National transformation – barking or biting? We need to ask questions that matter. Answer the quality of life questions asked and you will appreciate the need for national transformation. Bitter truth but we must face reality if we desire forward movement. There has been progress but it clearly is not enough.
A country that is so rich in human and natural resources should be doing more, should be making more impact, the Nigerian people should be living full and meaningful lives. Independence should be more than flag celebration. There is an undeniable need for real meaning in the lives we live. When will the baby grow up? Isn’t it strange – over fifty years after and the baby is still breastfeeding? Whatever we call it, transformation or change, the nomenclature is irrelevant. Do we want progress? Then we must acknowledge the harsh reality. The status quo is both retrogressive and unsustainable.
Is our society modern? Is it meeting the needs of the people? The populace is growing but is there efficiency and innovation in the delivery of private and public services. It is one thing to acquire digital tools it is another matter entirely to leverage on electronic infrastructure to achieve your goals. The public sector needs come alive and grow up in the areas of efficiency and innovation.
Please, and this is a big PLEASE, get past the purchasing of laptops for high ranking officials, designing organizational websites, online exam registration and awarding contracts. Basically a system which takes someone a whole day to register her child as a new student in a public school reeks of inefficiency. Private sector organizations tend to fare better due to the management focus and profit motive. But weak regulatory controls are a concern. Personnel, infrastructure and leadership must simply deliver in the age of innovation. We must never forget that Nigeria is part of a global village – a world of global opportunities and global competition. Only the strong advance. Inefficient structures and processes will not help the country in its quest to become more globally competitive.
Are we satisfied with an economy is characterized by consumption? Nigeria rakes in serious revenue from oil, but beyond oil what does Nigeria produce? Yes, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of oil in the world. But that is not the only measure of the strength of the economy. How has this translated to jobs, poverty eradication, enterprise development, etc?. How many Nigeria participate meaningfully in this industry? There can’t be true independence with the country’s continued overdependence on oil for revenue. Does it make sense; is it sustainable for the country? The enclave economy that is only focused on oil does not foster job creation and wealth, value chain development and value add to the economy.
The aim of diversifying the economy away from oil is to open up other areas and strengthen enterprise development in a manner that ensures growth is inclusive and development oriented. Areas such as manufacturing, solid minerals, agriculture, ICT, trade and tourism need to do more. Presently structure is weak in these areas and productivity is low. The economy is import dependent, and quality of output from industry does not reflect competitiveness. All this noise about transformation – are we barking or biting?
HAVE YOUR SAY: What are your key national transformation concerns? Please share your comments, thoughts and opinions.
Innovation and Development Advisor, ICT at Jidaw
ICT Development Advisory Support and Consulting