America is in a new presidential election cycle and the place is buzzing. News networks are having a field day looking for salacious gaffes that keeps pundits busy and boost ratings. On the other hand, policy analysts and fortune 500 CEO’s are busy dissecting the economic policy positions of each among the motley crew. He weighs whose policy will help or hurt his company. He decides on whose policy will lead to cutting staff size and force to relocate plant to Mexico. He approaches these issues not with the fire of patriotism but more of how to preserve the entity under his command. These chief executives worry about corporate survival before any other considerations of the larger America. It’s the same rationale that a signature American companies like Apple produces most of it’s product in Asia where regulation is less and labor is cheap. It’s the same reason blue chip companies are in love with offshore tax heavens. There is a constant pull of businesses to a climate that overall place less demand on investment capital and guarantees more in profit.
Please permit me to use this medium to clarify this matter once and for all with my friends and families. Sorry to disappoint you but that John Hopkins type institution you would love to see me build in Nigeria is a pipe dream. Ok, maybe that didn’t come out good and so please allow me to rephrase. I may be inclined to support medical missions and help stock our local healthcare centers with basic supplies. I would even freely participate in health talks and donate my time to help train the next generation health care professionals. But that’s about it for me in Nigeria’s healthcare ecosystem of today. Let’s defer that dream of a world class hospital till we first build network of roads, provide access to portable water and have enough power to support it. The ripple effect is that such improvement in basic infrastructure will raise the income per capita and improve the purchasing power of the population to be served. Or how do we hope to pay for health services and keep such a necessary but pretty expensive enterprise afloat?
The current mom and pop 3-room flat Chimbuike ’hospital’ model complemented by the run down government owned tertiary care centers seems to be the best we can do in the present dispensation . Now somebody is going to remind me of Eko hospital, St.Nicholas and yadi yada. How they have been doing well in this same space despite….! I think you see.
Now before you dismiss me as one of those Burger eating ndi obodo oyibo pessimists and critics, nothing keeps me more awake at night than the dream of a better and prosperous Nigeria. Why shouldn’t it? I just happen to believe you can’t sustain a first class health facility in a third class economy with none existing infrastructure. It’s practically impossible. Unless you are running a charity and not a business .Of course Hopkins is not run as a charity. At least not that am aware of. There has been several talks about Igbos developing foreign land at the expense of their own. As concerning as that is, I do not believe Ndigbo have taken time to reflect on why that has been the case.
Fact is, the decision on where to live and set up business is dictated by factors outside the realm of ethnic allegiance. If an Igbo trader feels his business has better chances of thriving in Ghana or Cotonou than in Aba or Onitsha,off to those places he goes. No amount of ethnic loyalty will make him change his mind. It doesn’t even matter that he was born and brought up in Onitsha and that most of his family still live there.
For before tribal or ethnic allegiance, is the allegiance to self and family. The duty to provide and protect.
Instead of wasting time and preaching the “Invest in Igboland Philosophy” we should focus more on what we can do to make our Igboland livable and become a favored destination of new business capital. This would involve paying serious attention to the issues of security and infrastructure amongst other things. If we focus on those, not only will our people come back home in droves, they will bring along with them their non-Igbo businesses. Our “go out and conquer” business philosophy still holds but we have to create a favorable business climate at home.
Mixing business and emotion is the quickest way to economic suicide. In fact it’s so toxic that the two shouldn’t even be in same sentence. If you are in doubt, ask my friend John. The man who appointed his utterly incapable and extravagant brother to hold the forte during his absence. Not only did he blow everything up, their relationship fell apart irredeemably.
It’s time for Nigerians to start asking how they can help Nigeria. Like everything good you cannot just wish that your dream country into existence. It’s the duty of every citizen to join hand and make sacrifices for a better Nigeria. There is only so far your personal success can take you.