Here is food for thought as the excitement of the New Year fades: as Nigerians, we are always on the lookout for a political messiah to sweep aside corruption and transform our country. It’s time to get real and realise that there is no one saviour to deliver us from petrol queues, lack of jobs, poor educational standards, or low pay. Nigeria’s problems are decades in the making… and it needs both radical thinking and systematic, steady endeavour to turn things around.
Time and time again, we elect men and women who do not have our collective interests at heart. The truth is, that we own the corruption and the ineptitude of our elected officials. We can’t just sit aside, not vote and then call those who voted (even if it was for a bad candidate) fools/foolish. If we want more for ourselves, more for our future, we must be tough and vote for substance even if the candidate tells us an uncomfortable truth. True leadership is not about being popular—it’s about doing the right thing in the face of massive opposition against our efforts to shape the future.
Nigeria’s tough times have created a “nation of me”, and what we need is a “nation of we”—and that means that moving Nigeria forward begins with us. It rests on our hard work and capability to start something new, something radical. It begins with accepting that the process will be painful, messy and unpleasant for most. It also requires governments and institutions willing to work for the people.
For young Nigerians, political involvement is the quickest, most effective way to create the momentum you seek for the country. Register to vote, keep your eyes and ears open, and pay attention to the substance of the issues before you. That is the only way to make a difference.
We have this small window of time to create the conditions necessary for rapid progress. 2018 is a crucial milestone for our country; we must start making smart choices.
* Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Professor of Practice in International Business and Public Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA, is the President of the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation based in Abuja.