I have always believed that there is nothing so bad about 3rd world. The world hasn’t stopped, so the fact that we are third world, simply implies that when the positions were scored, we were third. There is nothing wrong with that. He who is third today has the benefit of learning from the 1st and the 2nd. If the 1st runs into a ditch, the second will avoid the ditch and so will the 3rd. If the second runs into a ditch, the 3rd still has a 3rd chance. It means also that the opportunities we have to get back up after we have screwed up is more. Can someone say to someone – “there is nothing bad with being ranked as 3rd world”.
However, there is something wrong with staying 3rd world, and heading in the wrong direction. It means for as long as life exists, we would never be anything better than 3rd world. The question that ought to bother us as a nation and as individuals, is where is our nation heading. I will not worry about the details of the speed, or the stretch of our movement if direction is uncertain. It is only a fanatic that doubles speed when direction is unsure. I am a student of prophecy and by extension a son of the tribe of Issachar, I am also a student of creativity, and believe that where the future prophesied future seems bleak, another can be invented.
Here are some key indexes for determining the future of our nation and easy fixes for ensuring we invent the one we desire.
1. Individual Vs National Development: When the MD of General Motors became a Minister in America, he was asked an integrity question. He was asked if he could endorse good policies that would adversely affect General Motors in any way. He responded, that while he would seek to uphold the good of the American people above that of his company, he doubts seriously that there will ever be any good policy that will affect GM negatively. He said that all the while he was MD, he had always ensured that whatever he was doing was not only good for GM but good for America. Hear this loud and clear. Until the decisions of individuals in Nigeria both in public, private and in no office starts to consider the good of the Nation, Nigeria will never be great. Until individual progress can be connected with National progress, there will be no National progress. Where are we facing in these regards? The wrong direction. Today, people can rise to the top of the economic food chain without having a thought about National development. Where does that kind of direction lead to? Extremely rich and extremely poor, no middle class, dying nation.
2. Dependence Vs Interdependence: One of the key elements sinking America today, is that America has developed itself into a nation of dependents. There are too many people depending on the government for social security and retirement settlement. America has developed an entitlement generation, people who believe that they are entitled to what does not exist. The entire social security and retirement benefit system is a huge ponzi scheme, and the populace does not even understand what lies head or what a ponzi scheme is. The Nigerian is fast brining itself out of a situation where all federal government workers believe that the government will take care of them till they die, the structures of pensions and gratuities is quickly being repositioned to what makes sense even in the private sector. While this is happening gradually, many still do not understand fully, that their lives now lie in their hand, not only in pension allocation, but generally. The government is not responsible for Nigeria – Old Nigeria or New Nigeria. We are not entitled to what we had in the 1960s and 70s where we were running systems that have begun to fail globally. If Nigeria will ever be better or change, it’s going to be by the effort of the individuals. No matter how good the government is, no matter how leader the leader, we will never be entitled to what we don’t take conscious ownership of. Just like your personal financial intelligence guarantees your future, so does you personal national input guarantee your future in the New Nigeria. We need to be a nation of volunteers, of people who ask not what their country can do for them, but ask what they can do for their country.
3. Producer Vs Consumer: The Jones’ make a monthly salary of N100,000 but have a monthly budget of N250,000! What do you think will happen to the Jones’? If you said, go bankrupt, get into slave trade, become beggars or become extinct you are not far from the truth. They will end up somewhere within that matrix, depending on how many years after. As a nation, we are no different from the Jones’. We are consuming more than we are producing. Or rather, we are consuming… because I struggle to remember what we are producing. What type of encouragement do we need to patronize our own local businesses? What encouragement do we need to wear made in Nigeria clothes? What motivation do we need to buy our products? Do we first need to run aground and be back down before we look up? The direction that consumes more than it produces ends up extinct.
4. Money Making Vs Value Creation: Who are the richest people in Nigeria? That might be a difficult one, I think a better question is who are the billionaires in Nigeria? What work are they doing, and what value can the average poor man boldly claim to derive from them? Are they into Financial Services? What value are they adding to the economy? Are they funding SME’s or are they collaborating to fund non Nigerian companies? Are they financing the real sector, or are they trading stocks… or monkeys? Are they oil barons or are they in the oil and gas sector? Are they drilling oil and adding value to it and to the populace, or are they selling raw materials, buying finished products and selling us more of what we should need less of? Are our rich men creating value? But I thought money making was a function of value creation, how wrong was I. It is possible to make money without creating value, it’s called bad money. I understand from history as well, that when bad money shows up, good money goes into hiding. If we promote and encourage money making without addition of visible value, the voice of value adding initiatives will be suppressed.
The direction we face as a nation is clear. It’s the direction different from the one we should be facing. We should stop blaming the government, it’s not the government’s fault. It is all our fault. The government has too long been the destination of bastard blames, leave the government alone. We are overrating the importance and power of politicians, they are vital, but can’t do it alone. If you have anything to offer Nigeria, make it known. In the days of God’s power, there shall be volunteers.