“CHALLENGING THE STATUS QUO; THE PLACE OF THE YOUNG NIGERIAN PROFESSIONAL IN THE 21ST CENTURY”
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. Alvin Toffler
In today’s world, too much is changing for anyone to be complacent (Peters, 1987). The new paradigm thinking is to get people, management as well as the entire organization comfortable with change. Organizations must find ways of embracing the twenty-first century paradox of keeping everything running while at the same time changing everything (Huey, 1993). For organizations to thrive in today’s highly globalised, dynamic and competitive world, they must become learning organizations. That is, they must create the capacity for continuous change, learning and improvement.
The implication for the young Nigerian Business Professional therefore is that he must be open minded, have keen foresight and be adept at taking constructive advantage of the opportunity for change and be able to use these abilities to define a “Naija” Business Culture in harmony with the wider Business environment and times. Nigeria is currently experiencing a renewed sense of patriotism and a unique opportunity has been presented to us to re-define ourselves and our approach to development in the twenty-first century.
In my opinion it is a battle to be fought on two fronts. First, the young Nigerian Professional must fight dogma and be unafraid to “step out of the box” and explore (new?) indigenous approaches to business and development. One of the key strategies of the NEEDS policy is “Value Re-orientation” and in line with this, it is time for the young Nigerian Professional to innovate and re-create a uniquely Nigerian system of Business Practice that skillfully and successfully balances the achievement of set goals/objectives with the preservation of human dignity, setting standards of Best Practice for the world to follow rather than vice-versa. Perhaps the reason we have so slavishly followed in the footsteps of the West is that we have not critically considered the possibility that our own cultures contain the seeds of another way to approach revitalization and modernization. (Asante, 2004)
Second, the young Nigerian Professional must also express his “ENMITY FOR THE ORDINARY” by challenging daily, the (in my opinion) totally unacceptable current status quo that seeks to explain away incompetence and/or poor service delivery by the well worn cliché that goes “oh, I’m only human” or “that’s the Naija/African Factor”.
This challenge goes down to our very basest nature where we must critically begin to ask ourselves what we truly are, especially in the context of our African Heritage. Each individual must continuously inquire from their self if their current state of being is the best that they can truly be? If truly we are made in his image and likeness then we, by implication, share in his spiritual attributes of Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence and are therefore capable of expressing these attributes daily, in every sphere of human activity, from business to raising a family, albeit to a far lesser extent than the almighty.
I personally am uncomfortable with the comfortable and express this daily by striving for perfection in every aspect of my life. This is how our ancestors were able to build the great Kemetic civilisation! To do any less would be a crime against your spirit. I thank you.[email]firstname.lastname@example.org