“WHEN we innovate, we
create millions of jobs, we
build the companies that
lead the world, we are
healthier, and we make our
lives more productive”, this
was written by Bill Gates
on accelerating innovation
with leadership. Moving
Nigeriato the status of a First
World nation is a challenge
any willing leader should
love to take on. Blessed
with natural resources and
a large population, Nigeria
has the potential to compete
with other nations of the
world in any sector, but we
need first to put our home
in order by diversifying our
economy, and restructuring
our institutions to cover up
the loopholes that allow for
corruption.
To move Nigeria from
being a third world country
to a first world nation, a
leader should in no particular
order, invest in education,
increase the manufacturing
capacity of the nation,
remove the hurdles facing
entrepreneurs, provide basic
infrastructure that propel a
nation’s growth, be dedicated
to providing statistics
and information, promote
mining and agriculture,
make the environment
tourist-friendly, promote
the numerous traditions we
have in Nigeria and most
importantly, invest in and
support innovation.
Every sector in present day
Nigeriahas decayed and the
most delicate of all, which
is the education sector has
suffered the most. Investing
in education should be top
priority in moving Nigeria
to the status of a first
world nation. Taking a cue
from first world nations like
Luxembourg, Singapore, and
Switzerland which have 59.6%,
54.7% and 51.3% respectively
of people in high-skilled
employment, according to the
Human Capital Index 2015.
A leader should educate the
population to the extent of
attaining at least 99% literacy
rate and 80% of high-skilled
citizens. This can be done by
revamping the educational
system of the country. Firstly,
all the syllabuses in Nigerian
schools should be reviewed,
especially in the universities,
in such a way that they should
meet up with the current
international standards and
subsequently set the standards
for syllabuses around the
world. Also by improving
the researching capacity of
our universities and making
them more practical oriented
than they currently are.
Then go ahead to remove the
numerous hurdles students
face while trying to get into
the universities by creating a
system whereby students can
apply to as many universities
as they wish in other to give
them more options and reduce
the number of high school
graduates lurking the streets.
An educated population
can propel innovation and
turn out good leaders, and
this combination is what is
needed to move Nigeria to the
status of a first world country.
Innovation makes a country
competitive in the global
market.
A testimony to the massive
effect that the availability
of basic infrastructure can
have on the economy of a
nation or state is Lagos State,
Nigeria. The government
of Lagos Stateover the past
couple of years have invested
heavily on roads and good
transportation system and
thus the state has experienced
consistent growth making it
the fifth largest economy in
Africa, if it were a country,
according to Wikipedia. To
move Nigeria to the status of a
first world nation there should
be focus on provision of basic
infrastructure. This should be
done by investing in a good
transport system that should
not only connect people with
their destinations across the
country but connect them as
quickly as humanly possible,
in other to save time which
ultimately benefits businesses
in the country.
Also, investing heavily
on power so that the nation
becomes a nation of light.
To do this a pubic private
partnership should be started
on electricity generation, as
well as allowing each state to
generate electricity if it can,
while holding on to distribution
and price regulation to protect
the citizens. Furthermore,
there should be adequate
security by making provision
for state policing while putting
them under the watchful eyes
of security agencies under
the control of the Federal
Government. Adequate
security would go a long way
as it would lay to rest the
fears of tourists and foreign
investors alike. Other basic
infrastructure that should
be provided include, proper
water supply channel and good
drainage to prevent flood.
Also, a lot of focus should be
placed on the manufacturing
industries. Nigeria is nowhere
near being a first world
nation when it comes to
manufacturing. The country
can barely boast of competitive
or prospering automobile
manufacturing companies,
electronics manufacturing
companies, aircraft manufacturing companies,
among others. In this regard,
a leader should first create a
fund that will be accessible
to all entrepreneurs who are
interested in manufacturing,
reduce or remove taxes on
start-ups, reduce taxes on
foreign companies that have
their manufacturing done
in Nigeria, increase taxes on
imported goods and limit
the amount of goods that can
be imported thereby forcing
up prices of such goods and
making them less competitive.
Also, invest in research
institutions.
The political environment
of the nation cannot be
overlooked when it comes
to development and making
Nigeria a first world nation.
Nigeria claims to be practising
federalism but that is far from
the truth. Every state in the
federation should become selfsufficient,
the states should
be given more powers which
will be checked by the Federal
Government. States should be
given control of the natural
resources embedded in their
soils, they should trade these
resources and a percentage
should be sent to the Federal
Government. That way there
would be competition among
the states and that would
foster development. Tourism is
the main source of income and
employment for countries like
Macau, Seychelles, Cayman
Island, Tanzania, and many
other nations.
According to UNWTO’s
Tourism Barometer, tourists
spent $126.2 billion in the United
Statesin 2012. Nigeriabeing
a nation occupied by over
two hundred and fifty tribes
provides a lot to be seen and
learnt from the history, dialect,
delicacy and culture of these
different people. Investing
in promoting the heritage of all tribes should be of top
priority, creating museums
to house and showcase the
history of the people of each
tribe, organising festivals for
each tribe around the year,
advertising age-long festivals
and the history behind them
on international media.
Investing in beautification of
the environment to portray
the history of the inhabitants,
providing schools to teach
foreigners the language of
any place or tribe they would
like to visit, protecting
landmarks and age long sites.
With adequate security, a
stable political environment,
basic infrastructure and well
beautified environment,
Nigeria can tap into the
wealth of the ever growing
world of tourism.
The role of statistics in
development can never be
over stated. Government,
investors, large businesses,
small businesses and tourists
all need statistics that they
can rely on to make decisions
on their relationship with
the country. A leader should
invest in making sure that
the National Bureau of
Statistics is well funded to
provide regular statistics
on the death rate, birth
rate, national debt, national
resources, level of poverty,
level of inequality, and
other information needed
by all the stakeholders in the
economy. This way proper
planning can be made which
ultimately brings about
progress and development.
Nigeria has the potential
and can be a first world
country with dedicated
leadership.
*Moyinoluwa writes from
YABATECH, Lagos

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