The people of Nigeria have prioritized three action areas for our leadership to pursue:
1. Electric PowerThe current administration aims to attract foreign investment to the power sector. The plan is laudable, but the reform should be led by an expert at deregulation, who is wholly committed to fairness (hint: Ndukwe over Nnaji). Also, the insistence on a transmission monopoly is wrongheaded; please liberalize everything.
2. Better GovernmentAt the national level, Nigeria needs a technocracy – leadership by those with know-how. At the local and state level too, the quality of candidates must rise. Good people (such as yourself) must offer themselves for service.
To destroy the corrupt culture, known looters must be punished. We must commit to anti-fraud practices, such as service automation, forensic accounting, and public oversight.
3. Job creationTo create jobs, we need more risk-takers over job-seekers. They must be provided with capital, often micro-capital. We need access to overseas markets, and better transport and communication networks for local trade. Our education must give effective preparation.
My 2008 essay highlighted some problem areas. Since that time, many programs sprouted to train youth for leadership and entrepreneurship, and Lagos State Government massively improved that city. On the other hand, corruption remains an issue, and religion remains a source of deadly conflict. The arts flower tentatively, with recent successes in film, music, festival, and literary production. Civil society is awakening; citizens stage the occasional protest, only to find that their voices DO count.
As black people, we will continue to define success on our terms: rooted in universal principles, founded on a sense of our history, and in harmony with other cultures. Our quest for a better society will find us copying success stories, for example, an African Union patterned after the European Union; Institutes like the IITs that produced the high-tech workforce of India; press freedom and open government as in Scandinavia; and sovereign wealth management as in the Arabian Gulf. At other times we will walk our own path, for example: doctors favoring homeopathy, legislators working part-time, engineers for reforestation, agricultural chic, and Imams for Jesus.