March 28, 2018

Bill Gates in Nigeria

Bill Gates in Nigeria

There are cases when you speak through an open pipe and your wisdom from one end to the other is just as porous as poruing water in a basket. The basket wants to hold but its structure wont let.

We are hoping the words of the richest man in world would sink in but I guarantee he said nothing new - that hasn't been said by any intelligent Nigerian.

Recently at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting which was held in Aso Rock, Abuja on Thursday, March 22, 2018, Gates told his audience led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, that by focusing on physical infrastructure at the expense of its people, Nigeria is doing it wrong (somebody tell them o at least they are mates - cause if we say anything the next thing will be 'are we mates?' ). 

 

 

The Nigerian people

“The most important choice you make is to maximize your greatest resource, the Nigerian people,” Gates began with a smile.

“Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive. If you invest the health, education and opportunities – the ‘human capital’ we are talking about – then they will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity. If you don’t, however, then it is very important to recognize that there will be sharp limit on how much the country can grow.

“I urge you to apply this thinking to all your investments in your people. The Nigeria government’s Economic and Recovery Growth Plan identifies ‘investing in our people’ as one of the three ‘strategic objectives’ but the ‘execution priorities’ don’t fully reflect people’s needs.

“People without roads, ports and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy,” Bill Gates added without flinching.

“As a partner in Nigeria, I am saying the current plan is inadequate. Nigeria has all these young people and the current quality and quantity of investment in these young generations; in health and education just isn’t good enough. So, I was very direct,” he said.

“If they can get health and education right, they will be an engine of growth not just for themselves but for all of Africa.”

 

Well at 30,000 feet, this is just common sense that any serious mind doesn't need to be told. But here we are. 

Gates, in an interview with the CNN, said that the Federal Government’s investment in education and health was not good enough.

 “While it may be easier to be polite, it’s more important to face facts so that you can make progress,” the philanthropist told a room of Nigeria’s government elite that included the President.

In an exclusive television interview with the CNN, Gates said he spoke out to implore Nigerian politicians to focus on human capital and its large youth population.

“The current quality and quantity of investment in this young generation in health and education just isn’t good enough. So, I was very direct,” he told CNN.

 

Bill Gates could have chosen to sing our praises like most foreign dignitaries and investors do when they come visiting. He could have belted those hackneyed lines of Africa and Nigeria being the next frontier for business and development. He could have told us that our natural resource is guarantee that we will never be poor.

He could have told Buhari that the man is on point with his economic recovery and growth plan. He could have worn our traditional attire, danced for show, touted our Jollof rice as the best on the continent and smiled for the cameras until he departs our shores—with only praises on his lips.

Gates has been speaking truth to power from Abuja to Lagos. He has been saying the things others won’t dare say. He has been speaking truth to power right inside the corridors of power. And he’s been saying it without giving a damn. It’s refreshing candor from abroad.