The concept of the Me-Economy is not an invitation for politicians or leaders to shirk their responsibilities to the people they are entrusted to lead. Instead, it is a call to action for all Nigerians, regardless of social class, to navigate challenging circumstances and maximize the potential within them. Our sense of entitlement has proven to be a significant impediment hindering progress and development. In my weekly article segment, Viewpoint with AFO, featured in Businessday, I welcome readers’ right to rebuttal. A follower, Taiwo, recently disagreed with my view, and I value his perspective. He said:
“Afo, I applaud your courage in sharing your viewpoint! But, do realise that a so-called ME economy cannot scale while the masses remain poor. The problem of Africa is bad governance that stems from ethnic rivalry for political power within the colonial states that Europeans left behind. Without breaking the colonial chains, Africa is doomed to bad governance and exploitation by foreign powers and local hegemons, with the masses of Africans bearing the brunt. Breaking the colonial chains is the problem that Africa must first solve.”
Taiwo raised a valid point. A Me-Economy cannot thrive if the masses continue to suffer in poverty. However, I firmly believe that despite the odds, the Me-Economy can scale to new heights. Diversity, in my view, is not a cause of our problems, but rather a blessing that can be harnessed to drive progress.
It is time for us to see the best in each other and shift our focus from past issues. We must recognise that Nigeria is now in charge of its destiny, having broken free from European control over six decades ago. It is imperative to move beyond the shadow of colonial atrocities and foster a profound change from within. Our collective actions as followers can shape a better Nigeria, as leadership is ultimately a reflection of our collective character and values.
Tribe, contrary to popular belief, is not the root cause of our woes. Nigeria’s rich diversity, encompassing numerous tribes and languages, should be celebrated rather than seen as an issue.
Even if we were to divide Nigeria into six regions, the core problems might persist. As I come from Ikorodu, a relatively small area in Nigeria, divisions already exist there, with Gbogbo, Baiyeku, Imota, Ipakodo, and Owutu seeking independence from Ikorodu to have their own local government. Are we going to divide that too?
Instead, we must unite in our efforts, fostering understanding and harmony, as each Nigerian plays a pivotal role in building a stronger and more prosperous nation.
Drawing inspiration from the United States, a nation that exemplifies the Me-Economy concept, we see that individual accomplishments led to profound nation-building.
Visionaries like Henry Ford, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and Wright Brothers, among many others exemplified unwavering determination, sparking significant advancements for their country. Akin to the Asian Tiger nations, particularly China, which overcame challenges to establish its global dominance.
China was once exploited by Europeans and Americans, who outsourced their dirty jobs to China to take advantage of its low-cost labour. However, China’s smart and forward-thinking individuals, along with a proactive government, strategically turned this situation to their advantage.
Initially labelled as copycats, they have since demonstrated determination and self-reliance, making significant strides in technological advancements. As a result, China now stands on a par with the West and is projected to surpass the US as the world’s leading economy by 2035.
This impressive transformation showcases how China’s Me-Economy mindset led to remarkable growth and progress on the global stage. Nigeria can draw lessons from China’s journey to nurture its dreams too.
Nigerian figures like Aliko Dangote, who impacts the market without being swayed by market noise, are the epitome of the Me-Economy spirit.
Imagine having hundreds of industrious individuals like Dangote, the competitive edge we would gain as a nation is boundless. Let me re-emphasize that the Me-Economy does not advocate for selfishness or self-centeredness. Instead, I implore Nigerians to step up, take control of their destinies, and transcend reliance on what Nigeria can do for them. It is time to ponder, “What can we do for Nigeria?”
The tech and entertainment sectors showcase the immense potential of the Nigerian youth, with talents like Burnaboy, Wizkid, and Davido excelling on the global stage.
Furthermore, entrepreneurs like Iyin and Gbenga of Flutterwave; Mo Abudu of Ebony Life; John of SystemSpecs and Remita; Shola and Ezra of Paystack have revolutionised their respective industries, leveraging technology to make a difference.
As more Nigerians join the league of change-makers, the ultimate goal of nation-building and ensuring individual success benefits humanity will be realised. We must recognise that one can only help others after helping oneself, much like how we encourage the rich to support the poor. Encouraging the underprivileged to strive for self-improvement and hard work is equally important in creating a better society.
In conclusion, the Me-Economy presents a transformative path to empower Nigeria through unity, diversity, and individual responsibility.
It calls for a collective effort from all citizens to break free from the shackles of entitlement and to build a stronger, more prosperous nation for the generations to come.