Democracy | Nigeria | Our Legacy
Nigeria celebrates this month, 10 years of democracy. Through the hassles and victories, we have emerged stronger and more focused as a nation. Yet I wonder; what value systems have we developed? What does democracy even mean to us as a people?
I am not a politician and do not aspire to be one. Interestingly however, this topic caught my attention in no small way. One definition of democracy I recently fell in love with is: a situation or system in which everyone is equal and has the right to make decisions. Reading this triggered a search who's purpose was to find the origin of the word 'democracy'. Here's what I discovered.
Democracy dates back to the 1500-1600s; demokratia, from Greek language merges two words: demos = people, -kratia = rule. Ha! I think most times we have it all mixed up! People rule, not the government or any leader for that matter! Yes they occupy political offices but ultimately, the people rule. Let me try and explain this.
Firstly, don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying the present regime, government and all are misplaced; a thousand times no! You see, we have often taken time out to observe and criticize our leaders and have constantly held them responsible for every strait we have found ourselves in, both as a nation and as individuals. We accuse them of not living up to our expectations. We blame them for the hikes and spikes we find in prices of food and other commodities. Sometimes we even hold them responsible for our lifestyles. Okay, maybe they were a direct/indirect influence on what has happened to us throughout the ranks. It might even be possible to point -with evidence- at specific leaders and say "here's what he/she did that’s placed me here". Still, there's a truth you should know.
demokratia. People rule. There are two things that never go together; never ever. They are blame and responsibility. They're mutually exclusive. One means, "to say or think that someone or something is responsible for something bad". This originates from the word blaspheme which was derived from a Greek word, blasphemos meaning, speaking evil. The other means, "a duty to be in charge of someone or something, so that you make decisions and can be blamed if something bad happens" - among other similar definitions. What I mean to say is there's only one person that’s been assigned the responsibility of matters concerning you. That’s YOU, and you alone. You have been assigned the responsibility of taking charge of you and all that concerns you. Of course we cannot rule out deity or political influence but basically it still boils down to YOU.
The truth is this, when a person starts to blame, the individual rids himself of the opportunity to take charge and turn the situation around. He/she freezes their brain from producing anything worthwhile and create a spiral effect of blaming and possibly, loathing and certainly eventually, irresponsibility in many forms. These forms most commonly are expressed by sitting back and waiting for the government to raise standards of living or waiting for some person to come to their aid and 'help turn things around'.
demokratia. As we celebrate our 10th year of 'people ruling', lets rule, really. A wonderful place to start is with ourselves. BE all you can be! We could start by shifting our focus from our leaders to ourselves. Take responsibility for the dissatisfaction you sense around you. Take responsibility for your environment. Take responsibility for your life, regardless of your past. Grab inadequacy and make it adequate. Don't wait for the government - they will not act on time! And if you find you are stuck, ask God for wisdom: He will show you- even in the mundane things! Go ahead and make the necessary changes.
The Butterfly Effect says that the tiny and seemingly insignificant changes we make in our lives now, buildup over time to become strong influences in our future. So BE! Make that change. BE the one to standout. BE the one to promote a cause that would end up being legislated. BE an exponent of healthy values amidst your peers. BE the strength your neighbor needs to do the right thing. BE the one to say NO! to values that do not promote our image. BE! YOU, RULE! BE all you can be!!