27 years ago, as an hyperactive 'A' Level student at a British private college, Irwin Academy, I was constantly in a state of flux, looking for something to bite into. I was in the school's football team, captain of the athletics team, founder/instructor of the Taekwondo club, member of the school magazine's editorial committee and organiser of social activities...and counsellor to fellow students.
However, I noticed that of all the students in the school, Nigerians were the least involved in the school's activities. A Nigerian was the fastest sprinter, but he would never come for training. Several others were great goal poachers but don't like practice sessions, they would rather wait for the football match and expect to be in the first eleven, and if dropped, demonise the school and everyone else.
In our living quarters, we were cooked for by Mrs Mehra, the Indian/British landlady, with often delicious spicy food, but my fellow Nigerians were always complaining about her food. They want to retrieve the money their parents left for their meals, and self cater. Invariably, this money was refunded, and promptly spent on beer, cigarettes and night clubs.
The school introduced the compulsory Pitmans shorthand/typewriting subject, purposed to prepare us for the coming personal computing age - guess those who grumbled at "this insult" - Nigerian students.
At the end of one of the school sessions, Mr DJ Williams, the proprietor, wrote to all parents, saying, concerning the future of their wards - "WHAT YOU PUT INTO LIFE IS WHAT YOU GET BACK FROM IT".
It struck me. It never left me.
Today, when I consider the actions, words and hypercritical attitude of many of us Nigerians, and our complete disregard for volunteerism, I remember those words. I know of athletes who would not submit to training but want to be world champions. I know of young ministers who are puffed up to their pastors but who want to preach on the pulpit. I know of graduates who can't write their own CVs because they preferred to visit night clubs when they could be researching and sharpening their career skills.
I know of many of us who would dress down a leader but can't even lead a team of three people. I know of people that will wash down every idea, every initiative and every activity, but do not have any of their own. Finding faults has become a past time for us and waiting for someone to fix problems, while undergoing our criticism, has become sport for us.
I used to think it was the frustration of the current circumstances that led to these attitudes. I thought it was the evil rulership of our day that has caused both the pessimism and lethargy, then I remembered that back in 1982/83, in Irwin Academy, there was no IBB, nor Abacha, nor OBJ nor Yar' Adua...and it was not even in Nigeria. We have perfected, over several decades, the critical spirit and then supplied it with a healthy dose of "Its not my business - someone will fix it"..
If we continue like this, either due to pride, laziness, lethargy, inertia, self-centredness or fear...then we will get back nothing from our hopes. Nigeria will remain underachieving and we will continue to see smaller nations saunter past us in the world's develpment indices.
Let us again consider our own individual ways, and ask "What really have I done personally, to make this country the nation of my dreams?"...no excuses now, not PHCN, nor FG, nor Tribe nor ethnicism. Where there is the will, even nature will get out of your way. LOSERS HAVE EXCUSES - WINNERS HAVE SOLUTIONS
Your future, and our nation's future depends on your decision.
God bless you, and GOD BLESS NIGERIA