CAREFREE AFRICAN TIME [CAT]

Today is independence day, a very good day to evaluate where we are as a country and why we are where we are. And that is why I have decided to focus on one ‘small’ area of our lives where we are guilty in a big way.

Our poor sense of time is one of the greatest menaces in Nigeria. An event billed for 10am will happen by 1pm if the organizers are regular Nigerians, if they are semi-serious Nigerians, maybe 12noon, but if they are ‘very patriotic’ Nigerians with a modicum of the sense of time, the event will kick off by 11am. Rarely does an event kick off by the time advertised/made public by the organizers. There are cases when an event billed for 10am starts by 3 or 4 pm. Let’s not kid ourselves, Nigeria is in trouble.

Carefree African time [CAT] has become endemic, deeply entrenched into our national lives, so much so that our children pick it up from us, live it, and pass it on to their children.

IF you’ve ever wondered why African leaders seem not to understand timing, why they seem to miss their time and seize opportunities, look no further than CAT. I make bold to say that time is the only resource every single person on the face of the earth has in equal proportion. Dangote has 24 hrs, you & I have 24 hours.

It is only noble that you get to an event on or before the time scheduled, it shows integrity on the part of organizers when they keep to time, when they kick off their event on the dot of time and it shows a sense of responsibility when we get to events on time

In Nigeria, people go late to school, to work, to church, to mosque, to functions, people miss appointments, people miss opportunities and we seem not to bother or be bothered by this anomaly. And I know that it’s not entirely our fault. Most of us go late to events because we know the event will start late, and the organizers start late because they know the people will come late. And subconsciously, we harbor this distrust for ourselves. Truth is, if we continue to think this way, the cycle of timelessness will continue. Every single second of your life counts, do not waste other people’s time and never allow people to waste your time as time wasted can never be regained, time invested can never be repressed.

For Nigeria to change, for Africa to change, you & I must take a stand. We must lead by example, in our homes, in our offices, everywhere. Whether or not the event will start on time, arrive on time, and ensure that you call the attention of the organizer to your displeasure if the event commences late. If you are organizing an event, start on the dot of time even if only 5 people are in the hall. When you build a reputation for keeping to time, don’t be surprised when people start arriving early for your events or start their events early once they know you are coming. And little by little, a national consciousness & consensus begins to build around the dire importance of keeping to time as Africa awakes from her slumber.

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded Epower.ng, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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