Nigeria is at a crossroad. Yes, at a crossroad between yesterday and today. At a crossroad between defining what should be and what path the country should take going forward. First, there’s confusion about where we are going as a country. What is the vision of our destination from socio-economic, political, and socio-cultural perspectives? Second, there’s confusion about what strategies that should be utilised in accomplishing the vision. In the absence of an agreed destination, debating which road to take, which means or mode to take can only generate utter confusion. And the confusion may lead to a road to nowhere.
It has not always been like this. In 1951, when the Action Group was formed, they all first agreed on their vision for Western Nigeria. Their visions included:
1. Freedom from British Colonial rule
2. Freedom from ignorance and diseases.
3. Freedom from poverty and need
Thereafter, they set up various Committees to work out strategies and techniques which the party would use to implement its vision. No one was in doubt about the agreed visions of the Party. No one was in doubt about the implementation strategies, processes and mechanisms. No longer so these days.
But there are additional layers of confusion. In most countries, in addition to whatever may be the agreed vision of the Political Parties, the country itself would have its own dream and vision. In USA, you talk of the AMERICAN DREAM. During the Abacha Regime, there was an effort to codify a NIGERIAN VISION 2010. Because the process could not be concluded, it became Vision 2020, Vision 2035 even Vision 2050. In the absence of an agreed vision for the country, each political party was trying to establish its own vision for the country. Most of the parties, therefore, didn’t have any agreed vision for the country.
But even then, there was another problem. In 2023, for example, there are 205 million Nigerians existing within the 1m sq km geographical area called Nigeria. 89 million persons registered to vote for the Presidential Elections. Out of this, only 26m persons actually voted. The incumbent president won about 36% of this total votes. His total vote of 8.7m is just about 10% of total registered voters, and 4.2% of the population. But it’s this 4.2% of the population who collected only 36% of the voters that appoints all ministers, advisers, assistants, chairmen, board members, directors etc. Only 4.3% of the population becomes the winner and “eats” everything.
It is this salad of confusion that that leads many to give up. Sometimes when they give up, they “japa” and run out of the country to the uncertainties of another country. Sometimes they feel so bad that they commit suicide. That’s why there’s an unprecedented rise in number of suicides. People get fed up that they quit finally by committing suicide.
Certainly God doesn’t want you to get discouraged and quit halfway. God wants you to make it to the finish line. He wants you to look and not give up. In Psalm 142:3, it is written that “WHEN I AM READY TO GIVE UP, HE KNOWS WHAT I SHOULD DO ” When you are overwhelmed by floods of discouragement, most times it’s because you are very close to reaching the goals. That’s when you must lift up your face unto the hills, just as Psalm 121 says. There are four causes of discouragement. There are four reasons why you may sometimes want to end it all.
The first cause of discouragement is frustration. The frustration could be personal. It could be as a result of conflicts. It could be created by internal or external pressure. It could be environmental pressure. Whichever it is, they constitute challenges that prevent a fulfillment of personal goals and desires …particularly when needs are many, but the outlets for satisfaction are limited and few. The second cause is fatigue. Fatigue can be a product of physical exertion, lack of physical activity, lack of sleep, boredom, grief or periods of emotional stress. People who are fatigued are more easily distracted, less able to concentrate, tend to forget things more easily, take longer to solve problems, make more mistakes, have slower reaction times and take more risks than they might otherwise, feel angry or irritable more than necessary.
A third cause is failure. Sometimes it looks as if the project will never end…when will I get out of this tunnel? Will this hardship ever end? Will there be light at end of this tunnel? Will this tunnel ever end? Will this long dark night ever end? Can I ever succeed where everyone is failing? I have already stumbled. Can I ever get up? Let me remind you of a song by King Sunny Ade. He sang ORE MI, MA YO MI, TEMI BA SUBU. TEMI BA SUBU, EMI A DIDE. It translates roughly as…MY FRIEND, DON’T MOCK ME IF I FALL.IF I FALL, I’LL SURELY RISE.
A failure is not an end. It’s an opportunity to rise. Proverb 24:16 says “the Godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again “. That’s the unfailing promise by God. You must always grab every opportunity to convert a failure into a success, a retreat into an advance. A bend on the road is not necessarily the end. Don’t get put off by stumble. There can be no victory without success. There can be no crown without a cross. Yoruba people will say the tall man must have long thin legs. Surely!
The fourth cause of discouragement is FEAR. In his very famous speech of January 6, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt said “everywhere in the world ought to enjoy:
1. Freedom of speech
2. Freedom of worship
3. Freedom from want
4. Freedom from fear”
That shows how important fear can be in creating a discouragement that can make people terminate their lives. Fear can ensnare human beings; prevent them from optimally utilising their talents or maximally taking advantage of opportunities available to them. If fear is discouraging you, remember what Paul, the Apostle told Timothy: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR IS NOT FROM GOD. Fear is a demonic spirit that can enslave your body, mind, and soul. The spirit will force you to sit when you should stand; sleep when you should wake and work…remain dumb when you should speak with courage and boldness. Remember that according to Hebrews 12:1, God expects you to “run with endurance the race God has before (you)”. Like the Black South Africans used to sing.
“We are winning, heaven knows that we are winning, we know we are.
It may be tough we know, and the road may be muddy and rough.
But we’ll get there, heaven knows we’ll get there, we know we will.”
So shed off the frustration, fatigue, failure and fear….they are demonic spirits. Fight them off, they are oppressors. NEVER GIVE UP….LOOK UP TO GOD.