By Francis Ogbimi
THIS is an open letter to Chief Obasanjo
who has expressed his concern over the unemployment of a large number of Nigerian youths, calling it a timed-bomb many times. This time, he is concerned with managing Nigeria’s large population and development of the next wave of innovative leadership through entrepreneurship.
I write in respect of a report in The Guardian newspaper, June 28, with the sub-heading: ‘Obasanjo disturbed, says Nigeria risks being third most populated by 2050.’ Under that heading, it was explained that Obasanjo made the remark while addressing a mentoring session of students, selected from schools across the nation tagged, ‘Raising the next wave of innovative leaders through entrepreneurship’, in Abeokuta.
I happily write to say that our research revealed that we can mobilise the entire population of Nigeria for learning (education, training, employment and research) and achieve industrialisation in a few decades. That way, our large population would be demonstrated to be the most important resource that positions Nigeria as a regional power like Japan and China demonstrated 1886-1905 and 1949-now, respectively.
I am Emeritus Professor of Technology Management. I commenced a curiosity-driven research in 1986 to establish the scientific basis of the present global distribution of wealth and power and how nations develop. The research has been blessed abundantly. I have summarised the highlights of the results in a seven-book series.The eighth book is in the press. I believe that the results of our research constitute a special God’s gift-package to mankind.
Our historical research revealed that after European and Asian nations suffered mass unemployment, poverty, insecurity and other problems for 2000-3000 years, they achieved industrialisation and transformed their societies and they became rich. The problems vanished.
The Euro-Asian experience suggests that industrialisation is the solution to mass unemployment and poverty. Industrialisation should be the main objective of Nigeria and other African nations. Whereas economists, accountants and lawyers, for lack of the sense of history and for lack of understanding of the science of the development of societies, claimed that capital investment is the primary source of sustainable economic growth, industrialisation and development, SEGID, our research revealed that learning (education, training, employment and research) is the primary source of SEGID. The history of the economic, social and political statuses of mankind is the same as his learning history.
All human beings are born as crying-babies. The baby soon begins to babble (learns how to talk) and later talks. The baby who could not babble grows up to be a dumb-adult. Just as the baby acquires the capabilities to talk through learning, so the baby acquires every other capability through learning. If a society possesses the capabilities to manufacture many scientific products, the people must have acquired the relevant knowledge, skills and capabilities.
The rate of growth in the learning process is determined by the learning rate. European and Asian nations neglected education and training for thousands of years. They acquired science through learning-on-the-job. Hence, the transformation from the agricultural status into the industrialised status was very slow and took them 2000-3000 years.
Britain did not have public educational systems when it achieved the first modern industrial revolution. We developed a theory of employment which demonstrated that employment (in quantity and quality) is the blood of the economy.
The theory showed that increase in employment in an economy improves productivity and decreases inflation; improvement in productivity is the true antidote to inflation. To speak a language, the individual must acquire a certain minimum number of vocabulary and syntax of the language.
We can say that nations which manufacture many scientific products speak the language of science and technology, S & T. Unlike the individual speaking a language, it is all the citizens of a nation together who must acquire certain minimum S & T knowledge, skills and capabilities, KSCs, for a nation to achieve industrialisation.
Our research revealed that industrialisation is achieved when a nation has learnt for a period and accumulated a critical quantity of KSCs and experts. This suggests that a nation need not wait for job openings to achieve industrialisation. Rather, a nation can mobilise all its citizens for learning, accumulate the necessary KSCs and achieve industrialisation, speedily.
Certain observations support the mobilisation theory. First, the intrinsic values of the learning-people increase with time and learning intensity. Our modelling of the growth of the intrinsic values of the citizens of a society led to the development of a mobilization equation, MEQ.
The MEQ suggests that the citizens of a society may be mobilised for the industrialisation of the economy. The second observation is the lesson of the spider’s web. The single silk-thread which the spider spins apparently does not do much for the spider. It fails readily as a structural material when subjected to any stress regime.
But when the spider through instinct combines many of its silk-threads to make the wed, the web becomes the spider’s economy which catches many small creatures on which the spider feeds. The spider’s silk thread and web relationship suggests that the development process should be a group effort to be most efficient.
Third, farmers in our villages apply the principle that productivity increases with the number of people working together. Five or higher number of farmers go to each person’s farm to work together in turn. They realised that five of them working together certainly do much more than one man does going to his farm, alone, for five days or times.
It is a type of farming cooperative. Fourth, Adam Smith (1776) who is regarded as the father of economics, observed that when one man made the straight pin with one head flat and the other pointed, he made 20 pins a day.
He conducted an experiment which demonstrated that the higher was the number of people who worked together, the higher was the productivity (output/input). He observed that there were 18 operations in making the straight pin. He chose ten men to produce straight pins.
They produced 48,000 (forty-eight thousand) pins in a day. Productivity went up 240 (48000/20) times.
Fifth, the Meiji Japanese government decided to learn from the West. It mobilised all the citizens for learning in the period 1886-1905, 20 years and achieved industrialisation. Sixth, China after wallowing in poverty under kings for about 3000 years was lucky to have Mao Zedung as its leader in 1949.
He mobilised the entire nation (over one billion people) for learning and industrialisation. The Chinese economy began to grow 17 per cent immediately. Unemployment, poverty, high crime wave, etc., vanished from China in a short time. That was how China accelerated its transformation to become a world power.
We believe we have found in principle, the solutions to mass unemployment, poverty and insecurity problems in Nigeria. Nigeria will surelybecome industrialised in a few decades, if it mobilises all Nigerians for learning.