There is nothing as good as going for a meeting not knowing what to expect but coming back feeling like it was extremely productive. I had one of such on Tuesday, and a serendipity moment that I’ll hold onto for a while. I met with some great minds and I smiled all the way through my drive home.
How do you tackle issues? Do you go the confrontational way or the inclusive way? I discovered that in many cases, we react to situations and decide to take the confrontational approach which may not always be the best way. The person or people we may be confronting could feel attacked and may also take the knee jerk reaction approach to attack back. We all have the tendency to categorize ourselves into ingroups/us against outgroups/them.
In the news today, all we hear about is ‘danger, death and destruction’, that is what sells. Actually good news don’t always make the headlines. At the same time, constantly attacking may not yield results but bring reactions which do not necessarily last.
There is a cause I was set to fight for but I had chosen the wrong approach. I spoke to two people who I thought would be interested in fighting this cause with me. As much as we stood for the same thing, they both agreed that the approach I had planned to use was confrontational and would not necessarily yield results but stir up a crisis and create enemies. OO advised that I take an inclusive approach of dialogue but the people in question would have none of that, so what to do? JO noted that I would be sure to make enemies with a cause like this, but enemies have to be chosen wisely if at all they need to be made. Keeping the future in mind and all the possible consequences from one simple action is always worth bearing in mind.
On that note, there are so many issues to be tackled in
Nigeria at the moment; will turn 53 this year. How will you rate the performance of the ‘leaders’ so far? How long will you keep waiting on them? We all have a role to play so get on with doing your part. Nigeria
The 'Funky Monkey' project was launched at this same meeting by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation. It is a project with a focus on environmental issues, seeking to empower people not to rely on the government but to make their own contributions no matter how small it may seem. The gathering comprised of bloggers such as Japheth Omojuwa and Omonaikee (I attended this meeting courtesy of them), journalists and others. We were reminded of how much damage climate change had done and how much it will continue to do if nothing is done about it. The organizers deliberately didn’t go to the government with this initiative but chose to speak to people who could relate to this and would be willing to take part in the project. From the North to the South, it affects everybody in some way. Northern states like Yobe are fast turning to deserts as there aren’t many trees left. Farming activities can no longer be carried out. See this video. A state like Lagos on the other hand is suffering from rising sea levels and this is gradually taking away all that people hold dear. Education needs to be given to the residents of these areas; they need to be empowered on how they can help to change the situation. Some need to accept the situation as it is and not call it ‘An act of God’ or blame it on ‘the wrath of a sea godess’.
The world is waiting for you, stop putting yourself in the ingroup and make efforts to include the outgroup by doing something. If we all start doing something, at some point, the government will become so ashamed that it will have no choice than to join in to make Nigeria what it should be.
I am grateful that I witnessed the launch of this brilliant idea from the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation. You can check them out here, who knows? You could end up being a part of this initiative.