Nigeria's New Tribe: Young Nigerians who are making a positive impact in their societies. Individuals who are united by the possibilities of their talent, commitment to hard work and driven by achievement in impacting the economy, society and rewriting the Nigerian narrative.
One of the most common questions I get asked as a young change maker is who my biggest inspiration is. Any get asked that? "Who's your role model?", "Who inspires you the most?" While I think of very amazing and inspirational people in past and modern history, I come back to one answer over and over and over again. "Young people" . There has never been a better time to be young.
Access, resources, technology and the possibilities of our power to shift systems collectively is like no other time in history.
"united by the possibilities of our talent" - we live in a world where hashtags bring down governments and a twitter thread could be the reason another loses their power. We live in a time of limitless possibilities. Whatever you dream of, whatever change you so desire to achieve, you can absolutely do.
To be united by the possibilities of our talent is to see colour, religion, sexual orientation, tribe, and more and yet lean into hard but honest conversations, and collective action with courage, empathy and compassion.
You will not be able to create the change you desire alone.
Know this - individually, we're invisible, together, we're invincible.
"commitment to hard work" - the world has moved on from a place of quick fixes and band aids slapped on complex evolving social issues. We sniff out tokenism and applaud sustainable efforts driven by hard work and commitment to long term systemic change. I urge you today to look at the big picture, to stay committed to the painstaking journey of hard work and social change. Because guess what? You look more like the people who destroy good work than the people who you seek to rescue and empower. You know what else? Just because you have good intentions doesn't mean that the world will make it easy for you.
You will need to go out there with gusto and courage. You will need to prove yourself over and over again. Your integrity and value system will be the pillar on which your leadership and image will be judged on.
Today, like no other time, Nigeria's New Tribe is facing the challenge of rewriting the Nigerian narrative. So I ask you, what indeed is the true Nigerian narrative? Who are you individually and who are we collectively? Our identity is being threatened and the onus is on us to fix that. But how can we fix an identity we know nothing about? We must know our history
Our greatest power in modern times is our ability to learn, unlearn and relearn.
If you leave here with nothing today, leave here with this.
"Those who love peace must learn to organise as effectively as those who love war." - Martin Luther King
Today I charge you, in the midst of current blows to the new Nigerian narrative, to know that good intentions alone will not be enough, we must combine intention and action. Sincerity alone will not be enough, we must combine sincerity and strategy.
I'll close with this story. A wise man/young in his activism in the apartheid regime in South Africa once asked a friend and colleague in street mobilisation.
"What do you think is the best/highest and most noble thing you can do or give to a cause you deeply care about?"
Friend: the best you can give to a cause is to give your life.
Wise man: Wrong.
Friend: What is?
Wise man: It is to give the rest of your life to your cause. You're of no use to us dead.
With consistency and resilience, Dear Nigeria's New Tribe, we're in this for the long haul.