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The real change we all have been looking for

 

photocredit:naij.com

photocredit:naij.com

The change we all have been looking for In Nigeria when you say the word change, two things likely come to mind – change, the balance of the money you exchange for goods & services or change as transformation or makeover. We never find it funny when we board a bus and the conductor attempts to hoard the change, or the market woman  insists she has no change or the petrol vendor confidently withholds your change as if it rightfully belongs to them. Just recently, Nigerians voted change – a new government that has vehemently promised to bring change to Nigeria, improve lives and curtail hardship. No matter the change, we take it seriously.

A few days ago I visited Uyo, Akwaibom state for a two day training. I was invited to train some radio OAP’s and marketers on how to deliberately and effectively leverage the digital space to achieve differentiation. I had a great time of course, and I did not forget to treat myself to the legendary indigenous combo – afang soup and eba. (Btw Afang soup isn’t the change we have all been looking for). On my way back to Lagos, at the Ibom International Airport, I met a Turkish national who happened to have worked with a construction firm that just completed the Sheraton hotel at Ikot-ekpene. We chatted for a while and he shared his experience visiting Norway a few months ago – In the city where he stayed, everyone was seen as equal. Government officials clean their door steps/streets, hygiene is seen as a collective responsibility by all, everybody obeyed all laws…etc What I took away from that conversation was that everyone strived to do what was right. I think that one of the hardest things to do in life is to do the right thing.

At work and at home we face a multitude of decisions every day. Some are easy; some are hard. At times, there is no “good” or “ideal” decision just the better of two that are either painful, or wrong. Leaders face this dilemma frequently, because in the imperfect real world, there are a lot of not-so-good choices, and few really good, clear and right ones. But leaders must decide. That is their job. In fact, they are evaluated by how well they decide, by their bosses, by their peers and especially by their subordinates. True leaders will not do the “wrong thing” just to be liked. Leaders must make the best available, “right” decision, and if they do, even when it is unpopular, they will at least be respected for being a person of principle. Like Oprah Whinfrey once said, real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. Imagine if, even in our own little way, we:

– Didn’t attempt to beat the traffic light and allow lastma the luxury to run after us (This instagram video by EmmaOhMyGod cracked me up)

– Didn’t eat four plates of rice and 4 raps of eba+egusi at weddings when some have not even had their first plate

– Didn’t randomly throw wraps of moi-moi dirt on the streets like it’s our right

– Constructively criticized our leaders, rather than raining insults on their mothers

– Finished up assigned tasks at our workplaces instead of continuously passing the buck

– Did not sit around doing nothing at work because we think nobody’s watching

Sometimes, we need to do what we do out of doing what’s right, not what we get for what we do. Truth is, if we all do what’s right, society improves… And that, my friend, could mark the beginning of the real change we all are looking for. We all can’t be perfect. But we can all strive to be better and do better.

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10 Responses

  1. Rachel says

    Hey Emeka,

    Well I learnt something about the practises in Nigeria reading your post. If a service was keeping my change, I would go to the bank and get my money broken down into heaps of change, so that I always paid the right amount. But I account for every penny. And tipping someone should be my choice not theirs to make for me.

    I believe the soup is to your liking and we never want our traditional taste buds changed.

    However integrity is a wonderful standard of living. Once you become accountable for your own actions regardless of whether anyone is watching, it gets easier every time we practise it. I thoroughly enjoyed your examples of thinking for yourself rather than getting as much as you can.

    I used to be the first at a banquet filling my plate thinking I want to get it all. After years gone by I realised I did not have to be in a hurry there would always be enough to go round and I did not have to be greedy. And I was even greedier when it came to free alcohol. I don’t drink anymore (or very occasionally).

    But once I realised that I could enjoy everything without feeling as if I was going to miss out, I enjoyed everything a whole lot more. Thanks for the post. I got a lot of insight.

    • Emeka says

      Hi Rachel,

      I like your strategy of breaking down your money in heaps, although that may not always work all the time. I may never understand why some people act like it’s the right to be tipped. (Some even go ahead to tip themselves with your money lol)
      Yes, Integrity is indeed a wonderful standard of living because our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds… I am glad you have realized that being in a hurry to get it all doesn’t really make any sense. In the end, there is a sufficiency in the world for a man’s need but not for a man’s greed.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts :)

  2. Lenie says

    This is my first time visit to your blog but it won’t be the last. I very much enjoyed reading about change in Nigeria and I hope the change you are now experiencing is good.
    One of the pleasures of the Internet is getting to hear different viewpoints and about different places. Thank you.

    • Emeka says

      Welcome to Emekatalks Lenie :) Glad you found us and enjoyed reading. Amazing how boundary lines are continuously blurred by technology – We can almost access content from anywhere in the world. Thanks for reading and I hope that you find time to visit more often 😀

  3. Temitope says

    Wait, Afang isn’t the change we’ve been looking for?

    Apart from that, everything you said.

    • Emeka says

      LOL..Thanks for stopping by temitope :)

  4. livelytwist says

    Our society doesn’t have a flat structure like the Norwegian society the Italian described, but we can use it to our advantage. Although as you rightly point out, change begins with you and me, if those at the top of the ladder do the right thing, others who take cues from them would follow.

    • Emeka says

      Well said. & yes, Meaningful change begins with us!

  5. Mr. D says

    Hmm. Perfect. Message: Be the change you crave!.. Thanks Emeka

    • Emeka says

      Thanks Mr D. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves!

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