Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, has described Nigerians as fastidious people with a tendency to criticize their nation even when unnecessary.
Speaking at the 44th Convocation Lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, over the weekend, Mr. Chidoka said that such attitude, though seemingly wrong had, however, helped spur the citizens and the government to do things better.
“The most virulent critics of Nigeria are Nigerians,” Mr. Chidoka said while delivering a lecture titled, Rebuilding the Nigerian Dream: Mapping the Building Blocks. “When two or three Nigerians are gathered, their topic is usually Nigeria: its missed opportunities, its poor outcomes and, particularly, the giant strides of other countries.
“A few years ago Nigerians celebrated one year of no blackouts in Ghana. Even though no such celebration took place in Ghana. They talked about how the Ghana cedi was equivalent to the US dollar even though it was just a decimalisation. Now that the Cedi has turned out to be one of the world’s worst-performing currencies, losing nearly 300 per cent of its value within a couple of months, and blackouts have become a common feature in Ghana as its budget deficit balloons, the Nigerian media has curiously kept silent. I don’t see any media commentaries on the fact that Ghana has fallen back to the International Monetary Fund, and indeed to Nigeria, for assistance.”
Mr. Chidoka noted that despite present difficulties, Nigeria is seen as a country that holds great opportunities for her citizens with projections that its economy would continue to grow at the rate of over 6 per cent for the next 20 years.
He also said that Nigeria has highly skilled, hardworking people with huge natural resources and large population that make the country a big market for goods and services which are key areas that would serve as stimulant to her economic growth.
The Minister said that Nigeria has great opportunities that ensure a better future for its citizens, noting that these opportunities should be harnessed by young Nigerians who should be creative and make use of any chance that comes their way, adding that the country has huge potential to be great.
“Nigeria has many things going in its favour. We are regarded as Africa’s largest economy, with an annual growth rate of 6 to 8 per cent,” he said.
“As Cosmo pointed out, we have one of the largest mobile phone markets on the continent. And nearly 40 per cent of our population has access to the internet. That is almost as much as South Africa at almost 47 per cent and far higher than Indonesia at only 16 per cent. Even Brazil has only managed to connect 53 per cent of its population online.”
He noted that Nigerians have inherent elements to succeed in every endeavour and those elements include superiority complex, hard work and the readiness to sacrifice today for better tomorrow.
Mr. Chidoka said although the Nigerian education system is severely criticised by her citizens, Nigerians who studied in Nigerian schools have distinguished themselves outside the country that in the United States Nigerians remain the most successful professionals among the black population.
“The criticism of our education system and the lamentations about the so-called Nigerian Factor notwithstanding, the Nigerian Diaspora has been singled out as one of the most successful black Diasporas in the world,” Mr. Chidoka said.
“In the United States, Nigerian-Americans dramatically outperform Americans in terms of income. In their book The Triple Package,Professors, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld explain that Nigerians are over-represented in the field of medicine, higher education, law and investment banking.
“Why are Nigerians so successful? Because of the way we raise our children. According to the authors, we Nigerians possess the three traits that breed success: a superiority complex – an idea that we are special in some way; insecurity – the fear that if we don’t work hard we will fail; and impulse control – the ability to delay gratification in the short term for better outcomes in the future. Even if you had never attended this august institution, by virtue of being raised Nigerian, you already have the tools for success.”