Time to end the ‘dangoterization’ of the Nigerian economy By Caleb Onyeabor

Newsie Events: #Opinion

15 years ago, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey were not global names. Today they are courtesy of their innovation and hard work. 15 years ago, only a few knew about Elon Musk. Today he is the second richest man on the planet. His ideas on electric cars, space shuttle, neural technology, and vision of transferring humans from earth to Mars is paying off. The American economy is producing more globally renowned billionaires than any other country in the world.

5 years ago, Elon Musk was not even among the top 30 in the list of world’s richest men. Today he is the second richest man in the world, second only to America’s Jeff Bezos and slightly ahead of America’s Bill Gates. This is proof that the American Economy produces success. An economy that is designed to reward hard work and innovation will always produce the likes of Mark, Gates, Bezos, and more recently, Musk. 10 years from now, the economy will produce new billionaires. New names will emerge.

This design of American economy is very different from the Nigerian economy. Unlike the American system, the Nigerian economic system is built to favor cronies of the political class irrespective of whether they are innovative or hardworking. This system of client-patronism and rentier culture will not make the country’s to become big as the American or Chinese economy.

For instance, the Nigerian government is working so hard to build the Nigerian economy around Dangote. The selective preference given to the Dangote group of which the recent waiver on border closure issued to the group is one, is not creating a fair field for others to compete and thrive. For over 20 years, Dangote has been the biggest beneficiary of the country’s politics. The Nigerian economy has been dangoterized. It starts and ends with Dangote. By Dangoterization of the Nigerian economy, I mean, if you are not connected to the government, even with your hard work and Innovation, the best you can be is average.

Dangote is just one. The majority of the top billionaires in Nigeria are those anointed by the government, those whose relationship with government officials made them billionaires and not their innovation and hard work.

This is why we are stuck. This is why wealth creation is a difficult thing in the country. The economy is not designed to reward hard work and Innovation, it is designed to favor the Dangotes who are friends and allies to corrupt and self-seeking members of the political class.

The success of a nation is the cumulative result of the success of the individuals in the nation. The more billionaires your economy produces, the bigger your economy. By resetting the Nigerian economy to reward Innovation and hard work, more Nigerians will do great things, the more Nigerians do great things, the better the Nigerian economy.

Nigerians are very innovative and hard-working people. If we have an economy that rewards hard work and Innovation, we would produce more billionaires than the United States. it is time to open the economy and level the field for all Nigerians (not for a few) based on progressive principles and values.

There are a lot of Marks, Jacks, and Musks to be unveiled here. It is time to do away with the ‘dangoterization’ of the Nigerian Economy.

Caleb Onyeabor is a Nigerian intellectual, an avid advocate for political justice, social justice, and economic justice. Author of Diary of a Messed Up country. Follow him on Twitter via twitter.com/caleb_onyeabor


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