On the independence day of this year, 2013, I stayed glued to my radio and listened to several callers share what they felt about the country. Obviously too many people were disappointed but by virtue of religious inclination or natural faith, some people like me still saw and also professed the hope that we saw for the country. One presenter on one of the famous radio stations in Lagos started a phone I programme and insisted that everyone calling should talk about the possibility that they saw for the country. For a number of people, that was still hard. They started by sharing what I called ‘lip-service’ optimism because they almost immediately shifted to blame sharing or identifying problems again. Now I think that we have not really been facing what the real problem is with this country. Nigerians are the problem of Nigeria.
One thing that still amuses me is the fact that we have so many talents in this country and the government is doing so little to look in the direction of those talented young people to say they will fund the ideas that they have. I already know about the ‘Youwin’ programme but that’s still so little compare to what can be done in the country and how many peple have bright ideas that they can start businesses on. When you look at nations that are doing well, you will realize that one of the reasons they are doing well is because entrepreneurs as springing up nearly every minute. They are not only springing up, they are getting the funding required to get their businesses started either directly from the government or from private business or banks. They are also no under pressure to pay back when the business has not even started a life of its own.
I think that we need to do a lot more in the area of funding businesses or eve deliberately looking out for people who have ideas and putting more funds into what they are doing. Until be begin to set our priorities right we will never get it right. One of the most disheartening information that I heard on the Independence day was from Professor Yemi Osinbajo, former attorney general and commissioner for justice in Lagos state. He was speaking at ‘The Platform’ organized by Pastor Poju Oyemade of the Covenant Christian Centre and he said about one hundred and fifty billion naira is allocated to the lawmakers of this country totaling a little more than four hundred people. Unfortunately, it is the same amount or even less that is allocated to a state like Ebonyi state, one of the states in Nigeria with a population of about two million. How can you allocate the same budget to a group of four hundred people and a state of two million people because the former is the group of lawmakers?
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, said in his address that these are not the best of times and I sincerely agree with him. So many of the decisions being taken in this country by the elected, selected or appointed leaders are unimaginable, to say the least. The leaders themselves know that there is a problem and some of them honestly seem confused. I also do not understand why they will go to other countries, the way things work and just not be able to copy and replicate.
Regardless of all these, I still strongly hope in this nation and I see things getting better. The Nigeria of my dream is one in which an entrepreneur is no longer scared about having so many ideas and not knowing where to get the funding for those ideas. The Nigeria of my dream is one in which a young lady can conceive and idea and not have to sleep with men to give her money before she can start her dream business. I really look forward to that time when the wealth of the nation will not be concentrated in the hands of a few people. We will begin to get it right when we begin to see the importance of allowing other people rise and supporting their visions. This will be done with the mind that when we build several businesses, we are ultimately building the economy of the nation. The way to build the economy of this nation is not to seat in the Federal Capital Territory to take decisions and expect all the success indicators to change. That is not the way it will work.
Things can change and they will because they must. Some of us will not keep quiet until we begin to see this change happening in our country. It may be slow or gradual but we will make sure it starts and it eventually becomes a reality that the nation’s resources can be accessed by people who have ideas and will employ other people to put food on their table.
It is possible and together we will make it happen.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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