By Ayo Akinfe
 I will forever keep making the point that nation states are built by the actions of daring and audacious men and women and not by “good governments.” One of our biggest problems in Nigeria is that we have this naive belief that the solutions to all our problems will emanate from Aso Rock
 Over the last week, the Kaduna and Nasarawa state governors have both raised the alarm about the growing developmental gulf between northern and southern Nigeria. Governor Sule of Nasarawa said that of the 10.3m out-of-school children in Nigeria, 10m are from the north of the country. Is this not enough to tell you that controlling the federal government does not guarantee prosperity?
 President Buhari appears to still be living in the era before the First Republic where the Northern Peoples Congress was terrified of southern domination. He still believes that if he has full control of the apparatus of the federal government and has key northerners in vital positions, it will stave off this domination and allow northern Nigeria to develop. I can understand these fears but alas, they are some 60 years out of date as control of the machinery of government guarantees you nothing
 In this picture is an American gentleman named James Swan. Do you know that in 1795, he single-handedly paid off the $2,024,899 US national debt? Mr Swan privately assumed the entire US French debts at a slightly higher interest rate and then resold these debts at a profit on domestic US markets. Very audacious move
 Do you know that for his troubles, this gentleman was imprisoned by the French? He went to France in 1798 and was imprisoned in Paris for debt in 1808 and released in 1830, dying later that year. Basically, he spent 22 years, more than a quarter of his life in the Paris Sainte-Pélagie Prison for the US. He sacrificed his life for the nation
 Without Mr Swan, the history of the US might have been very different as following the revolution of 1776 that expelled the British, America did not woe a penny to any foreign governments, although it continued to owe money to private investors. This allowed the young country to start off on a sound financial footing. Contrast this to Haiti, who the French made pay enormous debts upon independence
 After Haitian slaves declared themselves free and the country independent in 1804, France, with the complicity of its allies, demanded that the newly formed country pay the French government and slaveholders the modern equivalent of $21bn for the theft of the slaves. This prevented Haiti from getting going as a nation. This plagues Haiti for decades to come
 My point here is how many Nigerians out of the 200m or so of us are cut from the same cloth as James Swan, prepared to put their necks on the line for the nation? For his troubles, he spend the last quarter of his life in a French jail. My people simply do not come with this kind of orientation and that is at the root of our woes as a nation
 We only do things if we will gain or benefit from it in one way or another. For instance, if the elite of northern Nigeria want to turn the fortunes of the region around, they could easily so it within the next 20 years, focusing on education, agriculture, infrastructural development, attracting investors, etc but alas, this would involve giving up control of the federal government to focus on the serious task at hand. It is clear they are not prepared to do that, so the poverty will continue to grow
 Across the nation as a whole, we are too dependent on the largesse of government to develop at the rate required. How many communities in Lagos for instance would independently organise a clean up of their gutters, or how many Aba traders would privately fun the cleaning of their markets? Until we develop that spirit, we will remain under-developed.