Inaugural Address by Ndubuisi Ekekwe, President, LinkedIn Nation

Inaugural Address by Ndubuisi Ekekwe, President, LinkedIn Nation

Fellow Citizens of LinkedIn Nation,

You might have read that O.A. has chosen me as the President of our LinkedIn nation [lol]. I am honored for the confidence from our citizens. I grew up in a village and was brought up with the African values of decency, honor and service. Since I left that village for my university education in Owerri, our nation has provided immense opportunities to me. I remain grateful to our nation. But my story is not typical.

As your President, I will institutionalize great moments across homes and communities, uniting all of us to a shared vision of a great nation that is open, dynamic, prosperous and hopeful. From the lagoons of Lagos to the mangrove of Calabar, from the savanna of Yola through the plateau of Jos, to the beautiful forests of Abakiliki, men and women, boys and girls and indeed all citizens will experience unbounded optimistic future because we will serve.

I will usher a new dawn on nationalism to enable us achieve great success through societal energy. It will be based on substance, and fueled by visible economic roadmaps for all. The nationalism will bring our diasporas to return with money, investment ideas, global standards, networks and passion to build our nation. They will help develop a national pride and confidence, with skill and effectiveness, to harness our national power for national purpose, by using our cottage of intellectuals, artisans, professionals and patriots.

We have a history and we are living through one. The economic, political and institutional evolutions in our nation since oil became the mainstay of our economy remain largely non-core-market parasitic gains fueled by high oil prices. Our nation has not decoupled her fate from oil as oil still dominates our foreign earnings. The progress we have made in agriculture before the dawn of petroleum is equivalent to the progress made in our traditional African medicine which remains largely lost and undocumented.

So while we have knowledge, we have destroyed the process of our learning and experience. Years of poor policies have produced series of catastrophic convulsions that damaged our economic, agricultural, trade and intellectual capital and turned once a vibrant virtuous cycle into a vicious one.  They changed a bright modernizing economy with ruthless pragmatic agricultural program into one that cannot feed her citizens. Under my watch as your president, I will work to make our nation one that can feed not just itself but its neighbors.

I skipped meals in FUTO because it was a privilege to visit the buka three times in a day. Yet, I knew I had a privilege because not many were given that opportunity to attend a university. I want every one of us to see that no matter our conditions that many more are looking unto us. And as you do that, our government will look unto every one of us. We are one nation, bounded by the sheer power that we have the finest entrepreneurial minds in Africa. I want to tap into the skills of our fellow citizens, making sure that we can all build that nation we all deserve.

Our economy must be diversified towards evolution of potential synchronous regional growth sources across all states of our nation. This will drive an efficient, business-friendly regional system that will support the present effervescence in our economy.  A system that will move us from potentially episodic and ephemeral achievements of the present capital markets to a diffused learning that will transform artisans, traders, sculptors and farmers and move them up to learn and apply at higher levels. We will supports to small and medium enterprises (SME) across our nation. I will engineer a vibrant economy.

To build a nation, I present these pillars. I invite you to come and join this government. We will make our nation the finest where all men and women will come to cherish.

Pillar 1 – Anti-Corruption & Business Reform: We will build a corruption-free nation where it would be extremely impossible to perpetuate corruption because technology will make things obviously transparent. All government systems must be structured to be corruption-resilient so that people that want to perpetuate corruption will fail. We will publish any government expense that is more than N10 million in a web diary which all citizens will have access to. This applies to all levels in the federal government, from ministries to agencies. For national security reasons, a segment will be available to the civil society and accredited press team. Our government will improve business systems and make doing business in our nation easier.

Pillar 2 – SME Funding & Food Security: This government will fight the evils of our society which is poverty by creating jobs. I have confidence in the ingenuity of our fellow citizens and entrepreneurs to build a new nation for us. I will inject $5 billion into SMEs and agro-funding by helping them fund growths and build the future for our nation. All loans will be tied to BVN and re-payable. Any entrepreneur or company that takes the loan and refuses to pay back will be forever banned from our financial system until the person re-pays. The loan will be low interest of 3% re-payable over five years. The recouped money will be invested in new firms. The administration of this fund will go through our banking system with clear mandates on the structure and operation. This government will create two million jobs per year over the next four years. To fund this, I will tap the external reserves.  For agriculture, specifically, we will transform the sector into an enterprising sector with injection of capital for research, production, and improvement of inputs looking at capacity for 10x improvement on yields within a decade.

Pillar 3 – Power & Energy: Today, I am instituting a total deregulation in the electricity sector, making it possible for entrepreneurs to have access to metering systems. Our government will fund the meters for households.  Any energy producer with a minimum capacity of 10MW will have access to that metering system. We will make it possible for competitions to exist so that customers can receive quality service. We will have energy aggregation station and any energy entrepreneur that produces energy will be paid. We want villagers, communities and cities to have access to power.

Pillar 4- Education:  Our government will have benchmarks to improve our educational system. Our people-centric policy will use education to deepen and improve our nation’s innovation. We will improve the compensation of teachers at primary and secondary school levels and demand measurable outcomes. At the post-secondary education level, we will inject $10 billion to help us attract, retain and develop innovations that will transform our nation. Under my leadership, every kobo of this $10 billion will be accounted for. All expenses with a minimum of N10 million will be publicly accessible online in each of the schools. My government has also chosen 6 universities which we will put extra resources to ensure that we can produce one of the top five African universities on research and innovation. I want you to judge me on this promise. Part of the funding will be a total change in our tax code which will open our public schools to private sector support.

Pillar 5 – Health:  We all fall sick. Our nation historically has not served our citizens well in this area. My government will expand the use of the BVN/NIMC identification system to unleash a health insurance system in the nation. Every health system in our nation will be redesigned.  Corruption perpetuated in the healthcare sector will attract a minimum of 15 years imprisonment which will be prosecuted and completed within 3 months. This administration will require registration of all products and services sold by health institutions from pharmacists, chemists to clinics to ensure they meet a minimum level of care.  Governments working through health insurance scheme will support private sector initiatives in each ward to provide top-grade health services. For our fellow citizens that cannot pay, we will do all necessary to provide support systems to ensure that no citizen of this nation will suffer undue hardship because of financial capabilities.

Ndubuisi Ekekwe, 2010 speaking in Brown University

Pillar 6 – Security: We will not fight security of our nation with just guns and bullets. We will use opportunities, food, schools, good health centers, and more to fight them. We will address the root causes that make young people to lose hope and join gangs and terrorism.  We will not increase internal security expenditure. Rather, we will make the spending more efficient requiring the ability of EFCC, ICPC, selected Press and civil society to see any spending that is more than N10 million. We will do this while protecting national security. I have instructed the head of our defense that 10% of all security systems and solutions must be sourced locally. We are confident resources will be made available to build indigenous capabilities in this sector. In the time of war, some industries arise. We will use our manpower and companies to support our defense and security nexus. I want the equipment made in our nation: from 10% of all defense budget, we will move to 25%.

You might have noticed that some sectors like Transport and Land Reforms were not included. We are not ignoring them. We will tenaciously address the challenges therein but we want to start with these Six Pillars which are going to be catalytic to other areas.

Over the next few days, we would be publishing more detailed Action Plans & Roadmaps [see the Comment section for skeletal view]. I invite you to read them and connect as we build our nation. Believe in our nation!

May God Bless Our Nation.

Thank you.

Ndubuisi Ekekwe


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26 thoughts on “Inaugural Address by Ndubuisi Ekekwe, President, LinkedIn Nation

  1. Thank you Mr. President for this well articulated master piece. May your days be long, may hands be strengthened and may your vision be clearer.

    Reply
  2. Pillar 1 is nothing short of revolutionary!

    @Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe, I’ve just read the Pillars 1-6. Well done for such thoughtfulness and scholarship. This is the kind of mindset we need in this country, and many of it, to move forward. We are already too late! Latecomers! No more time to waste!

    So, I would only advise that to add more credibility to these pillar proposals, would it be possible to work out too a proposal of the Naira & kobo where the resources will come from to tackle these proposed ventures?

    If one likes, it’s like a business case to a bank. Figures must be attached to the bank! Then people will evaluate for themselves.

    Next, timelines for accomplishing each segment is also a good practice. These will serve as the performance indicators where the president’s success can at least be measured!

    Reply
    1. Certainly, the Action Plans & Roadmap I had noted at the concluding section will be an operational document. The piece as noted is strategic [I wrote this within 35 minutes. Of course, one will put more details for a real case]. In the operation documents, we will go into more boring elements like cost, date, and execution plan. Of course, I am not going to develop them here but I knew questions like this will come. But to provide guidance, read below:

      Pillar 1 will take less than $75M to develop (design, equipment, implementation, training, etc) and can be implemented within 6 months. The business reforms we need can happen within 12 months by working with the National Assembly. We will focus on the main critical ones. The money will come from the national budget assuming the ~$30B we do today stays.

      Pillar 2 funding will come from the foreign reserves. I have made it clear that I will tap from it to help fund growth and innovation. We will get the system running within 6 months. We can also do loan guarantees where companies that invest based on our mandates will be backed by the sovereign power of the nation. Doing that will unlock even $20 billion. So, if you follow our template, invests and lose money, we will make up. I had advocated that we provide tax holiday to venture funds, P.E. etc. Using the back-up and tax reform will make it that we will not have to tap the foreign reserve for this pillar.

      Pillar 3 does not need any special funding. We will go with Executive Order from the Presidency. There may be legal issues with DISCOs but we will work with them to buy-out those constraints if necessary. The key is to make sure that we have a dynamic power sector. I expect this to happen within 6 months and to cost $1.5 billion (30M households x $50 per meter). Decentralization is very important and we will open the meters up to mini-entrepreneurs to help.

      Pillar 4 – the tax change should not take 6 months to be rewritten. I do have a clear template of how this will work. I will personally write it for the National Assembly. Overall, I will take loans from World Bank and also pick money from the foreign reserves. My thesis is that if we take a total of $15B, and innovatively redesign the nation, we can recoup that. Within two years, we will see real impacts but 4 years will be optimal for visible change where depts of agriculture will help local economies, etc.

      Pillar 5 will need the private sector but with government backing. By having more mandates, we will increase pool making the sector more attractive. And by removing inefficiencies, we can engineern productivity. We have some pieces and funding for this is fused into the education one. Across all levels, within 3 years we will see improvements. A key is use of BVN to track and enforce laws. I will be open to ask private sector working with health insurers to take territories to penetrate wards, LGAs, etc.

      Pillar 6 – no new fund would be spent that current level in our budget. I expect to see major companies within 4 years that will generate revenues of at least N500B (cumulative) when we commit ~ 10-25% of all our defense spending locally. By having power, good business climate, local security and defense companies will emerge to take over these opportunities. I expect them to create employments, generate tax revenue, improve communities, etc. The local companies must not be indigenously Nigerian. We can have foreigners move here and build factories here to serve our local defense needs.

      Reply
  3. Indeed you are an outstanding scholar among the existing ones….with few of your type, there is hope for our nation. May the lord continue to increase your wisdom and guide you throughout the contours of every responsibility trusted you with.

    Reply
  4. Well articulated sir. Your articles are quite insightful. How I wish?

    A permissioned BC technology will easily take care of Pillar 1.

    Reply
      1. There are many elements to that. Blockchain could play a role. But besides blockchain, we can start in very simple ways. I do believe that if all contracts (non-security) are made public, in sensible ways, we can remake Nigeria. Blockchain may complicate things as we need this to work from LGA to federal.

        Reply
  5. Let me start by saying what a courageous and ambitious effort this is. Certainly the thought process is in the right direction: controls, electronic buying & monitoring, standing-in-the-future rather than complain about the past etc.

    Permit me however to pick a number of holes in the proposed strategy particularly in the slide presentation. I will only hit the bullets and make cursory efforts to explain my points.

    Controls, Compliance & Ethics (CCE):
    This is where it starts from (but is it?). A strategic sourcing deep dive into these 3 will help avoid sure pit falls I see from the proposed strategy. Aha! Strategy…then Tactics and finally Operations! That is the true start. I will only dabble in and out to show which is which. Back to CCE. We do not exactly have a dearth of policies in Nigeria. Public procurement is not left out. But fitness for the purpose is another thing. I personally teach that Procurement is all about SPEND. Other parts of an organization can focus on the revenue. But Procurement is about SPEND. Controlling SPEND is therefore the primary work of Procurement folks. But they can’t do that without having The authority to determine which controls are in place and how they should work. The president of every nation is also its Chief Procurement Officer because he is ultimately responsible for how money (actual cash, leverage, discount, rebates, bonuses, goodwill etc) is spent.

    Too detailed. But my point is that eProcurement, cloud computing and the entire works are not entirely new and have been proposed to government a number of times. As with business organizations, the first thing that makes procurement work is the commitment of the number one person and whether they have a seat at ththe decision making table. It is no different in public procurement. Until the president sees himself as the CPO and/or a seat is given ‘at the table’, the strategic nature of SPEND mgt & control will only be seen as mere tactics or a new style the government is using to forward their own ideas and will definitely become ineffective mid-way.

    Strategy, Tactics & Operations

    Strategy- WHAT do we need to DO to achieve the goal of controlling and better managing our National SPEND?

    TACTICS- HOW can we DO this using various contemporary & fit for purpose tools and techniques without just moving from a paper process to an electronic one with structural changes?

    OPERATIONS- DO. People will ultimately operate the system(s)…but only when they ‘own’ it.

    I have not even addressed the strategy/strategies proposed here and how it will merely mean ‘more of the same’ rather than the step change that it is supposed to be.

    I guess practicing & teaching the subject plus my foray into Nigerian politics informs my cautious optimism.

    Can’t & won’t exhaust it here, but here’s the summary of what I have said: the thought process is headed in the right direct, is not new but will require several detours from this proposed roadmap to deliver on anything effective given the requirements of deploying a strategic sourcing model on a large scale, the complexity of our polity (& politics), the need to get this right (& not allow it end up another white elephant), and the HUGE opportunities from a successful & sustained deployment.

    I’m just another FUTOite, village boy, strategic sourcing egg-head, politician (guilty as charged, but only by association…I am the solution part) & fellow Nigerian citizen.

    Nigeria is a great nation ??

    Reply
    1. Adeyinka, on the video, I think you are muddling things. You have two main points – Approval and Procurement integrity. In the Approval, there is a budget reconciliation which validates the need. Let us assume that anything gets into that budget. The Control comes by making sure no one spends more than the cost-window. For example, as explained, you cannot buy Honda Camry for N12m when another agency just bought same for N10m within the same time. The CBN will see the alert and stop the transaction, offering to help to supply that car from the person that supplied at N10m and overruled the N12m contract.

      Then when that car is bought, there is a memory to know that unless it is depreciated, that request cannot pass through the system. That is where approval and integrity come in.

      Our challenge is that we do not link the pieces together. Note this: if every procurement in Nigeria is made public [except defense as noted], the controls will take care of themselves. Unlike in the past where agencies spent N13 million for Facebook Page setup, the DG will come and explain. And with all corruption cases pegged at 3 months, the time to acquittal and conviction will not take time.

      Sure – we can improve my proposal. See this as a 35-minute effort. Certainly, on the main board, one will think deeper and also get people like you to make the idea better.

      Reply
      1. Hi Bro, You probably noticed I focused on the Procurement presentation ONLY.

        I’m just thinking SPEND management. The work is truly in the details. Noteworthy though that allowing de-centralized agency purchases (as you’ve enumerated) without using volume discount leverage (amongst others) leaves some benefits on the table. But it’s just a quick overview you have provided here.

        Budgeting approach (my preference is zero based budgeting) also matters.

        Approvals? Not an issue if it’s an electronic set up. Rest my case for now.

        I earnestly look forward to lending my 2cent to make Naija better.

        Reply
        1. We are not advocating “de-centralized agency” purchasing. We do assume that nothing changes in the current structure. However, the point is that payment will be centralized with all historical data examined before new buys. If you look at it well, we are simply trying to make payment to have memory so that you do not buy a car for N12m and next week pay N16m for the same car for another agency. When you have memory in systems, even approvals evolve. If a DG approves for a car to be bought for N16m when a similar one was bought for N12m, the system can overrule that DG offering to ask the guy that supplied at N12m to supply instead. On budgeting, you are right. If you check, some MDAs buy computers same year. That will not happen unless they have new staff. You can only do that if you have memory in the system. Sure, that was just a short video which I never want to make long so that people can watch them. We have a detailed roadmap on this. Thanks for commenting and sharing these insights

          Reply
  6. sometimes i wonder if, you have a software that writes for you, hahaha. I am impressed.
    one question please; how can we move our palm oils and other agric produces to where they can be sold. we need train.

    Reply
  7. Prof! I celebrate your wit.

    I look forward to seeing your 6 pillars becoming a physical reality from July 2019.

    I celebrate you for not forgetting your source, daily updating us like pilot with the altitude at which we are flying and the attitude that we must exude in turning our obstacles to opportunities. Indeed Africa problems can be solve by Africans.

    Merci beaucoup Sir.

    Reply
      1. We have no other nation. By Gods grace, we will fix Nigeria. I am glad seeing all the input, Prof you are already on the path of contributing your own quota to fixing our Nation. Hopefully many others will join and little by little a community of positive change MOVERS would ARISE.

        Reply
  8. I am afraid that come 2019, many of our uneducated polipolitic will plagiarize this information without editing any. Nevertheless, this is a good roadmap to work with

    Reply

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