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The the new generation Nigeria must be a top-down community of competence and conscious engagement. There are key questions to answer along this trail and I believe that the World Bank can do a whole lot more to help Nigeria wake up fully to the opportunities and leadership challenges of the 21st century. Here is how I see this: Who owns this land? With the recent elections, it does appear that what Nigerians are beginning to acknowledge, albeit in that peculiarly accepting and “We that God! It could have been worse” Nigerian way, is that there is psychological famine in the land. Nigerians are starving for a nation of light, a nation of “noble cause” that is decidedly shooting for “great and lofty heights.” So what message did Nigerians hint, first to President Jonathan and then to all the politicians out there? What do the recent election results say in essence? Here are some thoughts. To President Jonathan, it sounds like a huge vote of confidence, an astonishing privilege: “If you, Mr. President, are re-emerging with A Legacy of Greatness in mind, here is our mandate for you to heal our land from spiraling ineffectiveness and lead us to greatness. You have all of our trust now, and we ask that you give us all your light this time!” Perhaps Nigerians have finally started to wake up to the fact that Nigeria is theirs and that from now on, they must participate actively in the redemption of their country from the “mental logjam” of both strategic and tactical ineffectiveness. Remember “Arise O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey?” Is that not a call to aim higher as a nation, a charge to put the country and its citizens way up above narrow interests and personalities, even the mighty and the seemingly powerful? What do the recent elections hint to politicians and political parties in Nigeria? “You can be big or you can be small! You can politic and party all you want! You can balkanize and zone positions until you fully enthrone mediocrity and make complete nonsense of the idea of national brand enhancement and integration! You can recycle dead weights all you choose to! And you can plan to slice and dice the “national or state cake” and do your horse-trading all the way! But here is our message.” “We (150 million of us) are gradually beginning to “arise” to the call for active citizenship. If you are clueless on what it takes to lead in this 21st century, you will do well to go fishing rather than seek or remain in public office! If you don’t put your conscience to the task, field competent and credible candidates and prepare to deliver respectable return on the investment we have made in giving you the privilege to serve, you are toast! You don’t get to take our votes and dreams for granted anymore. We will now only root for the welfare of our children and the greatness of our nation - no more votes for bags of rice, not for tribes and tongues, not for religious intolerance, and not for big egos!” A time to run? Is the era of an Engaged Citizenry in Nigeria now under way then? If yes, what must follow quickly is for every Nigerian politician to take note, take a radically revamped oath to really “serve with heart and might” and begin the heavy lifting that will be required from every duty post. Thankfully, President Jonathan now has all of his own four years to complement this momentous up-scaling of citizen expectation with a conscious leadership regime in which the delivery of solid results must become the Acid Test for Legitimacy in every office, big or small. This time, let national leadership upscale to exercising the Proprietary Courage and the Creative Clarity to expressly ask senior office holders for Time-Framed and Measurable Results in public office. Give people set goals and targets as they take up offices, and see who still wants to be, minister, commissioner, DG, or whatever. “When result-driven leaders ask their lieutenants for results, they can quickly tell who has something to offer the nation and its people and who just wants to tag along for the ride, of course at the people’s expense!” What are we saying then? That this is Goodluck Season in Nigeria, and we must not fail this time! This season begs to be stretched and up-graded to become the Good Luck Days of all-round Concrete Return on Leadership Investment. Boy! What a thrill! Isn’t this exciting? Now, let me take you into the thrust of Let There Be Light so you get a glimpse of why this book sees this as a new day for Nigeria. The charge goes like this. “Run Nigeria! Run! Run! Run!” Why run? You ask. Why not? The book returns. Every other serious nation is running! Here is how this is unfolding globally. Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it would starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running. To run, it turns out, is one thing Nigeria must begin to do now in order to stop both the renegades (within and outside) from either eating our lunch or possibly even eating us for lunch. The world is running on all fronts – employment, technology, education, health care, infrastructure, leadership, rule of law, safety, ease of doing business, you name it. Sadly, in too many cases, the fast upgrading world has left Nigeria far behind. Give this some thought and decide if you see any semblance of running for miles in our approach to the welfare of citizens or any aspect of our national affairs. Merely think about it! Just in case you have not checked out Let There Be Light on Facebook, please click the link below. Thanks http://www.facebook.com/pages/Let-There-Be-Light/109131835834930?sk=wall This dialogue on beaming more light into the Nigerian public arena is certainly something the World Bank can help us accelerate. The case for light on Facebook continues next week….