Oil magnate, Chief (Mrs) Folorunso Alakija, gives the recipe for a thriving economy.
The journey since independence has been with much difficulty and we have had our fair share of travails. The first decade was particularly disturbing; starting with the crisis in the Western Region and culminating in a civil war. However, when compared to the likes of China, India, United Kingdom or the United States of America, six decades is a brief period in the life of a nation, to make a conclusion on the future.
While some are quick to state that the structure handed down by our colonial masters was fraught with much instability, and that the seeds of future disharmony was deliberately sown to keep the country from achieving nationhood, others believe that the country has been cursed with bad leadership since independence.
Corruption, the hydra headed monster, has also been a major bane in our country. No institution can move forward when the stakeholders are only bothered about how to take advantage of the system.
Indeed, no true transformation can take place without a collective determination from both the leaders and the led to achieve this objective. We all have a responsibility to rediscover ourselves and to strongly commit to making the necessary changes to move beyond the shackles of retrogression and launch out for the greatness we all desire and profess we have a potential for.
Nigeria is one of the most blessed countries in the world. We are endowed with natural resources most countries would die for. In fact, there is no state in Nigeria that does not have at least two natural resources which, if properly harnessed, can sustain their people. Nigeria has no reason being categorized among the poor nations of the world.
Despite all the shocking discoveries we have been assailed with in the last 2 years, I still nurse a dream of a bigger and glorious Nigeria in my lifetime. This is not in any way to discountenance the greatness we have already attained and achieved. But I see a more wonderful and harmonious people doing valiantly if only we can all see it and do something about it.
Let me use the telecommunication industry to buttress my optimism. We came from an era when we had less than half a million phone lines as installed capacity. In fact, one of the officials saddled with the administration of this sector then said “telephone is not for the common man”. Today, that opinion has changed, as every single telecommunication company is striving that the common man has as many lines as he desires.
It is on this footing of a vision of service that I advocate we build our hopes of a better Nigeria. The Bible states in John 10:10 that the thief has no other business than “to steal, to kill, and to destroy”. There can be no right way to do a wrong thing. The fellow who did not deliver the job he was contracted to do is as guilty as the one who abused the process and inflated the figures. Yet, the Holy Book appeals to the thief not to steal any longer; rather he is admonished to create something of value, service or product, to be a blessing to others. The adoption of this culture of service will bring about the death of corruption in our society, and I believe an increasing compliance with the recently issued Ease of Doing Business Executive Order E01 will bring this turn-around faster than most of us can imagine. SO LET US TURN OUR BACK ON CORRUPTION.
WHAT WE NEED TO DO
Our work is cut out for us, the true measure of civilisation remains unchanged, everyone deserves to be accorded dignity no matter his status in life; this includes the poor, the infirmed, the elderly, the physically challenged, the prisoner and, if you may, the unborn. When we do that, we will be able to beat our chests and say we have finally achieved volitional independence as a people.
Furthermore, Nigeria suffers from a deficit of civic pride and collective responsibility. The masses do not purchase the goods manufactured in Nigeria because they believe they are inferior. Instead, they spend money on imported goods, a situation which doesn’t benefit businesses or ordinary workers in Nigeria. We must encourage the growth of our local industries by cherishing and purchasing goods manufactured in Nigeria. Moreover, we must not condemn what is good and reasonably priced and opt for bad quality at a higher price just because we have the power to decide who to patronize. Let’s get rid of the “what’s in it for me?” syndrome. Nigerians are also advised to invest their money in the local industries to encourage development. With these, more jobs will be created and the nation will attain economic freedom.
The Nigerian government must find ways of encouraging local cottage industries by implementing policies that are favourable to them in providing local alternatives to imported items. This would help local industries to grow. Isn’t it ironic that even as an exporter of crude oil, Nigeria still imports its refined oil?
Finally, we all have a duty to make this nation great for our generations yet unborn. We can no longer delay in setting the ball in motion for a more glorious Nigeria. All hands must be on deck to move this country forward. The time to start is now. That time has come.
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