There is an unflagging yearning and sobering cry for liberation by the hinging systems of the Nigerian society viz: education, politics, welfare and economy.The echoes of this cry resounds in the streets filled with squashed dreams of young hopeful entrepreneurs, in a system cluttered with almost dead analogue brains running leadership positions. In a techno-scientific age characterised by breakneck shifts in all sectors of human existence staying relevant is a luxury that can only be afforded by creating an environment that would encourage unique creativity and a distinctive kind of disruptive-innovative entrepreneurship, one that would offset, replace and render obsolete the anachronistic redundant system that has been structured to end the hopes and dreams of the many who seek to live for the future. This article is a call to arms for an individually propelled economy one that restores the ideals and hopes individuals have for their society with a simple mantra: anything you want in your community create it for yourself. It is a call for an individually propelled growth(IPG).
The whole essence of human existential struggle is centred on growth. Progress equals happiness. And so many philosophers captured happiness – eudaemonia – as the essential propellant of human actions. American motivational speaker Tony Robbins identified six basic human needs which include: drives for certainty, uncertainty, significance, love/connection, growth and contribution. Amongst these Growth as an essential human need serves two purposes: as both an existential and spiritual need. You grow or you die. To achieve growth on a collective level requires the functionality of key aspects or structures of the human society which can be summarised to education, politics, welfare and economy. These four elements of the society are so interlinked that the overlap each other in different relevant areas. And so to drive growth in the society requires their effective functionality.
- Living in a Political Dystopia
The Nigerian story right from its amalgamation to its independence down to this very moment has been a very pathetic,saddening, heart-sickening,nauseating one. It has been a vicious circle of enigmatic despondency. From a poor leadership system to an almost “unevolved”, ignorant,“Imbecilicly docile” citizenry that is at the hegemonic mercy of state-hijacking leaders that impoverish them to render them naively docile.The Nigerian system has failed every single glimmer of hope that has managed to emerge from it. It is as if it is artfully structured to kill dreams and hopes of innovative minds. And so when it comes to growth the country has continued on a relentless retrogressive march towards redundancy and at best a form of ‘organised backward epileptic stagnation’. This Nigerian “systemic-structure”has created what I can best describe as a “political dystopian society” where there is an infinite cascade of Hobbesian chaoses. A catastrophic systemic-structure that is structured to occasionally implode within itself destroying hopes and dreams of its inmates and leaving them in a state of “ neurotic despondency paralysis” that puts them in an effectual mode of political myopia, political indirection, misguided base prioritisation and imbecilic docility.
I have had time (a significant portion of my reasonable life) to reflect on the sorry state of this country we call ours and after an educated reflection I came to the following conclusions:
- That the majority of Nigerians are grossly ignorant (i.e. uneducated in the true sense of the word) and “unevolved” in their thinking and therefore have no mental grasp of the rudimentary nature and workings of the 20th and 21stcentury human society and how to effectively run it.
- That as a result of this, most Nigerians still exist in the beastly state of survival mode where what matters above all else is what to eat, wear and live. Therefore they have lost the rational human drive to explore and think beyond banal materiality.
- That the leaders who are gotten from amongst them – and with the same mentality – have hijacked the system (state)for their own beastly survival purposes and thus impoverish the people the more in their education, economy, welfare and politics.
- That irrespective of this gory situation that there are some reasonable, educated and enterprising Nigerians in all sectors of life who are ready to bring about the needed change but who lack the provision of the requisite platform to scale their ideas.
- The Case for an Individually Propelled Growth
Following these conclusions I have come to the realisation that since the leadership and the systemic-structure of the Nigerian society has so far failed there is no need hoping in some form of resurrection that will emerge from this kind of system. The best way to save the system is to organise (an individually inspired) movement for resuscitation of the key areas of the society that would scale growth. When these key areas like education, power, healthcare, etc. are scaled they will set the tune for the resurrection and self rearrangement of the systemic-structure of the Nigerian society and would offset and render obsolete the inefficient old redundant systemic-structure upon which the state-hijacking elements have built their dubious citizen-impoverishing empires. It would build a system that would allow for creative innovative entrepreneurial spirit to thrive and transform the education, economy, welfare and politics of the country. It is this kind of movement that would drive the kind of growth that would place Nigeria in its proper place in the map of global relevance. A glimpse of this can be seen in the revolutions that occurred in the telecommunications, digital satellite television etc. it is this kind of development that I have termed individually propelled growth(IPG) I argue that it is the only way to salvage Nigeria from its damnable oblivion of poverty and obscurity.
To achieve this IPG I argue that there are elemental prerequisites that would act as both conduits and catalysts of growth and development. These elements I have outlined as creativity, disruptive innovation, and entrepreneurship.The characteristics of these elements are what are I will outline next.
- The Model for Individually Propelled Growth (IPG)
Growth in a human society cannot happen in isolation of creativity, Innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Creativity simply understood is the the ability to make new things out of an existing substance, following its biblical Christian origin which emphasizes divine work, originality and uniqueness. The concept has a close link to innovation which bespeaks a creation that is characterised by novelty and originality. The relationship between creativity and innovation can be summarised in “new creation” and this serves as a basic component of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a process of creating something new with value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic, and social risks, and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction and independence. An entrepreneur is simply an individual who takes risks and starts something new. To do this one must posses the basic characters of intuition and skill plus resources.
The model of entrepreneurship that I propose for IPG as a revolutionary model of development in Nigeria is Joseph Alois Schumpeter’s “creative destruction”.Schumpeter believed that an entrepreneur is one whose innovation disrupts an existing economic equilibrium in order to create a better effective and efficient economic model. This is what can be referred to as disruptive-innovation.According to Schumpeter it is what drives development in a system.Development for Schumpeter is a “Spontaneous and discontinuous change in the channels of flow, disturbance of equilibrium which forever alters and displaces the equilibrium state previously existing”. It is not an automatic process, but must be deliberately and actively promoted by some agency within the system. Schumpeter called this agent who initiates the above an entrepreneur. He is the agent who provides economic leadership that changes the initial conditions of the economy and causes discontinuous dynamic changes. By nature he is neither a technician, nor a financier but he is considered an innovator.
The concept of innovation and its corollary development embraces five functions:
- Introduction of a new good
- Introduction of a new method of production
- Opening of a new market
- Conquest of a new source of supply of raw materials and
- Carrying out of a new organisation of any industry
According to Schumpeter entrepreneurship is not a profession or a permanent occupation and therefore, it cannot formulate a social class like capitalist. He highlights the characteristics of an entrepreneur:
- Psychologically, entrepreneurs are not solely motivated by profit
- High degree of risk and uncertainty in Schumpeterian World
- Highly motivated and talented individual
- Profit is merely a part of the objectives of the entrepreneur
- Progress under capitalism is much slower than actually it is
- It is leadership rather than ownership which matters.
Following Schumpeter’s model I propose that the only way to to drive development is by initiating a kind of growth process that disrupts the ineffective existing model of development in Nigeria that has failed the hopes and dreams of the citizens for years. An IPG model of development that would see individuals (entrepreneurs) create the change the wish to see in the country. Using the IPG model I propose that individuals should solve the power problem in the country, solve the healthcare problem, improve the basic income gap between the upper and middle class, solve the educational crisis, and even intervene in the political process to bring about sanity in the system.
N/B: it is quite different from mere privatisation of key sectors or agencies in government. In government privatisation the system put in place is designed and organised by the old government (it is top-bottom privatisation). Conversely the IPG model is a bottom-top system of distribution and organisation that is highly optimised by technology. In the IPG model even the government is systematised in a private corporative fashion. This brings efficiency and effectiveness into the system. The system organises, orients, decides and meets the government and not the other way round.The IPG model is a system reorganization, it is a people-oriented hostage takeover guided by the ideals of common sense, common good, abundance, innovation, trust and progress. It is a call to displace and disrupt the government and place private institutions at the centre of development. This system will be initially left to the forces of the free market, highly optimised by innovative technology riding at the back of Moore’s law with the customer or citizen at the centre of t he whole system.
Here the focus is the customer-citizen whom everyone is trying to please, provision of basic necessities, amenities, governance and politics in this kind of system would become a product or good to be marketed and will go to the most creative, innovative and effective marketer.
In my article titled “The End of a Story: A Brief Forecast of Nigeria’s Future” I projected that following a cascade of unsolved inimical events,that Nigeria would cease to exist by 2030. I pointed out that the events leading up to this avoidable collapse were not deterministic if the right things were done. In this article my argument is that one of the things that could forestall this collapse is the adoption of the IPG model of development. This would see a radical shift – overhauling – of the systemic-structure of the country and enable it to catch up with the current techno-scientific realities that are driving the digital revolution of our age. Through this model who knows, Nigeria might be saved.
Augustus Chukwu U.