Every day, we are buffeted by the stark reality of our economic paralysis. Our Country is endowed with some of the world’s most precious resources yet we endure some of the toughest living conditions. Our citizenry is a blend of the wealthiest people on the continent as well as the poorest people on the planet—a shocking mix of princes and paupers.  Whilst a few of us can afford the luxuries of life, most of us barely get by and would even consider a meal of burger and chips a rare delicacy. It is a paradox that in recent times, we have recorded a higher GDP with each New Year, yet we have also recorded a higher cost of living as well as a lower standard of living. Think about the 50 million able-bodied people who have no jobs and have to hustle just to keep body and soul together.  Some of them live on your street and “hang around” all day, trying their hands on various ventures hoping that something will “click”.  Many of such people may be called “glorified beggars” as they would do almost anything to eke a living. What about the 70 million people who go to bed every night with nothing to swallow…except their pride? The facts and figures stare us in the face.  Poverty is ravaging our nation at an alarming rate.  As our economic situation worsens, people are becoming more desperate.  You don’t need to be a prophet to know thatit’s either we change or perish. I choose to say “it’s time for change”. I do not intend to analyze the ugly situation we have in our hands.  Most Nigerians I know are gifted at analyzing our economic doldrums.  The reason I’m writing this is to proffer simple solutions to the complex problem that we have created over the last five decades. I have a few recommendations…and it’s my prayer that you will make good use of the points I’m sharing here, regardless of your political inclination, social class, financial status, religious persuasion or tribe. These are the three keys to Nigeria’s economic transformation: “Integrity” is from the word, “Integer’ which means “whole number”. Key Number One: Integrity Integrity is the state of being a single whole. A person of integrity says what he means and means what he says. You might be shocked to realize that a nation with people who lack integrity is like a building with a weak foundation.  Any economy built on lies, selfishness, and an unbridled appetite for wealth is bound to collapse. According to a World Bank report, 80 percent of Nigeria’s oil and gas revenue benefits only 1% of the Nigerian populace because of corruption.  Now, that’s appalling.  Our God-given resources are siphoned into the pockets of a few people who pledge to serve the Nation yet turn around to serve themselves.  Our nation is bedeviled by a host of dishonest and deceitful men and women. Our biggest need is a generation of people whose deeds are in congruence with their creeds. It’s important for us to note that this is not just about political officers and government functionaries.  This is about every one of us. Nigerian leaders are first Nigerians before they are leaders.  More often than not, our leaders are a reflection of our citizenry.  I have heard people say that they will embezzle if they get elected into public office.  The same people lambast the current leaders we have. Many of us point accusing fingers at corrupt leaders but it’s time for us to look inwards and make the necessary adjustments in our own lives. If you are a pastor, don’t steal church money. If you are a policeman, stop exploiting motorists. If you are a customs officer, don’t take bribes. If you are an accountant, don’t doctor financial records. If you are a businessman, don’t cheat your customers and clients. We can’t fix Nigeria without first fixing Nigerians. Let’s start with you.  Work on yourself but more importantly, ask God to work on you. Let’s get it right individually then it would be easier to progress corporately. Trying to fix the economy without embracing integrity is like trying to fill a basket with water. Kindly share this link on facebook, twitter and any other media you have access to.  It will touch and transform thousands and perhaps millions of lives. I’d also like to read your comments. P.S. Watch out for the other Two Keys.   Damilola Oluwatoyinbo is a highly sought-after Speaker, Author, Trainer and Spiritual Shepherd. He has been seen by over 5 million people via various media channels. He empowers people from different walks of life through live presentations as well as the print and electronic media. His blog www.damioluwatoyinbo.com currently attracts thousands of readers from over sixty countries.

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This article was first published on 5th October 2011 and updated on June 30th, 2012 at 6:43 am

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