I know you co-founded the boring company but I promise not to bore you with pleasantries, I would go straight to the point. I chose to write this letter to you because you are a “rocket science” man and I would be talking a lot about “rocket science” in this letter as it relates to my dear country; Nigeria.
I wish your rocket science was the same definition as ours in my country, I mean you launched Space x project and successfully launched a rocket into space that could be re-used and it took you less than 10 years to figure out how to make it work. That is genius, a feat that must be celebrated, a laudable achievement but as I said earlier in my country that is really no “rocket science”.
Let me attempt to explain rocket science for you; there is a stretch of 129.9 kilometers (79.3 miles) to and from route we call Lagos-Ibadan expressway; the said road has been under repair (please note repairs not construction) since about 1999 and now 20years later it is still under repair, I must re-emphasize that the same repair that started in 1999 wasn’t completed and another one started, no! The road has not been fully repaired for 20 whole years! That’s “Rocket Science!”
Since I am on the issue of roads let me go further, a dear friend of mine Adeteju told me a story about when she was about to start Secondary School (you most likely know it as High School), the then government was beginning construction of a road from Ibadan to Ilorin and vice-versa (164.5km stretch), the then existing road was very narrow, bad and accident prone and her dad was very happy when the construction started saying “thank God this road is being constructed, this would ease your journeys to and from school, make it safer, shorter and less stressful” (Paraphrased), the road till date has not been fully completed, about half stretch of it was completed after a very long time and the stretch at the moment now needs urgent repairs less than a decade after it was constructed.
To put in context, my friend has since completed high school (6 years), completed her first degree (which for the Nigerian factor was for about 7years for a 5years course which is a 3years course in your country) and she also had a year gap between Sec School and joining University), she has completed her 1-year mandatory service and has been actively employed for well over 4 years. That is indeed some “Rocket Science”
Elon I am sure for the SpaceX project, from the start date of the project and company till present date you can give me in specific terms amount spent and also rough estimate of budget and projections of spending for years to come. For the two combined projects I mentioned earlier, well over $10billion has been spent so far with no cap as to what could be further spent, trust me for these two I mentioned, there is at least 1 similar case in the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory. In a nutshell, one of the “rocket science” in my country is road constructions and repairs. The science can be drilled further and we see at the base a distorted, corrupt procurement system.
I promised not to bore you earlier but since you are a huge player in the power sector under Tesla I thought to quickly mention another “science that has defied logic” as much as “space defies gravity” in my country. The rocket science of power generation, transmission and distribution.
For over 20years we have the power plants to generate about 12,500MW of electric power but have been on a maximum cap of 4000MW and we need an estimated 180,000MW of electric power to completely service Nigeria. The fact is that the maximum we ever generated was 5150MW in 1980. We have the resources needed in abundance, we have a lot of gas, we have so much sun that could power states but somehow due to the “complexity of power” and the “rocket science” involved that cannot be solved by “mere mortals” for 20 years we have not been able to “launch into space”. What greater “rocket science” could there be Elon?
Elon, I could go on and on about the impossible science of infrastructure, of the insurmountable health science, the inexhaustible education challenges and so on but I believe you already get the point. We actually need to start discussion on the real rocket science and need to leave the very basic discussion such as roads, power and health as they should be a given to any forward-thinking country. It took Japan 6 days to reconstruct a whole network of roads after the Tsunami, took Indonesia 8 years to journey from disaster to recovery. I would attempt not to even imagine such disasters happening in Nigeria.
I am actually writing to you because in your model I see a journey to recovery, in following closely your “rocket science” journey and experience we could rise from the ashes and build our Nation again. I believe you would say “If Nigeria is really important enough to us then even with the odds not in our favor (which I think they are) we must act”, and like you also say “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability would occur”
Elon, thank you so much for your time and listening ears, I would write a follow up letter to my country Nigeria on the “Elon Musk model” we could adopt to be better for it but even as I prepare my case, dot my “I”s and cross my “T”s, I would be glad if you could share an advise or two on things that worked for you and how you would advise we plan and strategize out of this state we are. I really hope this was not boring (pun intended)
P.S: Perhaps we could outsource our road construction to The Boring Company, thankfully then we can use one-third of the budget, and complete the projects in one-eight the duration proposed.