May 29: Unpromising start, promising future!
Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click is the loud, weird, grinding vroom reviving up the engine as the in-coming class captain turns on the ignition key of Nigeria’s bus, in readiness for his May 29 voyage. Another voyage, another time, different driver, same old bus.
By any reckoning, this May 29 is different: eight years ago, on May 29, 2015, there were massive expectations and excitements in the air, a Cathedral-size hope inspired by the 63-point agenda of the outgoing captain.
Many Nigerians are now feeling conned that politicians took them to cloud 9 by an airborne parachute and dropped them in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where everyone is struggling to swim out without a life jacket.
This May is carrying multiple pregnancies: anxiety and uncertainty, hunger and anger, probabilities and possibilities. Most citizens have lost hope, only a few have synthetic hope in the capacity of the political elites to walk their talks. Whenever you see the military repeatedly issuing warnings and threatening to deal decisively with some faceless enemies, rest assured: all is not well.
This is a dangerous junction for any country to find itself at a time when the world, too, is going through The Great Reset.
However, in 1861, America looked exactly the way Nigeria of 2023 looks. On the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration as America’s 16th President on 4th March 1861, America was on the brink just as Nigeria is today. There were no visible signs Abraham Lincoln could seize the moment. As Nigeria’s 16th president gets sworn- in on May 29, 2023, will Nigeria’s unpromising start begets a promising future?
A deeper interrogation of the presidential elections of February 25th revealed an unusual voter apathy with only a 20 per cent turnout. Turkey’s May 14th, 2023 Presidential election recorded 86 per cent voter turnout. Meanwhile, in a democracy, there is strength in number – forming a quorum strengthens legitimacy, which begets confidence and confidence begets peak performance.
Is Nigeria running out of luck? Who is eating our lunch? The last 15 voyages ended in the wilderness of habitual abortion of hopes, leading to the collapse of the social contract between the governors and the governed.
The outgoing class captain missed the road from the start by trading off the national franchise certificate issued to him for an ethnic franchise as he slaughtered meritocracy on the altar of mediocrity and provinciality. He put square pegs in round holes. His economic policies are anti-civilization, anti-people, and anti-breakout, as he drove the nation’s bus perpendicularly straight to the brink.
Nigeria’s bus has been a victim of considerable cannibalisation in the hands of the past class captains and their cabals. The bus has become a carcass, the engine so weak that it can blow anytime. While the older generations accepted the calamity as the “will of God’’, the GENZ seems determined to stop paying homage to calamity.
Rain has been beating Nigeria since the 1960s, which could be described as the era of thieving with the ‘fear of God’. Today, however, the thieves have graduated to tin gods! The New Nigerian newspaper of Tuesday, January 4, 1966, criticized the government for financial rascality. The bus parts like seat cover, steering cover and foot mats were looted, including windscreen wipers by the Class 1960s political elites.
The nation’s vision became blurred since then. The former Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew in his autobiography, ‘From 3rd World to 1st World ‘ on Pages 351-357, gave graphic details of the nature of corruption in the first republic based on his close interaction with some of the Nigerian leaders then. There was a Minister in the first republic, according to LKY, who deliberately killed a national company so that his own private company producing similar products could dominate the market. And that is the template that is still in use today. In the 1960s political elites were nicknamed ‘Ten percenters’, (10 %).
In the 1970s, looting passed its ‘O’ level exams with straight “A’s’’ and moved to ‘A’ level. In a jiffy, the steering arm, steering box and the headlights of the bus, including fire extinguishers were looted. The elites stepped up their game to become “thirty percenters’’ (30%).
In the 1980s, looting finally graduated from the university with two degrees – BA and MSc back-to-back as an art and science graduate. Nigeria’s stolen money became the lubricant that oils most of Switzerland and European banks.
The Khaki folks looted the air-conditioning cooling units, removed 50 per cent of the tyres, and even went away with the bus’s roof. Little wonder, one of the rulers in khaki uniform then exclaimed publicly that “It defies logic why Nigeria has not collapsed’’. In the book, ‘The King of Oil’ (page 100), Marc Rich, the undisputed global King of oil and himself the Don of corruption, confirmed that Nigeria became “the global capital of corruption’’ courtesy of the Khaki folks. Those who are asking for an interim government under the military arrangement, therefore, need to see their neurologist.
Looting went mainstream in 1999, from a limited liability corporation, it became a plc. Snakes and monkeys are competing with humans in a race to determine which is best at swallowing money!
Billions of dollars were paid to IPP contractors ( 1999-2007) who pocketed the money without generating one megawatt of electricity. In 2017, one federal cabinet member alleged that contracts worth $ 25 billion were awarded under the table without proper authorization in NNPC.
In May 2023, Nigeria’s Auditor General confirmed that over one trillion naira fraud was perpetuated by various MDAs. EFCC told us over N109 billion were stolen by Accountant General, another N340billions meant for the Zungeru power project was swallowed by just 6 permanent secretaries, another sitting governor was alleged to have stolen N70 billion, another N10 billion was looted by the secretary of the supreme court in 2022, N200 billion was wasted on CENSUS 23.
The billions of dollars squandered on “turn around maintenance projects’’ in the oil sector could have built 10 new refineries! Indeed. It is so bad that the outgoing-class captain was reported to have expressed disappointment about the volume of looting that happened on his watch.
As the Class of 2015-2023 graduates on May 29, 2023, they probably would have broken the previous record set by the Class of 2011-2015 in “Looting & Applied Corruption (LAC)’’. When the results eventually become public knowledge, we will know how many made a First Class in looting (these are public servants who became Trillionnaires between 2015.2023), how many made a 2nd class, upper division (i.e. the billionaires), how many in 2nd class lower division (i.e. millionaires).
Grapevine has it that one young person without a portfolio who was a recharge card seller until 2014 was the overall best-graduating student with a 5.0 GPA in looting!!! The whole 220 million regular Nigerians were the losers.
The ‘Maradona’ of Minna complained publicly that the military folks are like angels when compared with the class of 1999-2023 politicians in corruption. The elites’ labour of hate for Nigeria yielded a golden trophy after all: the World’s Poverty Capital in 2019, home to 133 million multidimensional poor people. No parallel in history!
All the 220 seats inside the Nigeria’s bus together with the rear and front windshields, including the dashboard have been looted. Worse still, the seat belts meant for the captain’s safety are equally looted. To the political class, all snakes are delicacies, including making a fortune out of the misfortune of stranded Nigerians in war-torn Sudan!
This is why the incoming driver has zero LIFELINE, no 50:50, no seat belts, nothing is left. The bridge of trust between the people and the government is broken.
Everyday, since last year, the crowds at the Ikeja Immigration passports office were bigger than the ones at Atlanta Airport. Those are Nigerians applying for passports to JAPA. Investors and corporations, too, are not left out in the JAPAdemic. Unilever, among others, has scaled down its operation drastically in Nigeria as a result of harsh economic conditions.
Instead of fixing the challenges, the elites are behaving like the ostrich, acquiring second nationality and foreign passports which they carry about daily with their credit cards in their pockets, the same way an asthma patient goes about with an inhaler. The political elites are “flight-ready’’, anywhere, anytime. But who says foreign passports, private jets or even the airport will be useful once the people say “this far, no further’’?
• Akano, CEO of New Horizons, sent in this article through firstname.lastname@example.org
Nigeria can be likened to Goldbach’s Conjecture, the oldest and best-known unsolved problem in mathematics: simple, but notoriously difficult to solve.
For instance, “every even natural number greater than two is the sum of two prime numbers, e.g. 18 is 13+5, and 42 is 23+19’’. And every odd number greater than 7 is the sum of three odd primes: 13=3+3+7, 17=3+3+11. Nigeria’s equation remains unsolved three scores and three years after independence. Who shall we send?
The exam for the in-coming driver as the sky turns dark in the middle of the desert, is how to drive the nation’s bus away from the brink, back to the main roundabout from where it was hijacked at gunpoint on January 15th, 1966 by the Khaki folks? This is no mean task with N80 trillion public debt (still rising), sagging oil revenue, and evaporating FDIs, at the same time the debt servicing ratio and earnings are approaching 100 per cent parity. Besides, the “borrowing window’’ is closing against Nigeria as it finds itself in a political cul-de-sac and economic “roforofo’’! Leading a hopeless population is more tasking than forcing a horse to drink water from the river. Nigerians have lost hope, Big time!
Corruption: Who’s picking the bills?
Nigeria’s P&L shows the country is technically bankrupt, if it were an American corporation, it would file for Chapter 11. While corruption contributes 30 per cent, insecurity contributes 20 per cent and structural deformity 35 per cent to Nigeria’s failure. Any administration desirous of making a difference, therefore, must tackle those three devils squarely with fresh thinking. Prime Minister David Cameroon knew what he was talking about when he described Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt’’.
Corruption is not a people’s problem, though, rather it is a symptom of a decadent system. Corruption would always thrive in every self-help society, where social security, effective credit facilities, and an independent judiciary system are absent.
Variables like greed, poverty, fear of tomorrow, unreasonable societal expectations from public officeholders, wasteful culture, and gross moral bankruptcy also help to fertilise corruption.
As long as private schools, private hospitals, bullet proof vehicles, private NEPA, and private water works, including private cemeteries and private armies are “must-haves’’ for the middle class to survive, due to the total collapse of public infrastructure and institutions, so long will corruption remain the inevitable elephant in the room.
All workers deserve living wages, especially the Judiciary, Teachers, the Police and Journalists. They need to be insulated against corruption. For instance, Judges should not be earning less than $7000 (N5m) per month. In the UK, judges are paid from $100,000-$300,000 per annum.
How other countries are taming corruption? The 5+1 models.
1 China: Death penalty.
2 Europe: effective social security package plus credit facility
3 Scandinavians: egalitarianism, wealthy citizens and businesses pay up to 50 per cent income tax which is used in developing efficient public infrastructure that serves all. Public utilities work excellently and they are free. Huge income inequality is an anathema. Little wonder why it is only cockroaches that inhabit the prisons built for humans in Scandinavian countries.
4 Traditional Model: Swearing an oath of office using ‘snake’ or ‘Cutlass’ instead of the Holy Books.
5 Turkey Model: 65-year-old wages for life that are inflation sensitive. This removes the fear of inflation and what to eat when tomorrow comes.
6 Ali Baba &The 40 THIEVES Model: Ali Baba was a wise man: he took a census of the number of thieves in his organisation and he arrived at 40 and made budget provisions for each of the 40 thieves.
Nigeria, too, can identify Major Corruption Charging Points (MCCPs) and budget for CORRUPTION INOCULATION JAB allowances for the Heads of such places ab initio. Rough estimates show that every new administration comes with about 5000 ‘new troublers of Nigeria’. They are found in the Presidency, National Assembly, Governor’s offices, Local Councils, Judiciary, Military, Para- Military and MDAs etc.
The Nigerian corruption variant seems to be an untreatable and incurable disease. This means each administration should make a budget provision for a maximum of 5000 VIPS entitled to a Corruption Inoculation jab allowance of N250,000 per day for life.
This is in addition to the 65-year-old wages for life (double jabs)!
Right now, some Governors are coming up with ridiculous pension allowances for themselves to further impoverish their people. Probably, standardization and legalisation of limited corruption in a transparent manner will reduce ad-hoc unregulated corrupt practices. After all, Marijuana was once banned in America, now it is legalized. A peculiar problem, the saying goes, requires a peculiar solution.
Here is why Nigeria needs fresh ideas to tame corruption: Nigeria sells 20% of Saudi Arabia’s Oil quota presently. And Shell Oil Plc. recently submitted that Nigeria can sell 4mbd of crude (i.e. 40% of the Saudi quota). Meanwhile, ARAMCO made a net profit of $161 billion in 2022. Nigeria is supposed to have made 20% of that (ceteris paribus), I.e. $ 32 billion. Sadly, NNPC had only made profits twice in 45 years which was nothing to write home about. Going by ARAMCO RoI, when Nigeria begins to sell 4mbd, the bottom line will show about $65 billion net profit yearly. The question is what do we do as a nation, first, to realise a $32 billion net profit yearly on what we currently sell, and second, increase our daily production to 4mbd as suggested by Shell oil in order to make $65 billion net profit yearly?
The average age of the incoming VIPs is 60 years. Assuming they all live to be 80 years on the average age. This means they will be entitled to corruption inoculation jab allowances for an average of 20 years each at the rate of N250,000 per day.
Therefore: N250, 000×365 days in a year x5000 MCCPs x 8years= $ 4.684 billion (about $ 5 billion for the next 8 years or $ 100 billion for 20 years.
When corruption is tamed, from NNPC alone, Nigeria will earn about $32 billion net profits yearly. In 8 years it will be $256 billion or $640 billion in 20 years. Spending about $5 billion on ‘’transparent’’ corruption inoculation jab allowances would make financial sense to any economist anywhere in the world, including Adams Smith and Karl Marx in their graves. We can challenge Norway or ARAMCO that the KPI is 4mbd oil sales and $65 billion yearly net profit to be shared 80:20 in favour of Nigeria, plus a performance bonus. Who says Norway or Aramco cannot give Nigeria a $ 100 billion ‘’sweetener’’ in advance to stabilise the country if we appoint either to manage our entire oil business 100%? Norway is not in OPEC and they have $ 1.3 trillion in savings!
The oil business is too oily and tempting for the Nigerian elites to run. Outsourcing the entirety of the oil business is the way to go. The oversight function by National Assembly members in the oil sector is a euphemism for corruption while the turnaround maintenance projects are like free ‘’jollof rice and ‘’dodo’’ for the boys’’. Oil will soon lose relevance: let us make the next 30 years count, having wasted the last 45 years!
“What if, after collecting the corruption inoculation jab allowances and wages-for-life, they still put their hands inside Nigeria’s chocolate jars’’, I can hear someone soliloquizing. That question is for the whole house to discuss!
But, without taming corruption, fixing insecurity and restructuring Nigeria, we aren’t going anywhere as a nation.
On May 29, Nigeria needs a ’Chef’ with Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom, Nelson Mandela’s integrity, Deng Xiaoping’s capacity and Lee Kuan Yew’s ruthlessness who will bake a new, bigger, sweeter cake for all from the ashes of N80 Trillion public debt. Food is finished and we have a debt to pay.
Like Arsenal FC, like Nigeria:
In the English Premier League, Arsenal FC is different- both in potential and sequential failures. It is one club that raises fans’ hope to cloud 9 and dashes it at the 11th hour.
Arsenal and Nigeria on that account: on five different occasions, the world invested high hopes in Nigeria thinking she would win the Transformation league table, only to end up in the relegation zone each time.
In the 1960s, the United Nations listed Nigeria as part of the seven countries tagged ‘’Medium Power’’ to witness transformation: Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand. While the Asian Tigers’ bread got baked within 20 years, Nigeria’s bread is still in the oven 63 years after.
Then the BRICS train of transformation came (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa: Nigeria missed out.
Then the MINT train arrived: Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey: MINT turned to MIT, and Nigeria was missing.
The fourth train of transformation was tagged PIN (Philippines, Indonesia and Nigeria). The other two countries boarded the train, and Nigeria locked itself up in the ‘other room’!
Fifthly, when the Russia-Ukraine war broke out in February 2022, most analysts globally expected Nigeria to leverage the Great Oil Boom to transform like the Saudis are doing. As of today, Nigeria is missing out on a rare global oil boom opportunity. Nigeria is now classified as a ‘’non-League nation’’- i.e. countries at the bottom of civilization that are not in the first four League divisions.
Meanwhile, I can see the 2nd Arabs civilization coming on the horizon, which I tagged ORYXCAM (Oryx is the symbol of most Arabs countries while Camel represents Saudi Arabia). With the ongoing rapprochements among the Arab nations: Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey etc, the Arabs seem to have found their lost mojo (unity) and are poised to take the world by storm. I predict the establishment of an Arab common currency sooner than later to compete with USD and Yuan.
How should Nigeria and Africa respond? I propose a new transformation paradigm tagged AFRICA LIONS consisting of seven African countries: Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Morocco, which I code-named NEKREGM- for want of a better acronym. Since the world is gradually going back to Regionalization, let birds of the same feather flock, and trade, together in Africa. Let the seven of them adopt a single currency, single passport, and single taxation regime. Other African countries in AfCFTA will join one after the other when they see ‘’light’’. NEKREGM can work. After all, in 1957, when the European Union was formed, only six countries agreed to work together. Then it became 15 countries in 1972 and today 27.
Can We Get Serious or Stop Playing from May 29 in the Name of GOD?
Moving from $ 500 billion to $1Trillion GDP within 48 months!
Honestly, I am convinced Nigeria can be transformed within 10 years, UAE did it in 10 years, and Nigeria is 200 times richer than UAE in human, natural and material resources. South Korea has a population of 52 million and an economy of $2 Trillion. Why not Nigeria? What must change if we are to become a Trillion dollar economy within the next four years?
1 National re-orientation/rebirth:
On June 5th 1959, Lee Kuan Yew and his 8 Ministers took their oaths of office wearing simple white shirts and trousers, no suits, no ties, thus sending a strong signal that it would not be business-as-usual, but hard work, purity, integrity, and simplicity. Symbolism works: General Tunde Idiagbon was a symbol of War–Against–Indiscipline (WAI) in Nigeria in 1984 from his first day in office. The event of May 29 should reflect the mood of the nation: death of hope. Hope is dead! Flamboyant ‘’barbara’’ or Cloud 9 women headgear would send wrong signals to the mourning population. More importantly, the first 100 days should be devoted exclusively to national re-orientation, focusing on bringing back the traditional African values of love, beauty, hard work, integrity, decency and discipline. Nigerians have completely lost their moral compass: the way we talk at the international airports on top of our voices, and we like to show off and talk big unnecessarily,( which is the genesis of Xenophobia in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Malaysia etc against Nigerians), we frequently exhibit crookedness tendency ( 99% of artisans and civil servants etc cheat). We are a people deeply religious but scarcely godly and grossly unpatriotic. The incoming class captain should lead from the front as of noon, May 29. The Jewish people knew something positive had changed when SAUL became PAUL, and they followed Paul and forgave Saul’s monumental past shortcomings! The new government needs to seek the assistance of religious instructors (Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists) to stop preaching about money for 90 days and concentrate sorely on teaching repentance, righteousness, love, patriotism, good citizenship and heavenly virtues. The excessive love of money is at the root of Nigeria’s embarrassing underdevelopment.. Also, the government needs the media- radio, TV stations, newspapers editors and social media influencers and bloggers to help drive the new re-orientation campaign. Before the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Germans went through a re-orientation on how to smile at visitors. The Japanese are currently going through a national smiling re-orientations as l write. A national re-orientation program to be led by the Class Captain himself should be the first project to launch on May 29.
2 Census of abandoned Projects & a new Stock Taking of all the mineral resources in Nigeria:
As I write this article, pen-in-hand, the hotel I am staying in Abuja is directly opposite the abandoned National Library, a gigantic building wasting away after gulping about N18 billion. What Nigeria urgently needs is not the Nigeria Population and Housing Commission but the National Commission for Abandoned Projects (NCAP). Ajaokuta Steel is another one. There are probably thousands of such projects around the country. NCAP should be set up on June 1st 2023 to enumerate and do the market valuation of each project based on the current value as is. Government should not waste time in selling them off on or before October 1st 2023 to corporations that can turn them around for commercialisation. This will boost liquidity and inject fresh blood into the economy that is dangerously low on blood. In another vein, foreigners (especially Chinese) are the ones looting Nigeria’s mineral resources with reckless abandon. From May 29, there should be a suspension of mining activities pending the completion of the work of the Mineral Resources Review Commission (MRRC). The late Tanzania President, John Magufli was quoted as saying ‘’Only mad African leaders would take Chinese loans’’. Magufli rejected the $10 billion Chinese loan and went ahead to build modern infrastructure in Tanzania without borrowing by setting up MRRC. He re-negotiated all the licenses issued by the past leaders that were anti-Tanzania economic development. This is one veritable source of fresh liquidity for the new government: over $20 billion can be realised from this exercise.
One outgoing governor, a Professor for that matter, admitted on a national TV show on 17th May 2023 that his state’s supposedly biggest Chicken farm/factory in Africa has become moribund because he couldn’t get chicken feed. (Laughable!). Where is the feasibility study he did before going into the chicken business, the TV anchor person fired back. None. Nigeria should set up priorities and build an ecosystem of success around 5 or 6 key opportunities, where she has a competitive edge and comparative advantage that will make her N01 in Africa or NO2 or N03 in the world. South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore etc each focus on a maximum of 6 priorities.
What are my 6 picks?
Education Hub, Financial Hub, Energy Hub, Food Hub, Industrial/Technology Hub and Entertainment Hub.
3a Education Hub: UK model is suggested. Nigeria should strive to become an N01 Higher education provider in Africa (Britain made over $2 billion from Nigerians alone in 2022 on Higher education, Ghana, Mauritius, Ukraine, Malaysia etc are all collecting Nigeria’s education feeding bottles. Meanwhile, Cameroonians, Ugandans etc used to come to Nigerian universities in the 1980s. What went wrong? We have to urgently retrace our steps by upgrading 10 federal universities to World class standards and giving them full autonomy- abolish the quota system. Every state has a university which makes the quota system outdated today. In the UK, the Gross Added Value (GVA) of the education sector is 117.8 billion British pounds in 2022. In Nigeria, for a start, education internationalisation can add fresh $ 20 billion to the economy plus the multiplier effects on the overall economy with proper branding and marketing.
3b Financial Hub: Singapore model is recommended here. Lagos is better placed than Johannesburg, Nairobi and Cairo to become Africa’s number one financial hub. Singapore positioned itself as the East Asia Financial hub in the 1970s and it worked hugely in her favour. To pull it through and compete with New York, Zurich, and London, Singapore carried out major reforms. Judiciary became 100% independent, created a good working and living environment, efficient infrastructure, and pool of skilled and adaptable professionals labour, removed foreign exchange control restrictions and abolished withholding tax on interest earned by non-resident depositors. Singapore created the first Asian Dollar Market (ADM). Lastly, LKY ran an honest government that pursued sound macroeconomic policies. Lagos can replicate all those things which Singapore did accordingly. This is a $500 billion value-adding hub to Nigeria’s economy, in Singapore, the value is put at $447 billion (2023).
Energy Hub: Nigeria has 30 more years to milk fossil fuel. This is the time to re-work the energy portfolio mix to include huge investments in LNG, Green energy, EVs, hydrogen power, and limited coal. From this, a revenue of $100 billion yearly is possible within the next 48 months. The market value of Electric vehicles is put at $740 billion. Nigeria is one of the few countries globally that has all the 8 mineral resources required for the manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries. If China needs those 8 mineral resources, the incoming President should invite China CATL (the World’s N01 for EVs, energy storage systems and battery management systems) to set up its factory in Nigeria in the middle Belt where most of these minerals resources are located, except one that is in Kano. This will create about 1,000,000 direct and indirect jobs within 4 years.
Food Hub: Netherlands and Thailand models should be examined. Thailand partitioned the country into different zones, each zone specialises in different crops. There is a palm oil plantation in the south, a Rubber plantation in Surat Thani which accounts for 60% of natural rubber production in Thailand, cassava plantations are located in the Central plains etc. In 2022, The Dutch economy earned an estimated 50 billion euros from agricultural exports. Nigeria has an arable land of 6.5 million hectares while the Netherlands has one million hectares, meaning Nigeria can build a $350 billion Agribusiness with proper planning, technology, training discipline and seriousness.
Industrial and Technology Hub: South Korea and Israel should be xeroxed. The new technology is 4.0 and no country has a monopoly yet. China, India, South Korea, America and Israel are working hard to dominate but there is no 4.0 Premier King yet. The crown is floating. Everything in the future will have artificial intelligence, Big Data and blockchain inputs. The new Business Process Outsourcing is $260 billion and the growth rate is 10%. Nigeria can build a $50 billion economy around NBPO. India is making over $100 billion from her talents scattered all over the world on remittance.
Nigeria’s new class captain needs to travel to Asia and Europe to attract at least 100 top companies and FDIs in the six key focus sectors and give them incentives to establish their factories within the 8 new Industrial Parks to be set up which must exclude Lagos. Indeed, Lagos should be strategically de-industrialised and focus on becoming a Financial Hub and tourist centre. Monopoly should be terminated and discouraged, even the existing monopolists in Nigeria should be broken.
Entertainment Hub: we are entering an Ai-Age, there will be plenty of idle time because Ai cook will render house-wife jobless. Now with the new Elon Musk Ai-wife, the whole world is in trouble. Therefore humans would have ample time for fun, dancing, movies, and music. Nigeria has an unambiguous leadership in this sector. Why not build a complete entertainment ecosystem in Calabar and Badagry similar to Hollywood in California? Everything should be privately funded except the land and policy by the government. The Nigerian government should exit business completely, including the proposed Nigeria Air- we don’t have the discipline yet to run a profitable business.
4 New World Order & Nigeria: There are major forces that shape societies globally which are likely to influence the future of Nigeria in the next four years. For instance, capitalism is in a wheelchair while rent-seeking takes over, the epidemic of fake news, the rise of Putin, the clash of civilizations among West, East and Islam, global warming and terrorism and a crisis of liberal democracy. Also, Artificial intelligence will create 69 million jobs and destroy 83 million jobs resulting in a net loss of 14 million jobs between today and 2027 according to WEF. Nigeria needs a THINK TANK to have a holistic perspective of how all these would affect Nigeria, especially the youths.
5 Removal of Fuel Subsidy: To Be or Not to Be? Yes, the figures of 11 Trillion nairas spent in 8 years by the outgoing government are embarrassingly staggering. However, the Great Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping’s counsel should be considered by the incoming Class Captain. Deng said ‘’If you have tough economic and political decisions to make, focus on the former first, when the stomach is full, and mouth is busy, people would not resist your tough political decision’’ Removal of fuel subsidy is not just an economic decision but a political and social decision. Once it is removed, the impacts would ricochet in every home, prices of commodities will hit the rooftop, and even ‘the other room’ will not be spared. No leader has a full grip on Nigerians as of today to be able to take such a fundamental necessary but painful decision. It will amount to committing class suicide if it is done in June. The incoming class captain’s franchise is fragile, there is wisdom in aiming before shooting. There is strength in number: 9 million versus 220 million Nigerians! Listen to Deng: get people gainfully employed, put food in their stomachs, and restore hope in their minds within the first 120 days. Furthermore, embark on a massive sensitisation and awareness roadshow, explaining to Nigerinas why mathematically, economically and socially, fuel subsidy is a deadly virus . By October, the government can do away with the Frankenstein Monster called fuel subsidy. Sharing N5k each to citizens as a way of spending the $800 million subsidy palliative is, to put it mildly, dumb. $200 million can create 50,000 quality technopreneurs that will employ 250,000 youths within the first 120 days of the incoming administration. Other innovative socialpreneur ventures that would add huge RoI to the economy exist.
May 29 is more than a day, the event is not the final, it is not a call to ‘’come and chop’’, it is not a call to sit down and be served as a guest, it is a call to serve as a waitress. The question for the incoming Class Captain is: who will you serve between the people who are hurting badly and the state’s captors who are overfed? Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president managed to solve America’s Goldbach’s Conjecture mathematical equation, will Nigeria’s 16th president do likewise? Nigeria is in a peculiar chaos today like America was in1861. Abraham Lincoln, the wise ONE, though born poor, lost his biological mother when he was a child, a hard worker, with only 18 months of formal education and a self-taught lawyer transformed America. On Monday, March 4th 1861 when he was sworn in, there was zero clue that he would become the greatest. Abraham Lincoln restructured America’s political system by pushing the 13th Amendment which led to the emancipation of slaves and abolition of slavery. He also was the architect of the possibility of civil and social freedom for African-Americans freedom. Finally, he ended the civil war and preserved the union. Will Nigeria’s 16th president put an end to the multidimensional cold wars among the different nationalities that make up Nigeria? Can he build a multi-racial society that would give equality and equity to all citizens regardless of ethnicity, language or religion. Will Nigeria’s 16th president banish poverty in the land like America’s 16th president did? A smart, honest, competent and visionary leader can upgrade Nigeria’s economy to $1Trillion GDP ( 2023-2027) and $2 trillion in 8 years using some of the fresh ideas above, By 2031, we should be in a position to launch the BOOK titled :’’ From 4th World to First World- The Story of Nigeria Transformation in 3000 Days’’!
Great Britain did it in 100 years, China did it in 30 years, UAE did it in 10 years: who says Nigeria;s transformation in 8 years is impossible? There are templates to copy and paste now. More importantly, there is Artificial intelligence today!
Is Nigeria getting a waitress-servant-leader on May 29, i.e. Abraham Lincoln or another rent-seeking, ‘’baby’’ like the past 15 rulers? Leaders who transform their societies by changing the course of history permanently for good like Ben Gurion of Israel and Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of UAE become immortal. Whoever can solve Nigeria’s Goldbach’s Conjecture mathematical equation will equally become Nigeria’s first and authentic national hero. Are you the ONE? History beckons. Take a deep breath in….And out…. in…… out…… in….. out…. It can be.
May the ONE, we pray thus, who rules over waves and Seas keep HIS blessed hand over the in-coming class captain and grant him the fortitude and mental magnitude to exercise wisdom with a calm mind even when under pressure as he embarks on his maiden voyage on May 29. ( If Nigeria pulls it through, we all are winners and vice versa).
Fair Winds and Following Seas!
• Akano, CEO of New Horizons, sent in this article through email@example.com