I reflected on those issues that contribute to greatness of any society or defined territory. I equally ruminate on what cause selflessness and selfishness. Apparently, personality described by psychologists as a combined product of nature and nurture. The Dictionary states that personality is a ‘’combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character’’ Thus, genetic and environmental stimuli are the greatest factors that forge the behavioural pattern of an individual. As it is with individuals, so it is with societies and nations. Given the fact that the aspirations of people differ from one nation to another as a result of the socio-cultural settings, beliefs, traditions, customs and norms, it should be expected that the approach of various governments to various issues would differ. Each nation is the product of its geography, historical experiences, economic resources and political values and organization. Succinctly put, each nation has a unique history on which it bases its actions or inactions, and also draws certain lessons. Each nation therefore develops a specific individuality and behavioural pattern that is peculiar to it and which may be called its national character.
SELFLESSNESS:: I had a very brief discussion on how we could change our attitudes from selfishness to selflessness so that our society could move further. The first example that came to mind was Pastor E. A. Adeboye’s dealing with God. Pastor Adeboye was requested by God to ask for his birthday present over two decades ago. Let me state very honestly that if I was in Pastor Adeboye’s shoes, and God was kind to ask from me what I wanted, I would have asked for personal blessings first before going ahead to see if the Creator would be gracious to accommodate the requests of other people that are on my prayer list. But Daddy G.O as he is fondly addressed; like Biblical Solomon, must have amazed and impressed God by requesting that his congregation be blessed instead of himself. Just one divine encounter was what was required to change the lives of members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God globally through a covenant struck with the Creator by Pastor Adeboye, a man of great wisdom. We are learning.
If Adeboye had requested for five (5) private jets on that occasion, God Almighty Who owns the earth and heaven and all that are therein could, if He so wished have added two more jets to make seven airplanes, so Daddy G.O could be using one airplane daily. But the effect would be that RCCG would not have been blessed as it is today and the private jets would have packed up because Redeemers would not have the funds to maintain the church and the jets. That church would also not have grown as it is today. This type of attitude of our people first, self last by our leaders is required to put Nigeria on the road to greatness again. We need to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life. Lets refresh our minds with quotes by great Nigerians while calling on the government and the governed to play their roles in our collective desire to build a greater Nigeria.
AHMADU BELLO ON GOVERNANCE: ‘’I appoint you and other people to serve on various regional boards with the firm belief that you will render useful service to your compatriots; in other words, it is a sort of national service. The idea is by all means not for you to regard the opportunity as a money making privilege! In this connection, I would like to inform you that I was made to understand that in the last meeting you insisted, quite adamantly, on the question of elevating members’ allowances. This attitude will certainly not be of any credit to you, or us, in the eyes of the general public… If your intention is to make money rather than helping your fellow countrymen, then the best course for you to take is to resort to trading or some sort of business which can quench your inordinate monetary thirst.” – Sir Ahmadu Bello, Premier, Northern Region in his response to a memo that reported a politician’s request for increase of allowances.
LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE – PARTISANSHIP ENDED WITH ELECTIONS: First Republic politicians were leaders who sincerely believed in, and faithfully practiced the best tenets of democracy; and were always guided in all they did by the public interest. While they were partisan politicians, they still led governments that were inclusive and blind to people’s politics and they tolerated and worked amicably well with the opposition. For them, partisanship ended with the elections, and governments formed were for all the people. While the majority had its way, the minority had its say—and it was always listened to. In their control and management of public resources the leaders were accountable to the last penny; because, with the system that they had put in place and jealously guarded, they perhaps couldn’t have been otherwise. The best type of leadership is one is exercised by example; and, in general, there is little doubt that politicians of the First Republic led this nation by the power of their example. – Mallam Adamu Fika, Wazin Fika
AWOLOWO ON LEADERSHIP – Those of us placed in a position of leadership must be prepared to grasp the nettle if we unite in doing so, and if, in addition, we set a worthy example and a marat on pace in probity, unselfishness, and self-sacrifice, the people will follow, all too readily, in our footsteps. — Obafemi Awolowo.
DREAM OF A PATRIOT ACHIEVED: My stiffest earthly assignment is ended and my major life’s work is done. My country is now free and I have been honoured to be its first indigenous head of state. What more could one desire in life? – Nnamdi Azikiwe; after emergence as Nigeria’s first indigenous Governor-General in 1960.
TEMPORARY NATURE OF HUMAN PROBLEMS
“In the long run, all human problems do settle themselves aright, whatever anyone or group of people may do. This is so, because all those who do wrong and injustice, are merely setting themselves against the powerful tide of nature’s or if you like, History’s dialectical progression. Temporarily, this tide can be held back; but certainly, not permanently.” — Obafemi Awolowo — Address to 4th OAU Summit in Kinshasa, Sept, (/967): In Voice of Courage (1981)
AZiKIWE ON DIVERSITY: “The very diversity of our peoples, and customs and languages, means that we have much to contribute to each other. If we can keep the larger vision in view, if we do not spoil the opportunity that lies before us by petty and inglorious side issues, these African States may yet achieve what the independent and warring States of Europe and the volatile and sometimes undemocratic States of the Americas have never yet accomplished, that is, a unity undreamt-of; and become models of honest and democratic government, which will give hope to all Africa and offer a challenge to the rest of the world. – Nnamdi Azikiwe; on the occasion of the visit of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah to Eastern Nigeria in 1959
GOING FORWARD: The value system in this country has changed. In our time, our value system and the things that made or pushed us to greater heights are very different from the things people look for these days. We are talking about change in Nigeria, but the first and most important change we need is a change of heart. Take away the carnal aspect of our lives, take away the heart of stone and replace it with the heart of flesh, one that looks up to God, that seeks to please Him, knowing that He is the Creator, the only one who can guide us and that all good things come from Him. But what change are they embracing? The first change is a change of heart; to have the mind of God. I always pray to God to give me the mind of Jesus Christ, so I can please Him. If you have that type of mind, then all the ills we are talking about now would be anathema to us. – Elder Felix Ohiwerei in an interview published in the Guardian newspaper.