Every Nigerian knows, or at least has a very good idea, about the basic challenges the country and the generality of her citizens face: from quality education and health care to pipe borne water and good road infrastructure… and let’s not even start to talk about public electricity supply (groan). Individuals have been elected / selected at various levels to tackle these challenges and ultimately improve the quality of life of Nigerians. However, instead of fully taking on the responsibilities before them, creatively coming up with workable solutions, and being accountable and taking ownership for omissions — whether intentional or not, a number of these leaders have taken to asking their “fellow citizens to pray for Nigeria!”
Now, I have no problem with faith and spirituality, in fact I am a strong believer. I do have a problem with individuals not optimally utilising the resources they have been blessed with (most important of which is a highly functional brain) to create solutions. The holy books require us as human beings to work hard and make the most use of our natural gifts and resources. Yet, some of our leaders have perfected the art of throwing their hands up and resorting to praying for Nigeria, giving the impression that Nigeria’s problems are caused by invisible spirits and not by human beings. Precious units of time are spent by these individuals organising and participating in prayer sessions and programs for God to come down and save Nigeria; time that could have been well spent brainstorming, planning, coming up with action schedules, and following up on previous plans and agreements.
There is definitely a place for prayers: to ask the Most High to bless the works of one’s hands, not as an excuse for shirking one’s responsibilities; to do the latter is to “give God too much work and the devil too much credit,” according to Bankole Wellington on a radio talk show program recently. Tunji Lardner says we have outsourced the leadership and operations of the Nigerian enterprise to God, and tersely responds “leave God out of this willful self-created mess” whenever he hears someone say “only God can save Nigeria.”
So, I implore my fellow citizens to recognise that every leadership position — be it as a parent, school teacher, foreman, head of unit / department, head of organisation, local council chairman, team leader, state governor, head of ministry / parastatal, etc. — comes with some inherent authority, but a whole lot more responsibilities and accountability, and requires a high level of visionary perception as well as planning and follow-through capacity (anyone who considers these concepts too complicated has no business being a leader). We should all take extremely seriously whatever leadership position we find ourselves in (there is no insignificant leader), be godly (i.e. do on to others we would like done to ourselves, at the minimum), and leave prayer to play its appropriate role.