Hi, everyone. I hope y’all had a great holiday; time to relax, refresh and reconnect with loved ones. I had quite a full one myself.
In the course of the holiday, I was able to visit both my paternal and maternal homes. It was beautiful reconnecting with some family members I had not seen in a while.
On the trip to our maternal home, my aunt (my mum’s last sister) kept going on and about how much grander their village is in comparison with our paternal home, which we were traveling from. My mum joined in. When it seemed as though she was trying too hard to convince us, she concluded with what shuts any Thomas, “seeing is believing.”
It was not our first time visiting. We visited about five years ago. I do not recall visiting earlier than that.
You see, my mum comes from a large home. Her father had two wives and 16 children. Of the 16, about 11 are based abroad, mostly in the United States of America. As such, most of the family can be said to be doing well.
Having recently graduated from medical school with a promising future, and in the face of the dwindling health system (and every other system) of the Nigerian state, talks of relocating me to the United States of America after youth service majored in conversations.
In the current state of the nation, anyone singing the song of patriotism or not talking about leaving the country would be considered a madman or woman, as the case may be. Especially when the table is almost set for you.
I came across a tweet and could not agree more.
“It’s a valid choice to leave this country and go somewhere to flourish. It’s also a valid choice to stay and build. Just ensure that your choice aligns with your purpose. You won’t find satisfaction anywhere if it doesn’t.” – @supersanusi.
You see, I found purpose or a sense of it some years back. So far as is clear to me, my purpose is tied to Nigeria. One of my major prayer points this year is clarity of purpose; what to do and how to go about it.
I am not yet sure how God deems it best for me to fulfill mine. This I hope to unravel this year, by God’s grace.
I attended the annual Global Leadership Summit organized by the Willow Creek Association last year, in keeping with one of my personal goals of becoming a better leader.
In the session pioneered by Bryan Stevenson Leading Through The Uncomfortable, I learned some things about leadership which I could apply to leading in Nigeria.
He categorized his talk in four sub-headings:
1. Get proximate
“Leadership requires that we do not run away from the problems, however painful and difficult, but we get close to them.”
2. Change the narratives that birth the problem.
“We have to understand the narratives that sustain these problems.”
3. Stay hopeful.
“Hopelessness is the enemy of effective leadership. You are either hopeful or part of the problem.”
4. We’ve got to be willing to do uncomfortable things.
“Effective leadership only happens when leaders decide to do uncomfortable things.”
Prior to this time, the plan had always been simple: Graduate. Go to a place with a better system. Learn. Come back and effect change.
After listening to him, I began reevaluating my plan. I had, however, before this time, told myself that I would leave Nigeria if I had genuine reasons to do so, and not merely because everyone thinks that is the figurative “Noah’s ark” to get on.
As I write this, I fondly remember an uncle who is also a medical doctor and had to go to the United States of America for a heart surgery and refused to come back afterward. He stayed back, is currently practicing there and has had his entire family relocate to be with him.
I also hear you telling me matter-of-factly that if I go over, like my uncle, for a year, a month or even a day, my language will change.
Again, it boils down to purpose. Why we do what we do. I hope each of us finds our purpose. I hope we lead our purpose. Much more, I hope we give ourselves the liberty to live out our purpose without fear or favour.