Removing the log in our eyes

It has never been difficult identifying the reasons Nigeria is not functioning as it should be. Neither are we in short supply of expert opinions and solutions to the perceived problems confronting the country. In fact, if there is anything we are good at, it is in the area of noisily pontificating on challenges facing Nigeria with no efforts at strategically diagnosing the challenges.

The most disturbing aspect in this Oyingbo market setting approach to this Nigerian like conduct is the re-statement of the issues, with analysts and commentators taking well known uniformed stand on the cause or causes of the problems, which is usually hinged on corruption.

Painfully, we are living witnesses to this recurring decimal with no one giving us the lead on how best to solve the problems once and for all. Even those who are paid or who should be in the vanguard of seeing function as a society are themselves more guilty in seeing to it that only solutions that favour their greed are posited as policy solutions for the attention of so-called leaders, who have long given up on their statutory role of being the keeper and enforcer of the ‘good’ of the ordinary citizen, who haplessly and hopelessly watched his dignity debased in the most bizarre manner so much so he now begins to wonder if he is truly a Nigerian.

Sadly, those who held offices at various times in the past but could not move the nation forward, or leave behind some form of policy direction to tackling the problems, are now talking of what should have been done.

For example, someone who once headed the Economic Planning Ministry coming out soon after he left office with an accusation of policy inconsistencies against government, leaves much to be desired. It is the more disturbing when the person with all his academic background, is equating a national plan drawn out of a ‘presidential agenda’ to a National Plan. We now know better why we have not gotten it right these past years.

What the Professor is inadvertently stating is that there is no need for a comprehensive plan of action to move Nigeria forward except this piece-meal approach occasioned on the ‘beliefs’ of the man at the moment. This was the role they had played in successive administrations particularly those of IBB and Abacha that compounded our economic malaise.

We, perhaps, need to remind our economic experts to take a look at the Theory of Development, a major topic in Economics as a discipline, so as to be moderated on this grand-standing of proffering solutions to our economic woes that are macro based which have opened our economy to haemorrhage and now getting into a state of atrophy.

Is it high time we changed strategy and focus so as to for once allow Micro policies dictate our economic plans? Must we continue to look at what the developed and semi developed economies are doing as a yard stick to measure our response to getting out of the woods?

I thought our experts do know that we produce what we cannot consume like the crude oil we cannot even refine, and consume what we cannot produce, as in the many automobiles competing for space on our dusty, bumpy roads.

May be we are happy that our manufacturing sector is comatose, and are happier that we are selling their assets to our economic parasites. After all, that is the beauty in privatization, the Nigerian way. We are much more happy to be helping the Asians run their economy, solve their unemployment problems, while shutting down our own with high unemployment, and our citizens turning destitute both at home and abroad.

In all areas of existence in Nigeria, be it socio-cultural, economic or political, it is hard to tell the direction we are heading. In the name of privatization and commercialization, our commonwealth has been appropriated by the people we believe should protect and preserve it for us.


Philip Kotler, in his book, Marketing Management, posited that “all companies must look beyond their present situation and develop a long-term strategy to meet changing conditions in their industry. They must develop a game plan for achieving their long-run objectives.” He further opined that there is no one strategy that is optimal for all companies. Each company must determine what makes the most sense in the light of its position in the industry and its objectives, opportunities, and resources”.

This principle was applied by some notable companies in the United States and Japan in varying degrees to strengthen their operations as well as markets and hence improved revenue base. Companies like Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Uniroyal and Armstrong Rubber Co. in the US and Toyota in Japan applied this strategy to perfect their operations and products.

In the tire industry where all the major players adopted it, it was so used efficiently that each of the company got something and was, in a way, content retaining its distinct character and having to run to the other for assistance at any given time.

Here in our dear country, Nigeria, any thing and every thing runs on the herd mentality, This is why any strategy employed by company A to shore up its operations is automatically copied by company B irrespective of the differences in objective, resources and opportunities available to the two companies and to some extent, experience in their respective fields?

It is for the same reason that our telecom providers are all in the race to promote one event or the other usually in the entertainment sector that in a way alter and pollute our culture. No thought is given to the education sector by way of empowering the youths through scholarships as the oil companies do nor assisting with social projects that benefit the majority across economic strata.

During the re-capitalization efforts by banks, the stock market became the centre of attraction to all the banks. And they are yet to leave that market till date, not even the crisis in that pot of confusion is discouraging them, no. When it was the turn of the insurance sector to shore up their capital base; they too turned to the capital market for succor. The irony in this as it concerns the insurance companies is that the sector that is supposed to invest more in the capital market and in such other critical areas of our economy because of its potential to raise more money than other financial institutions, is the one begging for money. A direct opposite of what obtains in other climes is what our insurance sector represents here in Nigeria. Too bad.

By some slips arising from misconceptions or miss-application of strategy, our banks are increasingly finding it difficult to match reality with expectations. Rather than attempt a review of business plans and carry out some radical changes, marketing plans are being updated and probably are now made to replace business plans the result of which are the various panic measures being put in place to hunt for deposits even from school children as if that is what will give value and stability to their business.

While all these comedies are playing out, some of the banks are declaring mind boggling figures and mouth watering figures as profits, some as high as 98% over the previous year. And if we are to believe these fantastic performances it then becomes very difficult to reconcile the crazy hunt for deposits that now bothers on desperation. Worst still is the fact that daily, our highly performing banks are being accused of cheating their customers maybe to make up for the big profits declared.

Understandably, and in line with the bandwagon behavior, the new craze has shifted to the micro finance sector with virtually all the major banks falling over themselves to take vantage (?) position in that area. The obvious fact that that sector is also banking at the low level makes no meaning to the extent ‘deposit money’ will be sourced there.

While commending our banks for their innovation and ingenuity in what is gradually becoming a phenomenon in the way we do business in this country, it is better some good thought is given to carry out a review of operations based on reality. It will be a better strategy for each bank to look inward and turn its distinctive competence into its competitive advantage as IBTC used to be. Cutting an edge for your business will be a better strategy to this uniformity approach. Harassing people on the streets for deposits sends a signal that all is not well with our banks.

Can we be more creative in doing these things? Enough of these pretensions.