10 habits we need for Nigeria to improve
By Abubakar Suleiman
It is said that to change your circumstances, you must first change your habits. As we celebrate the gift of life that 2023 has to offer, I wish to remind myself (and my country people) of the top habits that must change for our circumstances to improve.
1. We must give up the irresistible attraction to the narrative of hopelessness that has bedeviled us in the past few decades, for no great nation can be built on the foundation of hopelessness.
Nations are, by design, in the constant battle to improve, and progress is the offspring of time. We must become apostles of hope for there’s no home anywhere for 200m Nigerians but here.
2. While hope is the arrowhead of progress, only by seeing where we came from are we able to chart where we are going. Nigerians may not share a common legacy but we share a common space, a shared desire for pride in who we were.
And until we know our history, until we understand that we are part of a complex web partaking in building something for the next generation, we cannot achieve our ambition for greatness. The past holds the secret for forging a common identity and building a greater nation.
3. Look inward. Far too often we fail to see the limitless opportunities that abound at home because we are distraught by the many failures around us. Yet others are able to look beyond the setbacks and see what Nigeria represents, the final frontier for growth.
Growth anchored by our youth, our market, our resources and our geography. The gap between where we are and what we are capable of becoming is the opportunity; don’t ignore it.
4. Take responsibility for nation-building no matter where you stand. It is true that the surest path to national progress is exceptional leadership at the top, it is also true that the chances of such are enhanced by societal advancement in education, productivity, and innovation.
Let’s lead from every home, every business, every association and the top will have no choice but to evolve. Leadership is not a man or a thousand men, it is each and every one of us doing the right thing every day.
5. We are what we consume, we consume what we value and we value what we promote. In 2023, we must form the habit of promoting what we produce, for only via production can we create jobs, and jobs that will engage our youth and amplify hope.
Let’s focus on what is ours and make them better. Our clothing, our food, our culture, and our destinations but importantly, our communal way of life.
6. Let’s form the habit of participating in the complex process we have embraced for identifying and selecting leaders. There’s no viable alternative to democracy for us and democracy happens on the streets and in the villages, not just here.
So we must become active participants in the institutions that are central to leadership selection, not just show up at elections and hope for a miracle.
7. Build something, be part of something other than your day job. The nation cries for entrepreneurs, for activists, for innovators, for mentors, for people willing to apply themselves to solving real problems.
We can achieve a better Nigeria by building microcosms of the nation we dream of in the spaces we control. A better father, a better teacher, a better boss, a better Nation.
8. De-weaponise the conversation, and know the difference between a corrupt official and the nation we love. We cannot contribute to nation-building if we express our country in the images of the lowliest amongst us.
Every nation has its scoundrels yet they find the space to project their country as they will it, not as it is. Vision is not a recount of present reality but a projection of future possibilities we must speak of it convincingly to activate it.
9. We must perfect the habit of studying the world and taking the good, we must also avoid inhaling everything that comes from abroad.
Much of our way of life is superior to whatever the world can teach us, our relationship with nature, our love for family and community, our resilience in the face of adversity, these are valuable and we should hold on to them.
10. We must bring our faith to our streets, for of what use are our belief systems if we lack empathy and our faith cannot be seen in the lives we live? Let’s preach less and become the ideas we preach.
Mindfulness, kindness, forgiveness, community; these are words that have equivalence in our actions. Let’s give face to religion as a way of being rather than a proclamation of faith, a mindless ritual.
These are all habits I hope to embrace in 2023 so that I can improve my circumstances in the year ahead of me. I hope we can all do the same for the sake of our country.
- Suleiman, a financial expert and CEO of Sterling Bank, posted the article on his Twitter handle on Sunday