Businesses are set up by entrepreneurs for profit-making. Similarly, country economies are also managed to create positive net economic value for the citizens to appropriate. The profit pursuit forces good entrepreneurs to face about five significant concerns. The first is how to make the most revenue possible. Attending to this concern are the issues of capacity expansion as well as the design and implementation of effective selling strategies to match the designated increase. The second concern is how to effectively minimise the costs of production without hurting product quality and expansion capabilities of the firm. Achieving meaningful customer and employee satisfaction constitutes the third and fourth concerns. Of course, the fifth concern is the satisfaction of the government’s tax demands. Every economy shares virtually the same attributes with the profit-making firm, which can be assumed to be its mini micro-version. The managers of the statecraft, just like entrepreneurs, are ideally concerned with the maintenance and expansion of the economies output capabilities. That also explains the interest in the gross domestic product as a measure of the total output of a country. They are also concerned about the buyers of the supplied goods, which again explains the private consumption components of the GDP as well as the interest in exports. The firm’s employees are a micro-version of the country’s labour force.
Therefore, while the entrepreneur relentlessly pursues factor combinations that would deliver maximum profits, managers of the statecraft should likewise work out resource combinations that should provide maximum positive net economic value. And in the same way that the entrepreneur who consistently makes losses crashes out of business, economy managers who fail to create maximum net positive economic value always should be penalised by denying them the opportunity of such positions forthwith through the electoral process. It all means therefore that if we fail to manage a country with the same mindsets which entrepreneurs apply in their businesses, those in the driver’s seat are most likely to lead the country to painful value losses.
At a very simplistic theoretical level, the factors of land, capital, labour, time, and entrepreneurship are combined to produce the outputs and services that the citizens of a country consume. In that model, the entrepreneur is considered the critical risk taker who also has a responsibility for uniting the other factors of production in a very optimal manner to create residual income. He untiringly searches for new profit-making opportunities and is therefore extremely alert to such. And since he is competing with other firms and entrepreneurs, he acts with reasonable speed to secure new opportunities as well as in protecting the already existing opportunities under his watch. Similarly, the leadership of the country has absolute responsibility for factor combinations that will result in desired levels of positive net economic value. Therefore, leadership is vital, and if we get it wrong, it is most likely that every other aspect of our economic life will perform sub-optimally. Is it fair; therefore, to conclude that Nigeria’s major undoing is that it has never really had the benefit of the right kind of leadership? The answer is an undebatable yes. Nigeria has never had the advantage of being ruled by someone who understands how to optimally combine the factor resources available to the country to create maximum economic comfort for the citizens. On the contrary we have had a bunch of figureheads serving clusters of cabals who they cooperate with to economically rape and further destroy the country.
Gowon led the patriarchate of value-destroying and wasteful leaders. Recall his assertion that the country’s challenge was how to spend its cornucopia of economic resources and not necessarily how to generate more of it. This philosophy underscored the cluelessness and entrepreneurial myopia that defined his era of waste. Learning from and performing beyond their master the Shehu Shagari administration formalised the economic rape of the country. His administration set the tone for the emergence of loads of selfish and utterly corrupt leaders who have no idea of how to govern effectively as well as create net positive economic value for its citizens. There were few exceptions at this era though. But the mist eventually fell upon the country with the emergence of the military boys as leaders of the country through coup de tats. These were persons trained primarily in the art of combat but who through the barrel of the gun gained the platform to exercise discretionary and dictatorial leadership. It was this era, which was made up of Buhari, Babangida and Abacha that destroyed what remained of the country after the period of mindless robbery perpetrated on the country by the Shagari era. Then came Obasanjo with the uncleared mess of the US$16 billion meant for Nigeria’s electrification. Under his watch, the money and the prospects of Nigeria’s uninterrupted electricity sipped into the toilet soak-away. He is also touted to have sought the opportunity of amending the constitution to pave the way for him to serve as the president for the third term. The presidency of Goodluck Jonathan gained and reputation of turning away while corrupt politicians had a field day burgling the country’s economy. Rather than being known for presiding over ingenuous decisions that would have created more employment opportunities and improve living standards, massive corruption defined his reign. Unfortunately, it appears as if we jumped into another leadership misfortune as the economic-ship wobbles, and seemingly vulnerable to ocean waves. Some have described the current leadership as clueless and bereft of good ideas about how to make Nigeria function. And rather than seek help, they divert attention to all sorts of inanities such as the RUGA, prescriptions of IPOB and IMN, and others.
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A good entrepreneur is alert to opportunities that will enhance the firm’s profit-making prospects. That again is one of the hallmarks of a good leader. A good leader is always interested in finding out and taking advantage of those opportunities that benefit the people that he leads. When juxtaposed against the kind of leadership that we have had in Nigeria, it becomes easy to see why we have not made progress since we attained political independence in 1960. Most of our leaders are known to have outrightly bungled existing opportunities that they ought to have harnessed for the good of the citizens. Primarily because either that they do not recognise those of opportunities, or they are not interested in making the needed sacrifices required to convert those opportunities into projects and programmes that will benefit the people. In other instances, they abandon such opportunities even when recognise them because such opportunities when harnessed will not line up in their pockets. It is essential to know that the recognition of opportunities also requires certain kinds of skills and experiences which many of our leaders lack entirely. An entrepreneur quickly recognises opportunities based on some training and previous experiences, which helps him in understanding and the reading the lead indicators that signal the possibility of or actual existence of such. That means, therefore, that good country leaders should be proactive minded entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, we suffer the curse of terribly reacting leadership. For approximately 60 years of our independence, we have not had the advantage of a leader with a clear vision of where the country should be in the years to come and pursue the same concept with the required vigour and patriotism.
The willpower to robustly envision and patriotically implement the vision is, to a large extent, synonymous with the entrepreneur’s risk-taking behaviour. Today, many countries are investing aggressively in space exploration as well as in the mineral exploitation of other planets outside earth. Leaders of many countries are drawing up between 50- and 100-years scenario plans. They are prying into the future and determining ahead of the future the right kind of policies and actions that they should begin to put in place to create the best future for their citizens in the next fifty and hundred years. These are entrepreneurially minded leaders who are investing into the unknown because they are convinced based on adequately conducted studies that those steps and investments are necessary to guarantee the best quality of life for their citizens even when these leaders, will have all died. Their considerations go beyond what they can benefit from those plans if they succeed. Instead, their passion is the creation of enough and sustainably high living standards for those who come after them. But what do we get from our leaders here? Quite the contrary. We have leaders who do not think beyond their 12 months annual budgets. We have leaders who are blinded by their short-term and selfish epicurean mindsets. If that is not the case, there would – in the least – have been clear and religiously implemented plan and programmes for high-quality education of all Nigerian citizens.
Good entrepreneur’s keep an open mind towards learning, people and even failure. They are deliberately acquiring new knowledge, learning from previously made mistakes, as well as learning from peers. These are some of the ways that good leader entrepreneurs make breakthrough improvements. This open-mindedness is equally applicable in the governance of the country. From experience, our leaders hardly accept that they have made any mistake, let alone learn from it. It appears as if it is a taboo to point out to our leaders the errors that they have made. Such moves receive condemnation as unfair criticism of the leader. The beyond-reproach mentality still blinds their eyes from seeing the opportunities in learning from the mistakes that they have made previously. The same mindset also keeps them down from learning new things. Any leader who believes that he knows it all will always create disasters in his/her trail. However, the mind which accommodates criticisms will always be alert on how to the right wrongs and how to give the best possible quality of life to the constituency that presented the opportunity to lead them in the first place.