By Ayo Akinfe
(1) I have always maintained that the first step towards making Nigeria a better place is to elevate the level of thinking of its people. So long as our immediate priorities are the accumulation of private wealth, going to heaven, building churches and mosques in each street corner, enjoying owambes, amassing SUVs, throwing lavish parties in Dubai and celebrating our ethnic differences, we will remain an impoverished people
(2) There is an old saying that if you want to achieve what no one else has achieved before, you must be prepared to do what no one else has done before. Never before in the history of mankind has there been a negro nation of 200m people. Today, we have one called Nigeria bang in the middle of Africa in the tropics and getting her off her knees will require something special and unprecedented. Getting Nigeria working will dramatically advance the rest of humanity
(3) It is delusional to think that you can power a nation of 200m just thinking about the basics of life. Most of our African neighbours have that luxury but Nigeria must be prepared to think the unthinkable and do the impossible. When I look at how neither President Buhari nor any of the 29 newly sworn-in governors have named their cabinets since May 29, you can see where the country’s problems lie. Nigeria should be producing leaders with plans of how to fly to the moon within 60 days
(4) Thinking outside the box has got to become our forte. I saw some of these governors appear at their swearing-ins with their kids and families. If that was me elected governor, I would have appeared at the ceremony with my full cabinet. We would have started work there and then with a series of policy announcements at the parade ground
(5) Today, I have opted to focus on this aircraft called the Antonov or AN-225 as it highlights how we desperately need to elevate our level of thinking. Do you know that there is only one AN-225 in the world today. It is the world’s largest aircraft and is used to airlift products like generator plants, turbines, military tanks and bridges all over the planet
(6) This Ukrainian-built aircraft holds the world record for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980kg and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg. It once carried five battle tanks to the war front in one go. Nigeria actually needs it right now as it is the only way that the Nigerian Navy can get boats to Lake Chad to patrol those fishing villages from where Boko Haram operates. Over the long term, Nigeria needs to build one of these aircrafts to lift military hardware to its northern border
(7) Everywhere in the world the AK-225 goes, crowds turn out in their thousands to welcome it. Everyone just marvels at the genius behind it. Guess what? China has its eyes set on manufacturing this aircraft too. On 30 August 2016, Antonov agreed to complete the second airframe for Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC) as a prelude to AICC commencing series production
(8) I want all 200m Naija’s to look at themselves in the mirror and ask if they would be excited or even interested if this plane touched down in Abuja or Lagos. I put it to you that 90% of you would think: “Na plane we go chop?” With this kind of poverty of thinking, it is no surprise that we are the poverty capital of the world
(9) When a country’s rulers and leaders are not under any pressure from the masses to perform, they are well within their rights to do nothing. For instance, we have all seen the Lagos-Badagry Expressway this week and I cannot but ask how the people of Lagos State did not lynch past governors when they saw the road deteriorating that badly. Do you think that the Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, German, American, British, Malaysian, Mexican,etc people would ever tolerate the main motorway linking them with the outside world falling into such a state of disrepair?
(10) We are too preoccupied with nonsensical debates about federal and state roads. I for one do not believe the federal government has any business with road maintenance in the country. Once a road is built, it should be handed to the state government to maintain, so that Lagos-Badagry Expressway is the sole responsibility of Babajide Sanwoolu. Were I in President Buhari’s shoes I would not spend one naira of Nigeria’s money on road maintenance as that responsibility belongs to governors. Until we rise above this primitive and petty primordialism and start thinking 22nd century, we are going nowhere!