By Kate Henshaw

The year 2013 has arrived  with such certainty that it is hard to ignore. Much as I do not like odd numbers, I have a positive feeling in my spirit that this will be a great year indeed. With the turn of a new year, come new resolutions, new responsibilities, new dreams, new schemes and new life. People resolve to make changes in their personal life, career and environment. When will the leaders of this nation of ours resolve to make a turnaround for its citizens?

A chance gathering of friends yesterday brought forward the usual topic of Nigeria and where it is headed. Myself, Justice, Iyke, Mudi and a few others had a heated debate about whether our change would come or not and when. The problem of leadership and that of the followership was brought to the fore and even though on this column, I have blamed both, I have changed my mindset and now believe for sure that leadership is solely responsible for the state we find ourselves in today.

President Jonathan; Senate President, David Mark and Speaker, House of Reps, Hon Aminu Tambuwal
President Jonathan; Senate President, David Mark and Speaker, House of Reps, Hon Aminu Tambuwal

The head houses the skull which in turn encases the brain which brings forth our thought process from our lips. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Leadership that has a conscience for its people and a strong will to rid the system of everything that will detract from our progress; be it corruption, bad infrastructure or the lack of it, deplorable healthcare, lack lustre education system, bad roads, insecurity and of course the mother of all progress inhibitor in every sphere of life, lack of electricity.

A system that encourages and paves the way for all manner of shenanigans that has perpetuated our nation should be done away with, and it is only a great leader that can ensure that kind of change. You cannot expect to wear a white outfit, get into the pig’s pen and still come out without a stain? You must be poised for the task ahead… roll up your sleeves, get down on your knees and do the dirty… .

A friend when asked to name few things that needed to be dealt with as a matter of urgency in Nigeria listed: 1.) Electricity 2.) Electricity 3.) Electricity 4.) Electricity 5.) Government should be frugal in its expenditure. He said once there is electricity, businesses will grow and everything becomes okay, literally, for the country. We are now on load sharing of electricity in the area where I reside. I have taken to doing my laundry in the middle of the night as that is when I have electricity allocated to me to power my washing machine.

It refuses to work when the ‘genny’ is on. It is indeed, a very sorry case of stark depravity that we celebrate the attainment of 4,800 mega watts of electricity. We are so used to the crumbs than a slice of a whole loaf (which is deservedly ours) makes us break out in a joyous dance. I believe things are getting worse in this nation instead of better, and no amount of prayer will suffice.

Prayers will not make sure that we ensure that what good infrastructure we have left to enjoy will not be allowed to decay to a point where  large amounts are approved to restore them. Prayer will not ensure that our leaders are forced to make sure that things work here when they, their wives, children and relatives suffer the same fate as the common man with the appalling education and health system. No more will they pay lip service to the needs of this nation because of a certainty there will be a change.

There are basically three sets of Nigerians: those who fold their arms and seem helpless with the state of the nation, those who are ready to cause a change and those who want to remain in the cesspit as they are making tonnes of money from the system. This third group is in the majority at the moment, and will do whatever it takes to make sure the status quo remains. Which group are you? It is not enough to complain, mutter… and murmur. If we desire a change, we need to do something about it.

Listening to President Obama outline his new proposal on gun control in America, I noticed he was not addressing the nation from any script.

He spoke from the heart. He challenged the citizens to speak to their congress men from the different constituencies and make their demands known with regards to gun control; they were to ask the congress man’s opinion on gun control and if he believed differently from the way they felt, they were to ask him what was more important; keeping the big A grade donors to their campaign happy, who happen to be against gun control or making sure that parents minds are at ease when they drop off their children in first grade school?

I dare ask the same of each of us reading this column; what is more important, that we allow things deteriorate so far that it goes past the elasticity limit or that we make a change for a better tomorrow for our children? Time is ticking away.


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