In our effort to see a developed Nigeria, we have for too long searched for the answers in our political leadership. Though the role of Government is important in nation-building, the shift in our thinking will indicate that the solution lies with the people and not with Government. These solutions are the ideas that will improve our education, healthcare, power, communications, transportation system, security, drainage system, water & sewage, etc.
I mentioned shift in our thinking (mindset change) to highlight the need for us to recognise that the work of nation-building happens much more outside of government than within government. This is true of any nation that moves from underdevelopment to development and until this mindset becomes part of us, we will continue to fold our hands and do nothing about the various crises in our nation, waiting for Government to act and yet we all remain both the victims & solution of the crises.
No matter the passion of our political leaders at Federal, State and Local Government levels, their success would be dependent of the ideas of the people they govern. Even our current government for all their weaknesses cannot ignore an idea that is making a difference in peoples’ lives. It is important to note that the initiator of an idea must also be responsible for persuading people to buy into the idea.
In their book ‘Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard’ Dan & Chip Heath stated “For anything to change someone has to start acting differently.” I believe this to be fundamental to our thinking about turning the tide in our nation and it starts first by every Nigerian recognising that Government does not have the solutions and then act in the new light. By the way, I do recommend that book for any Nigerian keen to participate in executing change in our effort to build a developed Nigeria.
Not only do we now recognise that we hold the innovative ideas that will build our nation but we also recognise that every problem provides for us an opportunity to develop and implement an idea.
I do find it interesting that from my childhood days till now, our stable food like garri is still produced and packaged in the same way (incidentally, in the developed West where you find African markets (UK, US, Germany), these stable food are well packaged to observe the laws of the land). Do we need government to improve the production and packaging of food items we consume on daily basis? Is it impossible to improve the nutritious value of these foodstuffs for our health benefit? Is it not possible to provide varieties?
I personally believe we can have different flavours of garri (strawberry, vanilla, raspberry, chocolate, nuts) for drinking and different flavour of garri (salted, light salted, peppered, low calories, etc) for eating with soup.
By this one illustration, I am indicating that there is so much innovation waiting to take place in what we have with us from our ancestors. If ideas out of the unknown are daunting, ideas out of the present shouldn’t be. After all, we were created to make what we’ve come to meet much better.
The life of making things better is not limited to the production of goods but it also includes services. We need innovative ideas in our education, in how government agencies function, how we run our democracy, how we run our political parties, how we can make our security services technological enhanced, etc.
China and the US are leading economies not mainly because of their government but their innovations in science, arts, sports, technology, business, manufacturing, etc. These countries dominate the patents chart (coming inventions/innovations created by citizens) and that means, their dominance of the future is assured.
For those who will say, there is no enabling environment for this to happen. My answer is simple this, anybody who has created a product or a service that solved a problem for one person has never lacked the enabling environment to provide such product or service to many more. l, like many others, will be happy to invest in a Nigerian who has created a technology that provides me with energy to power my home at affordable rate. I wouldn’t care if he is from the North or South or if he is a graduate or not.
No more excuses because now is the time to pour out ourselves into developing and delivering innovative ideas that will build our nation and in the end, we will be rewarded by the people, by government and more importantly, by God.
To experience a mindset transformation and be equipped with the tools needed to identify, launch and sustain a successful initiative, register today for the first Nation-building Regional Series – South West Regional Symposium on 29th & 30th May 2013, Welcome Centre Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos. This is an event raising and equipping nation-builders, and providing a community & working groups for these builders. To register or find out about your regional event, visit www.thecascadeinitiative.org