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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Ingredients for national prosperity

Bayo Fasuwon

Let us stop to ask certain pertinent questions with regards to our country. Why would people sell their rights to choose rationally, and succumb to the lure of money in deciding their choice at elections? Why are people so eager to join dissidents and make life a living hell for others in Nigeria? Why are we less concerned about corruption, but more concerned that some people are more corrupt than others? The answer to this question is frustration.

Many Nigerians are already frustrated and are ready to show their resentment through any delinquent means to the powers that be. Death has become so common in the country that it is no longer a deterring factor against criminality in the country. Therefore, it is common to hear Nigerians mutter under their heavy burdens that ‘something must kill man’.

The job seekers are frustrated at the unemployed status, the young women are frustrated that there seems to be few men committed to tying the knot; and the men are frustrated that their authority is being contested due to their incapacitated pockets. Poverty is the substructure of the frustrations, and thus the aggressive delinquent behavioural manifestations of Nigerians.

Many are like the widow of Zarephath, hence are willing to sell their votes, get the meal for the week, and afterwards get ready to die. The self-made mercenaries of the Northern and Eastern descents are happy to take up arms, terrorise their fellow homo sapiens, and willing to get killed in the process because their daily bread is assured. The irony of poverty in Nigeria is that both the working and non-working Nigerians are generally poor. Save for corruption and the incidence of the yahoo boys and benefit girls, sad to say, everybody would have declared bankruptcy.

What causes poverty? The perception that poverty is caused by wrong thoughts, and indolence has long been debunked by research. Thoughts are no longer the determinants of the social existence of people, rather the social existence determines our thoughts. It takes a fed soul to think developmental thoughts, as the unfed would constantly channel their thoughts towards getting food for the belly. Poverty in Nigeria is induced by leaders whose poverty of the soul had made agents of excruciating pain. Any nation that wants to end poverty must have four things in place.

These four ingredients must be in constant supply, and revolving in order to ensure that any political system would be rid of poverty in the long run. Firstly, education is essential for wealth creation. The saying that my people perish for lack of knowledge is valid when it comes to bringing a halt to widespread poverty.

It was in view of this that the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo insisted on free education and the education of all in Mathematics and English. Prosperous nations of the world celebrate and encourage the provision of qualitative education to her nationals. Every poor country has this one thing in common: a huge population of uneducated and uninformed citizens. The education sector is the custodian of the knowledge that is needed for the critical translation of the country from poverty to wealth.

As many are being educated, these would in turn generate ideas that would create the needed development. The tertiary institutions are meant to interrogate existing knowledge, make new discoveries, relay to government, entrepreneurs and investors to utilize and generate wealth. It is however unfortunate that these important institutions have been under lock and key since February, thereby locking the nation’s wealth producing industry.

Even the primary and secondary schools have curriculums do not produce thinkers and inventors, but rather dependents who exacerbate poverty. Some have argued that since we have leaders who do not have or had lost their certificates of education, those in power may actually be ignorant of the value of education to nation growth.

Secondly, the availability of credit facilities is a vital tool for eradicating poverty. Every developed country operates on effective and efficient credit facilities to her citizens for economic expansion, business enlargement and national development. Many even have credit facilities for students to help pursue their educational visions, and at the same time create avenues for them to work in order to raise funds that would alleviate their poverty while studying. The warped idea in Nigeria is that government must borrow huge sums of money from local and international lenders for ‘infrastructural development’ and of course corruption.

The banks in Nigeria are mostly established as Sherlock institutions that are ready to take from their customers, then giving credit facilities, with favourable enterprises development agenda. This lack of funds ensure that SMEs remain retarded in their growth, and thus their products, suffering from access to better tools remain inferior and unpatronised. Hence, the enterprises die. Synonymous to this, is that government erroneously think that workers’ salaries can be mopped up to finance ‘developmental capital project’.

Often times, these projects do not pass the test of time, and often need more funds to re-work. The workers are pseudo financiers of the informal sector. Especially, government workers are the source of income of artisans, market women and even the aged when paid. Salaries have trickle down effects, hence in any State of the Federation, or country in which salaries are withheld, the volatility affects the economy, making it redundant, unproductive and recessional. When the purchasing power of workers are enhanced and uninhibited, many small-scaleenterprises would benefit, and as long as there is the free circulation of currencies, then such monies when engaged are able to produce more in profits and qualitative goods.

Thirdly, a productive friendly environment enhances the prosperity of the nation and or political system. The friendly environment includes the creation of a tourist attractive environment. This would inevitably attract local and international tourists and investors into the Nigeria economy. Such as it is the case in countries where our leaders seek refuge, health excursions, and leisure, there must be deliberate intensified efforts at creating a beautiful and attracting environment.

Creating such an environment however demands a proactive and productive security programmes that ensures the safety of lives and property in every area of the country. Unfortunately, with the spread of terrorists attacks, and unbridled banditry, the nation still has many rivers to cross. Furthermore, in order to enhance this tourist and investment friendly environment, government must ensure that the nation has positive global publicity.

The nation and nationals need to ensure that the news that go viral about the people and nation must be such that encourages foreigners to visit. The nation and the people who reside in these Tourist Sites would have access to funds from visitors that would enhance the economy.

Finally, government must have the intention and attendant policy of making Nigerians rich. The unwritten credo of making people poor in order to make them easy to control must give way to the proclamation of the credo of making people wealthy to create national wealth and loyalty to the nation.

When government’s intention is to make the generality of the people, as against as selecting a few for prosperity would greatly help in redistributing wealth as well as generating wealth for better uses. Certain policies on agriculture, health education and national development would spontaneously emerge once the underlining intention and vision is the prosperity of the people. Therefore, the time is ripe for elected representatives to vigorously pursue the general prosperity of the people for a better well-nourished and prosperous nation to emerge. Together, poverty can be defeated.

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