We were having a usual conversation in one of the most cherished groups I belong to on WhatsApp recently. The conversation at this time was about the transportation industry, diving into electric cars, autonomous cars, and all that’s between that. You can guess we did mention Tesla in our conversation. ?
We concluded the conversation on a very optimistic view of the future. Few hours down the line a member of the group shared the image below with the accompanying comment.
Comment: “While the rest of the world is working on Advanced AI, Blockchain, and 5G. Nigeria is innovating Kilishi. You can’t make this shit up lol.”
This comment plus the picture motivated another member of the group to make another comment that connects the dysfunction state of Nigeria with the random conversation we were having about the transportation industry earlier.
“Talking about the auto industry this afternoon got me thinking about how most of the technologies that are being (or will be) deployed in the auto industry in the next decade or two (connectivity, autonomous driving, car-sharing/pooling, electric…) will move the world farther away from crude oil.
Yet, instead of the leaders of my 200+ million people Nation to start making serious plans for the future, they’re innovating kilishi. Issokay…”
Funny but not funny is that comment I must confess because it is both true and despicable.
Well, that motivated me to comment “short Nigeria and you will always win”.
For the uninitiated, “short Nigeria” simply means take a bet that Nigeria will lose its value over time and you will always make a gain.
The evidence of that is not far fetched I continued with my comment with the following lines:
Short Nigerian Naira, you will win
Short Nigeria All Share Index, you will win
Short, Nigerian Government Bonds, you will win
Short Nigeria Governance, you will win
Short anything that reflects Nigeria as a whole, you will win.
This is a rather saddening reality. When on earth can I (anyone) Long Nigeria?
When can I take a bet of prosperity on Nigeria?
Last year when Nigeria clocked 59, I wrote an article titled “Nigeria would have been our pride,” and in the article, I said, “but Nigeria has turned to what we must escape”.
The issue that became of this country is not something I like to much delve into. That is because talking won’t solve much of our problems if it will, we should be the most prosperous country on earth by now. We can talk.
So to my question “when can I take a prosperity bet on Nigeria?” I’m sorry to say this but maybe not in my lifetime.
Excuse me, we are debating killisi innovation when Impossible Meat is innovating with a plant-based substitute for meat that will still give the same nutrient. And you expect me to Long a country like that?
Or like my friend from the group said, “when the world is preoccupied with 5G technology, Artificial Intelligence and the Blockchain” and we are debating Killishi innovation on the floor of the highest legislative house (the Red Chamber). You really want me to take a long position on such people?
Or like my other friend said, “all technologies from IoT to autonomous driving to AI will be a catalyst for the future of transportation as we know it”, yet it doesn’t bother us as people to solve Lagos traffic responsibly and innovatively. No, you won’t want me to take a bet on such a quagmire that Nigeria has become.
The truth about this article
Listen, I started this article not knowing what direction it will take but with the hope that it will take a direction that will favour Nigeria. Unfortunately, it couldn’t. I can’t Long it. At least not in the light of the present and foreseeable future conditions.
Because of the direction it took, I had to change my inconclusive optimistic title to a conclusive title of “Short Nigeria, Long Nigerians.”
Because of the direction it took, my short position is even more grounded.
Isn’t it alarming that nothing that tracks Nigeria can be taken a bet on? Pathetic. ?.
I am not a messenger of doom
Here’s what I believe can be done as an individual of all races and sentiment.
Be the best you can possibly be under whatever circumstance you may find yourself.
Yes, your influence by being the best you could possibly be might seem insignificant on a national level. However, when you realize that Nigeria rejoices today to be associated with Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela, Chimamanda Adiche, Charles Soludo, and the likes, you will realize that being your best might just be enough contribution.
You will be proud of yourself, feed your family, and more, and you will become a national pride. Then you will agree with me that your best might just be enough.
Remember Africa as a whole claimed Elon Musk as their own when he launched Falcon 9. That’s how much reaching for your best can contribute to helping the country.
So I’m not a messenger of doom and while I can’t long Nigeria, I can Long Lagos Young Professionals Innovation Club, I can long David Alade (I have faith in me to be my best)?, I can long brilliant and hardworking individual Nigerians that I know, I can Long the great startups that are solving real societal problems.