“I failed: Do not attempt to make me feel good or better”

You are responsible for everything in your life!

L-R Ekwonu Francisca and Lengdung Tchung (Writer)

On 13th of February, 2019 which was World Radio Day, a fellow CSAAE member and I were delegated to represent CSAAE Unijos at Ice FM Radio station Unijos, to speak about the role of the radio in promoting dialogue, tolerance and peace, and how CSAAE is using the power of the radio as a tool to discourage the circulation of fake news especially with regards the 2019 Nigeria’s General elections.

Everything was going according to plan. I had browsed about the World Radio Day and I even jotted down my strong points for the radio show. I had ensured that my morning was free of all schedules for that day. On the D-day, I was the first person that showered in my house. While I was getting ready, a much respected member of my church dropped by my house to greet me. He asked if he could come in, but I didn’t let him in, so as not to disrupt my already planned out morning. Almost without delay, I told him I was heading out and couldn’t attend to him at that time, but we could up meet later. He was taken aback by my response, but he still took his leave.

My travails for the morning were far from over as there was a traffic congestion around Polo Roundabout (Polo is a popular horse racing facility in Jos, Nigeria), on my way to the studio. It was unusually congested, or maybe it was just my mind telling me this because I was already running late. I changed tricycles (Keke napeps) thrice, in an attempt to get to the studio faster, but all to no avail. I arrived the station about 20 minutes later than the show time.

I was miserable. I felt irresponsible. Although my colleague understood my situation and was not as hard as I thought she will be, I felt that I had deflowered a sacred trust. I had failed in performing a task. It was irresponsibility. Do not attempt to make me feel good or better, or attempt to blame the situations in Nigeria for this. It was my fault. I have lived in Nigeria for several years, and should have known that the traffic situation is always unpredictable. In fact, I should have set out for the studio earlier, just like my colleague did and got to the station before time.

As I reflect over what happened on Wednesday, I cannot help but see further that our culture accepts irresponsibility. We always have an excuse for not doing what we are supposed to do. We have been taught how to show pity on those who have failed in their responsibilities. This is the reason why we always excuse those students who have bad grades, explaining that it is the lecturers’ fault or that of the system, when we very well know that the students were not serious. We pride ourselves as people of blame. We blame our parents for our poverty, blame our uncles for not having beautiful clothes and blame Facebook for not studying for our exams. We have made it illegal to convict ourselves and face the fact that we are irresponsible whenever we fail to do what we are supposed to do. To make matters worse, our culture does not demand responsibility from us. Our leaders give tasks but do not demand that team members follow through and produce results. The government awards contracts and fail to inspect its execution.

We pride ourselves as people of blame. We blame our parents for our poverty, blame our uncles for not having beautiful clothes and blame Facebook for not studying for our exams.

A strong, vibrant nation cannot be built on a culture of irresponsibility. We must be responsible citizens and demand responsibility from our circles. It is for this very reason that I felt miserable.

In CSAAE, one of our core values is Accountability- the obligation to account for one’s activities, accept responsibilities for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. We are taught as Emerging leaders to always be accountable and responsible. Individuals need to learn to be accountable at all times. For instance, If you are assigned a duty and you will not be able to fulfil it, ensure to make it clear that you won’t be able to, rather than wait to give excuses for not carrying out the assigned duty.

If this lateness incident had happened in any other organization, I probably would have consoled myself that I did the best I could, and perhaps I would have been praised for my little efforts. However in this case, it’s CSAAE-an organisation that teaches us how to be responsible for our actions and doesn’t accept excuses for non-performance of assigned duties. This helps in making us better individuals and leaders when we occupy top public positions.

Be responsible, take charge of your situations and be a great person just like Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility”.

Written by:
ENL Lengdung Tungchamma