When cooking with firewood, a single burning charcoal can ignite a heap of charcoal/firewood if it is well-placed and fanned. The fire-maker arranges dry woods/charcoals around the burning charcoal and leaves space for the burning charcoal to ignite the woods. If he dumps dry woods on the burning charcoal without leaving airway, the wood will suppress the coal’s fire. A husband who focuses on his wife’s faults suppresses the good in her, instead of building her self-confidence for progress. Also, a society focusing on citizen’s negative qualities suppresses the people’s faith for future patriotic roles.
Several Nigerians feel they are being patriotic by making or sharing critical or ridiculous remarks about Nigeria and Africa. Their political “contributions” often aim to justify negative foreign or local remarks about Nigeria such as fantastic corrupt or shithole. In justifying these negative remarks, they parade themselves as “objective” and “unbiased”, without seeing that they haven’t provided any solution. Pastors blast “enemies”, intellectuals and analysts massacre politicians, politicians smash one another, tribes lambast one another and writers search/formulate horrible stories to trend. Everybody can see that Nigeria is not working, and all these dramatic/poetic presentations of obvious problems are not solutions. But the ability to find positive lights upon which a new faith can be built for Nigeria becomes more important.
Faith is “trust in somebody’s ability or knowledge”; or “trust that somebody/something will do what has been promised.” It is the assurance of what is not seen. Faith remains the invisible hand holding different relationships, institutions, groups and societies together. No society or person can progress steadily without faith in some people and institutions: security, financial, religious, industrial, political or academic. Our faith is always connected to our needs. Without identifying the need, there may not be faith; and without faith, there may not be courage to work for the need. The need for which humans need faith can be categorized into three: safety, pleasure and fulfilment.
Safety for oneself, loved ones, possessions and environment;
Pleasure from outside (bodily pleasure from materials and mental pleasure from social recognition);
Fulfilment from inside (internal satisfaction obtained in the process of fulfilling one’s life purpose).
Progressive societies rise from people’s agreement to collaborate in using their resources to satisfy their needs, and survives by their loyalty to the agreement. They train themselves in character and skills to faithfully support various aspects of social contribution. Eventually, they form institutions for satisfying different needs in the society. Then, members of the society join the various institution to develop and utilize their skills in earning income, prestige and fulfilment. To maintain people’s faith in the various institutions’ products and services, the people constantly offer their best.
Despite their rich cultures, values, peoples and potentials, Nigeria and other African countries remain underdeveloped. Each kingdom, community, tribe, group or persons in Nigeria have historical values and uncelebrated greatness. Yet, these different positive qualities have not taken Nigeria away from crisis, poverty and unproductivity. Hence, it becomes necessary to evaluate the processes, forces and institutions that gathered and held this groups together. Because the method of binding and managing different good people in a partnership can affect their behaviours in the relationship.
Colonialists formed Nigeria by brutally binding various unconsented kingdoms and communities under a militarized government for exploiting resources. They brought in foreign institutions to destabilize and replace different Africans’ native forms of education, culture, industry, religion and governance. But they purposely failed to introduce modern industrialization so that the brutally-merged people will not collaborate in using their resources for productivity. Instead, they used the foreign institutions to structure the haphazardly-created African nations to export mineral resources for foreign products. To make their institutions accepted as superior, colonialists mentally demonized African institutions as primitive and evil. Before independence, they replaced themselves with Europe-trained loyalist-indigenes to continue exploiting people’s mineral resources for foreign consumer goods.
Presently, those foreigners fear the possibility of a productive Africa that understands the value and production process of its resources. This will affect their access to cheap African resources and labour from Africa’s brain-drain. Hence, they increased the psychological war of calumny, fault-finding and corruption-tagging for Africans to lose faith in themselves. For if Africans distrust and lose faith in themselves, they will lack courage to build better institutions and productive societies. When various tribes constantly mock one another in an unproductive, consumerist and destructive rivalry, they may never collaborate for productivity. Then, they will continue depending on those foreigners for survival at the cost of local human and material resources.
Steps to building faith in Nigerians for a new Nigeria
Curing a sickness requires both stopping the sources of the sickness, building up immunity and blood level for renewed health. Hence, a sincere government will build the faith in Nigerians for a new Nigeria by blocking the negativity and circulating positivity.
Blocking negativity: faith comes from hearing positive possibilities and testimonies in the process of satisfying our needs. And faith is opposed to doubt, which rises from focusing on negative possibilities that can affect the process of satisfying our needs. Like water dampening burning charcoal, doubt dampens the positive energy we gather by faith for progress and productivity. Thus, to build Nigerians’ faith for a new Nigeria, a sincere government will restrict the sources of doubt about Nigerians by:
• Barring movies, songs, shows and remarks that exaggerate faults or tell incomplete stories about the different people colonially-merged and exploited in Nigeria. Divide and rule has been the invader’s tool to pitch us against one another. And if we focus on faults, we will never go forward.
• Discouraging publication and circulation of negative contents about any Nigerian people without tracing the causes and proffering systematic solutions. Instead, people with direct information concerning national security should forward the reports to the security agencies. But if you do not have anything good to say about another tribe or people in Nigeria, just shut up.
• Discouraging frequent broadcast of criminal activities or images that cause unnecessary panic in the society. Thus, criminal activities that do not imminently endanger the public should be handled internally by security agencies without popularizing criminal nomenclatures.
Circulating positivity: technology has made it possible to demonstrate future desires through movies and other programs. Hence, faith must not only come from hearing, but also from demonstrating what is hoped for in movies, writings, songs and animated simulations.
• A sincere government will urge Nigerians to research, forecast and tell their people’s emancipation stories. They will involve the natives in archaeological researches to rediscover and manifest buried evidences of African values and cultural treasures.
• Different communities and kingdoms will establish their communities’ story-writing competitions. The competition stories will emphasize the people’s virtues and values.
• The best stories will be rewarded and adapted as a long or short movie or music video. And the person with the best story may become the community’s Ambassador for the year.
• Reward people’s actions with several titles as national, state or local government ambassadors for different qualities: Mr/Miss integrity, peace, creativity, etc.
• Nigerian tech-gurus will then develop games and plays from ancient games and histories.
Like everywhere in the world, there is no perfect or irredeemable person, group or tribe in Nigeria. However, if we must improve, we must build our faith in our capacity for improvement by emphasizing our strengths above our faults. Many people distrust the militarized political system imposed on the various people violently bound and held in Nigeria. Now, they feel powerless to change the system since the colonial successors gaining from it enjoy international community’s trade partnership. Yet, we can reorganize the exploitative system from within by rallying the various people’s potentials towards collaborative productivity. You either discover and connect with other people’s positive potentials for a productive Nigeria, or continue living in fear while judging and insulting others.
A single burning charcoal can ignite a heap of dry wood, when properly placed and fanned.