Nigeria is 52 and we are celebrating our possibilities despite our seeming difficulties and perplexities. A nation so diverse with 36 states and over 250 ethnic groups. With a population of over 150 million people. Our diversity and size should be our strength not weakness. We must respect other’s individuality and embrace them. We must see beyond ethnic divides and see ourselves as Nigerians rather than Hausas or Igbos or Ijaws or Yorubas.

I believe in Nigeria. I believe so much in rebranding this great nation. I talk a lot about how much we can change this nation by our actions and someone asked me, ‘how can me alone change Nigeria?’.’This is how you can change Nigeria’ I replied. By your little acts of kindness and love to people irrespective of their ethnic origin. We are powerful beyond measure. An act of good from just one soul resonates through out the cosmos.

I have been volunteering and talking to young people and children of diverse ethnic origins for years now. The first thing I tell them is we are Nigerians no matter where we originate from. As little and insignificant as you may think it is. I know those kids can’t remain the same. We must always teach our kids the concept of ‘nationhood’ rather than ‘ethnichood’. If you would only find one child or youngster in your neighborhood you can take under your wings and mentor,you would have done Nigeria a lot of good. Make up your mind to draw at least one youngster to yourself and start mentoring that one. You would have done a noble thing.

Years a go a drew a young boy close to me. I was always talking to him, encouraging and helping him anyway I could. Finally we moved to some other place and I couldn’t see him often. Years later, I heard He got a lady pregnant and now had a daughter. Out of the blues he called me up one day and told me he had made a mistake and he wanted to chat a new course in his life. I went to see him and we talked. Presently, he is studying accountancy in the university and is committed to raising his young daughter. He told me that He would never have another child again until he was through with school and ready for marriage.

He said all the while he was having fun,my words kept resonating in his head. He had to see me. Don’t take that little chit chat you had with that kid for nothing. You are making a difference. let’s find time to mentor those we can. I had an uncle who was always on my case since I was 10 yrs old. He was always talking to me and giving me books to read. Today I am doing same. We can’t underestimate the power of mentorship. Mentors make our walk in life easy.

Someone affected the lives of Ghandi, Malcom, Mandela, JFK, MLK, churchill, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Dr Yongi cho, Abraham lincoln, Einstein, Franklin etc. They all had people who reached out to them and helped them fan their fires of greatness. We must also look out for people in our neighborhood we can reach out to and mentor. We must be concerned about our kids especially. They are the leaders of tomorrow; our future. We have become so selfish and careless without even knowing. We have worried so much about the seeming bad situation in our nation and have neglected the fact that we ourselves can make a huge difference.

If you can get one kid off the street and mentor that one kid, he might be the one who would change things for the better. Am sure when the Regent took mandela from his mother in Qunu to Mphekezueni, where Mandela was raised, He never knew this little boy would be the man to save South Africa. Don’t underestimate the power you have to make a change.

There is power in One willing mind. For Nigeria and Africa to move to the next level, we must bring back the concept of volunteering and mentoring. Am so impressed with what is happening at the Ajegunle Innovation Centre in Lagos. Let’s build Nigeria. You alone can make that difference. Happy independence Nigeria.

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