Wednesday, August 2, 2017


 "The problem with Nigeria is ...."

If you have never heard that statement, you must have heard it at least a million times.

And when pressed for solutions, urban philosophers will probably give one of two popular answers: The first one is 'Only God can help us solve the problems,' and the reason why they think so is because Nigeria's problems are far too weighty and intractable to leave to humans. We need prayers.

Another common answer is 'The government should ....' and this statement is completed with the solution to the issue that affects the well being of our urban philosopher.

Of course, Nigeria has myriads of problems and God is forever in the business of solving prolems. I would not venture so much as to think that our government can do much though. As a matter of fact, I begin to believe that the government may not be able to solve our problems. Please, let us not go off on a tangent here since this article is not  about the responsibilities of government to its citizens.

Well, let me be allowed to state my own problem with Nigeria and offer a solution. The main problem with Nigeria is the lack of application of our brains to solve our problems. Only Nigerians, of course, inspired by God can solve those problems as are often stated.

Today Nigeria, more than any country on earth, is at that critical juncture where all the bits and pieces needed for rapid development are in place. All we need is to snap these pieces together and voila, we are a developed country. We have the right population, right land mass, right vegetation, right weather, right energy, and thanks be to God, the right level of technological attainment required to make for a great country. An initial assessment would put us the same place China was fifty years ago, however a critical analysis would find that we are in an even much better shape.

However, like already identified, we state our problems wrongly, therefore we get the wrong prescriptions. Things that should not constitute a problem are made to be as one, and we continue to waste valuable time and effort working at them.

Somehow, all agree that industrialization will solve the problem of employment. If only the government can industrialize the nation, most of our graduates will be employed. But the reason why the government cannot industrialize the nation is because it is corrupt. This means that we have to look for people who are not corrupt to run the government. Tough!

Another issue bandied around is the fact that we are an economy that depends only on one product. If the government can diversify the economy, we would all be employed.

In either of the issues stated above, the premise is wrong and therefore the solution we are seeking in addressing it will not help our circumstance.

First, while it is good for a country to be industrialized, that in itself does not constitute the only basis for employment or creation of wealth. Secondly, our economy does not depend on petroleum as such .

True, all economies depend on one product, but the product is not petroleum. It is brainpower. And the more we use our brainpower, individually and collectively, the better our economy will be. The question then will be, how do we use our brainpower to rapidly enhance our economy?

Now, let me affirm the statement above in one single sentence.

In attempting to create a better life for all Nigerians, we need to develop our economy by using our brains.

Now, what are the do's and dont's of making this happen?

First, the dont's:

1.      We must not givr in to the idea that a single product – petroleum - will prosper us. It will not.

2.      We must not think that the people in government can develop our econonmy. They cannot.

3.      We must not allow ourselves to be deluded into thinking that some external factors will develop our economy. They will not.

Once these three 'dont's'are clearly understood, the task of developing our economy falls squarely on our shoulders.

The do's come later.

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