by Jude ‘Feranmi
“Nigeria can be DIFFERENT if we decide to DO what it takes and I believe that Young Nigerians can Make Nigeria Better Overnight if we so wish!” – JFK
I decided to quote myself at the beginning of this article not just because it serves as a perfect preamble to this piece but because I believe in it and i want you to believe it too. You probably have questions about how we can make Nigeria better “overnight” and i agree with you that Nigeria will not just be better tomorrow morning just because we wish it. However, we can wake up on a morning in this country and live in a far better world than we have it right now, howbeit, only if we choose to DO what it takes.
My emphasis on action is also not coincidental. Dr .Joe Abah had once said in a presentation some years back in OAU that Nigeria requires more DO-Tanks than think-tanks. I agree with him and it is in that spirit that I am penning down fifteen things you can do as a young Nigerian to make this our country better. I am sure you don’t need me sermonizing about why we need to act now!
So, in case you are not sure of what you can do in your own capacity, maybe you think that you don’t have the power to cause any difference to happen or maybe you think you are insignificant, I have come to preach to you another gospel. Simply pick one or more of the following points and decide that this is what you are going to do for the next one year.
To be clear, we don’t need everybody to do these things. I keep telling folks who say that the average Nigerian Youth is not ready for a better country and as such we are still afar off from our dream Nigeria, those who secured independence from our colonial masters were not up to 100 nationally at a time when the country’s population was bordering around 70 -80 million people. In fact, you would find it difficult for a Nigerian citizen today to mention 15 people who were directly involved in our struggle for independence.
Today, the issues are different and the tasks are higher, we are fighting to save the soul of the nation not from foreigners but from fellow countrymen who only see the national … you know what! Let’s get going!
1. TALK – Don’t keep silent! I know we do a lot of talking already and that is why this is the least thing you can do about our problems. Don’t just do lazy talking – which is the kind of talks that focus on what the problems are and the latest politician EFCC is investigating again. Talk about the solutions to these problems too and God Knows, you will be talking to someone who can take it from there
2. WRITE – It might look like talking too but writing lasts longer. Not every young person can write but i can assure you that more young persons can read! The agbero beside you might not be able to articulate his thoughts about how our problems can be solved but he reads newspapers. The pamphlet method has gone out of vogue but trust me, they also have facebook pages where they go at the end of the day so write and writing lasts longer. I can still find what i wrote in 2012 and of course, just don’t write about the problems, write about the solutions too.
3. VOLUNTEER – This is like the highest form of service you can give to your country. Volunteer! There is a cause around you, there is a movement around you that is trying to make things better, there is a political party in your area that needs one thing or the other, there is a coperative society that can make lives better for the people in that community, volunteer your time and your efforts and your skills. This is a step higher because you are not just talking about what is wrong, you are now a part of what is righting those wrongs.
4. JOIN – You might not have what it takes to start a movement or a cause or a political party, we all have different temperaments and enthusiasm required to put people together but join a movement. Join people trying to make things better. Stop Speculating about how better they could have done it like you’re watching a football match. When you are part of a cause, you have the opportunity to make lives better for all of us! There is no greater sacrifice to your country than leaving the fence. Don’t be a fencist! Don’t!
5. TEACH/EVANGELIZE – The greatest resources of any country is its human resources and only those who can bring together these resources will be able to go far. You might not have what it takes to move your movement forward, but by the time you reach out to more people who are within your cycle of influence, you get more skills and expertise. You can also teach people what you stand for, or what your movement stands for so that even if they choose not to join, you leave them with a message.
6. MOBILIZE – There are folks who are natural mobilizers, for church, for street meetings, for football matches, for gossips, for parties, just think about it. You can put that into something for our country too. You might not even be a part of a movement or a cause, Identify one cause doing great stuffs and help them mobilize people! You would have done great stuff too. Barack Obama proudly claims to be a community organizer, he had mobilized more than 150,000 blacks to vote at the 1992 election cycle. You can mobilize the little people in your community for that little great cause too. Don’t just sit behind your device lamenting. Identify that little movement trying to do stuff and you would be a hero already
7. NETWORK/CONNECT – Let’s even say you can’t do all these things. You can make calls to your friends and tell them about a movement that is looking to make life better for everyone of us and how they can be of help. In doing that , you are making it easy for others to make life easy for all of us! You are a hero! We don’t all have the contacts of people who will help make a phone call and that project will be great! So, you can pick your phone and call some folks you know on behalf of some other guys who are Doing stuff! Bury your ego to be recognized and all that. Ask for their mail, send them a recommendation. When Nigeria is like Singapore, we all can start worrying about egos and all.
8 DONATE – This is for the busy guys who can’t do all these stuff. There is great impact at the grassroots and with the saying All politics is Local, we know the real deal is at the grassroots and without that nothing really will be happening but participation doesn’t start and stop at the grassroots. You might not have to be there if you can send your money or your resources or your recommendations. There are so many things you can donate apart from money but you can donate your money too no matter how small. It goes a long way in financial and moral support.
9 SERVICE SWAP – Let’s even say you don’t have the money in this recession to donate to a cause or movement or political party, I can bet you have services that these people are in need of that you can offer them without pay. Maybe you plan events or your can draft proposals or you have access to opportunities they can leverage on or you can write a grant or you can raise funds. Don’t wait till they acknowledge your many years of experience in that field and send you an invitation letter, go to them and give them the service, you would have served your fatherland! Code for free, Program an app that will help make them feel better, design better graphics. Don’t analyze how they would have gotten more donors with finer banners, there’s no time for that, help them!
10. PROMOTE CONTENT – In today’s world, popularity is the pathway to reaching that person who would help you help the world! Don’t save your RTs to yourself, it won’t make you richer or poorer. Sharing on Facebook has not made anybody more popular or less popular. There are thousands of folks doing great stuff but just can’t get their message out to lots of people! I hear content promotion is now a job. If it’s not your job, share. It will save a life, If it’s your job, offer it for free or at a discount, that single act will not deny you your next meal, it will even help in the end.
11. ORGANIZE – I can tell you that one of the greatest problems we have in the world of making our country better is organizing. We lack organizers. What we have are agonizers! . How do we plan events, which venues do we use, how do we get sound, are people showing up, where are they going to seat? What’s the agenda? If you are good at organizing, Nigeria needs her own Barack Obamas. Don’t just stop at your own pay-job. Help to organize. Form cell groups, meet often, All those women groups in your streets, they can be turned into channels of impact.
12. PUBLICIZE- Using word of mouth or posters or banners or online, Help to make publicity! It is the life bank of any social movement, the more people who know about it, the faster we can have our overnight success in this country! Anything that you can do to publicize a movement for good, Do It! Pay for posters and banners, Tell one friend per day, Just Do It!
13. MARCH/PROTEST – This is a culture we don’t have in this country and we need to develop. I have always toyed with the idea that there would be a group, an organization that would develop a database of Nigerians per state who would be willing to march on any issue that takes us back in time into darkness so that when those issues come up, those who have indicated interest will show up. Because we don’t march on issues, we are being taken for granted by officers as low as the local government ward councilor. March! It is the highest statement of demand from a government! Don’t be afraid too! Stand up and march!
14 LEAD – This does not apply to everyone and the reasons are obvious! But if you think you have the solutions to Nigeria’s many problems, start with one and lead a movement on that issue. If you want to start a political party that will deliver Nigeria from where we are headed! Please start! If you want to lead a branch of a party in your area that will birth a New Nigeria, join and Lead that chapter! Nobody will come and beg you to lead! Stop waiting for Leaders! Leaders are wanted! Leaders are needed in our society! If you have what it takes, you are gold right now and You are highly in need! Lead! And don’t just lead, raise other leaders too! We need Leaders in this generation. We cannot afford to be another wasted generation parading the worst of their folk as the leaders of their epoch! Come out and Lead! Answer the call!
15. COLLABORATE – This is the most important factor we cannot afford to lose as a generation. I have traveled 16 states of the Federal Republic and have met Nigerians who are passionate doing great stuff! Irrespective of all this passion and energy, we stand to do worse than our forefathers and ancestors if we fail to collaborate. We have all it takes! I can BOLDLY say that this generation of ours has what it takes to build and deliver a New Nigeria. But we cannot do it individually no matter how strong and efficient we are! We need to collaborate and we need to start now!
I believe you can plug into these things i have mentioned as a Nigerian Youth! If you must talk at all, Talk about Solutions and Join the Implementation. You are Needed! You are Greatly Needed! In Fact, If you don’t show up, We are doomed as a generation! And God forbid that our children both those that have been born and those that have not put to us the same questions we put to our fathers and label us that scary tag – the generation that came, saw and did nothing!
O! God of Creation
Help Our Youth The Truth To Know
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Jude ‘Feranmi ( JFK)
National Youth Leader, KOWA PARTY