the result of which is threatening to destabilize ‘our way of life’. The presidential election was the most anticipated election and nay sayers everywhere have been predicting that the outcome of that election would deteriorate into a civil war, result in the separation of Nigeria and a lot of other negative prophecies even from some so-called ‘prophets of God’.
Do you know why?
Because each of the presidential candidates was a ‘true Nigerian’ and the world expected them to act as ‘true Nigerians’ and use what ever means possible to manipulate the election’s result to their favour whether this means completely disregarding the rule of law or sacrificing the lives of millions. We all expected them to cheat, kill, maim and do things i cant even mention in this article to get their heart desires.
Surprisingly, the incumbent president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan did something that shocked the world. He refused to act as a ‘true Nigerian’ determining to be the a different example for the millions of Nigerian youths that look to him as their mentor. The president became the first individual that young Nigerians know that did not use negative means to achieve his goals even though he had the power to do so.
As a matter of fact, while the votes were counted and collated on national television, people in various part of the country especially the disturbed north-east were preparing for war- sharpening their cutlasses- assuming that the electoral body would look for a means to invalidate the election so that the incumbent would continue to be in power but to our suprise, this gentleman of a president was the first to announce his defeat in the election and this singular act was a big lesson to me and to nigerian youths of my kind.
YOU COULD PURSUE YOUR DREAMS WHILE RESPECTING ESTABLISHED LAWS AND REGULATIONS
All our lives, we’ve had excuses that everybody is corrupt, everybody is trying to survive and win at all cost. At a point, you could ask somebody to name one person who is not trying to manipulate things to his good and he would not be able to mention a single famous Nigerian personality but now we can.
If the president of our country could respect the law while pursuing his goals of being a president for a second term, why shouldn’t you?
This is how GEJ’s most important message to the typical Nigerian youth like you!
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