There was great hope when Nigeria and other African nations gained political independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Nigeria is virtually a failed nation today. Yet, it can be worse. Lillian Okenwa, a lawyer, a journalist, the publisher of Law & Society Magazine, published an article entitled: “Who will save Nigeria from this impending implosion?” as a Guest Writer on the backpage of the Guardian newspaper, Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022. To her lamentation, fear, genuine concern and the question she posed by the title of her article, I say, I believe very strongly that only Nigerians can save Nigeria especially when all Nigerians are mobilised for learning and industrialisation. The state of Hawii of the USA is 4,400 km (2,800 miles) in the sea from continental USA. That demonstrates that it is the pride of belonging to a great nation that keeps a people together. We need to build a great nation to live together happily. The Britons built Britain. The Americans built the United States of America. The Chinese built China. Nigerians would have to build Great Nigeria; non-Nigerians would not build Nigeria for Nigerians. Our problem is inability to build the nation Nigeria. Great nations are built by great minds. The people with great minds are not common. Yet all Nigerians would readily build the great Nigeria when we combine the small greatness in 200 million of us.
This article is part of my contribution to the needed effort for making Nigeria a great nation. I am Emeritus Professor of Technology Management. I commenced a curiosity-driven research in 1986 to establish the scientific basis of the present global distribution of wealth and power and how nations develop. The research has been blessed abundantly. I have summarized the highlights of the results in a 7-book series. The eighth book is in the press. I believe that the results of our research constitute a special God’s gift-package to mankind.
Nigeria needs to mobilise all her citizens for learning and industrialization. Why? Because it is industrialization that would transform all aspects of life of Nigerians from poverty and hopelessness into life of satisfaction, peace and joy. Britain, America, Japan China and all other industrialised nations were poor village-nations confronted by unemployment, poverty, high crime wave, other evils, before they became industrailised. Industrialisation changed their sad situation into the envious status of today.
Our research showed that learning (education, training, employment and research, integrated) is the primary basis of achieving capability-building growth and industrialization (CBGI). Education, alone, coexists with mass unemployment and poverty. The higher the intensity of learning, the sooner the learning person or nation achieves a desired target. Industrialised societies have many millions of knowledgeable, skilled, competent and employed people. They produce many scientific products. The highest learning rate a nation can achieve is to mobilise all her citizens for learning. Nigeria should mobilize all her citizens for learning so as to achieve rapid industrialization. In a nation where the entire population is mobilised for learning, no one is left idle, there is no unemployment, no insecurity, growth of CBGI is rapid, wealth creation is rapid, poverty vanishes speedily. The Nigerian economy would be transformed in a few decades. The learning-nation will develop simultaneously and rapidly, all the wealth and power she needs to crush all divisive forces.
Japan’s origin dates to 300 BC. The nation mobilised all her citizens for learning 1886-1905 and achieved industrialisation. The origin of China dates to 1000 BC. The nation mobilised all her citizens for learning in 1949 and achieved industrialization early 1980s.
Some people have asked me who would ensure that all Nigerians are mobilized for learning. My answer is that my suggestion is highly innovative. So, the power of innovation would encourage a people destined for life and greatness to adopt it. Second, the choice Nigeria must make now is also a compelling encouragement for the mobilisation. Today, Nigerians must choose between saving Nigeria and leaving it to break-up.
Nigeria must adopt a more humbled political system to make rapid economic and political progress. Why? First, Nigeria does not have political parties today. President Dwight Eisenhower (1956) of the United States, reflecting on the issue of political parties, said a political party deserves the approbation American, only as it represents the ideals, the aspirations and the hopes of Americans. If it is anything less, it is merely a conspiracy to seize power. About 20 years later, Daniel Boorstin (1973), American historian, again reflecting on the issue of political parties, said, a political party is organized for a purpose larger than its own survival; a political machine exists for its own sake, its primary purpose is survival. I agree with President Eisenhower and Boorstin.
Political groups in Nigeria do not represent the ideals, the aspirations and hopes of Nigerians; they exist for their members. Six decades after political independence, more than 70 per cent of Nigerians are very poor today; 31 per cent of Nigerians were poor in 1960. It is clear Nigerian politicians either have no plan to develop Nigeria or do not know how to develop Nigeria and do not care about the dangerous status of Nigeria today. Our parliamentary/presidential experiments have failed completely.
The second reason is that a nation that cannot promote economic growth in terms of increased employment and wealth creation cannot promote peace and security. Increased employment promotes orderliness but mass unemployment and poverty coexists with insecurity. The third reason Nigeria needs a more humbled political system is that history shows that the political route to growth and development of a nation is usually very long, uncertain, prone to violence, risky, etc. The Europeans and Asian nations drifted for about 2000-3000 years before the people acquired scientific knowledge, skills and capabilities and transformed all aspects of life including politics. There is no sense continuing with glamourous politics.
A fourth reason for my suggestion that Nigeria needs a more humbled political system is that our presidential politics in 2023 cannot be less of a do-or-die affair than that of 2019. President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) said he was afraid of 2019 elections in 2017 or so. Nigeria is much worse in all aspects now than before 2019. A fifth reason Nigeria needs a more humbled political system is that a sick tree cannot produce good fruits. The PMB administration is too sick to produce a government that can give Nigerians and Nigeria a direction of hope.
What is the alternative? Elections in 2023 should be organized on community basis. The present geo-political zones, our largest communities should be made a federating (learning) level. Nigeria should adopt five federating (learning)-levels federation: Central, geo-political zones, state, local government and city (mayoral) governments, for more intensive learning experience. Zonal federal leaders should be elected in the zones (communities). The election should be a simple one about the individual within the geo-political zones. The 6 zonal federal leaders so elected for the central government will come together to form the executive arm of the federal/central government. Each zonal leader would head the central government for 2 years. Elections at the federal level would hold once in 12 years. Similar elections should be held the other four federating levels (zones, state, local government and mayoral). This committee-type government would enable Nigeria to focus on learning for industrialization and prosperity, peace, etc.
Ogbimi, Emeritus Professor of Technology Management, wrote via (firstname.lastname@example.org)