Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Random Thoughts: On Indiscipline in Nigeria

If indiscipline were human, it would probably be Nigerian. It lives here already.

You see it when bus drivers park indiscriminately on the right lane to pick and discharge passengers, slowing traffic to a crawl as all other drivers are forced to make do with one lane.

You see it when people glance down long queues at banks, airports, or even places of worship - then head straight to the front.

You see it when citizens make unsafe highway crossings right under pedestrian bridges, endangering their entire lives to save a few minutes.

You see it when people openly demand bribes, gifts, and 'settlement' before they do the jobs they are already paid to do.

You see it everywhere, if you look well enough.


Slowly but surely, indiscipline has become the norm here. People are applauded as 'smart' for gaming the system; those who comply with rules are derided as 'dumb'. It is worrisome, and I don't think we should continue like this. There is a lot more we could achieve as a nation, and our overall quality of life would definitely be better for it, if we would be more disciplined.

Seeing as we lack the power to wave a magic wand and change everyone at once, what can you and I do?

First - we can role-model disciplined behaviour. Use pedestrian bridges. Join queues. Do your job without requesting kickbacks. Treat other citizens respectfully. Drive responsibly. Be disciplined! Show people that things can be done without breaking the law.

Bottoms-up change in a society like ours where indiscipline is strongly entrenched is going to be very slow and exceedingly difficult, but it can be done. Of course, things will move along much faster with a few targeted top-down initiatives (like a modernized War Against Indiscipline and an impartial war on corruption).

Two - speak up for disciplined behaviour, and against indisciplined behaviour. Recognize and compliment people who respect the rules and conduct themselves in an orderly manner. Speak up when people don't. You don't have to be aggressive. Gauge the situation, and speak up calmly and respectfully. If you sense you might be in any danger, then just let it slide.

We can make a better nation, together.


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