By Ituah Ighodalo
One of the challenges of Nigeria is that there is too much evil. Too many wicked people. We are always thinking of who to deal with and how to get back our own. People are not bothered if other people’s lives are damaged as long as they succeed. A lot of us have terrible hearts, deceitful hearts, untruthful, extremely unforgiving. We wish evil on other people. We never forget what others have done to us.
The heart is desperately wicked; the Bible tells us that. You cannot tell what is going on in a person's heart. Some people will eat and sleep with you, then behind you will backstab you. Jesus himself said, ‘my friend, my very friend, the one whom I eat with and I trust has lifted up his finger against me.’ There was a man in Burkina Faso called Thomas Sankara. A brilliant dashing young officer who did a coup and he had a good friend called Blaise Compaoré. He was head of state and Compaoré was his vice. When Compaoré started plotting against Sanakar and they Sankara that "Campari is looking for you, Campari is going to kill you"; Sankara said it was not possible. He said “if Compaoré is lifting up his hands against me, then I am dead" and within one month, he was dead. Today, Compaoré is still the president of Burkina Faso and Sankara is dead.
A lot of people cannot be great not because they are not intelligent, not because they are not strong and powerful, not because they are not wealthy, not because they are not outstanding or blessed but simply because they do not have a clean heart. Their hearts are not clean.
One of the challenges of Nigeria today is that a lot of our leaders don't fear God. The Bible says that because judgement is not quick to come does not mean that God is asleep. A lot of our leaders don't fear God and therefore they think that they can do anything they like and get away with it. God gives you a long rope to do whatever you want and at the end of it, He will just cut that rope and that will be the end of that. If people fear God, they would respect man. If you don't fear God, if you are not afraid of this God, if the fear of God does not constrain your behaviour and your attitude, you cannot think right.
What makes a man? A man is made up of what he thinks because what he thinks determines what he does or what he says and what he says determines how he behaves, and how he behaves determines who he is.
Also, you must be fair to all. Think more of the common good and be ready to admit your wrong. A lot of us find it difficult to admit when we are wrong. We find it difficult to admit when we've done something bad. We find it difficult to admit when we are at fault or when we have stumbled. We want to wish it away and play as though it's not our fault. When something happens, we quickly rise to our defence saying “it’s not my fault." You are very quick to blame other people for things you know you didn't quite do right.
Another major challenge of Nigeria is that we are selfish and self-centred. You must have a feeling of fairness and a desire for the common good. Most of us, as long as our interest is protected, it's alright but when it's in the interest of the common good, we don't care. We are not interested because what we want to do is in our own interest. That's why you are driving down the road, the taxi driver will park in the middle of the road, be taking and offloading passengers. That's why you are moving down the street, somebody else will stop and disrupt the traffic. That's why somebody will say something this way and do something the opposite way because it's all about self-interest, nobody is ready to sacrifice for the common good. Nobody is ready to take the pain so that everybody will gain. Nobody is ready to lose a little so that others can benefit, all we want is what we want for ourselves.
If we can all have pure, clean hearts, be fair to others, think more of the common good and be less self-centred, God will begin to work wonders in our lives and Nigeria will be the better for it.