The subject of Nigeria evokes many responses. Some are neutral or indifferent. Some are highly pessimistic almost to the point of exchanging fisticuffs. But yet the truth is Nigeria is here and for now we are with her. This nation of ours with roots traceable to 1960 has been vilified, prayed for and even cursed. Sometimes we think she deserves it.
But is Nigeria not just the individual expressions of the collection of persons currently residing within a geographical territory? Nigeria is what or who we make her. Nigeria is us. She has been vilified because of us, prayed for because of us and cursed because of us. Nigeria is really the collective actions of us all. We created various absurdities like Nigerian time, Nigerian factor and the likes. These absurdities have hurt and continue to hurt us. We see them everyday and even expect them.
From our politics to our businesses. You expect the man contesting to give you loads of cash to really convince you he is fit for office. His campaign promises are rehearsed lies after all. The government official expects his cut from the contract. He put in the favorable word for you after all. Where these absurdities are ignored – we use our register of banter; stingy, oversabi etc. But have we not had enough? Have we not robbed ourselves and our children enough? Have we not depleted our God given resources enough? Have enough lives not been lost to our ailing hospitals and failed roads?
The answer lies in our hands. Or so I think. No one is coming to save us. Nigeria will be saved by Nigerians. I even dare say that God is dealing with more important matters upstairs. We must deal with what he gave us down here. And it is Nigeria.
On a personal note, I currently don’t have faith in our political structures. Would the slave master desire the cry and sound of freedom? I think not. I think that our freedom from the tyranny of where we are and our journey in the hope of where we can be lies in private institutions. Do I think these institutions are father Christmases – that share bounty without consequence? Far from it.
I think these institutions with their profit-oriented drives can bring more efficiency our polity. They already do. Nigerian companies now span the globe. We know and can list them – from flutter wave to GT Holdings. But the Nigerian tag has not followed them all. Why? Because when it gets down to business, we can really be serious. So, Nigeria can actually work. The private sector has shown this. But can we harness the otherwise selfish interests of capitalism to fix the rot of our politicians? Can businesses drive the change we need in Nigeria? I think they can. I don’t think they would do it all alone but I think they can. Innovative business models can fix our health system, improve our access to electricity and employ our rapidly multiplying youths. If the Political class have failed us, we ourselves a duty not to fail ourselves.
Will the private sector solve all our problems? I think not. I hope I have even not said so. But I do believe we can start from there.