The one word solution to Nigeria’s myriad of problems | © Fola Daniel Adelesi

For years we have talked about the many challenges that we face as a country. Some argue that it is corruption. Others say it is the lack of infrastructure. There are those who say the population is the problem. A few others are on the side of ethnicity being the problem.

Many still argue that we (Hause Igbo and Yoruba – the three main tribes) were brought together against our will, hence the inability to work together. There are those who still think we should split in order to stop all that we are going through as a nation. Even if that does not solve all the problems, they think we will be able to solve the ethnic clashes that spring up from time to time.

The younger ones think that some elders are the problems of this nation. They think these elders could have made a better decision when they got the chance to do so or at least give way for the younger folks to lead. We even joke about how someone told us thirty years ago that we are the leaders of tomorrow. Thirty years after that person and his contemporaries are still in power.

On the part of the elders, the young ones seem clueless and so power cannot be handed over to them. It is the younger ones who are getting involved with cyber crimes and doing drugs or getting arrested abroad for several funny reasons. They are bringing disrepute to the name of the nation every day. Some elders argue that the youthful energy is not being channelled properly.

When you make it into the gathering of a few intellectuals, they tell you about how we don’t have plans as a nation and are not forward looking or strategic. The management consultants think that our inability to think and invest in human capital development is a major problem. We can’t deny the fact that this might be a problem but is that really the biggest problem we need to tackle as a nation?

Economists talk about our unfavourable balance of trade which means that we import more than we export as a nation. We also do not dictate the currency in which the trade is done. We are forced to us the widely acceptable American dollars and that has its effects on the Naira.

It’s hard to talk about Nigeria problems without talking about electricity and the very frustrating civil service. Yes, these big problems are there and have refused to leave for a very long time. We have tried a lot of things. We brought in experts to fix some of these problems. We appointed several ministers and even borrowed billions of dollars. These problems just refused to go so much so that some of our leaders began to paint a picture of some spiritual forces being behind our problems. That should sound like a perfect explanation for why all the strategies haven’t worked, right?

Without wasting too much time on all the possible problems that we have, which one is the biggest and which one we should tackle first, I think we have a really simple problem! Yes, the problem is so simple, yet so big. The problem is not something that one government, or any government can take away. I am also certain that the problem is not even something that the laws of a nation can take away. The problem that this nation has and needs to deal with urgently in order to experience the much needed change is in you and I!

I can confidently say our problem is SELFISHNESS. Take a look at all the things we have raised as issues in this country and show me one that cannot be traced back to selfishness. How do you explain someone who steals the amount of money he can never finish spending in his life time? How do you explain someone who takes what is meant for millions of people and keeps it for himself and his family? How do you explain the case of someone who gets paid to do something and still extorts money from those who will have to pass through his or her to get things done? What is happening in our licensing offices where there is an official price for drivers licence but you’ll never get it at that price in their office and you are dealing with the ‘real officers?’ What about immigration offices where the approved prices of issuing an international passport is not what you end up paying to get one?

Sum everything up and it comes back to greed. It is just selfishness. If we want to solve the problem of this nation, we must start with everyone, you and I, becoming selfless. Until we become selfless, we cannot get anything right and solve problems in this nation. When selfless people get into civil service then we will have a better civil service. When selfless people get into politics then we will experience better governance. If we fail to become selfless as individuals, we will never be able to produce a selfless government and cannot move fast as a nation. The only thing that will change a lot of other things and do so quickly is selflessness.

All of a sudden, staff salaries will be paid in good time. All of a sudden, we will borrow less and save more as a nation. All of a sudden, we will buy fairly expensive cars for people in government. Constituency projects will stop and things will just work like magic. If we want this magic to happen, we MUST BECOME selfless and stay selfless – and that’s not the government’s job.

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