‘If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way’ – Napoleon Hill
Life, I have come to realize is not in what we do actually, but in how we do it. This is evident in our individual lives and the lives of our leaders and those in authority. You might, for instance, choose to assist someone in need with something but if you do it in a way that the person feels degraded and would rather die than accept that help next time, then you haven’t achieved much. If a student enrolls for a course in the university and at the end of the day flops out with a worthless result, how’s that for an achievement? If a president rules for two years and is able to transform the lives of his or her people greatly, that counts more than the one that stays indefinitely without contributing much to the welfare of the masses. In such scenario, the late Nelson Mandela becomes our beacon.
The recent passing on of the great and courageous Dora Akunyili reminded me again that in life it is not how long but how well, that success is not measured by what we have but what we give. According to Bob Marley,
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”
Adorable Dora, for those who do not know her, was the former no-nonsense Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). It was during that time that Nigeria witnessed an Amazon at war. She fought gallantly and relentlessly with everything she had to eliminate the importation, manufacture and distribution of sub standard drugs and other edibles in Nigeria. Never in the history of Nigeria has such a war been waged by a woman against her own people for that industry is fraught with merchants of Igbo extraction. These men and women that were killing their brothers and sisters in thousands with fake drugs did not just fold their hands to watch Madam NAFDAC destroy their business, NO. They fought her with their all too to the extent of shooting at her openly, giving her fire for fire. Mind you, these drug cartels are very large and powerful, operating in different parts of the country, manned by the high and mighty that had the means and the connection to do and undo. What never ceases to amaze me till this day is that she did not throw in the towel, she did not cower in the face of the inferno raging around and against her as a result of her battle, she fought on, undeterred! The whole world recognized her contribution to humanity as is evident in the number of awards she collected the way some people collect art works.Someone commented that she rode where men trembled. Now, who can forget this woman who has left her footprints in the sands of time? A Buddha saying has it that ‘Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds’. Now that she has gone, we still enjoy the benefits of that fight, years after she fought and won it.
Let us pause and ponder what would have happened had Madam Akunyili carried out her business the typical Nigerian way, accepting huge sums of money to look the other way or even conniving with the culprits to perpetuate their atrocities as many of us are wont to do. What will the drug and food market look like by now? It is however painful and ironical, that no drug, no hospital, no food was able to save her fruitful life from the cold hands of cancer.
For us who still have the opportunity to make an impact, let us rise to the challenge and do something worthwhile. It does not matter how little our actions are for as we usually say, if you think you are too small to make an impact, look at the mosquito. We can do something positive in a great way from our little corner of the world. That is exactly what Nigeria needs at this period of her journey. Cameron Crowe observed that ‘Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around’. There are many people around us who need our time, our smile, our talent, our shoulder to lean on, our treasure and whatever we can offer. It is in giving that we are found worthy to receive. Go save a life, cause someone to smile, make the world a better place for all of us.
Reminisce on this Indian proverb;
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice”