One thing that is sure about change is that it often happens when you least expect — when many could have either given up or slowed down.
Having had the most beautiful 32 days of my life ever (see www.temiandgbenga.com for details), I spent quite some time thinking through loads of stuff yesterday. Armed with a clearer vision of change in Nigeria and sharper mind to put to task, I watched as the Nigerian minister of Information read what must have been a speech to shed more light on the ongoing rebranding initiative. Dora (as she’s popularly called) is not new to the task of rebranding and my earlier misgivings about how she might focus more on one aspect of her work than the other has taken a back seat.
She sounded quite sure of what she was saying, and her examples were drawn from experiences that each Nigerian could relate with. I hope her boss is as excited as she is so we can at least get somewhere with a noble effort this time around. Few days ago, I had written to the minister and a few others in the ministry on the need to build on ongoing work so that the task of weaving a New Nigeria will be citizen-focused because no amount of money spent on a CNN advert (or road show) can equate the unguarded statement of a citizen while with others.
It’s no secret that I admire the works of friends, colleagues and mentors who drive change in Nigeria and while today is not a day to write the complete list (which could entirely be my personal perception), I sent word to the ministry about people they probably already knew: Adeolu Akinyemi (New Nigeria Club), Fela Durotoye (Gemstone 2025), Funmi Iyanda (Change-A-Life Foundation) and Niyi Adesanya (Alliance of Change Empowerment Speakers). I also think the rebranding process should benefit from the tireless efforts of the brain behind the 419 Positive project, Rosemary Ajayi.
Change is in the air! This is one of such moments when you can side with transition for good, or watch as others drive the process. Well, maybe you can console yourself with the fact that everyone would benefit from the eventual celebration of change. Lessons from Obama’s America reveal that even those who think attempts at change compare to fairy tales end up benefiting from the visible outcomes. I’m glad that on March 14, young Nigerians will gather to discuss the possibility of recreating the “Obama success” in Nigeria. But long before then, Funmi Iyanda’s “Change-A-Life” event this weekend says a huge lot about change.
As I write this, good news from Nigeria is about to ring out once again; this time at the Engineers Without Borders (UK) Research Conference at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, where PIN’s work around the use of ICTs for development will be discussed. My wife would also be discussing her work on Renewable Energy Policy for developing economies! While many think all hope may be lost, others keep at the task to teaching the world how we do the magic of change in Nigeria. I’ve said this many times: when some people begin to publish their best-selling accounts of how they influence change in Nigeria, some others will do the buying — and remind fellow readers about how the author was their buddy on campus.
Change is in the air. Breathe it, grab it, influence it!