Re-thinking Nigeria to Make it Better

Published on 22nd February 2009

What are the essentials for a country and people willing to change? In a culture that is enamored with foreign ways, and a country where emphasis is placed on the number of degrees one has, the letters before and after one's name, it is extremely hard to just throw that away and seek substance among a people.


Often when I want to rejuvenate my content by revitalizing my views, I go home to the village and chat with my folks, some never left the village but are renowned in what they believe will turn things around for Nigeria. But the modern day Nigerian engulfed in degrees and titles, will not reach out to them. With the culture/practice where leaders are seen to know it all, seeking advice from others is perceived as not being 'smart'. In Nigerian style of 'winner takes it all', there is no such thing like 'team of rivals'. It is not leadership by reaching diverse views but leadership as seen and promoted by the head.


Nigerian leaders hardly acknowledge anyone in their views about the country. Roll back tapes on speeches given by Ministers, Governors and presidents, and one would be hard pressed to find where anyone is given acknowledgement for offering an advice to them. They don't even 'thank their family' for giving them the time to serve. No president has ever said 'Thanks to their spouse[s]', for the sacrifice they make. When in such position, they act like 'gods' and look down at their populace.


Some hard-nosed Nigerian leaders will say, 'if you know so much, how come you are not the leader'? They erroneously equate leadership with knowledge. They inadvertently equate leading with knowing, just like some erroneously think because they have more degrees they should earn more money. A society that is geared towards greatness reaches her vast array of persons with diverse backgrounds and circumstance to import its leadership functions, and what works. Because of the undue emphasis Nigerians place on degrees, many have taken the unflattering route to forge, mislead and claim certificates that were never earned. If one were to randomly pick 100 PhDs/Drs, from Nigeria, chances are, a good number are milled from sources unbecoming. The craze for degrees and its accompanying title, is incredibly fueling a practice of cheat and deception.


Nigerians will spend anything to go overseas to get that foreign education but that foreign education unless tweaked to suit the Nigerian expectation, will not amount to anything. Americans that built America, Europeans that developed Europe, Asians/Chinese that did theirs, did not it by going back and forth. They stayed and rode out the good and back times. For some Nigerians, when appointed to serve, they will have half of their family overseas and 'just hang-in', until an opportunity occurs for them to return wherever they came from. The practice, is a default consequence that no country and or place, will develop because the most valuable factor of production HUMAN CAPITAL, is unstable, fragile and unpredictable. It is PEOPLE that make a place come alive and not natural resources. AFRICANS have this belief because they are so endowed with an UNEARNED RESOURCES, that is just enough to make them wealthy. Not so.


Successful nations evolved from hard work and persistence etched into dignified labor and pursuit of excellence that only come from dedicated leadership. When the family is fragile or fragmented; spread out, concentrated efforts are dissipated that no effort amounts to anything.


Finally, if Nigerian government is serious about recruiting her folks from overseas to return and help in developing the nation, they may want to think about introducing a legislation that requires the returnees to agree to any of the following:


1. they must return with their family and live in the country throughout the duration of the service; if they are not willing to make such sacrifice, the country can do without them.


2. they must never agree nor seek employment in any world organization such as World Bank, IMF, UN, or any other such employer within 5 years of leaving their position in Nigeria


3. if they chose to seek such employment, they must return all compensations paid while in service of the country


4. they must officially renounce the citizenship of any other country they hold and such must be done with an Oath and filed of Record


For Item (1), a divided family or spread-out family is a weak family. If one spouse is thousands of miles away, it creates diversion and temptation, often leading to less concentration and less dedicated spirit to give 100%. Tell me, how would any President of US see any of his Secretaries if their spouse were to live in Europe? The American audience will jump all over such president that the appointment will never happen. In Africa, it is a celebrated culture that one's children do not live with their parents and if they are in developed nation, the better the prestige.


On Item 2, Nigerian government seems not to care where her former top officials live and or end up at UN, World Bank, IMF, and so forth. Shouldn't they be concerned that these ex-officio persons may be divulging information likely to damage the country's plan and or secret? Nigeria needs persons that care for her to give her the right nudge to stand up firm. That will never happen if persons abuse her and leave her standing alone and cold.


The ease with which appointees come and go, makes developing Nigeria with persons who are dedicated hard. Run a Census on past governors, ministers and some commissioners, and top executives of big corporations, a lot of them live outside of Nigeria. I think the experience one gained having served at such level is better used in the country they gained it from. Those who keep milking the system and leaving, are not good examples of what Nigeria needs to unleash its latent heat. Rome was not built in a day they say, and those that built Rome never left but rode the rough seas and climbed the high mountains to make Rome what it was and still is. For Africans/Nigerians, they seek comfort and growth outside of their abode: Tell me,  what sort of Rome do they expect to build?



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