Where does transformation start? Consider the student. You are in the final year, computer science class, but can you establish that dream of a software enterprise with an entitlement mindset? Is your present thinking unlocking your potentials or holding you down?
As you prepare for the business and job markets, are you limiting yourself to classroom, formal education learning or are you investing in creative learning and empowerment experiences that can give you the edge? Transformation is often a choice. Doing nothing is a choice, just as taking action to make change happen is a choice. It should be evident that transformation can go both ways. The brilliant student who misses classes and tests is on the path of negative transformation. Consuming hard drugs to be part of the “in crowd” is transformation with harmful consequences. However, let’s focus on transformation for good; changes that uplift
A transformation agenda has committed focus on what we can change, not the things that are out of our hands. It is not about the manufacture of excuses. Just as transformation possibilities exist in our individual lives, national transformation entails deliberate efforts to drive positive change nationally – in all aspects of life and society.
It is about having and pursuing an agenda for national change. National transformation of relevance and impact improves the society and economy. How is the manufacturing sector faring? What needs to be done in industry? Though Nigeria is fifty three, what does Nigeria produce? Can Nigeria feed itself? How about the service sector? Is service living up to its billing? Infrastructure is key to any economy – are we getting power supply, roads, transportation, water supply right? Is the tax system oppressive, coercive, exploitative or progressive? What is the cost of doing business? And of course what really is going on in our very own ICT sector? Transforming the economy depends on what happens in industry, production, services and ICT sectors.
Talk of national transformation is incomplete without education. The quality of human capital is critical in the knowledge driven economy. What is happening in formal education – primary, secondary, tertiary? Are we making progress in vocational education, or education outside the formal sphere? Classroom education alone will not do.
National change can’t be restricted to commerce and knowledge. The state of wellbeing has immense impact on quality of life. Is healthcare available, affordable and effective? Furthermore, the true test of independence and the need of transformation show up in social issues. Is this “our” country or “their” country? Is social harmony real or contrived? Are we “One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity”? What manner of justice reigns in Nigeria? Do Nigerians have a sense of belonging in their own country? Any society that enthrones illiteracy, social inequalities and perverse values is asking for trouble. Are we a society of inclusion or exclusion? Iniquity is an acknowledged recipe for unending insecurity.
And of course in assessing the need for transformation we must look at the institutions that are supposed to serve Nigerians – the public sector and its leaders. What is the quality of infrastructure and service delivery? Is the civil servant your friend, your enabler, your master or your discourager? What is the quality of public service personnel and leadership? Some public service leaders are appointed; others are recruited while many are elected. Do leaders at all levels – local, state and federal – serve us or do they serve themselves?
Transformation is about dramatic change but a national transformation agenda must have purpose in dealing with the mentioned issues.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What does National Transformation mean to you? How well is Nigeria doing at 53? Please share your comments, thoughts and opinions.
Innovation and Development Advisor, ICT at Jidaw
ICT Development Advisory Support and Consulting