Opinion

Africa’s trillion dollar resources, underdevelopment, and staggering poverty

By Dr Israel Ovirih

My friends,
The holy book says “Do not be deceived for our God is not mocked; whatever a man soweth, that he shall reap”.

Yes in Africa, we have trillion dollars worth of resources. Yes, we have brilliant minds. Yes we have intelligent people, great Universities, and Polytechnics. What does all these amount to, if we are not truly advancing our societies morally, financial and economic-wise?

I teach Entrepreneurship in a number of Nigerian Universities, I talk to people with deep pockets and those with deep minds and thoughts everyday…. Africa is layback because we do not know what is real DEVELOPMENT…. the few elites are complacent, amassing stolen wealth daily and the degree of ignorance acrosss our lands are being exacerbated on a daily basis.

The truth must always be told that our leadership at all spheres are financially reckless and most often ignorant of what must be done for our economies to truly move forward. our individuality, selfishness and lack of sense of commonality and Commonwealth is making us retrogress EXPONENTIALLY, and our children and the coming generations truly no longer have role models.

What is leadership and our so called education, If we cannot fix our roads, feed ourselves, offer excellent healthcare, live in good houses and more than 80% of our 1.4 billion people live below poverty line?. What an irony! Maybe it’s the Dutch disease syndrome.

We can barely secure our lives and properties due to increasing poverty and insecurity in the land. We are a great people, but I doubt if we will truly allow men of great minds in all spheres to truly lead us to our Eldorado!

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I have been in the financial service sector for over 30 years and what I have seen here compared to what I saw whilst in America and their giant strides especially in Silicon Valley and all the other entrepreneurial ecosystems worry me daily and I ask the question, who can help us? Can any good thing come our of Jerusalem? Can the Hushpuppies truly remain quiet and HUSH? Are we capable of breaking this jinx of underdevelopment in the midst of massive and expensive resources unleashed on us by the Almighty God?

When you hear N50 billion is being expended to clear water hyacinths by Nigerian Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) at a time when the link road from Benin City to Port Harcourt (the major grade 1 road in the oil rich region) is in a state of disrepair and the political elites and lawmakers supervising the billions to NDDC are diverting state monies to South Africa, the Philippines, China and Lebanon… shouldn’t that make me to cry for my beloved country?

Let it be clear to us all that we may never see the Nigeria of our dream in our lifetime if the current crop of leaderships continually foisted on us forever. Who do you think will bail us out?Angels? UFOs? Ourselves? God?

I am not a member of the wailers club, so dont call me one, but its seems we are in a journey to nowhere and because we all choose to be silent in the face of arbitrary rule, shameless public looting, bad governance and somersaulting policy regimes, then I can guarantee you that the MAN will finally die in all of us.

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So when we see people in different climes in Europe and the Americas being critical about our lack of focus, lack of visioning, lack of collaborations and policy execution deficiencies; let us at least ponder, reflect and if possible pray that our leadership and followership get it right one day, if not soonest.

Permit me to quote one of my mentee, brother and colleague in this journey called Entrepreneurship – Lai Labode, a deep thinker and CEO of the multi-million CashToken brand – an African icon in the making. He recently declared in one of his writings that “The journey to a greater Nigeria is inundated with the weed of illiteracy, paralyzed by the poison of corruption and bedeviled by the littleness of ambition in its youth.”

May God help Nigeria and indeed Africa.

Dr. Israel Ovirih, a financial and enterprenueral expert lives in Lagos.

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