My dear readers, I have figured it out! I have finally figured out why our country is in such a mess. Before I disclose this new found secret, I‘d like to ask, how many of you have come home from work only to find your home in disarray? Things here and there, dirty plates in the kitchen, your children running amok in dirty clothes, everything upside down. Do you remember how you felt then? Was it a feeling of annoyance, irritation, frustration, anger? (all which leads to high blood pressure of course).Now, compare that feeling to when you came home and your house was clean, all the plates washed and dried in the kitchen, your children looking clean and smart, like little angels, everything in its place. How did you feel then? I am sure you felt happy or satisfied or even grateful. It felt good to be home, right?
Now, all you have to do is imagine that Nigeria is this home you have to see every single day. The roads are full of pot holes, over flowing gutters everywhere, mountains of rubbish by the road sides (Aba, take note), the unbearable noise from the generators…even I am already frustrated just writing all this. You see, my dear people, many problems we are facing today would be solved if only we could keep this country clean. I know many people would think that this is not important at all, but once again, I ask, have you ever been able to cook food in a dirty pot?
There is nothing that can be done properly in a messy environment and that is what Nigeria is, very messy indeed. How do we even think we can sort out the issue of corruption when we cannot tackle a simple matter (which should be common sense, by the way) like environmental sanitation? The reason Nigeria is in the mess it is in, is because we think we can solve the big issues without sorting first, the obvious ones. It is obvious that this country is dirty and it is obvious that we all need to do our part in cleaning up this mess we are all in. Lets us start with the little things and this leads me to the challenge I have for my dear readers this week.
1.Always carry a small “nylon” or “paper bag” in your bag (for the men, you can have it in your briefcase, for those that do not have either; I guess you’ll just have to carry it like that). Put all remnants of your snacks in it instead of throwing out the window. Banana peels, orange peels, pure water sachets, mango seeds, gala wrappings, i.e., anything that is considered as refuse. Throw this bag in the nearest refuse bin at home or at your office. Please do not leave it by the roadsides.
2.Implore your employers to make sure that all offices have refuse bins. Even the rubber ones will do.
3.Talk to your neighbors about your environment. What can you all do collectively to make your street cleaner? I am sure there are many people that would willingly contribute something, in cash or kind to have a cleaner street.
4.For those that have children, encourage them to use the refuse bin at home and perhaps even get them to pick up papers when they see them in public places.
5.When you see someone else polluting the environment, make sure you bring his /her attention to it.
Are these small things too much for us to do? Before we begin to reach for the big goals, perhaps we can all start with the small things that we, as citizens ought to do. Nigeria is our home, let’s keep it clean.