Nigeria; dishing out negative echoes and expecting positive vibes

February 6, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

PT photo



Prince Charles Dickson

The Nigerian state has as usual spent the last week having conversations in the minor while major issues remain unresolved, unattended to and left at the decision table… at the expense of these we continued our dance of the mundane.

We are almost winding up the discussion on the grass-cutter and the kwaruption catcher in SGF and Magu; Ibori is back, and trust me, not the truck driver but ex-governor, and ex-this and that.

We have kept the conversation about the President’s health, bothered ourselves if he would be back today or tomorrow, worried whether the cabal was finally conquering, fought ourselves as to who the Vice President’s vice would be when we eventually kill the president without mouth.

We spent more time debating and fighting ourselves on the man 2Face regarding protest or well; no-protest, who owns the protest and who chickened-out.

However we still remain at the tail end, and with one month gone in the year, in this discourse I take on a few matters that we simply do not have a template for, and these are matters for which the progress of the nation is hinged upon.

As an oil-exporting economy we continue to witness many credit downgrades and lowered growth outlooks since 2016, raising the importance of financing for development even higher. Our eggheads in this administration have simply not come up with several different mechanisms for financing development agendas as well as arguments for increased domestic revenue mobilization and economic diversification. We are all immersed in blame games and still giving out promissory notes, like the FG finally saying that a recessioncide product would be out this month, and dare I ask what have they been doing since?

Growth will not be possible in Nigeria without jobs. Given the looming population boom, we must adapt not only through job creation, but also through skills development and support in both forgotten and frontier sectors. Are we doing that, not only the job prospects, but also new ways to think about job creation? Instead we have spent enormous energy for a doomed from the start N5K per head social security that in all intents and purpose is rigged from the start.

We chanted change yet have refused to create supportive environments for game-changing innovations. The pencil producing in 2018 minister and his crew do not know that essential to any modern economy is technology. In many ways, especially when it comes to financial inclusion, though. we are at the forefront. Innovations are creating opportunities unheard of in other parts of the world—though accessibility to much advancement remains somewhat limited. We do not yet want to tackle the obstacles to innovation in order for us to reach our full potential.


Before I go on in this short treaty, let me share a short narrative;

A son and his father were walking in the mountains. Suddenly, the son falls, hurts himself and screams: “Aaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: “Aaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

Curious, he yells: “Who are you?”

He receives the answer: “Who are you?”


Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”

He receives the answer: “Coward!”

He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”

The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.” And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!” The voice answers: “I admire you!”

Again the man screams: “You are a champion!”

The voice answers: “You are a champion!”

The boy is surprised, but does not understand. Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.”


If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence. This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life; Life will give you back everything you have given to it.

To tie everything together, of course, while we are making noise, are the policymakers, who have the power to create incentives for job creation, enact laws to combat problems relating to climate change, deal with the herdsmen/pastoralist clashes, create appropriate regulatory environments for innovation, and stabilize the macroeconomic environment, doing so?

However, and that is the place of good governance, without which and respect for the rule of law, Nigeria and Nigerians must fight an even-more uphill battle towards inclusive growth.

We will continue our ethno-religious jingoism, our nepotic victimology will continue to hunt and haunt us, the ‘me versus them’ narrative will not cease, and our systems and structures will remain riddled by mindset kwashiorkor. We are still exposed to center-periphery divisions and local grievances.

In the absence of good governance and hope filled and inspired narrative as we shout in negatives, the echo will remain a radical message that will gain traction in a nation racked by poor infrastructure, and little hope for its youth to achieve their economic and social potential.

Putting social cohesion and accountability at the center of governance is one that government at all tiers seem at odds with. We forget that all of us are actors and importantly we must reinforce a long-term emphasis on social accountability. Sadly this task is eluding us with each step we take, the echoes are fearfully negative but for how long and with what implications—Only time will tell.











Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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