Road To 2023: Pragmatic Leadership And Reliance On The Best And Brightest

Richard Odusanya

Richard Odusanya

Pragmatism requires courageous leaders who are totally committed to the purpose, mission and core values of the organisation (Nation), and are prepared to take hard decisions based on their convictions. Pragmatic leaders are visionary thinkers. They focus on the big ideas and end results with less concern with the steps to get there. Therefore, they can be accused of looking through rose-colored glasses when, in fact, they simply “see” the end goal and truly believe there is a way to get there.
Furthermore, reliance on the best and brightest citizens is key to success; the very name “brain drain” suggests that high-skilled migration can be nothing but bad for developing countries. Indeed, the prospect of a harmful effect of brain drain is often one of the serious concerns in the third world countries like Nigeria. Therefore, it is time to bring on board our best and the brightest citizens as we navigate through the storm.
1. Brain-drain: The overseas-based achievers that have the national interest at heart who come without noise to contribute usually end up maligned, frustrated and run out of the country. There are too many of them wounded; the message to them is that we don’t need you, only your money is enough.
Furthermore, our so-called DIASPORA {I hate the terminology}engagement is not innovative at all. It is like serving as a formal entity for the perpetuation and encouragement of a type of “slave trade”.  Our people go and relocate after getting virtually free education, work and send money back to Nigeria; with that money ending up with the hawks that we all criticise because they own everything.
We need to transform into an outflow-inflow situation with a view to balancing “BRAIN MOBILITY” with serious and tangible support infrastructure; we need to make sure that none of the inflow brains would be rail-rolled, or molested without the involvement of the office executing the structure of “brain balance”.
The fact is that Nigeria is frequently covertly & overtly antagonistic to experts returning home. China through their “Thousand Talents Plan” have been able to achieve brain-balance. Those 1000 brains were brought in from overseas from around 2008 into China and there is continuous renewal of these people.
They were/are well protected, remunerated and supported financially and morally and encouraged to continue their overseas collaborations. SAUDI ARAMCO has done a similar thing for their development. If we are to be serious, we need to get a structure round our development.
2. Education is not obtaining certificates, rather it is “leading people out of darkness”, we cannot have people seeing light until we know how to measure ability beyond the capacity to cram, remember and regurgitate. Lee Kuan Yew’s regime kept universities at only 2 in Singapore for long time until the late 1990s when they added a university that concentrated on business.
The country then gave support to good polytechnic graduates to go overseas and get degrees (e.g. so-called 2+2, & 2+3 degree programs). These programs expanded the hands-on training of polytechnics with the theoretical knowledge from the universities. These graduates became the foot soldiers of Singapores industry and rapid development. Prof Kunle Oloyede was one of those who designed many of the engineering programs for Singapore’s 2+2, supporting scholarships etc. Developing countries need this type of educational activities which have now been extended to many South East Asian countries.
3. Leaders would always come from the people of any country, so the societal mentality is reflected in and through them. I would like to note that academic achievements don’t generally determine leadership qualities. Our earlier leaders were a careful mix of university degree holders and secondary school graduates, many of those who established the businesses and industries that we reminisce about today namely, Henry Fajemirokun, Adeola Odutola, Edewoh, Okada man, etc, etc, were practical people who knew how to lead people to success. They manufactured as against the contract and distributors model that university graduates have engaged in; most of which were activities supporting corruption.
4. Corruption is the product of the “anti-education” exposure of many in our society. “Anti-education” leads people into darkness as against out of darkness. We have achieved all the elements to develop and sustain the society that now hunts us. That society has five lethal elements. It is a monster with five legs all to feed one head (STAGNATION). In this creature i.e. stagnation, we have the political leaders and appointees, the businessmen & women and the Civil Servants who work together to facilitate stealing of our commonwealth through various schemes, then, the component of the masses that hail them and lastly the lowest of all who are ready to die for the classes above them that cause their poor state and misery. The combination leads to a poisonous venom called CORRUPTION that attacks the country causing stagnation. Broadly, we can say that our system has been infiltrated by “house hoodlums” who are literate and numerate, and “field hoodlums” who have been denied schooling. We are in a mess! Arise and shine Nigeria.
Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI.

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