HOPE 2023: Allowing the giant to rise and shine
May 15, 2023120 views0 comments
BY CHARLES ODION IYORE
Charles Iyore, a partner at DNA Capital, writes from Darenth Kent, England. He can be reached by email at Dioncta@aol.com and +447932945002 (text only)
John Oakenfold described Nigeria to me in 1983, as a sleeping giant, saying she has all it takes to be great, but will not wake up to action. Waking up is a simple action of living organisms and opens up the opportunities of a new day. In short, that action of waking up, renews the hope of the day. Every day you do not rise is a wasted day.
Those who do not rise early, or are groggy when they do, may have been sedated. What then has sedated Nigeria for over 62 years and made her unable to rise and shine?
Again, is it also possible that Africa remains sedated because the cock (Nigeria) has not crowed, to set the dawn?
My take is that our sedation is the many control freaks who refuse to allow the very well designed administrative structures to optimise in performance. With all unit leaders trying to carve out fiefdoms, movement as a nation has become difficult if not impossible.
That desire for control, reached new heights under the military leadership, which the new crop of civilian leaders is in no hurry to be weaned-off. Quite frankly, therein lies the rub of our pathetic situation.
This then brings to mind why the United States of America describes political leadership tenures as administrations. Their governance battles are between those who allow the administrative structures to work and those who want to control everything, as in the nanny state. That difference in approach to governance has continued to narrow, with every cycle of leadership. The same is the case with the United Kingdom, where Margaret Thatcher, tore down the divides of ideological differences and promoted “Opportunity Britain” with a well thought through privatisation programme, that has put national fiscal consolidation over the old tax rate wars.
The sedation of control freaks on nations, comes out of their leaders’ preoccupation with funny notions of loyalty, a preoccupation that soon takes them hostage as they become insular to the yearnings of the commoners. The court of carpet baggers (rent seekers) that emerge, really owe their loyalty to no one, but their pockets.
So I ask as we set forth, will the governors allow the local governments to mature? Will the president not hold back the allocations of governors? Will the representatives at all levels, Councillors, State Assembly members, National Assembly representatives and Senators, think of opportunities for their constituencies?
Our privatisation programme was bedevilled by the rush for cheap national assets, just like that of the oligarchs in Russia, with no gains in efficiency or price advantages to consumers. The bragging rights of the new ownership, who know they lack the funds to run the utilities, continue to stall national economic production, even as pension funds struggle to find expression for their growing collections. That says a lot for the advisory of the National Council on Privatization (NCP), over time.
When you add to that, our inability to use the windfall of mobile telephony to our collective development advantage, then the level of isomorphic mimicry becomes even clearer.
At about this time in 2015, I published an article “Hope is alive again” in the firm belief that the ascetic general would deliver a quick reset, with a military line control, of the economy, before settling it into a stable, accountable, and open, federal system.
In a strange coincidence the line “you should become the change you desire” found prominence in the government propaganda, without the precondition of a clear understanding of the concept of money and the place of markets that work for all, in the mix.
The general did it his own way and the jury is still out.
Leadership is not just about the President and the Presidency, but the very many units and all who hold reporting accounting powers, on behalf of the sovereign. It is they who must now reverse their “control freak” tendencies and allow the giant to rise and shine.
The tone however, still needs to be set at the centre.
Pressing the reset button will mean going back to the parishes or wards, to ensure that the level of civic engagement is strong and that local responsibility with the faith groups, charities, and activists, are neatly tied to the local needs. This engagement will throw up local leaders and will establish usages (traditions). It is those traditions that will evolve into edicts and rules and become established as laws in our statute books. So when we talk about the rule of law, it must be in compliance with those laws that have come out of our lifestyles and not from reviews of remote jurisdictions around the world. Any other route for making laws is alien to the people and does not establish order.
This must now be followed by challenging those who hold the mandates of the people through elections to setting opportunity objectives. A run through the 136 adjustments as analysed by AOS (African Operating Systems) and applied as relevant to the local conditions may help produce a playbook.
For the records. In a continental system analysis carried out by the African Operating Systems (AOS) – a UK based think-tank, there are about 136 critical adjustments, needed in the various administrative flow-diagrams on the continent, to optimise their outputs.
At the heart of the distortions created by bucking the system, is that by far too many on the continent wake up every morning to no purposeful engagement, even when in paid employment. This must be quite frustrating as they are consigned to lives of import consumption and very little else. The elite are happy to benefit from all kinds of importing.
The pursuit of happiness against that background is difficult and many have easily become pawns in the many mindless wars and conflicts on the continent. –African Operating Systems 2021.
The continental profile we want to progressively alter, is of the aged, ignored and uncared for, of able bodied men not equipped for a world of increasing specialisation, and of a procreation rate, turning out a teeming population of children, not under appropriate instruction.
We are all confronted daily by these failing structural profiles in our families and in close friendship circles, but we are often in denial of them. That denial is not out of wickedness, but borne out of the fear of being overwhelmed, should we attempt to correct the differences alone.
Overcoming that individual fear which is natural, is the reason for the government as a bureaucracy, for a problem shared is a problem halved and halved many times over, the individual proportions becomes bearable and almost insignificant.
Governance therefore is the ability to deal with the doubts and fears of citizens and for them (citizens) to be convinced that they are better-off, taking a merchant collective approach to problem solving, rather than a fragmented retail one, that can only lead to disorder.
Those in governance in whatever capacity therefore, must advance that merchant perspective (common good) in their trust positions, otherwise their conduct would be anti-trust.
Our refusal to approach our challenges that way, through appropriate governance, is what has unravelled the tapestry of our society and made us a truly perverse generation. Our elite should wake up to this realisation now or be consumed by it in the fullness of time.
The challenge now is how to press that reset-button in order to activate a universal growth induction that is not trapped once again, in tongue, tribe and creed?
The leadership must leave the false comfort zones created by carpetbaggers, and set forth to lay the stalls and populate them with people who understand markets that work for all.
This should not be precluded by the very, many brilliant ideas on how to bring in investments and developing grand infrastructure that the citizens do not have access to, because of widening income inequalities.
The new fangleness of cashlessness is a clear case in point, of how not to overreach yourself.
Fortune only favours the brave.
Are we brave enough?
A statement of strategic stretch, like the one delivered by John Fitzgerald Kennedy on putting a man on the moon, will impel us from 3rd world to 1st world.
But what would that statement be?
We must not fail to plan this time, or we would be condemned to repeat it.
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