Nigerian young people, there is a promise. I am an optimist – tomorrow will always be better. I saw this data a few hours ago, and I am sharing it to draw a lesson for Nigeria. Today, China has more billionaires than any country in the world including the US. Though the U.S. has more heavy-hitters, the data does not lie: a new group of 257 billionaires (in US dollar terms) were added to the annually released Hurun China Rich List. In other words, China minted 257 billionaires in the last 12 months! With that record, China has overtaken the US. China has more than 800 people in the club while the U.S. has less than 700!
Then, the big one: how long did it take China? I refer you to this I wrote in Harvard. It did not take that much time. China has a playbook and is executing that playbook. It takes it one by one, every 5 years while looking deep into the future.
The world is on pause (literally) as everyone waits for the details of China’s 14th five-year plan. With massive global dislocation triggered by Covid-19, China can exploit many comparative advantages to accelerate its ascension at a rate the world has not witnessed before. So, watch out how China begins to build an economy that does not need the world to thrive but would be indispensable for the world. As the world’s largest exporter, the world runs on China and this new five-year plan could push the equilibrium more to China’s favour.
That brings me to Nigeria. Our compatriots have died in the course of fighting for a better future for us. There is one way we will honour them: during the 2023 election, we MUST drop tribes, drop religion and those things which divide us, and vote for the most competent persons. This protest was united across age brackets, tribes, religions, etc because brutality and hunger do not respect those elements.
I do hope during elections, none will see Kunle, Adamu, Effiong, Ada, etc but capabilities. If we do that, Nigeria will begin to change. We may not get to China’s level immediately, but any impact of good leadership compounds. I challenge us to remember Oct 2020 even as we wait for 2023 elections to come!