BETWEEN A NATIONAL VISION AND DAYDREAMS
I told the Mike Omotosho Annual Lecture as it’s 2021 Keynote Speaker that if Nigeria’s new Vision2050 is to succeed and we are to lift 100 million out of poverty, we must first understand why Vision2010, Vision2020, Transformation Agenda, Economic Growth and Recovery Plan failed.
There are two main reasons, and they offer important lessons. First, a national vision is a joke if it is conceived and executed as if it is separate from the broader governance of a country in every aspect.
This is what we have been doing. But EVERYTHING must work together in order to achieve any Vision whatever year. The plan can’t exist in isolation from the everyday reality which, if not a positive one, will surely defeat the economic development plan.
Second, the art and science of strategy must guide the development and execution of the plan.
Strategy is first and foremost about thinking.Thinking is more important than we think.
We must think deeply first, before we make plans, and then before we execute. This is absent in Nigeria, where deep thinking about policy is often absent and we often take knee-jerk approaches.
When we act as if strategy is about planning only without thinking deeply we won’t go far.
The best way to develop strategy is to make a CHOICE. Choice determines the future to which all our effort goes to achieving.
Nigeria is yet to make a fundamental choice about whether it is or can become a real nation. When we make that choice first, then Vision2050 will have a better chance of success.
I suggest that the obvious choice is constitutional restructuring back to real federalism that allows various parts of the country at regional or state/local levels to develop and create wealth locally which in turn becomes Nigeria’s national wealth. The choice generates strategic possibilities and processes of strategy.
Then we move to strategy execution, which calls for discipline, eliminating short-termism, creating buy-in, and so on.
And then we can’t take 100 million out of poverty if we are not prepared to control our population which is outpacing economic growth – the perfect recipe for entrenched poverty.
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If we say we want to take millions out of poverty while we allow our population to grow faster than economic growth rate then we don’t even understand what it means to take our population out of poverty.
The first things China did to move 750 million people out of extreme poverty were first to make a philosophical choice towards market capitalism and away from socialist economics, and then to step up its control of its population. They did theirs by force.
We in Nigeria can do it on a voluntary basis in which we massively educate our men and women to make better choices and create incentives for families that control their numbers.