This piece attempts to provide a reliable guide on how to develop a good character as a Nigerian and even for the Nigerian society through the recommendation of several books and their associated messages in excerpts.
How To Be A Nigerian – Peter Enahoro
It is very important that people should be told how to be a Nigerian. Apart from the fact that Nigerians themselves will be most interested, every fifth African in this continent is a Nigerian. We are talking about therefore of about a quarter of the people of this continent. Too many writers are trying to solve Africa’s political and economic problems without looking at the people with whom they are dealing with. Others, with less concern for the immediate problems, worry their heads sore about the “tragic impact of European influence”. We are bedevilled by over-anxious curators of culture who lament the fact that Africa is no longer the primitive continent they dreamed it to be.
I offer this book as a tourist guide to those Nigerians who wish to break with tradition and visit their own country.
The search for the Nigerian is in progress.
Character Matters – Mark Rutland
Character matters, and virtue is the strength of character. Every society anchors its ideals in its virtues. If those virtues are good, it is ennobled. When those virtues are absent or perverted, there will be a downward spiral in the values, actions and character of its people. The real danger is not the absence of virtue. There is no historical evidence of an utterly virtueless society. The great danger is not the lack of any virtue. It is wrong virtues! As a society defines its virtues, it in turn is defined by those virtues. Twisted culture means twisted culture. The most basic values held by a society dictate the kind of leaders it will produce.
It is time to demand virtue of ourselves, our courts, our government and our society. It is time, but is not too late. Character can still be taught, modeled and cultivated. New ways of understanding and teaching character must be explored and used in schools, businesses and places of worship.
What can you do to restore character in your neighborhood, community or country?
Courage is the first and greatest element of character. Merely knowing what is chaste or honest or true is not enough. It takes courage to act on virtue. Courage is also the catalytic agent that summons every other virtue into action in the face of temptation or crisis.
Courage is not feeling of fearlessness. It is rather that willingness of mind necessary to act out of conviction rather than a feeling.
Courage, true courage, is about valiant goodness.
Loyalty is the very fabric of community. Devoid of basic trust in some kind of mutuality of commitment, relationships cannot prosper.
A man does not simply act disloyally in some particular arena of his life, unrelated to the rest. A man is either loyal or he is not.
Loyalty is the willingness, because of relational commitment, to deflect praise, admiration and success onto another. This loyalty may well be at great personal expense, but it will edify and bless its object.
The redemptive grace of loyalty is so powerful it can literally infuse any situation with healing and miraculous blessings. Any force that powerful, however, cannot be violated without dire consequences. There are few virtues in the kingdom more honored by God than loyalty. Absalom’s doom was sealed by his disloyalty to David, but David loyalty to an unworthy Saul confirmed his destiny for the throne.
Diligence means constancy. Diligence is instant. Diligence is exactitude. Diligence is observant care.
Temporary obedience is disobedience. Partial obedience is disobedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Careless obedience is disobedience. Character does it promptly. Character does it exactly as told. Character finishes it.
To be diligent also means to use care. Diligence is also important in relationships. The diligent who learn to be observant of others seldom have to apologize later for being thoughtless.
Diligence also means to be on guard, careful, watching over the situation as if it were your own. It means to limit disruptions and distractions.
Diligence is the responsible, orderly, steady application of God’s power within me toward whatever responsibility is mine. Diligence makes all of life a labor of love, all the way to the finish line.
Modesty actually has far more to do with self-respect and self-control than with how revealing one’s garments are. Style of dress is an application of modesty, not a definition.
Modesty springs from a tempered and humble estimation of one’s own importance. Modesty is not mindless subjection to authoritarianism. It is rather the conviction that there are correct limits on life. In addition, the modest learns to set their own limits.
Modesty is the quiet, dignified celebration of the sacredness of one’s privacy with God.
A society is defined by what it wastes as well as by what it wants.
Frugality springs from a balanced view of things. Frugality is not the opposite of generosity. It is rather the opposite of reckless wastefulness. Frugality, like modesty, has to do with controlled living. The great point of frugality concerns the purpose of things.
Is the added comfort worth the added cost of first class? That misses the point. It may be more frugal to travel first class under certain circumstances. The issue is not money but attitude.
Money is for exchange. Money is never to be used for the purchase of status. Neither is it to be used for the demonstration of power.
If greatly used, prosperity can do much good. Hoarded or squandered, it corrupts character and destroys families.
Honesty is the virtue of wealth and words. Honesty in communication is telling the truth. (“Thou shalt not bear false witness.”) Honesty in possessions is right action with regards to things. (“Thou shalt not steal.”)
Truth is sacred because departure from truth is departure from God.
There is a line between shrewd business and dishonesty. It is better to miss out on the deal than to make it by the slightest deception. It is better to make a minor profit with honesty than a major one without it.
Gambling has become a controversial issue in the modern church. Historically, much of the church has emphatically opposed gambling, but there is no specific Bible verse that says, “Thou shalt not gamble.” The counsel of God taken as a whole clearly teaches that I have no right to another’s goods without offering something of value in return. Gambling not only endangers the resources of God entrusted into my hands, but also I exploit the passion and lust for chance in the life of another in order to take his goods with nothing in return. When a state or nation begins to operate gambling games, it breeds characterlessness and immorality into the lives of its citizenry.
The end never justifies the means.
The greatness of the powerful is made manifest in restraint. Meekness is the virtue of the victor, not the vanquished. Meekness is the supreme virtue of leadership without which power becomes tyranny. Meekness is power under control. Meekness is not even possible until power is at risk. When a culture distorts meekness to become weakness, its leaders grow increasingly ruthless.
We dare not turn a blind eye to injustices and become complacent, but justice and vengeance are not the same. God has ordained that on this earth civil government bears the sword for the purpose of rendering justice (Romans 13:1-4). God can use the armies of the earth to punish the wicked, but the spirit of meekness will leave judgement to God. Vengeance and wrath are not emotions that humans are capable of handling. The reason God says, “Vengeance is Mine,” is not because vengeance is wrong. Vengeance is right. It must come, but it must never be in the wrong hands. We are insufficient to the task. Vengeance in our hands will destroy us. We are not God, and vengeance, is a godly thing.
Any man’s true character is known not so much by what he learns or earns or owns, but by what he reverences. Likewise, entire civilizations are shaped by what they revere. As worth is assigned to things, person and institutions, a society carves out its character.
If virtue is reverenced, virtue increases. If virtueless success or characterless talent is admired above all, character erodes.
Admiration of particular individuals is one aspect of reverence. It is not wrong to admire certain qualities, abilities or achievements of individuals. We must, however, be vigilant against admiring wicked men.
We must get right perspective to discern that which is worthy from that which is unworthy. We must see beyond popularity, past screaming crowds, more than mere wealth. Remember, he who honors the dishonorable and he who esteems the righteous too lowly are both an abomination to God.
Humility and gratitude are the enabling catalysts of a true spirit of reverence.
Gratitude is not only among the very highest virtues; it is synonymous with the deepest, most profound elements of scriptural holiness. Gratitude is of that spiritual universe that includes humility, contentment and praise. Gratitude is diametrically opposed to pride.
Character – true character, the life of virtue and strength – is a joyful, triumphant celebration of God’s grace.
*This article was first written and compiled by Toju Micheal Ogbe on the 2nd of October, 2019 and was last modified by Toju Micheal Ogbe on the 2nd of October, 2019.