Nigerians are widely known to be a very opinionated people. We have strong opinions and are generally not shy to express our feelings. As a result in some cases, especially to people who don’t come from our culture, we Nigerians often come across as lousy brats.
Even though I have seen enough in my life time to admit that I would rather be a lousy brat than a timid cat. However, a lesson in temperance would be of immense benefit to our overall image as Nigerians.
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness 2Peter1:6
Please, don’t get me wrong I admire our temperament and passion as Nigerians, but to become the best human beings we could be, it would benefit us to at times ask ourselves the question, COULD I BE WRONG?
A major problem that I have encountered with an average European is that of timidity, shyness, hesitancy, insecurity, indecisiveness etc. Luckily for us Nigerians, these things are largely foreign to us. We tend to possess the opposite attributes. We as a people seem to be mostly confident, forceful, bold, dominant, domineering etc.
As much as there are positives and negatives in both categories of character traits, wisdom tells us that we must examine ourselves to see where our weaknesses are so as to mend, adjust, reconstruct, recondition our character for our utmost productivity.
One significant area where we Nigerians must work on our attitude is in our assumptions and responses. A typical Nigerian will averagely assume that he is right. We don’t concern ourselves too much with finding out the facts most of the time. We rely mostly on our emotional convictions. Facts, statistics, details and standards don’t often bother us too much. And if anybody tries to dispute or oppose our views, we cement our opinion with an avalanche of emotions, zeal, passion, all of which we have in abundance.
Dear readers, if you are from Nigeria, you probably have seen a scene when two taxi drivers in the traffic come out of their cars and begin to prove their points with the help of their fists instead of their reasoning. I have even seen a situation when a driver stopped his car in the middle of the road to go slap the police who was directing the traffic because that one stopped him illegally in his opinion. As funny as it may sound, it is very pathetic especially considering the fact that the driver that slapped the Policeman is a Bishop of a famous church in Nigeria.
I guess this Bishop is not familiar with the words of Robert Green that says “tolerance is given to every other human being, every right that you claim for yourself”
Oh, what a world of difference it would make if we could only pause to ask ourselves the question, COULD I BE WRONG? The benefits of this question is enormous:
- It gives you a space to have a second thought
- It allows you to look for more arguments
- It gives you time to separate between your emotions and facts
- It gives you an avenue to give your opponent a benefit of the doubt.
- It allows you to see your imperfections and fallibility
- It saves you from assertiveness and presumptions
- It delivers you from illusions and self-deceptions
- It motivates you to research
- It allows you to hear the opponent’s opinions and views.
- It allows you to take note of your blind spots( those things you are not seeing)
If I had been a person of a rather feeble mind, I could have been swayed by the very overly assertive comments from my so called followers. These people were very bold and direct in their assumptions that my position in regards to the Nigerian Presidential election was wrong. Each time I read such assertive, audacious, bumptious comments such as: “Pastor Sunday, stop this thing you’re doing”, “ Who paid you to say all these things?” , “ This Pastor has lost his mind” , “ you are not a pastor” , “This man cannot be a man of God” , “You don’t know what you’re saying”, “Shut up your mouth” , “Political Pastor” , “You’re not living in Nigeria, you don’t know anything about this country” , “ You are a tribalist” etc. I am left wondering why this people for a minute won’t consider that they could be wrong.
However, being a Nigerian myself and someone who has been through no small battles, I could understand where they are coming from. Nevertheless, I still want to help my compatriots become better human beings by opening our eyes to what we could improve in our attitudes and temperaments.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” Gal. 5:22-23.
If we Nigerians, would ask ourselves more, the question, COULD I BE WRONG? That could lead us into looking for more facts. The only basis for response and actions should be truth or facts. Not emotions, not assertions, neither assumptions are enough reasons for any decision.
No matter the feelings or opinions we might have about anything whatsoever, it would do us good to always give others and ourselves the benefit of the doubt. This is one quality that is not too popular with us Nigerians. We do not give ourselves nor others a benefit of the doubt.
The most easily recognizable scenario of our National Assembly to an average Nigerian will be when the honorable members of the house were busy exchanging blows and throwing objects at each other. Why does this kind of thing happen? A Grand National disgrace on global television. It is normally because everybody assumes his or her judgment is right, as opposed to that of their opponent. If our honorable members of national assembly could have asked themselves that same question, COULD I BE WRONG? There would have been more serenity in our political life. To be continued
Sunday Adelaja is a Nigeria born leader, transformation strategist, pastor and innovator. He was based in Kiev, Ukraine.
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