Be Ye Transformed” – The Mindset of a New Nigeria

My attention is constantly drawn with utter dismay and disgust to the voice of Nigerians howling like a finger-sucking infant, bullied out of a favorite candy. We criticize the government over everything, we endure and whine about NEPA, we complain about our roads, we curse and abuse those in power, but regrettably, we stick our fingers back into our mouths and earnestly linger for a divine rescue from Entebbe. A glance across several internet chat rooms depicts this complacent image – where Nigerians pose behind their keyboards to insult each other over manipulated news with distorted facts coming out of our contaminated News media outlets.

Regressively, we have maintained our finger-sucking position and indulged in fruitless regurgitation of common facts. As  someone would say “madness is doing the same thing  repeatedly and expecting a different result”. We no longer need to be educated on corruption; Fela sang corruption until his demise. Do not enlighten us about the condition of our roads; we feel it because Nigerians perish on it in record number. There is no need to “over-grammarfy” our pitiable power situation because the nagging sound of generators echoes repeatedly in the deepest part of our sleep. Please, spare us the tale of thieves in government because we discussed Umaru Diko under the mango tree in our elementary schools. The Nigerian situation has been engraved in our memory as a result of everyday experience.

Our problem is not mainly with the government, because the government is a combined product of the society and her citizens. But our predicament is with over one hundred million people who choose to blubber about our woes but willfully  conform to the status of servant-hood in place of their immutable “God-given” rights as sons and daughters of Nigeria. As a matter of custom, we ignore our civic duties and responsibilities to guarantee a functional government, while we prayerfully wait for a divine rescue. We smear our government as corrupt, yet, we indoctrinate our children into a culture of bribery as we educate them on how to enroll into any school of choice regardless of their results; and if they can’t scale the hurdles of learning, we simply push them over with a few bucks – afterall, “everybody dey do-am”. We cowardly conform to the malevolent demand of fellow citizens in black uniforms for sake of convenience, despite our knowledge of good and evil. We clamor for a better government, yet we repudiate the very process that guarantees good governance. The process is corrupt, yes I know, but how will there be a change unless good citizens get involved?

It is absolute stupidity to expect a responsible government while we celebrate politicians who plainly deprive and rob our chances for good governance. We patronize them; send our children to schools they built with stolen money, fly airlines floated with money stolen directly from public funds, lodge in hotels built with money meant to secure the future of our children. How can the government be in check when our acclaimed opposition leaders issue repeated calls for revolution only on the pages of the newspaper, while they cozy behind air-conditioned windows? Who will impose a superior order, when our religious leaders who ought to be the moral gatekeepers of our society have dimmed their righteous radiance for a reward of convenience? In the past, kings trembled at the mere sighting of a prophet, but presently, an invitation to dine with those who oppress and mangle the will of the people, those who kill to win elections is accounted as divine favor and celebrated as evidence of God’s blessing and approval.

Howbeit, the Nigerian problem is not irreversibly unique, many great nations of the world experienced episodes of difficulty, mismanagement, and corrupt leadership in their history, including the United States. The unique thing about Nigeria is the response of the citizens to our present condition. America transformed into a free nation because ordinary people refused to conform to the infringement of their God given rights. The blacks in America won their freedom because they refused to conform to status quo, and would rather walk in dignity than enjoy the ride powered in utter degradation. The horrors of slave trade ended in Britain because a young British lawmaker vehemently opposed the trend and refused to conform to the world of his day. The society is a field that will always reproduce whatever seed it receives. We cannot continue to conform and participate in corruption while we anticipate a better society. Be not deceived, my friends, for He who is up there cannot be mocked, whatever we sow, we will definitely reap. Saddam Hussein invested years and several billions to construct formidable edifice of safety, but ended up smoked out from a hole and hanged like a common thief – maybe, the end really justifies the means.

Social reformation will remain elusive in Nigeria until we choose to become a generation of transformed non-conformists. Until we chose to openly disobey and rebel against anything that has the appearance of evil, regardless of the consequences we might suffer. Until we decide to exchange weakness for excellence and chose to live for conviction emplace of convenience. Whether you are a student, a parent, a teacher, a pastor, a public servant, employed or unemployed remember that, at any given moment when we chose to conform to the way of the crowd, we are directly perpetuating an evil system which the reward is only a time away. On the other hand, every single step we take to do what is right sows a redemptive seed of goodness which we will eventually reap. In other to see the rise of a new day in Nigeria, we must adhere to Paul “to no longer conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind”

We must be the renewed generation of estranged non-conformers who will demolish the “afterall, every one does it mentality”. History has delivered a blank board to every living soul; its inscription is totally up to us. On the board of Dr. Martin Luther King, he wrote “the hope of the oppressed” while Imelda Marcus wrote (as voted by Newsweek Magazine) “one of the Greediest People of All Time”. If you are a pastor, choose this day, what shall be carved on your board: One who preached the truth and lived by the truth or one who conformed like Pilate in other to please the crowd. If you are a young person, do not fly through the wider gates, because the end there off, while it may appear unperturbed for a while, is full of misery. If you are a politician, choose to engrave a name on your history that will pave a way for your children and their offspring. Do not conform to provide for them at present and damn their future with the evil seed of looting the bone entrusted on your neck. Be aware that whatever is hidden now, will one day be blown out in the open.

To the heroes who have maintained the mindset of non-conformers, you are not alone; keep up the excellent work. Disregard the negative labels and endure the present persecution. Remember that while Jesus hung on the cross, Caesar reigned in the palace, but two thousand years later, the reign of every Caesar is only remembered by the birth and death of Jesus. Your work will go unnoticed only for a while, because there is a new Nigeria on the horizon: It shall break forth with the emergence of transformed non-conformists in every sphere of influence.

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