I attended a graduation ceremony for JSS3 and SS3 in a very large school run by a well known religious organization and left the place disappointed on the account of what the focus of the ceremony was.
Parents were invited to witness the occasion with many of the parents decided to invite some of their close family members to celebrate with them, the successes of their wards at that level of education.
Many of them, like me, were simply amazed and also disappointed at the end of the ceremony, which ordinarily ought to be about rewarding the hardworking students who have braced all odds to top their classes.
The bulk of the award given out at the ceremony was dedicated to the board chairman of the school, the top members of the board, the PTA chairman, and the outgoing prefects.
No award for those who excel in their academic performances, no reward for students who have done the school proud in external competitions or examinations, and not even any award for the best teacher during the session.
I left the place with the impression that the school failed to set its priorities right and that the head of the school was merely interested in securing his job by playing hard to curry the favour his boss through the award he gave out to them.
Such awards could still have been given to those board members and others who are connected with the management of the school without neglecting what should have been their priority, which is to reward hard-working students to promote healthy academic excellence.
This also got me thinking about how as a nation we failed to set our priorities right and as a result, we focus on the mundane and things that add little or no value to the fulfillment of the overall purpose of the nation.
We have seen people in government executing borehole projects for a community in the name of impacting their welfare, but ended up spending huge resources, often more than the amount spent to execute the project, to commission the project.
Going through the newspapers today, I noticed how some government officials placed full-page adverts to celebrate the birthday of a particular governor while a different set of officials were celebrating an award given to another state governor by an amorphous organization.
The huge resources committed to such mundane celebrations would have been deployed to better the lots of the people they governed and improve their social well-being. They would rather do eye service and struggle to curry the favour of the governors and position themselves for the next kill.
I wouldn’t have had any issue with the placement of the commemorating adverts if they have been paid for from the pocket of those officials, however, the display of the paraphernalia of their offices at the bottom of the strip adverts was an indication that the adverts were officially placed through their offices.
Money spent on public ceremonies in government circles is huge and could have added more value to improving the living standard of the people, but rather, we preferred to massage the egos of the leaders in a bid to curry favour or be in their good book.
However, the nation is losing huge resources to such unreasonable and ostentatious display in the name of commissioning projects, celebrating awards that are worth less than the cost of the plaque thereby elevating mediocrity to statecraft.
Since the country discovered oil in the later 1950 or so, Nigeria’s earnings have significantly improved and this ought to have translated to a more meaningful lifestyle for the people of the country.
Over the years, our so-called leaders have wasted the bulk of the resources generated from our oil exports and natural resources, cash crops and taxes on mundane projects and visionless activities that have left the nation in huge debt.
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Many people have gone to government with the sole aim of enriching themselves and not for the love of the country, today the resources of the country are in the hands of less than two per cent of the populace with the rest wallowing in abject poverty.
If our past leaders have deliberately set priority for our development as a nation, by now, the country would have been competing with some of the developed nations of the world.
Many Nigerians today are trooping to Dubai for holiday and to even live there because of the transformation of the once desert and less-than-organized states into the world’s biggest tourist destination.
Dubai is a product of vision and priority by its founding fathers that recognized the need to put things in place for the betterment of generations unborn. The leaders set goals and work hard toward achieving those goals without looking back.
They put the welfare of the people and future of the country into consideration in envisioning a livable environment that will benefit mankind while putting their personal interest at the bottom of the rung to achieve what the whole world is celebrating today.
I once visited the site of the millennium tower on Abuja in 2013 with the then minister of the federal capital territory and other members of the capital market, the vision for the project seems to be good ones. Unfortunately, many years down the line, billions of naira committed to the projects have not taken the project beyond the state it was nine years ago.
I’m sure more of the funding for the project has been diverted to private pockets, leaving the execution of the tower moribund. The then minister of FCT was touting the project as one of the programmes of the then government to transform the city into a tourist destination comparable to Dubai and other world-class environments.
But today, the FCT is gradually turning into another concrete jungle rather than what it was envisioned to be because of the neglect and compromise by leaders and people in government.
As setting priority is key to the success of an individual, it is important for nations, communities, organizations and groups to succeed in whatever goals and objectives they have set for themselves.
Setting priority allows people to focus more on their area of interest without distracting them from achieving the goals they have set for themselves. It enables them to ensure that all resources are channeled toward achieving the goals with the areas of priority while helping them to cut down on wastage in the process of achieving set goals.
A person without a set priority will spread him or herself thin in trying to achieve multiple goals with fewer resources and end up not achieving any of the goals. Setting priority will help you to allocate your resources more judiciously to ensure there is no wastage and diversion and help quicken the process of growth.
A student who prioritizes his or her goal will understand that the real reason he was in school is to study and get good grades and this will ensure that he focuses more on studying and those activities that would help him or her to achieve the set goals.
Families also could ensure that they set key priorities to ensure that they fast-track their growth into a formidable family, with key goals met earlier than expected. Setting priorities will help such families to focus more on those things that are important to achieving their goals and leave behind the distractions from other activities.
Nigeria as a nation has become a case study of people without priority, without goals and focus. The government is being run at the whims and caprices of the head of the government and his/her stooges today, and as a result, the entire country has been held back by poverty in the midst of plenty while only those few who are in government and their stooges are swimming in riches.
It’s time to change and rethink our position if truly we want to make progress as a nation and as individuals. It’s time we set our priority right and pursue those things that will add value to our life goals and do away with those things that will lead us to nowhere.