On my way to work this morning, ruminating on the earthquake and the accompanying tsunami that ravaged Japan, I could not help but feel very sorry for that little Island of giant people. No other nation on earth is so accustomed to natural disasters as this nation that gave the world the word “tsunami”. They have become a recurring phenomenon that Japanese have come to go about their daily business and policy-making with natural disasters in their consciousness. There is even a national drilling for all citizens on how to act during natural disasters. Also, Japan is the only nation on earth to have suffered from the horror of Atomic bomb.
The Japanese are a people not blessed with natural resources but rather than mourn their fate, they have risen to be one of the best and most technological advanced in the world. Their morals are also very commendable; the average Japanese is trained to seek the good of his fellow mates. From their pioneering work in robotics to consumer electronics of all kind, Japan is synonymous to efficiency and innovation. Their entrepreneurial endeavours are just too marvellous.
I live in Ikorodu and my place of work is in Lagos Island. To those that are familiar with the road along this route, one thing readily comes to mind: heavy and prolonged traffic. Indeed, despite leaving home as early as 6a.m., I hardly reach Lagos Island until around 8:30am. However, as I take notice this early morning of my surroundings, I noticed a consistent pattern on the road: in my conservative estimates, more than eighty per cent of cars on our roads are Japanese made. From Toyota, Honda, Nissan to Mistubishi and Suzuki all in their endless variants, the Japanese have invested so much in making their produce so indispensable!
The Japanese influence on our national life does not end in automobiles. The largest power station to our credit, Egbin Thermal Station, was designed, constructed and still serviced in part by the Japanese. Most of our consumer electronics are made in Japan. Nor is their constructive influence limited to Nigeria. Many nations of the world have Japanese products as past and parcel of their daily life.
There is a saying that “where there is the will there will be a way”. The Japanese have proved this to be so true. Without natural resources and battered by natural disasters and also the horror of atomic bomb, Japan effectively shut the mouth of any other nation from making excuse for not developing. Is there a lesson Nigeria can learn from Japan? Certainly; we can learn a lot from them.
First we can learn from them the fact that a nation is not big by words of mouth. “We are the giant of Africa”. It is only through sheer national discipline and hard work can we rise from this abyss of confusion and backwardness. We can learn from them the virtue of rewarding those that labour faithfully for the good of all and not crooks that serve the interests of the ruling party and their own belly. We can learn from them the importance of encouraging innovation and productivity by providing basic public infrastructure and good and consistent government policy.
I am inspired by Japan. I envy them. I wish our leaders will get inspired (by whatever means but evil) to lead the way in Nigeria’s renaissance and re-birth. If the head don’t go forward, there is little the body can do.