Sunday, 4th June 2023

Idea Is ‘Wealth’ In Waiting

By Gbenga Adebambo
26 December 2015   |   6:19 am
There is no man that is poor, everyman is rich in something. The rich are rich in ideas while the poor are rich in ignorance! In the year 2016, God told me to tell Nigerians that it will be better to work hard to get an idea or work hard for people that have ideas, the choice is yours.


“The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them.” — Proverbs 18:15(TLB)
“Ideas rule the world.” — James A. Garfield (The 20th President of the United States)

There is no man that is poor, everyman is rich in something. The rich are rich in ideas while the poor are rich in ignorance! In the year 2016, God told me to tell Nigerians that it will be better to work hard to get an idea or work hard for people that have ideas, the choice is yours.

Economically, Heaven has ‘officially’ declared 2016 as the year of ideas. Any man going into the year 2016 looking for job is an endangered species! The problem with the Nigerian economy is that we have people depending more on salaries than those evolving ideas, in a concise summary, we have more ‘liabilities’ than ‘assets’ in the present Nigeria. Throughout history, in times of economic difficulty, salary earners are one of the worst hit, and they usually suffer the most. That’s why 2016 will be the year that entrepreneurship, and not employment, will be the best way to make a living in Nigeria.

“You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.”-Anonymous

Life’s stories are full of people that changed the world through ideas. In 1903, it rarely occurred to anyone that rain on a moving vehicle’s windshield was a problem that could be eliminated. It was something drivers simply accepted and dealt with in their own ways, usually by stopping every once in a while and manually scraping off the windshield moisture that was causing them to see poorly while they were driving. A young woman named Mary Anderson changed all that with her invention of the windshield wiper, an idea that leapt into her mind as she travelled from Alabama to New York City. Little is known about Mary Anderson, except for the incident that inspired her famous creation. When Anderson got to New York, the weather was rather sloppy, and she also noticed that street car drivers had to open the windows of their cars when it rained in order to see; drivers constantly stopping their cars and getting out removing snow and ice from the windshields. Anderson decided this method could be improved. She began to draw up plans for a device that could be activated from inside the car to clear the windshield. The following year, in 1904, Anderson applied for a patent for a swinging arm with a rubber blade. The device consisted of a lever that could be operated from inside a car by the driver. The lever caused a spring-loaded arm with a rubber blade to swing across the windshield and then back again to their original position, thus removing droplets of rain or flakes of snow from the windshield’s surface. The patent for the device was issued in 1905. Additionally, the device could be easily removed if so desired, after winter was over. At the time she applied for her patent, cars were not very popular. Henry Ford’s Model ‘A’ automobile had not even been manufactured yet, and he had not created his famed Model ‘T’ vehicle until 1908. Anderson, meanwhile, was teased and laughed at by many people because of her idea for the windshield wipers. Many felt the movement of the windshield wipers would distract the drivers. However, that laughter did not last long. By 1913, thousands of Americans were driving their own cars, and mechanical windshield wipers were standard equipment. Now, a century later, it’s almost impossible to imagine what drivers would ever do without windshield wipers. That single idea by a young lady finally changed the design of automobiles forever!

“An idea is the beginning of the process of all creations”- James Garfield

The new face of Africa is in the hands of entrepreneurs and the enhancement of Africa’s economies will ultimately come through entrepreneurship. One of Nigeria’s greatest minds and addict of entrepreneurial revolution, Tony Elumelu, is championing the campaign of entrepreneurial ‘spirit’ across the length and breadth of Africa. In a nation where people’s demented appetite for wealth has become insatiable, one man decided to make a detour and devote a huge chunk of his wealth into evolving young entrepreneurs. Tony Elumelu is an economist, a visionary and serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. He is the chairman of Heirs Holdings, The United Bank for Africa (UBA), Transcorp and Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). Elumelu holds the prestigious Nigerian national honours, the Commander of the Order of Nigeria (CON) and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). The Tony Elumelu Foundation is dedicated to becoming the catalyst for entrepreneurship across Africa through the promotion and celebration of entrepreneurship and excellence in business leadership across the continent, with the initiatives like the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP). TEEP, the flagship programme of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, is a $100 million initiative to support emerging entrepreneurs across Africa over 10 years, aiming to generate a projected $10 billion in revenues for the continent and one million jobs for its citizen. The novel initiative by the Nigerian billionaire to invest $100 million out of his $700 million net worth to fund, assist, train and mentor 10,000 budding African entrepreneurs in order to boost the continent’s private sector is novel, innovative, laudable, timely and revolutionary. Mr Elumelu once said that entrepreneurs are the hope for the future and that the ultimate goal of TEEP is to drive African’s economic and social transformation from within and to radically intensify job creation in Africa. In addition to directly supporting African entrepreneurs with “Empowernment Capital”, the Tony Elumelu Foundation uses data gathered to conduct research and advocate for policy improvements to the enabling environment. Tony Elumelu is the originator of the term Africapitalism. Africapitalism is an economic philosophy that embodies the private sector’s commitment to the economic transformation of Africa through long term investments that create both economic prosperity and social wealth.

I want to encourage the youths to apply for the 2016 edition of TEEP. Don’t enter 2016 without an idea! Youths with novel ideas and young entrepreneurs should endeavour to apply for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme. You can apply through the online portal: TEEP opens for entries on 1st January 2016 and will accept applications until March 1st, 2016.

“Young entrepreneurs and those they inspire are the lifeblood of Africa’s rise”-Tony O. Elumelu

In moving Nigeria away from the present economic quagmire and fiscal depression, we need people that will evolve a new Nigeria through novel ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. It is starkly obvious that we are living in an era where the only thing that rules is an idea. In moving Nigeria to the next level, we are in dire need of economic changers. It will be economically suicidal to enter 2016 looking for job or even a change of job. People with novel ideas will rule in 2016; game changers and gladiators will emerge that will revolutionize the economy with ideas. You must enter the year 2016 with a clear and distinct idea of what to sell. In a layman language, the major reason while the fortune of the Nigerian naira is dwindling geometrically in the international market is simply because we don’t have any tangible thing to sell to the world.

IDEAThe oil fortune will continue to dwindle until we wake up and stop blaming the government for the fall of the Nigerian naira, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the naira rises again. It is high time we started looking for indigenous alternatives to things we’ve been importing from other countries. Imagine the giant of Africa importing toothpicks! We have become great ‘consumers’ in a world that favours entrepreneurship. The crisis we have presently is global and we must design an intelligent way of responding to it instead of castigating the government and their stringent restrictions. We brought ourselves to where we are today by our undisciplined and insatiable appetite for foreign goods and services at the detriment of our local contents. I know I am going to incur some people’s wrath but the basic truth is that we are too local and myopic to be blessed as a nation. We might be local geographically but we must be global in expression. Apart from the dwindling and infamous proceeds from oil, we can’t really stand to say that we have other tangible things that we can sell to the world to earn foreign exchange; we have grown overtime to become loyal global consumers without any global product to sell! Reverend Sam Adeyemi once said, “I am passionate about leadership, I like to encourage people to start and to run businesses. Businesses create jobs, they create products and services. Businesses are beneficial to the government as well because the employees pay taxes to government. It is a proactive way to create wealth.” Let us all take full responsibility for the dwindling foreign reserves in the national treasury; we need to redesign the economy to offer ‘global products’ that can sell internationally. We don’t just need entrepreneurs but we need entrepreneurs with global perspectives.

I want to sincerely advice the youths to stop their mad rush after money. Stop praying for money, start praying for ideas; because in the end, money always flows towards an idea. Instead of praying for #100, pray for 100 ideas!
Gbenga Adebambo is the Dean of Schools at the Educational Advancement Centre (EAC), an author, youth specialist, international coach and the Editor-In-Chief of MAXIMUM IMPACT MAGAZINE. He is also the founder of the youth ministry called STOP ‘T’(Seeing Tomorrow’s Opportunities and Potentials Today), a ministry that is involved in discovering and nurturing hidden potentials in youths in order to equip them for tomorrow’s challenges, opportunities and responsibilities.