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An army of entrepreneurs not militants

May 26, 2009

I don’t envy President Yar’Adua. Yar’Adua’s wahalas, though myriad, have one thing in common: oil. There’s illegal oil bunkering (oil theft) and kidnapping, by militants, in the Niger Delta. Sale of stolen oil, economic and environmental degradation has fuelled the Niger Delta crisis for years.

Then there’s Halliburton. It’s alleged that the ruling party and past government officials are involved. Deregulation of the downstream sector was almost scuttled by a private sector clique. Not to mention the 10 senators who were feted in Ghana by oil majors in a bid to derail the petroleum industry bill (PIB). Oily matters that may slip out of hand; a spike in oil prices is looming.

Entrepreneurial not oligarchic capitalism

Vice President Goodluck says the government is ‘irreversibly committed’ to privatisation and entrepreneurship. Nice words, until he mentioned Russia’s experience.

“After the fall socialism in Russia, the privatisation of public enterprises in the country created a new generation of wealthy businessmen who are reckoned among the wealthiest in the world.” Oops! Who wrote that speech for him? The fall of the Soviet Union created wealthy oligarchs. A few well connected people bought government assets on the cheap and fleeced them – also known as asset stripping.

Luckily, a few statements down the line the VP says “But where the market is basically competitive or when a modicum of regulatory capacity is present, private ownership yields substantial benefits and accelerates the prospects of economic prosperity, job creation and increased tax revenues for government.” Phew!

Maybe Peter Bamkole, boss of Pan African University’s Enterprise Development Services, should have helped with the speech. His interview with The Punch shows where his head and heart are. Same place as mine.

I like entrepreneurship because to me entrepreneurship is perhaps one thing that will lead to the development of Nigeria. I believe that if we are able to create the right framework for enterprise to be nurtured, we have a wonderful opportunity to grow this country. Oil is good but it has its own problems.

But with a good enterprise, there is nowhere you find yourself and you don‘t make the best out of that place. What I am saying is to ensure that we allow Nigerians to grow themselves. So let us just provide the right framework. The entrepreneurs are the ones creating employment, creating wealth now.

Everybody cannot be an entrepreneur but the entrepreneur will open up the stage so that people can get employed. I have nothing against paid employment but I am just saying that the more entrepreneurs you have, the more opportunities that are open to us.

So all this talk about being out of job will not be there. In fact, my dream is that by the time you are leaving the university, 50 per cent of our graduates will say, I don‘t want to get employed, I want to employ people.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Akinbode Akinkunmi permalink
    June 3, 2009 5:52 pm

    We should sure borrow a leaf from the happenings in Russia, so that same does not happen to us. Vigilance is the key, there is need for transparency and implementation of due process with regards the privatization of public enterprises in Nigeria.

  2. ONWORDI PAUL permalink
    June 11, 2009 7:22 pm

    It’s time our leaders realised that total dependence on oil cannot help this nation to move forward, actualise it’s emancipation of poverty and corruption.

    True federalism, when practiced, would deliver us from this whole mess of over-dependence on oil and affords diversification into other natural resources abundantly available for our use, and agriculture.

    Our leaders should be patriotic enough in laying good legacy for the rest of Nigerians to follow.

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