A SLEEPING GOD: AN OPEN LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY, DR. GOODLUCK JONATHAN, GCON. (Part 2 of 7)

(Cont’d from Part 1 of 7)

….we need an avenue to exhibit the knowledge that has been learned! Hence, as we educate our children and offer them certifications, they NEED an avenue to use this education to solve the problems facing us as a nation. They need :

Dear Sir,

2. EMPLOYMENT

I do not consider getting an opportunity to leave the house to an office from the hours of 8AM – 5AM; as a form of employment. I choose to define employment as performing certain duties for the achievement of set objectives, which would offer VALUE to society, goods/services to humanity and economic power to the labourer!

Sir, as you can see, my definition rules out over 80% of what we call jobs in our dear nation Nigeria. Perhaps this is why CNN said a few years back that our unemployment level as a nation is low, yet, the percentage of people GAINFULLY employed is very small! The few companies capable of offering these kinds of employment are saturated! This is not bad news Sir. I actually perceive it as an opportunity to develop the COMMERCE/INDUSTRY SECTOR of our nation.

Nigeria is blessed with almost all natural resources presently known to humans! Hence, Sir, why then are we known ONLY for Oil? In 1976, Malaysia visited our country, requesting for seedlings of Palm. Their scientists hypothesized that judging from the similarity in the weather conditions of both nations; their nation, Malaysia, may just be capable of growing palm.

From this hypothesis, I derived two facts! Prior to 1976, Malaysia did not have palm. Secondly, as at the time they visited Nigeria, they were just “hopeful”.

However, let us fast-forward to 2012 – 36 years later. Today, Malaysia is the world’s first supplier of Palm Oil. She is said to produce 50% of the palm oil consumed in the world today! She is a developed nation, unlike us, who still bear the beggarly title of ‘developing nation’. She has less than 5% of her population living below poverty line – that is, less than 5% of her population living below a dollar a day. Please, let me repeat that: LESS THAN 5%!

I find this stranger than fiction! These chaps, contrary to the desire of GOD – considering nature did not originally bless them with it – defied all odds and developed themselves. Yet, in Nigeria, we have palm trees littered everywhere and what are we doing with them? We still have over 105 million of us living below poverty line – a whooping over 70% of our population. Please compare the statistics of our nation with that of Malaysia. While they have less than 5% living below poverty, we have over 70%. Ridiculous!

However, Sir, I am yet to let out the most frightening fact. Malaysia achieved this ONLY from begging us for our Palm seedlings some 34 years ago. In Nigeria, we have several (and I mean, SEVERAL) minerals under the earth, yet to be mined! What are we doing about that? How come we keep issuing degrees in our higher institutions in Geology/Mining, when the only thing we seem to know of is CRUDE OIL?

While growing up, I was taught in Social Studies about the Peanut pyramids of Northern Nigeria. Sir, please, what happened to them? How about cocoa? Coal? Timber? Rubber, et al?

Why don’t we develop these industries? Wouldn’t these offer our citizens opportunities to be positively busy and in return, grow our GDP and the wealth of the citizens? And when I speak of growing our GDP, I mean “real” growth in terms of economics; not the “false growth” we often claim to have due to increment in the price of crude internationally! (If staunch Politicians oppose these ideas that would lead to the emancipation of the masses, please convince them on the grounds that such an act would provide more money for the National purse from taxes on individuals and Cooperate bodies and them – the Politicians – can have more to loot! Auch! I shouldn’t have said that!)

Well, Sir, on another note, I feel your pain! I shall refuse the temptation to write as an ignorant man. The truth is, the Commander in Chief may have great ideas for his people, but there are several challenges that lay men (like myself) don’t just possibly have an idea of. There are saboteurs in the system! If saboteurs exist in developed nations of the world, is it then in Nigeria that we won’t have such?

Haba!

Considering this fact, how about we try out something “weird”? How about we become the first developing African Nation to offer a Visa Lottery program? Please Sir, mock me not. Let me explain myself.

The visa lottery programs of the developed nations of the world have been to meet set objectives! In a country like Canada, where there is a belligerent fear of under-population over the next few decades, they set up an immigration programme that will help them fight this!

This immigration programme offers immigrants rights, which, to the immigrant is heaven; but to the Canadian Government, is a way of avoiding a pending disaster! In America, the sudden shift of American labourers to fields of Research and Development (R&D), Construction, etc; indicates an abandonment of jobs in the field of some rather petty jobs (to the American); but to the immigrant, such jobs are remarkable (or perhaps, I should say, the immigrant finds the wages from those jobs remarkable)!

Hence, we can use this formula to tackle our own mess – our set objective! If we, as a nation institute a visa lottery program for the highly skilled, Entrepreneurs, of certain countries in Western Europe and the Far East, these chaps may see a “new” opportunity in Africa …in addition to the great weather!

I can sense that some Nigerians, who fail to think things through may ask me, what is the difference between this and seeking for foreign investors? Sir, in my opinion, according to the mantra of Seven-Up, the difference is clear! The difference here is OWNERSHIP! When a man knows that if he labours in your land, not only will he take the produce, but also, he shall take the glory – as one of us – it will be a catalyst to get quality investment here, rather than the haphazard things we have been used to in time past!

Furthermore, this will help check a defect common to us all. The average Nigerian believes his brother is from hell, but the White man is God-sent. In my dealings with a couple of Nigerians here and overseas, I have seen that, while they may throw away manners while associating with their brother, they insist on being prim and proper when associating with the foreigner! Hence, if foreigners are made to now “become Nigerians” – have lands, properties and rights as us; perhaps, the low self esteem of the average Nigerian will be eradicated; as he may realize that he is from a country with white men as citizens! (Please, Your Excellency, I don’t mean this sarcastically!)

I know it sounds ridiculous and perhaps, one may consider I included a joke here…but honestly Sir, let’s be frank: the average Nigerian needs to be locked up with a Psychologist for 33years to get his self-worth just high enough to the point of zero; and perhaps, hopefully, it may start climbing afterwards in the positive direction! This is the only way to obliterate the retrogressive thinking pattern in the Nigerian, which, while he is driving within Shell Camp in Rivers State, Rivers State, sticks to the traffic laws instituted within there; but once he is out, he beats the traffic light on Aba road! It’s the only explanation I have for the Nigerian who does not litter while within the premises of the American Embassy in Lagos, but once out of Walter Carrington, he buys a recharge card, loads onto his phone and finds nothing wrong with dropping it on the ground; as if it belongs there! This is the same reason I think the Nigerian finds it proper to cue up while at Heathrow, but once off that plane at Murtala Mohammed, he jumps the cue! The Nigerian really does need a Shrink!

Time will not allow me to give the details of how the visa lottery program will work and the steps I feel can be used to institute it properly, but I doubt I am such a genius. I know, your team will be made up of great Geniuses, who can develop the necessary algorithms for the challenges of this idea, if any!

However, another advantage of this idea would be a multi-cultural society! All the great nations of the Western world have citizens who represent people from different continents of the earth. In Nigeria, while though we have all visitors here, very few of them are citizens – hence, they cannot feel like they belong here!

Even South Africa, through her challenge of apartheid adopted this system of multi-races by default!

However, I have pondered over the challenge of opening our gates to people of different races considering the security challenges posed by the myriad militant groups we have across the south and northern part of Nigeria. Hence, to launch a thing like this, we need:

(Continued in Part 3 of 7)

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