We must design the future and the right people should be on board, writes Joshua J. Omojuwa

Nigeria’s got numerous challenges. Increasing poverty, depleting reserves, rising insecurity, a birth rate that can’t match its growth rate, rising debts, the ever present corruption, deplorable state of education (and low per capita national comprehension ability), amongst other challenges. It must be noted, that Nigeria was not on some Harvard Business School global immersion course is not a reflection of its challenges like a former presidential candidate wanted his Twitter followers to believe. That attitude, of knocking Nigeria even in situations that absolutely do not warrant it, is one of the greatest challenges faced by our dear nation. At every given chance, Nigeria gets knocks from those who ought to show some introspection for their role in the state of the country.

How does a major presidential candidate knock his own country for a decision that was made primarily via algorithm? Ghana was on the list. It used to be the darling of people who love the sport of knocking Nigeria. At least,now, no sane person is making Ghana an example for Nigeria today. National development is not a sport for charlatans. We’ve got to get serious, especially those promising to deliver Nigeria’s much needed paradigm shift. Let’s hope that we can elevate the Nigerian conversation above being concerned about things that hold zero water, amidst all the challenges and opportunities to intervene in the many subject matters.

The truth is, Nigeria needs all hands on deck. The origin of this idiom could help with its connotative essence for the times Nigeria has found itself in. It is a term with its origins from the Navy and the maritime industry. It is a call to action, for everyone to get on board, especially at a time of urgency and critical situations. At that call, every crew member understands that they are needed for the task at hand. It also emphasizes the importance of teamwork and collective action. The phrase has since been adapted into everyday conversation.

In Nigeria, the Adeleke family has shown us what it means for everyone to get on board a common cause. During the campaign for the election, Senator Ademola Adeleke was the candidate. Naturally, he did all he could to get elected. Then, he had the billions and strategic expertise of Adedeji Adeleke to call on. Amidst this, there was the all-important star power and street credibility of David Adeleke, that’s Davido. An understated bit of that collective force is the critical role played by Yeyeluwa Modupeola Adeleke-Sanni. She was the calming presence and matriarch that ensured the ship stayed afloat.

It is said that you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. However, in this case, these elements of the Adeleke campaign has proven effective in governance. Whilst not holding official positions, they have all brought different elements and capacities to ensure the administration succeeds. All hands on deck. This is not to be taken for granted, especially as even in the Adeleke example, they still had one or two family members who played to undermine the cause. Ultimately, they had the needed mass to achieve their objective.

In Nigeria, we are all not Adelekes, but we are all Nigerians. we can learn from their historic commitment to building bridges across the country, especially via marriage and their understanding of the power of a collective that works together.

We have more than enough reason to get things in order. For once, we have a government with the requisite political will to make things happen. Sadly though, we cannot say the same for the availability of capacity. Dr Joe Abah suggested this gap. He said that we’ve mostly suffered for political will amidst capacity, and found it unfortunate that now that we found the political will, we haven’t optimized for capacity. That is a challenge for President Bola Tinubu to take on. He clearly means well. However, good intentions are never enough.

All hands on deck? It must start with the president’s core team. The all-important fulcrum that’d drive his agenda. In that sense, some seven or so people that he’d consider essential elements in driving his reforms. There is an urgent need for a Project Management approach to policy formulation, delivery and review. Nigeria must run more as a business than a political contraption. In that sense, as an office holder, if you can’t show and tell how your work is helping the country create wealth, you have no business spending a day more in that office.

As a country, time is running out on us. We are as far away from 2050 as we are from 1999. Considering how far we haven’t gone since 1999 despite our promises, potential, and efforts, it simply means that we cannot take it for granted that we’d have made ample progress by 2050. We must design the future and then commit to that design by getting the right people on board, handing them a mandate, and periodically reviewing how they are keeping track of their expectations and delivery.

Let it not be assumed that we need literally everyone to get on board the task of creating wealth and prosperity for a safe and secure Nigeria. We do not. Saboteurs are as much a feature of every country as the name countries bear. We just need a lot more Nigerians believing in the country. Ready to ask better of their government when needed — in our case these days, every time —, never hesitant to celebrate the country’s progress instead of pretending not to see anything, until there’s a negative story to amplify.

Isn’t it shocking that the same Nigerians who complain about how weak our passport is cannot draw a line between what some of our people are doing in our name abroad and the consequences of their actions on the rest of us? There is a role for government to play in this case as in most other cases, however, that we are here today cannot be just because we have mostly had bad governments. We must ask questions of ourselves too.

 Omojuwa is chief strategist, Alpha Reach/BGX Publishing

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