No matter how much a nation prays, when the principles of greatness are violated, the nation is weakened considerably, and its growth is stunted at best. My strong opinion is that most African nations are 3rd world because they have not obeyed laws that make nations great. The greatness of a nation is not determined by its military might, land size, or size of the economy. Nations become great when they show great character and stand for justice. They become great when they follow certain principles that guarantee greatness.
In the 1st part of this write up (which I encourage you to read if you’ve not done so already), I shared a few of these principles and would continue now. Let me share a few more here.
The Principle Of Integrity
This is perhaps the greatest bane of our nation. Our nation is in short supply of men and women with personal integrity and honesty. With more sophistication, it’s even easier to throw integrity to the garbage bin. From the salesmen on the street to the CEO of multinationals, from the Student Union Executives of colleges to the National Assemblies of our nation, people have undermined the importance of consistently living up to a set of ideals. What a tragedy!
We live in a world that has become so obsessed with quick success and material wealth at the expense of all else. It’s very rare to see men and women of integrity who would hold on to their righteousness or values by all means. “The end justifies the means” is now the motto of several people, all in a bid to amass wealth.
The single most important quality you can ever develop that will enhance every part of your life is the value of integrity. Integrity is the core quality of a successful and happy life. Having integrity means being totally honest and truthful in every part of your life. By making the commitment to become a totally honest person, you will be doing more to ensure your success and happiness in life, on the long run, than anything else you can ever do. I mean that in every sense of it!
Will you stand up to be counted with men of integrity?
The Principle of Respect For Credit
A couple of years ago, the whole nation was startled by the news of distress in our banking sector. After an audit by the Central Bank of Nigeria, it was discovered that many of the “big” banks were practically at the brink of collapse. Amongst other problems, there was the issue of people not returning money they had borrowed from the banks. People were borrowing large sums of money, and were not fulfilling their commitments of refunding as at when due. The list of “big” debtors was published in many dailies. I was saddened by our lack of respect for credit in our nation.
This of course makes it very difficult for Nigerians to get lines of credit outside the country. Our fellow Nigerians have proven, time and time again, that we lack a culture of respect for credit lines. I heard that in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Nigerians schooling in the UK had easy access to credit. You could practically walk into any bank, and without any collateral, borrow money to pay through school with just a promise to pay back. Your word/promise was enough "security" for the loan. By the mid 80’s, it was almost impossible to even open an account in the UK if you carried a green passport, not to mention applying for a credit line! What happened? You guessed right – majority of Nigerians who took loans never paid back!
Disrespect for credit is a killer. It is one of the reasons we are backward as a nation. Most people will not do serious business with Nigerians except you are paying cash! You can’t imagine how many wonderful business deals pass us by because of this limitation. Even at individual levels, this cancer eats deep. Have you borrowed someone money lately? What was your experience? I sure do hope that your experience was better than mine. People come back to you with all manner of reasons and excuses why they can’t pay back as at when due. Of course, this eventually limits what they can get from you in future. It’s very difficult to borrow people money today without signing a legal agreement. You just may never get the money back.
For any individual or nation to become great, we must have a deep seated respect for credit. We must become disciplined enough to make our word our bond.
The Principle of Respect For Human Lives
All humans are sacred and holy. All people from the womb to the tomb have inherent dignity and a right to life. All human life is precious, with no exception. It is not greatness inclined when we have utter lack of respect for human lives. How many times have you passed on the highway and seen dead bodies lying there unattended to for an extended period of time? Who cares? Have you been to a public hospital lately? You are likely to shed tears.
I personally believe that more than 50% of people who die daily in Nigeria should not have died, if we as a people and as a government had respect for human lives. Check out every great nation – the life of 1 of their citizens is worth a lot. It is worth fighting for. This is not the case with our nation. Some events even make you wonder if the life of a cow is not more important than that of a human. What a pity.
Respect for the dignity of the human person is the foundational principle of any just society. Do you know why a building contractor will cut corners and build with substandard products? He doesn’t have regard for life. A politician will steal money meant for a capital project that will benefit others, because he doesn’t have any consideration for human lives who would be beneficiaries of the complete work. That’s the same reason why fake drugs are imported into the country, and somehow they find their way through regulatory agencies that should stop them. Human life is perceived as cheap around here, and if we must progress as a nation, this must change. We must start to place a huge value of the life of every human – starting with our neighbors, colleagues and our community.
Again, life is governed by laws. You can’t disobey these laws and expect their rewards. We will progress as individuals, and as a nation, if and only if, we have due respect for laws that makes nations (and individuals) great.