HOMELAND – Smooth 98.1
Every Friday on SMOOTH-LIFE, i focus on the HOMELAND. See, It is our turn to make room for the arrival of a global economy driven by knowledge, technology and “dominance-thinking” where superiority is determined by originality and innovation. That’s the meaning of relevance in the 2000s. Now, an African folk tale spells out this way: Every morning, a gazelle walks and thinks, ‘to stay alive, I have to run faster than the fastest lion.’ There is always a significant incentive for gazelles to learn or run faster. But just over the hill, a lion realizes, ‘I have to run faster than the slowest gazelle otherwise I would go hungry’; meaning that even lions (if they get lazy or if gazelles get smarter) can starve; and so can individuals, corporations and nations both great and small.
We are stupidly religious in this part of the world so much that we have lost the essence of spirituality and have instead become spiritists’. We have forgotten that the more spiritual you become, the more relatable and socially relevant you should become. How can a people be seemingly so close to the creator of the world and He doesn’t talk to them about creation enough for them to invent products and services the world can use? And the people in some other continents are using knowledge to transform the world, yet not as religious as we are. Something is wrong. Our so-called spirituality has kept us primitive, and that of the West and America has brought great civilization. We have become so conscious of what God can do for us, we have totally forgotten what God has given us to do for ourselves as a duty–It’s everywhere, in homes, businesses and government offices. Don’t get me wrong, spirituality is important, but only as it is rightly defined and effectively engaged. Otherwise, it is mere religion defining our primitive value and nuisance value as a nation. Nigerian and African organizations will not win because the owners and promoters can claim access to the creator. Any spirituality that is incapable of demonstrating socio-economic relevance is a pure script and a lie. God is real and God makes and shares ideas; but Time spent with the creator should inspire creativity and power, not slavery, not primitivity, not weakness. No! We will win because, yes, we will pray and even fast; but equally because we will think, work and outperform the adversary in a way that allows us to be taken seriously in the comity of nations. This is not impossible at all I must say.
Corporate Africa and Corporate Nigeria seems to be allergic to using knowledge as a critical success factor. We instead use knowledge to build the kind of relevance that makes sense to our weak majority, yet fail the test of universality. We find it easy to sustain ideas that meets the standard of the weak thinking majority and weak exposure of our people. We are somehow driven to pass the test of locality at the expense of the test of universality. We are content with doing something that awes our own people but which the Americans cannot respect, the West and even the Asians cannot respect. Most Millionaires here are not those who are millionaires in any currency, but those who are millionaires by the weakness of the Naira for example. I say to people, if 5million fools say you are the only wise person they know, you will be popular but how wise are you? If 10million lunatics say you are the only normal person in the world, you will be popular but how normal are you? You will be the king of fools and the captain of lunatics, period. So, value is not about what you have but that it can answer the question of by what standard. I mean a table must be a table in any economy. It cannot be a table in Lagos and be a jacket in Brazil. We must think this way or simply risk fading into oblivion.
I have said again and again, that as our companies settle into this new decade, we must begin to generate concerns that will be globally compliant and viable; and knowledge, authored in digital format especially, is the determinant factor—this is the platform that has guaranteed robust economic revolution in every society that experienced renaissance. We must launch critical renaissance programs by initiating policies and adjustments to deliberately pursue beyond the mediocre standards of our society and reach out to the possibilities that our universe can offer. Some of those adjustments might be no more than realigning our goals; others may mean operational compromises, squaring offs and resettlements; others may characterize and embody strategic alterations, renovations and revolution. If the African continent will rise above its inferiority complex and low self-esteem to attract the world’s best brains, vigorously take responsibility for the education of its population, train and protect smart and entrepreneurial people, and insist on a Government that provides economic and political stability; then the shift towards a knowledge economy that will create rapid transformations becomes a reality.
Note that as complexity is intensified, the gap between those who are technology-literate and those who are not; easily widens as research and development accelerates. The counties that get rich are the ones attracting the great minds or the ones taking responsibility for the education, training and protection of their own. Sadly, most of Africa is not; and as long as it does not, it has little hope of accomplishing very much beyond surviving; and renaissance becomes a mirage. If Africa continues to invest primarily in stuff they can see and touch, when two-thirds of the global economy is already a knowledge economy, particularly when it fails to make the next generation smarter, it’s only a matter of time before the continent becomes so economically weak, it will become irrelevant and a major part of it disappears and exist as new colonies of richer nations. Friends, Africa can fade! If we don’t competitively find quality intellectual space in the global scheme of things, we will fade; but not vanish. We will simply exist as colonies or states absorbed by those who cared about what we are neglecting. Our future, that of our children, our institutions, literature, and that of our country and continent depends on understanding, and playing effectively in a global economy driven by knowledge and technology. If our people will throw in their greatest assets, their brain, courage and sense of empathy, we will witness an unprecedented awakening of Nigeria and Africa. May our people see. God bless Nigeria.