In my presentation at the October 1 meeting that held at Nigeria’s premier University, I chose a topic that could reflect the exact words on my mind — Time Up!: Itâ€™s Time for Nigeriaâ€™s Conscious Walk to Freedomâ€¦.
The introduction was very generous! It was a very youthful audience, and our presence in Ibadan provided an opportunity to tell the story of a man who still lives in that city to date — the man who designed the national flag. With ready help from an article written by Dike Chukwumerije titled The National Flag, I explained: “The Nigerian national flag was designed by Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi in 1958. His design was chosen from about 3,000 entries to the National Flag Design Competition. M.T. Akinkunmi was a student of Ibadan at that time. Flying over his native land on his way to London for his university work, he was impressed by the virgin green land below him and chose that colour as the primary symbol for Nigeria in the flag. His original design also had a red sun emblazoned on the white stripe on the flag.” Talk about Taiwo Akinkumi’s generation and I think of high-end patriotism (at that time)…
That helped set the tone for my next question: “Is a 46-year-old (wo)man who still crawls worthy of celebration?” Well, your guess is as good as mine. While explaining that the odds against Nigeria included daily reports from the front cover of national dailies, global perception and socio-economic realities, I hinted that we cannot solve a problem by staying at the same level of intellect where it was created. What is is not always what will be, and the gap between the two is most often filled with two elements â€“ people and time. I stepped onto an interesting terrain when I started a discussion on God’s Own Countries. It is obvious that owing to many factors, many Nigerians would rather carry navy blue or wine passports (being the colours of two countries that are usually referred to as God’s own countries) but all nations have gone through moments of decision â€“ no nation was delivered perfect! Truth also is that transition will be slow for any nation until a generation makes the decision to understand and take action on Newtonâ€™s first law of motion (which states that, an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by a force). I posited that God has no favourite countries, but heaven smiles on those nations that are able to maximize its potentials.
I shared deep thoughts on why I always speak of a New Nigeria, beginning with the fact that while putting together my 15-year personal development plan (which leads into the year 2025), I noticed that it was possible to turn Nigeria into an envied nation — and I am not alone on this. I placed a lot of emphasis on the need for vision and stated that the reality of vision is that “what you cannot perceive, you cannot attain to”. Hence why I reiterated the need for a jointly-agreed national vision for the New Nigeria. Of course, you can be sure that vision influences our thoughts and informs our action — and it decides what is (or isnâ€™t) acceptable. I then continued with a few pictures that helped paint a picture of what the postcards sent from Nigeria will look like in 2025 — with what would today be described as breath-taking views, but will be the norm in the Nigerian landscape at that time. It is important to state that the pictures were obtained from a popular document made available by eMail. The entire presentation is available here. The pictures included a view of Apapa, Port Harcourt, Obudu Cattle Ranch, Zamfara Business District, Green Section of Idanre Hills and the WaZoBia Cenotaph in Niger Delta state. I hinted that Niger Delta state would be the custodian of its own resources (oil) while other states would have perfected revenue generation from non-oil resources (human capital, agriculture, ICTs, and more!)
I also discussed the need for Nigeria to move from independence to interdependence. The road towards 1960 was traced by a generation that decided it was time to move on to the next levelâ€¦ it was then time up for dependence. Of course, independence didnâ€™t make every evil thing good, but it provided an opportunity to take charge of our own lives but in the twin areas of succession and maintenance, we missed it big! The question then was, “What next?” I opined that Independence Day 2006 provided another opportunity to promote the strong need for collective efforts towards a conscious national rebirth — we may be independent, but we need to go a step further by becoming interdependent. As far as I know, we seem to have a few stars in the Nigerian firmament, but our destination is a deliberate networking of strengths and cancellation of weaknesses — 128 million will be better than a few! I inched closer to the end of the presentation by announcing that time was up for the old Nigeria in all of us. I listed a few needs as follows:
- For national rebirth, each citizen must become an ambassador
- The Nigerian nation must sign a social contract with it’s citizens
- Adequate leadership must emerge (please see Restoration Group)
- Extended freedom comes from a deliberate effort to impact your sphere of influence — so we can create positive ripples
- Personal freedom comes when we move from unconscious existence to conscious existence to conscious influence to unconscious influence
- We must begin to identify opportunities — seeing all of today’s inadequacies as an opportunity for better professional service tomorrow
It was an interesting discussion for me, and I ended by stating that I see a new Nigeria emerging… one that will be built on the labours of our heroes past, hewn out of the debris of the present waste and engineered by the strength of the future leaders: the youth. These young men and women will adopt relevant tools for the purpose of personal development, nation building, regional cooperation and global participation. They exist unknown today, but in the secrecy of their abode, they master the tool that will change their lives and that of their nation!