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What really matters to failing leaders?

One of the most powerful thoughts which is also one of the simplest of sentences is: focus on the things that actually matter.
Whenever that thought comes to my mind or whenever someone uses that statement as a means to cheer me up from something, it has an almost-instant healing effect.

There are certain issues going on in different societies that make me wonder, if some politicians ever have that thought with regards to the way they govern the citizenry. Good governance is measured on how much governments focus and work on creating a society that is fair, prosperous and a society where the leaders are accountable to the members of the public.

Last week Wednesday, March 22, 2017 was World Water Day. Clean water is an inherent human right but the reality in many societies, whether developed or undeveloped is that access to clean water is often a luxury. In Nigeria, there are communities in the Niger Delta region of the nation, where freshwater have turned to thick oil-polluted bodies. Aboriginal people in developed countries still are militarized/policed in their demands for the acknowledgement of their rights to clean water. The list goes on and on.

Maybe if certain politicians focused on what actually matters, it would not have to be stressed that love is better than hate and that openness is better than stigmatizing and ‘banning’ people because they were born in a predominantly Muslim nation.

Ending child marriage is something that actually matters. Providing professional resources and safety for people who have survived rape is something that actually matters. Ensuring that the wealth of a nation is distributed fairly among the citizenry and not just in the hands of a few, is something that actually matters.

Earlier in this post, I stated that there is a healing effect about that statement or thought (whichever way it may come to you): focus on what actually matters. Based on things that I have read, based on my conversations with people and based on my own personal experience – I believe the healing effect of that thought is somewhat universal. So, what must be the reason why some leaders do not heed to that calling? I really wonder.

However, in the disappointing and shameful absence of certain leaders not heeding to that calling, it is the very right and privilege of members of the public to push for positive action – till things are done right.

Love & peace,
Chiamaka

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The Government and The Public Functioning as One

Once I got off the plane it was like hot air rushed out on me. What a warm “Welcome back” to Nigeria that was. I kid.

I visited Nigeria – to be exact, Lagos for the Christmas/NewYear holidays. The main aim of my trip was to celebrate with my family and I thought sarcastically – Well, it would be good to see Nigeria again. With the constant news about bomb blasts, stagnant progress in very crucial areas in my country, I was sarcastic. It probably will be the same ol’ Lagos.

What I met at the airport was orderliness. I left the interior of the airport and got on the airport bus with my sister and dad, and I was fascinated. The bus was well-maintained and ventilated too. Then, we arrived at the car park area. The drive from the airport was smooth. No/very minimal traffic. Wow! I was thrilled.

Now, talk about consistency …

In Nigeria, electricity supply is not constant and generator business is good business over there. However, the electricity supply that I witnessed throughout my two-week stay was consistent, not complete but very consistent. Daddy installed Solar so our house gets constant electricity, regardless, but we were still alerted anytime an external electricity source came on. The trip from the airport to my house was not the only one that I took during that stay. I took 1, 2, 3 more and the roads were still very free. If you have driven or been driven on Lagos roads for years, then you know that the traffic can be brutal and can last for hours.

Each of these progressive experiences that I witnessed in Nigeria reminded of a post which was a sort of, my wish for Nigeria, after returning frustrated at the stagnancy I noticed last year. That post was titled – The Government Is People, The Public Is People Too. You can take some minutes to familiarize yourself with it. What came to my attention is that not only does Lagos State have a positively active Governor – Babatunde Fashola (not being partisan (I do not work for him) or partial, just being honest), it also has a public that cares about their society and nation as a whole. The latter are the people who are organizing themselves at the airport, ensuring that they do not deface and/or pollute the airport bus. These are the people who somehow … that I will confess to not being able to explain, created free roads for all Lagosians and visitors. This is the progressiveness that I seek not just for Lagos, but really for the whole country.

The Presidential election comes up in February. I will not be around to vote, but I will be praying for progress. Just as it hurts to see a gifted child produce subpar results time and time again, so it hurts to see Nigeria constantly performing below its potential. In some cases, the nation is not performing at all. My fellow people of Nigeria, in the coming month and on the day of election, use your power to put in place a fellow people that you truly believe can take Nigeria forward. No one can predict if a candidate that promises progress will take action when handed the mantle. However, I urge you to lay tribe, religion or any other source of partisanship aside as you cast your ballot on February 14th – and vote for the one that you feel is best for Nigeria – and then, hope for the best. Do it for Nigeria – that is, do it for your future.

Members of the public – rich, poor or disabled, we all have the power to change broken systems. Whether we remain in the public or move on to executive levels of government. The government is people and the public is people too.

Love & Peace,

Chiamaka

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