The picture of Nigeria and its potentials of being a great nation were presented in this column last week. It is heartwarming and inspiring to be knowledgeable of Nigeria’s enormous natural and human resources but also disheartening to be aware that these resources comprise lying idle with some of them being plundered. As earlier buttressed, human is the most important resource, which galvanizes transformation of other resources to fast-track societal development.
How qualitative is Nigeria’s human resource? The major qualitative indicator of human resources in any society is the level of its human capital. Human capital refers to the stockpile of competencies, skills, knowledge, and personality attribute embodied in individuals. These attributes are responsible for the creation of a qualitative labor force with appreciable economic, social, and personal values. Labor is the most important factor of production. Human capital is therefore a primary factor, which converts all resources for the use and benefits of mankind and nation development. How is Human capital developed? What is the missing link between greatness and Nigeria? How can the missing link be established?
How is human capital developed? Human capital is developed by massive public and private investments in the health and education of young people. Human capital is periodically evaluated to guide policymakers. Nigerian human capital index in 2020 was averaged 0.36 (pre-pandemic) as reported by World Bank (https://businessday.ng/business-economy/article/nigeria-records-0-36-points-in-world-banks-2020-human-capital-index). This means that the earning potential of Nigerian youngest generation over their lifetime is only 36 percent of what it could be with complete education and good health. In other words, the country is losing 64 percent of its productivity by not fully investing in human capital. This result of Nigeria’s human capital index looks discouraging, dispiriting, and gloomy. However, the reality shows that several Nigerians are creating waves and excelling in several human endeavors globally.
This may not be unconnected with the large human resource that keeps growing in the country. The relatively few Nigerians with a high human capital index are large enough to make the name of Nigeria ring a bell in every continent in the World. Perhaps this may be the positive aspect of the population explosion. These few Nigerians are endowed with creative capacities and innovative thinking and thus, impacting positively on the nation’s image home and abroad. Who are these Nigerians?
These Nigerians are excellently performing in their various endeavors. Some of them are duly elected people into various political offices in the diaspora. The citizens of their host countries elected such Nigerians in Europe and America because of their leadership quality. As of 2019, in the United Kingdom alone nine prominent Nigerians were elected either as mayors or British Members of Parliament. Names like Chuka Umunna, Helen Grant, Abimbola Afolami, Kate Osamor and Kemi Badenoch featured. Others were Ernest Ezeajughi, Chinyelu Susan Onwurah, and Olugbenga Babatola among several Nigerians. In most cases, they made history as the first black persons to hold such elective posts, which were hitherto exclusively reserved for the white men/women or indigenous people of such countries. With all the resources, Nigeria is yet to be a great country but needs a missing link to achieve greatness. That missing link is “Good Governance”.
Good governance centers on the responsibility of governments and governing bodies to meet the needs of the entire people as opposed to select groups in society. Consequently, the leaders of good governance must revisit policies that have worked in the past, set priorities in a strategic way, consider policies with greater impact on poverty alleviation and development as well as look for innovative ways to implement such policies effectively. What are the factors initiating good governance?
The first factor is the establishment and due adherence to the rule of law, leaders, and followers must respect law, regulation, procedure, and order in their conduct privately and officially. Nobody should be above law and the law should treat citizens equally. Anarchy and chaos hold sway in a society where rule of law is absent. The second one is a provision of security..Physical, economical, and social security must prevail at all times to galvanize economic development and allow peace to prevail. The best of an average citizen comes out when such citizens feel secure and assured socially and economically, corruption has relatively no place where rules of law are strictly observed.
The third factor of achieving good governance is strategic planning with a clear focus on national development. A country must have a national developmental plan, what the country wants to achieve now and in the future; short, medium, and long-term plans with clear strategies on how to accomplish such plans. As saying goes “he who fails to plan, plans to fail”. This statement applies to all human activities at all times. So, there must be national focus and direction and a clearly defined strategy to move the country towards such direction. The strategy must include actions to implement the strategic plan. The choice of actions must be made based on merit and national spread to create a sense of ownership to the citizens.
Good governance creates nationalism and accountability. Nationalism makes people think of what first they can do to their country before what their country should do for them. Accountability regulates the excess of the people with responsibilities..Leaders of today have the golden opportunity to galvanize the beginning of good governance in earnest before the year 2023. Can they break the ice? This is my earnest prayer at all times.