Imagine a home where no one is responsible for cleaning, cooking, laundry, tidying, and all there is to do in a proper home. It will no doubt be uncomfortable or inhospitable place for visitors coming from a neat and well-ordered house.
So also, Nigeria is begging for responsible citizens who do the right things, who are not part of the problems in this country but part of the solutions. I saw a no-name picture quote online and it reads, ‘Attention please: No one is coming to save you. This life of yours is 100% your responsibility.’
No one is coming to save Nigeria! The challenge to build Nigeria and bring it to its full glory is for every one of its citizens to take on.
Building a great country requires the aggregate contribution of its (responsible) citizens. No matter the number of resources and capital a country has, it will remain a shadow of its capacity without the help of its citizens. This is proof in the poor progress report of Nigeria despite the surplus natural resources that lie beneath her land. As citizens, we all have our share of responsibilities in making Nigeria an awesome country at par with the developed countries of the world.
No doubt, Nigeria is facing many issues that are rubbishing her brand but some are so basic that the citizens can address them. Have you ever thought about the needs that are within your circle of influence? Because not all the needs of this country need to be on the table of our political leaders.
A case in point, Nigeria has no business being dirty. Let us decry the throwing and trashing of dirt in the gutters, rivers, by the roadside, and on the streets. I went to the beach recently and I could not believe the amount of dirt and items that the waves kept pushing to the seashore. It is proof of how ill our hygiene ideology is as a people. Let us stop littering the environment and start frowning at this act. In the same vein, we must also stop all manner of pollution in our environment, noise inclusive! Let us begin to honor the environmental sanitation day within our communities by participating in it. This is one way we can be responsible citizens of this country.
Another important area of responsibility for Nigerian citizens is the protection of government properties in our communities. Responsible citizens should not participate in the stealing and vandalism of government structures or properties. Likewise, they should speak up and discourage others from doing so. Some time ago, in a particular area in Lagos, someone stole a public generator used for powering streetlights. A single person could not have executed that theft without collaboration from other citizens. The government purchased the properties with our taxes. Hence, they are ours and only silly people would destroy what is theirs. Protection of government properties also includes not wasting and pilfering government resources left in our care, especially in the office, and helping to reprove, expose, and if need be apprehend the unscrupulous ones.
One more area of concern in our citizens’ responsibilities is our attitude to traffic rules and regulations. I once heard a road safety officer on TV say, ‘Accidents don’t happen they are caused.’ Same thing with traffic impasses. The majority of accidents and traffic deadlocks on our roads are a result of perpetual errant and irresponsible behaviors by all categories of road users that is, pedestrians, drivers, riders, and passengers.
Passengers are included because sometimes they watch, encourage, and applaud the bad behaviors of their drivers. Responsible citizens would always follow traffic instructions. They would not subject the lives of other road users to danger by flouting traffic orders. When driving, I see many pedestrians that do not obey traffic lights before crossing the road. Road signs and traffic lights are not for decorations, they are for citizens to obey. If we do not know the meaning of the signs, let us find out. We can simply ask Google or check Wikipedia. If we all abide by the traffic directions, our cities would be safer, and saner, and our people would be more economically productive (as against wasting useful time in traffic logjams).
Undeniably, we have bigger problems that we should heave to the government for their immediate action but the few ones mentioned above are issues we can easily address as citizens if we so choose to do so. We ought to choose to be responsible citizens. We cannot say we are patriotic if we are not responsible. Let us begin to demand good followership from ourselves by contributing to the development of Nigeria in small and massive ways, whichever lies within our means to do while we also expect the government to fulfill its mandate to the people. I pledge to be a responsible citizen of Nigeria.
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