Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who is Nigeria's Savior? We All Are!

Theme: Teamwork
[Naija Mondays Series]

Who is Nigeria’s Savior? We All Are!

When I think of ‘Teamwork’, I think of my intramural soccer team in college, the N4C group, my work group, my support system, and many more basic life dimensions. Basically, almost everything we do relies on some level of teamwork. Tiger Woods plays a so-called individual game, but he has a team in his caddy, his trainers, and his coach. In some sense, even a combination of Tiger and his competitors form a team because that is where we get our entertainment from. I am not sure I want to watch only Tiger Woods swing a golf club for an entire weekend, but add some rivalry, and a bunch of other characters, and you now have an audience. Even the human body functions as a team of parts.

Some people are very impressed with the job Governor Fashola’s administration is doing in Lagos, Nigeria. I hear some people say they are “impressed with the job Fashola is doing.” While this is not a false statement, Fashola cannot get anything accomplished alone! In fact, his most difficult task is to surround himself with people that share his vision and are competent enough to hit their goals.

I joined a team of individuals that started a Foundation to empower indigent youth through education. The group is called Merry Hearts Foundation. I have come to appreciate the importance of teamwork and the need for trust because no one individual can do it all. When a team sets forth to achieve a worthy goal, the results are a joy to watch. While I could probably have helped a few students if I embarked on the journey alone, collectively we have helped over 50 students and orphans, and provided infrastructure worth about $10,000 within 2 years.

When I read through the N4C blogs, I realize that each writer brings a unique style that sort of defines their writing. By combining the different styles, we leverage each other’s strengths and appeal to a broader audience. The N4C group is a lot more than our blog! So even as we strive to accomplish greater things for Nigeria, we will need to leverage the strengths of people other than the group administrators. We need to tap into the ideas, experiences, intellect, courage, network, and personalities of the greater Nigerian community – especially N4C members.

But it is very important to note that the idea of creating a team is a subset of the bigger picture when discussing ‘Teamwork’. More important is the ability to create a functional team that draws on individual strengths to elevate the performance of the team as an entity. In fact, my favorite teams are ones that bring together diversity of ideas, thought, background, experience, skills, approach, and ideologies. Diversity brings forth more holistic results when the diverse team members contribute to the end product because there is less likelihood of pigeon-holing team ideas and actions to restrictive paths. Obviously, this depends on the team dynamics.

This brings me to another important point: selflessness of team members for the greater good. Assume I were elected leader of ‘N’ state and you were elected leader of neighboring ‘M’ state. If your state is prospering and mine is floundering, it is probably easier for you than any other state to provide some level of support because we are part of a neighboring team of states that form a country. Unfortunately, many people will rather beat the other party (or state) down to selfishly benefit their party. The problem arises when you do nothing and my state’s economic turmoil starts affecting the national economy. Imagine bitter, jobless people from my state crossing over into your state and partaking of criminal activities to sustain their families. While no one justifies such, you will probably spend more resources trying to secure your citizens when you could have shown a worthy gesture by providing support. Selflessness also means that the individuals that make up the team do away with their egos/personal agendas and welcome strategies that benefit the team.

When I think of Nigeria, I think of a team of capable and courageous individuals that will stand together to fight the tides of failure, beat down the culture of corruption, and raise the hopes of a nation. Nigeria’s success is not a ‘1-man’ job so do not wait for a savior – it requires a collection of productive individual efforts. I envision a leadership team that is void of ethnic prejudice and embraces a balance that protects the interests of the nation as a whole. I pray for a government that includes people from every corner of Nigeria. How can you design a car for pregnant women without women (preferably women drivers that have been through pregnancy) having an input in the design? How can we resolve the issues of the Niger Delta if we don’t have people in leadership who share the vision of finding a resolution? Imagine going into the Nigerian government and trying to curb corruption all by yourself – it is impossible! You need a team of individuals that share your vision and are up to the task.

We urge you to be ‘functioning’ team members of Nigerians4Change (N4C). We will be rolling out some projects in the near future and your uniqueness is all we seek! Small team member contributions add up to great team successes. We welcome your participation, ideas, and action as we trudge forward as a TEAM of Nigerians (or otherwise) thirsty for groundbreaking successes for the great nation of Nigeria!!!

Humbly written by Tomiwa Igun


Anonymous said...

Yup.. True team work is synergestic - the final progress delivered is inn excess of what would have been delivered if each team member worked independently.. Keep writing and encouraging us, some day we will pass the critical mass that is required to make a difference...

Jaycee said...

Teamwork is essential to productivity. Takes me back to those days in secondary school when I first learned about "Division of Labor."

Sometimes because we think we are strong-willed, we tend to ignore the possibility that there is a gift in others that will enable us to bring out the gifts that are inside us.

This article is nothing short of brilliant, and I do hope that N4C will propose wonderful projects that will benefit the Nigerian community as a whole. Looking forward to it!