By Kayode Ketefe
There is a knock on the door. You gingerly get up to know who the visitor is. “Who is that?” some amiable voices with courteous allure answer behind the door. “Police officers!” you open the door and two smartly-dressed young men clad in immaculately clean uniform of Nigeria Police Force, beam warm smiles at you as they politely inquire after your identity.
“Yes that is my name. How can I help you?” One of them brings out a big purse. “We recovered this on Tuesday after a raid of a hideout following a tip-off by some benign Nigerians. We found your ID card and other particulars hurriedly abandoned by the hoodlums and traced you down”.
You instantly recognise the bag as the one snatched from you by some armed hoodlums three days earlier. “Please check and ascertain the contents”. You hurriedly unzip the pouch and begin to scan, nodding approvingly as your mental recall of items correlates with your actual findings. Everything, including the currency, intact.
“Goodness Gracious! I am so happy!” You exclaim. “Em, em, May I offer you something in appreciation?” You dip your hand into the bag and take out wads of naira, offering same to the dutiful officers with a little bow of gratitude. “No sir, we are only doing our duty and we are well-paid for it! You may come later to the station in the evening to write your statement” They are gone! Things were not like this before.
On your way to work, you observe the beautiful streets well-interconnected with arteries of roads. The traffic moves freely and orderly as commuters respect the traffic rules and the rights of other road users in mutual show of civilised behaviour. You recollect the conditions of the roads only a few years ago and mumble some words of gratitude to God. Things were not like this before.
But that was when politicians were siphoning funds meant for social provisioning into their private pockets with a resultant infrastructural deficit. Now, nobody takes the money that belongs to the people to foreign lands to build skyscrapers for self- aggrandisement.
On getting to your work place, you are summoned by an officer from Administration Department. He asks you to fill some form. “We realised you did some overtime work last week beyond the statutory 8 hours per day. In our commitment to work ethics and dignity of labour, the organisation has monetised the overtime. Complete the form and go to the Account Section for your money.”
Back at your desk, your younger brother who lives with you calls on the phone. “Egbon, I have got the job, I am resuming next Monday”
“Haa! But we don’t know anybody in that establishment!” Then you remember that offers of employment are no more determined by mundane considerations of nepotism, ethnicity and cultic affiliations, but on sheer merit.
Again things were not like this before. But now, conditions of work are just and humane and there are adequate facilities for leisure, social, religious and cultural life.
In this new Nigeria, the government provides adequate medical and health facilities for all citizens, nay all persons; there is equal pay for equal work without discrimination on account of sex, or any other ground whatsoever.
The children, young persons and the aged are protected against any exploitation whatsoever and against moral and material neglect. And of course, there is religious tolerance with people of diverse faiths living in harmonious co-existence.
As you return from work without stress, you see the ubiquitous traffic wardens and civilised police officers performing their duties with apparent efficiency. Their manner is courteous and even their English is good. No more “Mr. Man wetin you carry?” but “Gentleman, can I check your boot?” And of course, there is no more “Oga, wetin you chop remain?”
Because you grew up in a different Nigeria, it is taking you time to get conditioned to this new national character and moral rebirth. The country has changed within a relatively short time.
The seemingly paradisiacal scenarios of another Nigeria painted above, is admittedly, never going to be realised overnight, but it is not impossible.
If things will turn positive, it is not going to happen by mere wishful thinking and prayers. A morally renascent Nigeria will have to be conceived by a Nigerian vision and nurtured by a Nigerian mission. We the people are the one to bring the desired changes about, with our cast-iron determination, willpower and commitment.
This writer has heard many people say the country is so morally sunk that an individual’s effort to change it is an exercise in futility. That to me is a fallacy. The nation is a collection of individuals.
The act of discipline, selflessness, kindness charity and magnanimity of just a single person is potentially contagious and can inspire and re-orientate a thousand persons. Despite the formidable appearance of the quest to change Nigeria at the micro-level of personal undertakings, it is the most logical way out.
Waiting for other people to change before we change the way we do things means waiting for eternity. Definitely another Nigeria is possible, but let each one endeavour to change the self as a precursor to the national moral revolution.
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