My generation does not need perfect leaders. We need leaders who are competent and have genuine compassion. Leaders who treat citizens like human beings with a right to life and happiness.

We need authentic leaders who have demonstrable past achievements. And, we need leaders who know how to build bridges between competing interests and national priorities.

The job of rebuilding Nigeria is a collaborative one. Our nation may be a product of colonisation, but our destiny does not need to play hostage to history.

We need to get off our high horses and ethnic narratives in my generation, to mend the broken bridges that have led to distrust. We need to discuss issues, not bury them. We need to slay sacred cows and point out the elephants in the room. Every topic must be tabled for discussion – the ones that are important to us and the ones we selfishly pursue, to the detriment of others. And then, we need to move on with the business of forging a nation for us all.

We must stop subbing and directing articles, tweets and posts at each other. Let us pick up the phone to dialogue with each other. Let us meet and have real conversations. Let us explain our motivations and seek understanding. The work of rebuilding Nigeria has no room for pride.

We must recognise that being at the “grassroots” or funding political structures, does not make any political actor more relevant than another. Nation building is not a competition.

We need to stop talking down to one another. We seem to no longer have conversations. Instead, we have condescension.

We must insist on a track record of performance from our would-be leaders. Showing up and being available does not translate into credibility.

We must study and learn from history. A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing. Without clarity on the factors that created our nation and perspectives from all sides, our generation will remain ignorant. However, there is no prescribed level of knowledge that is required to be a citizen. Someone may know who his/her Local Government Chairman is, while another may have read the Constitution back to back. What we do have in common, is our personal experience and pain of living in Nigeria. We are all Nigeria experts.

As we criticise our leaders, we must also proffer solutions and demonstrate those solutions by starting from where we are. We must move beyond talk. Our generation must show how things can be done.

Finally, hope is a powerful thing. We must inspire one another to hold on. We must impress on each other, the need to keep fighting the good fight of citizenship and to keep believing that things can change in our lifetime.

May God bless Nigeria.

My generation does not need perfect leaders. We need leaders who are competent and have genuine compassion. Click To Tweet The work of rebuilding Nigeria has no room for pride. Click To Tweet

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