‘Right’ or ‘wrong’ is often a matter of perspective. Truth, however, is sacrosanct.
In Nigeria where I am from, leadership has continued to shift the goal post between what is right and wrong; what is accepted or unaccepted.
If ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ is a matter of perspective, then the mediocrity level of any society serves as an indicator of how far right or wrong they’ve come as a people.
A nation of ambitious people without virtue creates a bloody system of dog-eat-dog. Virtue is almost non-existent in the Nigerian society: the leaders have shifted the goal post and the followers have missed the target. This is what makes a follower mentality fatal.
A Follower mentality breeds mediocrity. It is speaking against a leadership and yet doing the very same thing we accuse the leadership about. Let me illustrate the point more clearly.
Recently I was in Eko. While sitting through a chaotic traffic on a one lane (no thanks to incessant flow of human traffic) road, my car’s alternator stopped working.
Soaked in sweat and after paying a ransom to the ‘omo onile’ I got my car off the road (follower mentality 1). I don’t recall if I was more embarrassed by the situation or the frustrating honking from motorists. The rewire confirmed the fault with my alternator and said the only way to leave with my car was if I replaced it.
It was a Friday and the time was 4:30pm.
I called my mechanic at ladipo to verify the N10,000 demanded by the rewire and on approval, I gave the money to him. 2 hours later, he returned with a new alternator and 30-mins later, my car revved to life.
God is awesome. As soon as I arrived at my gate, the alternator parked up and I had to push the car into the compound. The following day, I insisted the rewire took me to the purchase point where it was revealed to my chagrin that the alternator was sold for N1,500 (follower mentality 2). I was refunded.
Back track 3 weeks and I just bought a ‘tokunbo’ engine. So why am I having alternator issues? Anyway, I asked for the alternator of the old engine but it couldn’t be found. I discovered it had been sold (follower mentality 3).
In one way or another, most Nigerians can relate to the above story. The plot maybe different but the bottom-line is the same. Follower mentality breeds mediocrity. Even though we must survive, ambition without virtue is a vice.
The Nigerian child who will rise beyond mediocrity will be the one who breaks away from the follower mentality, who values virtue as much as ambition and one who sees success as more than a numbers game.
Eko -A popular market center in Lagos state.
Omo onile -Local Indigenes in a particular location
Ladipo -A bustlin mechanical spare parts market in Lagos.
Tokunbo -A foreign used product.