“E go better – Nigerian pidgin English meaning things will get better – is a slogan TK heard all through his life growing up. However, 59 years after independence, things are not better at all and some will argue that they are even worst off now than before. Just last week, a software developer in Lagos was taken to a police station, where he was traumatized and the money meant for his dad’s medical bills was extorted from him. When did it become a crime to own a laptop? Someone in East Africa (Uganda), in the same week, was gunned by those saddled with the responsibility to protect life and properties.

How did we get to this point where, as a young person, I am scared sometimes to even leave my house? In addition to the fear of kidnappers, being robbed, accidents due to poor infrastructures or going to the hospital and be given the wrong blood which can lead to death I, now have to also worry and protect myself from those that are meant to protect me.  As I sat in my room on Sunday reading through the different experiences and legit fears of people that have had one encounter or another with the police – SARS – I, could not help the tears that dropped and wonder if there is still hope for my country. Will things ever truly become better? Was TK lied to and given false hope?

By the end of the evening, just as someone said “insanity is doing things the same way and expecting different results”, it dawned on me that TK was never lied to as there was and is hope for things to become better. The mistake of TK’s parents’ generation was never walking their talk. On paper, things looked like they will get better but then individual greed and lack of collective action to do the work required to make things better slowed the journey to “better”. 

Things can indeed get better for us as a continent, as nations and even as individuals only if we put in the work.  When I say work, I do not mean “hustle”, the idea of getting ahead by any means necessary because that should never be a substitute for profound values else we would suffer the detriments as a society and delay getting better.  We each have work to do as individuals and on this Independence Day, I invite you to make a commitment to work intentionally at making things better by becoming your best self. 

It will take time but we can begin today to pay attention to areas in our lives where we need to become better. What as an individual can you work on this week beginning now and moving forward to become better? Put in that work and when we become better individuals we can then collectively translate that into making our nation and continent better.

We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past and have our children question us and ask what we did when things were not working. We can’t afford to give them any sense of false hope things will become better when we are not doing the work. I still believe in us and our ability to make things work for the good of all. Join me and let us put in the work. 


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