I was born in 1986 during the administration of the then head of state, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda into a family of 7 children. Although I was very interested in mathematics and the sciences, I was passionate in understanding Nigeria’s History and how it compares with the rest of world.
I can recall my childhood days Benin City that when NEPA was going to obstruct power supply for a few days, there would be an announcement on NTA television to notify members of the public to enable us plan better (as there were no many generators in those days) but before my very eyes, I saw all that changed.
We all can blame this change on different macroeconomic variables and even previous administration (bad leadership) but I strongly believe that we have been running on a borrowed or adopted template in tackling our own problems as a society.
At the last statistic I checked, cash that has been looted from Nigeria since 1960 was over £200billion (Two hundred billion pounds). Let us for a minute assume that the figure is correct and I envisage everyone trying to think about the number of things that money can do in Nigeria (From infrastructure development to Educational reforms etc) but what remains fascinating for me is why these monies have left the country and how the various administration have approached recovering stolen loot.
According to a great mind, he quoted: ‘Doing a particular activity over and over again and expecting a different outcome is madness’. I think that as a country we need to have our own home-grown approach in fighting corruption, and creating an enabling environment for stolen funds to be returned into Nigeria.
What about if we have a scenario where the government deploy a strategy of asking for stolen funds from politicians to be repatriated back into Nigeria within a year in the form of investments by the looters without prosecution. This returned loots will not go into the government possession as previous returned loots cannot be properly accounted for by any past administration rather the looters will establish a trust fund for investing into infrastructural or specific project and they will own not more than 20% (or any agreed stake) of that investment. The rest 80% will be collectively own by the public through ways of shareholding. However, failure by looters to comply within the stipulated timeframe will then be seen as a crime.
This way, we would have collectively built infrastructure, curb government mismanagement of funds, create jobs and generate wealth for the people. This in turn becomes a win-win approach.
I know at this point some people will ask, are we incentivising corruption, the answer is No. whilst we are trying to get an efficient government and have a robust agenda in tackling corruption in the long run, we need to have a plan on collective sharing of wealth of the country through job creation, increased productivity etc.
Let us keep this conversation ongoing and come up with a refined plan in making Nigeris the true giant of Africa.