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Government Is People, The Public Is People Too

It is people who stop vices, who change communities and it is also people who make up governments. That is just a reminder that no matter your position in your country, you can look around your community and/or the country and try to help where a change is needed. It is people who make change, whether they are categorized as a government or just as members of the public.

I recently visited my country, Nigeria, after nearly three years of being away in Canada. As I was driven around in Lagos, I was not impressed with a lot of things that I observed. For instance, there were hardly any direction signs in sight; there were little or no traffic controllers (people basically struggle for lanes). Such things made me sad. Especially as I was aware that I was in a country that has so much resources and great potential. Nigeria just lacks enough people in government and even people among the public who are ready to move it forward. A development that is long overdue.

The Nigeria that I grew up in, was one where the federal government was constantly blamed for the near stagnancy of the country. Don’t get me wrong, it is completely normal and actually, very necessary that members of the public keep the government accountable when things are going wrong. Government accountability is a great resource, especially for people who are disadvantaged e.g. the poor and the disabled. If you do not belong to any of those categories, waiting solely on government accountability may become illogical, if you do not act on your own, even in little ways. Again, this is because it is people who make change, whether they are categorized as a government or just as members of the public. Back to the point – most Nigerians blame the government a lot but some of us members of the public also contribute to the pathetic state of the country.

When you see immigration officers helping either people who they know or people who have paid them or both, to skip waiting for long hours to get new or renewed passports, you wonder if the government is the only one to blame. When a woman requests that you help her hold her bag then return it to her after you have successfully passed through the security search point at the airport, you wonder if the government is the only one to blame. When you hear that examination centres are set up with officials, who supply senior high school students with answers, you wonder if the government is the only one to blame. When you observe that a presidential candidate is endorsed not on merit but for the mere fact that he or she and the endorser are from the same tribe or state, you wonder if the government is the only one to blame.

People, human beings can be powerful forces of positive change. We can also be powerful at stagnating progress. The power to choose which category we want to belong to lies within us. I will choose the first option. I want a progressive Nigeria. I want every society that I am affiliated with, to move forward in a positive way. The Nigerian government needs a reformation and so does the public. Entertainers, philanthropists, doctors, lawyers, business people, writers, … just to mention a few; please use your position in the society to convince fellow Nigerians to do what is right for the country. Also, please educate the public on the importance of voting only for political candidates who merit the crown that they want to wear.

Again, it is people who make change, whether they are categorized as a government or just as members of the public.

Love & Peace,

Chiamaka

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