Manasseh Egedegbe: We need more motherf_kers in Nigeria

by Manasseh Egedegbe

Enough of all the political correctness. We need more motherfuckers in Nigeria. We need more people who don’t give a flying fuck about the system. The system in this country has been designed to crush ideas, and any attempt to challenge the status quo. Nigeria is stuck in the agrarian age, and she is finding it difficult to transition into the industrial age. When things eventually go wrong, we act surprised or blame our “enemies” for lack of progress. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is blazing away at the speed of information technology. We need dozens, hell we need thousands, of motherfuckers to break the fucking system.

Our socio-politico-economic system is deaf, blind, dumb and rigid. We have created a nation whose mentality is geared solely towards physical assets and natural resources to the detriment of intellectual and soft assets. We send our “best brains” to head the power ministry and mineral resources, but we pay little attention to education. We place a premium on land, buildings and farmlands, and denigrate those who dare to build their intellect. What a joke. We want to emulate China, but we have forgotten that ideas rule the world. While tiny countries like Estonia are busy doing e-residency, we are enamored by manufacturing pencils, toothpicks, and wooden cars.

Uber is valued at over $50 billion, but it has no fleet of cars. Airbnb is valued at over $30 billion, and it doesn’t have one rental building. Ideas rule the world, not hard assets. Nokia bought Navteq at $8.2 billion because they had hard assets — road traffic sensors — which they thought they could use to corner the road navigation market. Google went to buy Waze for $1.1 billion; all Waze had was a software that people signed up to use. Waze had very little in terms of hard assets. Microsoft ended up buying Nokia cell phone device business and patent portfolio for $7.2 billion, $1 billion less than the value Nokia shelled out for Navteq. Let me go and cry first…

Look at Nigeria. The Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance, Nigerian banks, the Bank of Industry, and everybody else is fixated on physical assets. CBN is now opening all sorts of forex windows to accommodate the acquisition of physical assets and things like that.

But the bomb is yet to explode. Nigeria’s population will double in a few decades. Can we continue like this?

Developed economies are doing everything they can to develop intellectual capacity because you need imagination to create physical assets. There is nothing physical that was not first designed in the mind. If your mind is infertile, you will not have the capacity to build anything that is worth anything. Your intellectual capacity is key — you need to train it, exercise it and build it. Unfortunately, Nigeria does not encourage intellectual development.

When I gained admission to London Business School, I took my admission letter to a couple of Nigerian banks in a bid to get a loan for my living expenses. They treated me like a clown. These are the same people who offered me a car loan. Until that moment, I thought I lived in a society where education was valued. Many people actually told me to my face that I was just gathering certificates.

Sigh.

I went to Prodigy Finance, and I got the highest loan I have ever received in my life — in less than two weeks. These are people who believe in the power of the mind. I got triple the amount I had ever received from any Nigerian bank.

We need a silent revolution. We need to make the Nigerian system redundant. Ideas rule the world: we should not allow people who believe that physical assets such as oil wells and mineral resources and pencils and home grown rice and tomatoes are all we need to progress. I see the way people talk about Dangote Refinery as if… damn!

Our institutions are not ready. We need to break this.

How do we do this when our educational system is in such a mess? You don’t need a Nigerian education — all you need is the ability to read, write, and think. We have edx, coursera, etc. Educate yourself in the field you are passionate about. Just because you studied marine biology does not mean you should be a marine biologist. Follow your dream. Follow your passion. Discover what you were born to do and just do it.

We have what it takes to break this system from wherever you are. Be it Canada, India or Cyprus. We need to build new systems to replace the old. We need to use our imagination to build Nigeria in our own little ways, individually and collectively. We don’t need any concerted effort. Just do your thing to disrupt the system. Let us take Nigerian banks apart: build artificial intelligence to score people’s creditworthiness, use mobile applications to help people save money.

You may be asking if we can do it, given the way the Nigerian system crushes any idea that has the capacity to upset the status quo. Yes we can! Look at Blockchain technology. We now have money outside the control of central banks and governments, and they don’t like it. One of the most autocratic governments in the world, China, tried several times to break Bitcoin, but it kept bouncing back and they are now giving up. So, yes we can.

Information has no border — wherever you are in the world, let us collaborate to break the system. Fuck the fad. Fuck the Silicon Valley wannabe. You don’t need to raise millions of dollars to break the system. Just do your own thing in your own little way, and little by little, we will change the fucking system.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Comments (3)

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