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Hiya! Just a quick intro :) I lived in Nigeria for more than half of my life (so far) before moving to England and I have seen the best and the worst of both worlds. I was greatly inspired by the #OccupyNigeria protests and this blog is my way of #occupying. A lot of us compare African countries to the Western countries and I will mainly be talking about the positive things that I have observed and learnt in my few years of living here. Payme’s 2Cents is for all who dare to dream to see changes in their lifetime. It is for those who dream to see environments where 'helping' thrives. I will be giving my2cents worth on how we can work towards getting things to change for better. It would be great to know your opinions, so please leave comments. Remember to keep sharing posts that you enjoy. Follow @payme_my2cents. Thanks a lot for visiting!!! Enjoy my2cents :).

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

It's On You


"If we wish to free ourselves from enslavement, we must choose freedom and the responsibility this entails."
Leo Buscaglia

Do you remember that time your mum decided to heat up the stew but forgot it on the cooker? On realising, she ran to the kitchen with a worried you in tow. Upset, she grumbled angrily, turned to you incredulously and asked “how could you not smell burning??!!!”
One lesson that I think most if not all parents unconsciously teach us kids is that of ‘misplaced responsibility’. I can go on and on with examples.
I must admit that when I first resumed school in England, I hated the word ‘responsibility’. I had always been an ok student – I did my home work, tried to study etc. However, none of this was voluntary. There was always a sense of ‘trouble’ if I did not do them. Teachers would beat me if I did not do my home work and parents would beat me if I failed exams. This system was alright till I got to England. My teachers would say something like “it is your responsibility to get your work done”. I had to do things out of the willingness of my heart.
This is not an article about the extremities in the disciplinary methods employed in different countries so please read within context. I did not hate ‘responsibility’ for any dark reasons. I simply was not used to it. Students were not completely left alone in that we had our teachers’ support whenever we needed it but they did not spend all their time breathing down our necks. We had to face the consequences of our actions and inactions (albeit some consequences would not worry a Naija girl! e.g 15 minutes detention lol).
I think we have been brought up to do things under duress and fear that we have somehow lost the notion of doing the right thing simply because it is right. A big disadvantage of this is that we end up not maximising our potentials; we mainly do enough to just get by with the ‘as long as I stay out of trouble’ mentality. Doing the right thing takes a lot of discipline and effort unlike just going along with anything we feel like doing or going by how other people are also not bothered. An easy example is the issue of littering. I once went on holiday to Nigeria for two weeks and in the space of that time, friends always laughed at my insistence on finding bins so that I could drop my rubbish. During a second holiday in which I stayed for two months, there was one occasion when I dropped litter on the floor and a friend called me out on it. I had simply lost the zeal for looking for bins and I had been holding the empty can for so long. I probably unconsciouly thought "well I am in Nigeria where no one really cares about that". However, this did not justify my action. I took the drink and it was my responsibility to dispose the empty can in the right manner and not just the ‘easy’ and irresponsible way.
Taking responsibility also has a part to play in the growth of Nigeria. I believe that one of the reasons people in positions of authority abuse their positions and engage in corrupt practices is because they know that deep down, Nigerians do not actually hold them responsible for their actions.  We all have the “what else do we expect? That is how it has always been” mindset and so we talk and right after that we move on, expecting the next scandal.
Leaders (from school prefects to presidents) are responsible for their actions as well as the actions of their subordinates (this does not excuse the failures of the subordinate(s) in question). I stumbled on a YouTube clip (BBC Hardtalk) in which ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo shamelessly refused to accept responsibility for the corruption in his government when he was Nigeria's president. A leader with integrity would have taken responsibility for the failures of his ministers, ordered probes and ensured prosecution of the offending persons. However, he shamelessly sat there asking if the interviewer had evidences on him ‘personally’. I read an online article that quoted President Goodluck Jonathan as “accepting full responsibilities’ for the failed attempt to rescue two Europeans abducted in Nigeria. I commend him for that but I must admit it felt really strange as that hardly ever happens.
Only a strong amount of indignation would make us protest against the ills in our society and as long as we do not know how to hold people responsible for their actions, we are always going to have problems. Yes a president is in charge of a nation, he has a responsibility to make sure that his subordinates are doing their jobs. But in your haste to blame the president, do not forget the teachers and principals in schools around you, do not forget the Chief Medical Directors in hospitals around you, do not forget the Director of the PHCN office in your neighbourhood, do not forget the Division Police Officer in your area, do not forget your Local Government chairman – even his councillors.
When we accept our individual responsibilities towards our personal and national growth, then we would know that there is a need to hold the ‘right people’ responsible for their actions. Hold the right people responsible and they will feel the pressure to do right. We need to work from the bottom up. We most times concentrate on leaders and people that we cannot see, how about starting from our houses, our streets and our churches?
 Individuals should care for each other and help each other as much as possible, however, responsibilities for actions taken or not taken rest firmly on the shoulders of the individuals involved.


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21 comments:

@nwosunnaemeka said...

I fell in love with you through this write up. You are so correct about the lack of responsibility taking mindset in the Nigerian Family and Nigerian Society at large. Just imagine the number of people whom will not read this article or comment or retweet just because they lack a sense of responsibility.

Anonymous said...

What can I say. You have taught me a lesson. I will pass this same lesson to my kids and family first. I try to be responsible in certain areas and hide in some areas. I will begin to question myself on this issue. Thank you for taking up the responsibility to be responsible. Bless you now and always. @1igboboy

odeshina bola said...

permit me to say we lost it all. Some say our govt should b d ones to lead d change but sincerely i know individual rectification is wat we need to promote good family and societal values. We lost all sense of decency and morality which have no direct connection to our leaders..our child brought up to eschew corruption will b firm on d path of truth when he bcoms a leader..bring it on girl..will continue reading..good work

Judith said...

Wow!! Again you've hit the nail right on the head, we all should start being & taking responsibility for our actions or inactions. Keep 'em comind babe, you've got an ardent reader here.

webround said...

Think about it - why should the President be the one ordering a probe on a corrupt Minister? Don't we have the EFCC and the Police? Aren't they independent bodies? Isn't it their job to investigate criminality and corruption? Illinois governor was arrested and charged for trying to sell then Senator Obama's senate seat? Did you hear that it was President Bush who ordered the investigation? No, the FBI acted on their own. Former NY Governor was caught in a prostitution ring case. The American President did not order the probe. The relevant agency was carrying out an investigation and it led to the governor. In Nigeria, when the law courts overturn an election, the President has to order the police to implement the ruling of the court. Why should that be? It is the responsibility of the police to enforce the ruling of the courts. If they don't do it, we should hold the police bosses responsible or then ask for the President to remove the police boss. Same thing for the corruption case, we should hold the IG and EFCC chairman responsible for not carrying out investigation and then agitate for the president to remove the heads and not blame the president for not ordering a probe.

Don't get me wrong, the President is responsible for a bunch of things but as you pointed out, we use him as a crutch. We should hold ourselves and the right person responsible. Corn sellers will roast corn and then dump the corn stalks in the gutter/drainage. When the drainage gets blocked, we complain about the government. We don't hold ourselves responsible for a) dumping the refuse in the gutter b) seeing people who do this and not warning them about it.

It is also our responsibility to THINK. This is one responsibility we have shirked. For example, blogs and papers carry the headline -SEC DG spent 850,000 on her feeding in one day and everybody abuses the woman. People don't think, is it possible for one person to spend 850K on feeding in one day? Of course not! The next question then is - how many people were involved? Was she hosting a party in her official capacity? If she was hosting an official party, does she have a cap on what she can spend and did she exceed it or do we think her entertainment allowance is ridiculous? As it turns out, it was actually 85k (and not 850K) for an official dinner party. I'm not here to defend the DG. All I'm saying is we have to THINK and not take everything that comes at face value.

Payme said...

Thanks for reading and commenting :) Do the Nigerian police and EFCC have the same independence from the Nigerian government in the same way that the FBI is independent of the US government? Are they able to take decisions on their own? How many independent bodies are there in Nigeria?

Like I already said, people do need to be individually responsible for their actions but this does not exempt the government officials either...my littering wasn't justified but I was as guilty as the university officials who did not provide bins around the university I was visiting.

Not everybody will have the same opinions on issues but to the best of my knowledge, the SEC DG has not commented on the total 30million naira spent on her hotel accommodation even in her official statement.

I do agree with you that we all need to make up our own minds by thinking on issues and not taking things at face value. Thanks again :)

Payme said...

Thanks gurl! oh I get you now..its obvious u meant 'coming' lol

Payme said...

thank you :) lol @ your last line

Payme said...

we all have weak areas, as long as we keep being honest with ourselves, we'll grow.. amen, bless you too..thank you for reading:)

Payme said...

You are right, leaders are not aliens, they grew up in our society...thanks for reading:)

webround said...

>Do the police and EFCC have the same independence from the Nigerian...
>> My ans: Yes or we can also say 'we will never know' because they have not exercised 'their responsibility' or we the populace have never held them responsible.

>SEC DG has not commented on the 30 million...
>> My ans: You're probably right. But this was not a defense of Oteh. This was me saying we should think about things we read and hold people accountable for the right crimes/issues.

Adeosun Vemmy said...

'we mainly do
enough to just get by with the
‘as long as I stay out of
trouble’ mentality' Dis line got me...

adebisi halimat b said...

lovely piece..most people dont want to take responsibility for their actions or inaction as the case may be, i quite agree with you, we must first of all check ourselves as individuals, like i always say even collective change starts with and individual..
"We most times concentrate on leaders and people that we cannot see, how about starting from our houses, our streets and our churches?"
i kind of love this line but you didnt remember to include the mosque ooo.lol

Payme said...

Thanks for reading and dropping a comment :)

Payme said...

aww, you've included it like that too lol..thanks for reading :)

Payme said...

I get you better :)

Anonymous said...

Nice one! This is truly inspiring. It's a pity we live in a country where citizens don't obey rules and regulation voluntarily. I think sanctions shld be applied! Thanks.

Ojo Tolorunni said...

True talk, one nids to start taking responsibilty 4 one's actns. Admiting one's wrongs in our environment may seem wrong but d more one kips bn responsible d more pple wil knw one 4 it and they wil b able 2 learn frm one. Enjoyed reading, kip it up! Cheers!!

gbengux said...

Like I always say, Nigeria wasn't ripe and ready for independence when we got it in 1960. So many things still to be learnt from the colonial masters- discipline, responsibilty, objectivity etc. Look at South Africa, she got her independence in 1995 thereabout and you can sense the maturity and sense of responsibility in her entire citizenry. Lovely writeup payme, you've said it all and i wouldnt want to start writing another article as comment. Starting from now, think I will start holding people responsible for their action or inaction- from the street sweeper to the town cryer, from the local chiefs to the senators.. Enjoy

Phumzy said...

Nice piece Payme. It's all about responsibility and accountability and it needs to start from u and I. More power to ur elbow girl. I enjoyed reading this piece actually.

Araga Mohammed said...

This write up narrates the situation of our dear country Nigeria.Together we can make Nigeria great.Thumbs up.