This is a Short Note.
Just thinking about it, America and Nigeria share many things in common. I have lived in four states in U.S. and have experienced the diversity of its economic systems. In Alabama, you have the farms with extremely affordable food. As California creates its technology startups, New York is setting the pace of global financial innovations. You cannot forget Texas, with its energy leadership, even as Florida makes itself a place to go and relax. That diversity of America is what makes it great.
Sharing a story with a friend on how I used to buy a whole chicken for 65 cents in Alabama as a student, he told me that I was even wasting money. Apparently, going to the farms, you could get the chickens far cheaper. Potatoes were largely free. You could get it for free by welcoming farmers returning from farms every Friday, as a student. Alabama contributes to U.S. food security.
Florida is a destination for people to come and spend their money. It makes itself a heaven on earth depending on how you look at it.
Truth be told, the way America is wired is largely similar to the way Nigeria exists. The only problem is that the latter has not unlocked the opportunities in its systems. Kano is Nigeria’s Alabama for food. Chicago reminds me of mercantile and trade, just as Aba and Onitsha. I know that Lagos is our New York, a center of excellence in finance. Port Harcourt or Warri is there as our seat of energy, representing Houston, Texas. Calabar and Jos could be the beautiful Miami and Orlando (all in Florida).
There is nothing you can find in America that Nigeria does not have. In our case, we are missing leadership which can help redesign the country and unlock the opportunities. That we have Kano, Lagos, Aba, Calabar and other great cities are opportunities. That is why I do think Nigeria represents strength as one nation. We cannot be forgotten if we band together. With that diversity, we can manage challenges, compensating for the cyclical movements in industries and markets, if only there is a leader that can harness them.
Knowledge will rule modern man and this knowledge is new, fresh and combative. Since Adam Smith’s ‘Wealth of Nations’, there has never been a more urgent time in the history of man where innovative economic and political leadership is required of leaders. The reason is simple; globalization makes it difficult to control factors like trade and labor, which hitherto, could be easily controlled to the advantages of nations. Because of the “new continent”, Internet, only nations with dynamic and insightful leadership can prosper.
This is Nigeria’s time and we need to do whatever is necessary to unlock the opportunities in our national diversity. Wasting the immense opportunities of a highly blessed nation is a shame to our generation. Yet, we still have time to correct whatever that needs to be fixed.