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‘President to fix Nigeria must be a political entrepreneur’

By Lukman Raimi
19 June 2022   |   3:56 am
On May 29, 2022, I shared this title on Facebook, and a few minutes later, several people zealously requested to know who a political entrepreneur is, and possibly their attributes.

On May 29, 2022, I shared this title on Facebook, and a few minutes later, several people zealously requested to know who a political entrepreneur is, and possibly their attributes. For over three decades, Nigerians across the six geopolitical zones have continued to endure the ravages of bad governance unleashed on them by politicians and political officeholders. Unfortunately, many of these politicians lack track records of achievements and professional accomplishments other than that they are political godfathers, and founding members of political parties.

The indifferent attitudes of most Nigerians, including intellectuals in academia and industry in politics, have worsened the precarious situation. Consequently, Nigeria as a country has been badly wounded, and Nigerians as citizens have been rendered hopeless, helpless, and hapless socially, economically, and politically. To put the country back on track, I am bold to say that the President we need must be a political entrepreneur.

Right from independence, the politicians and public officeholders have consistently failed to deliver the dividends of democracy because those vested with the machinery of government are not political entrepreneurs. What we have always celebrated are politicians who play religious politics, ethnic politics, politics of the belly, and politics of mediocrity! The raging questions that people asked are ‘who is a political entrepreneur? What are the attributes of a political entrepreneur? What is the 2023 agenda with or without political entrepreneurs?’
Who is a political entrepreneur? There are many diverse definitions of political entrepreneurship. For the purpose of this sensitisation discourse, I share two definitions with the esteemed readers. First, McCaffrey & Salerno (2011) defined political entrepreneurs as gifted and exceptional people who perform the same functions as entrepreneurs in the political sphere within the free market economy. Second, political entrepreneurs are politicians with exceptional behaviourial actions, such as displaying social acuity (ability to hear, see, or think accurately and clearly), building teams, defining problems, and leading by example, and they leverage their relational power and political capital to provide quality governance to citizens (Christopoulos & Ingold, 2011).

The foregoing definitions suggest that to have an enduring socio-economic and political development in Nigeria, the political system, political parties, and electorate need to bring into the political sphere successful entrepreneurs, seasoned administrators, academics and captains of the industry within and those in the Diaspora to use their exceptional entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and competencies to reengineer, reshape and reposition Nigeria as they did in the industry.

The likes of Aliko Dangote, Cosmas Maduka, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Femi Otedola, Folorunsho Alakija, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, and Oba Otudeko, and many other distinguished Nigerians have rightfully carved out niches in the economy and nurtured an excellent reputation in entrepreneurship ecosystems. They understood the endemic socioeconomic problems hindering growth and development in the country; they know the humongous natural resources of the country, and they have a wealth of experience with how the diverse human and material resources wasted in various parts of the country could be optimally harnessed and utilised for wealth creation, job creation, and poverty reduction; and more importantly, they have strong networks and credibility with international financial institutions and the international community.

What are the attributes of political entrepreneurs? The 10 attributes of political entrepreneurs include, among others, high intellectual ability, good knowledge of their domain, team building skills, good reputation, extensive networks, strategic vision and tenacity, different incentive structures for control of political power, networks within which they thrive, ability to bear risks and use their networks to mitigate risks, and they are agenda setters in the policy environment (Christopoulos, 2006).  

To the best of my knowledge, we have a reservoir of political entrepreneurs in Nigeria. But very few of them are in politics. Those currently being featured by the two leading political parties are truly not the game changers we need! At this auspicious moment, the search for a President who is a political entrepreneur is late in the PDP, APC and other parties. The deadline of INEC has to be respected and complied with. Meanwhile, I pray that the best presidential appointee wins the election in 2023. 

Nigeria is an interesting country. Arguably, Nigerians have pragmatically and psychologically narrowed down the incoming President in the political contestation between APC and PDP. I pray that the best person wins!

With or without political entrepreneurs, I conclude this sensitisation article with a proposed 14-point agenda to be implemented by whosoever emerges to drive Nigeria to the desired Eldorado come 2023.
Sound Monetary Policy Measures: To address inflation, Naira depreciation, and other macroeconomic instability; Enduring Fiscal Policy Measures: To address budgetary challenges, multiple taxes, inequality in income, and other fiscal imbalances; Trade and Commercial Policy Measures: To promote industrialisation, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), entrepreneurship, and export of local goods and services abroad; Responsive foreign policy and international relations: To reshape the battered image of Nigeria and reposition “Giant Africa”; and Human capital development: Make citizens human assets through quality, accessible and affordable education at all levels.

Dr. Raimi is Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Universiti Brunei Darussalam

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