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Nigeria as a developed country

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Blessed with sizeable arable land that is unmatched by Europe; celestially endowed with numerous natural resources that are evenly and regionally distributed in her territorial belts—surpasses North American continent; propitiously graced with a favourable climatic condition that befriends seasonal agriculture production; uncommon to Middle-East, even, her teeming youth population is a conviction to Nigeria’s heavenly sealed greatness. Regrettably, despite her abundance, she’s far behind in the comity of developed countries. Captain for countries with the highest number of poor people; crown prince to the throne as the most terrorised country in the world. Enough of these unenviable accolades in backwardness!

Changing our narrative is pertinent. Starting with a home-grown 50-Year National Development Plan with a positive attitude. Like other development plans that Nigeria had in the past such as National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy, Vision 20:2020, 7-Point Agenda, Economy Recovery and Growth Plan, etc. No interesting results were achieved despite the robustness of these blueprints. This treatise shall ride on the shortfalls of these previous plans to arrive at a stronghold of a new blueprint—Vision 2050, pushing for the enlisting of membership of Nigeria to the elite club of developed countries.

Harnessing the country’s huge population into the development plan is a prerequisite to attaining Vision 2050. Anything short of this will amount to failure. Former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, remarked at the 25th Nigeria Economy Summit in 2019 that Nigeria is yet to tap into the potential of her humongous population as the right policies to exploit it are still lacking. Thereby rendering an invaluable asset, projected to be 400 million by 2050, into a roguish liability. During a visit to Nigeria in 2018, American billionaire and philanthropist, Bill Gates, stated that the country’s economic plans cannot address the specific needs of Nigerians. He said the Nigerian Government’s ERGP prioritises physical capital over human capital. The most essential decision Nigerian leaders can make, according to Gates is to “maximise the country’s greatest resource, which is its people.” Leaving this unaddressed is an obituary pronouncement of the plan before its take-off.

Vision 2050 should not be one-sided. It should have the buy-in of Nigerians. Carrying citizens along in its execution will guarantee unreserved support from the people. Unveiling one of the failures of Vision 20:2020, Frank Tie-Tie, a human rights lawyer said, “there was a serious disconnect between the visionaries and the citizens. Also, the corporate citizens did not buy into it, the political class did not believe in it because they did not develop it, it’s more of a technical document and they don’t even understand it.” Gaining people’s acceptance into the plan will forestall us from falling into the same pit that swallows Vision 20:2020 and by getting this box ticked, we are one step to achieving it.

The integral harmonisation of this blueprint with other governmental plans, both at the national and international level, is highly important in attaining this plan come 2050. The situation of a new government coming into power with a fresh plan, overriding the long-term plan of Vision-2050 must be prevented by all causes. Each successive government must wean itself off the addiction of being known for a new plan. By now, lessons should have been learned from the disjointed implementation of Vision 20:2020 which ran simultaneously with other plans at the time. Priority was wrongly misplaced; the focus was shifted away from the erstwhile Vision to the government in power plan. Then, there was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s NEEDS program; UN’s MDGs; Umar Musa Yar’adua’s 7-Point Agenda; Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda; retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s ERGP, etc. All were executed disjointedly by different hands despite having similar objectives.

Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it, if you can’t understand it, you can’t control it, if you can’t control it, you can’t improve it, said, James Harrington. Taking lead from the admonishment of James, It is important to put in place an evaluation process that will review the implementation progress of the blueprint or in the best form appoint an agency or ministry saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the plan execution process. With this rightfully put in place, we will successfully guard ourselves against distraction and derailment.

Getting Nigeria catapulted into the league of developed countries is a function of transformational leadership. Having good leadership at the forefront is instrumental in recording success. Revolutionarily, infrastructure is the foundation of economic development. Bridging the country gap in infrastructures should be the government’s topmost priority in achieving Vision 2050. A true diversification of the economy from oil to the manufacturing/industrial or agricultural sector cannot see the limelight without improving the energy, and transportation sector. More so, the plan must ensure the induction of the private sector through Public-Private Partnership. They should be allowed to key into the plan without reservation. Vision 2050 was an All Progressives Congress government agenda, it should be made to resonate with each successive government.

Dauda Taoheed, a member of KECTIL and UPG sustainable leader class of 2022, writes from Ibadan

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Governor’s wife advises Jerusalem pilgrims on conduct

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The returnees who participated in the 2022 pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Jordan have held a thanksgiving service to appreciate God for the successful journey.

According to a statement issued by the state government, the service, held at Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, was graced by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.

Represented by the wife of a former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mrs Mayowa Ikuforiji, Sanwo-Olu advised the returnees to be true ambassadors of Christ and allow their encounters during the pilgrimage to strengthen their relationship with God and the people around them.

The governor’s wife said, “You cannot afford to go back to your old ways and lifestyles. As you have been described as the light and salt of the world in the Holy Book, it means that you have a lot of tasks ahead of you.”

Sanwo-Olu then thanked God on behalf of the pilgrims for the successful completion of the exercise and the journey mercies experienced.

She said, “We bless the Lord that there was no report of any negative eventuality. It is fitting at this point to state that we are indeed peculiar people with a deep sense of appreciation and we show this trait in praises and thanksgiving to God who specifically called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

In her remarks, the Secretary, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mrs Yetunde Gbafe, said the thanksgiving service was in line with God’s injunction as recorded in Psalm 100 where believers were enjoined to come into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up oil spills – Report

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up decades-old oil spills in southern Bayelsa State over a 12-year period, a new report revealed on Tuesday, as it singled out two international oil companies, Shell and Eni, for being responsible for most of the pollution.

Oil majors in Nigeria have long faced legal challenges over Niger Delta spills, which they mostly blame on sabotage and vandalism of pipelines and illegal refining.

The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission said in a report that it started an investigation in 2019 on the impact of spills and looked at evidence from forensic scientists, blood samples from people in affected areas and company data, according to Reuters.

The investigation discovered, among other findings, that toxic pollutants from spills and gas flaring were many times higher than the safe limits in samples of soil, water, air, and in the blood of local residents, the commission said.

“The report finds failures of strategy, prevention, response and remediation by oil companies,” it said.

Reuters stated that a spokesperson for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said the oil firm was not privy to the final report and could not comment.

An Eni spokesperson said the oil spills were due to theft to feed illegal refineries as well as illegal exports and sabotage but the company undertook to remedy all spills.

Most of the gas produced from Eni’s Nigerian unit was converted into LNG and fed local power plants, the spokesperson said, adding that “Eni conducts its activities according to the sector’s international environmental best practices, without any distinction on a country basis.”

Toxins that cause burns, lung problems and risk of cancer were widespread while oil company-led clean-ups were often poorly executed and could further contaminate soil and groundwater, the commission’s report said.

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Experts advise marketers to leverage technology

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Experts have advised marketing professionals to take advantage of technology to revamp marketing tactics.

The marketers were admonished at the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria Ikeja Chapter 3rd Annual Public Lecture held recently in Lagos.

Speakers at the event said due to the highly competitive marketing arena, marketers must be willing to adjust their approaches in response to shifting market trends and economic circumstances, to remain competitive and achieve success.

The Ikeja Chapter Chairman of NIMN and Chief Executive Officer of Procon Group, Adebayo Oke, noted that the conference was basically to review the position of things in the institute in the face of the country’s dynamic economy.

He said, “We all know that in terms of political economy, we are going to be having a change very soon. Where we are coming from, there are issues that have affected consumerism in terms of the power of a consumer, choices and whether it will get tougher or better that is why we are here. To also share knowledge among the top practitioners to floor it down.”

According to him, a lot of quacks are in the market and most companies believe marketing is anybody’s function.

“And going forward, we are going to be regulating the practice of marketing across all industries and in partnership with the international brands in the areas of marketing, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK, amongst others,” he stated.

He disclosed that the institute would be partnering with most companies to ensure that only certified marketer would be allowed to practice marketing, to enable the institute get rid of all the quacks.

The President and Chairman of Council for NIMN, Idorenyen Enang, in his keynote address, highlighted the significance of marketers harnessing the potential of technology while ensuring that they adhere to ethical principles of the profession.

He said, “The benefits of technology in streamlining operations are widely appreciated. However, concerns about job displacement due to AI have arisen. Marketers must strive for a harmonious implementation of these technologies, striking a balance that mitigates such disadvantages.”

He added that while automation greatly enhances efficiency, there is a potential loss of intellectual capacity as the current generation prioritises speed, brevity, and simplicity.

Also, the Head Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Media & Insights of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc, Ifeoluwa Obafemi, said, “In the phase of technological advancement and changes in consumer behaviour, as marketing professionals, we should set our organisation in a future forward mode. For businesses to maintain a competitive edge in the present-day business environment, undergoing a marketing transformation is a necessary process.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Intel Limited, Kolawole Oyeyemi, said, “Marketers should attract and retain their customers. Nowadays, customers are now more informed and know your business more than you do because they now compare your services to global best practices.

“There is a revolution in technology which has assisted in creating tools and devices and building platforms to allow customers to interact with companies across the world.”

According to him, it is a volatile environment and things one does not think will connect one’s business may connect from a very long distance.

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