Opinion: Rebuilding Nigeria through intellectual development

by Mustapha Taofeeq Ajibola

Leaders will need to be master of the liberal arts to deal with future employment scenarios a clear cut determinant of responding to the universal need to pursue creative work.

Nigeria, the country with the largest population in Africa, is well endowed with natural resources and a bulky wealth of human capital. These unique resources give it an edge over all other Third World countries. For instance, apart from agricultural, mineral and crude oil resources, its population of 150 million plus form laudable resources in serving as a large emerging market that trigger production of commodities and also providing large workforce. The combined net effect of these is economic development through an increase in the Gross Domestic Product and social stability.

However, given the Human Capital Development Index which measures the average achievement of a country in terms of the welfare and quality of life of people, Nigeria still lag far behind economic and social progress required to impact the well being of average Nigerian, despite these vast resources. For instance, the 2009 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index Report ranked Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon at 158th, 129th and 153rd respectively out of 182 countries surveyed. Also, over half of Nigeria’s population still live below poverty line (less that one dollar a day) and the economy has remained off track in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

From the foregoing, it is clear that low human capital development in addition to unconducive business environment and political challenges constitute the problems confronting the Nigerian economy. Focusing on human capital development, the problem facing it can be traced to unaffordable cost of education to an average family, the replacement of human capital with technological equipment, lack of effective vocational Training/IT centres and research institutes and low quality of education, inadequate and mismanagement of research funds among others.

Most of us work in smaller enterprises; hence growth objectives based on human capital development must extend even to single person enterprises. Collective productivity improvement through human capital development among small business has an unimaginably large and undervalued pay-off. Therefore, maximising what one may call “gross domestic development” of the workforce driven at the level of the individual enterprises is the primary source of growth, productivity wealth creation and social stability. For instance, in the emerging economies, more than 90 per cent of all firms outside agricultural sector are small and micro enterprises, generating a significant portion of the GDP.

Development of human capital should always be the top priority. The educational infrastructure must be improved to underpin support for the creative jobs that will be more or less the sole basis for employment, economic growth and wealth creation. Central to this is a dramatically appreciated and accountable role for teachers, a radical reorientation of leadership education and development through out the enterprises/education/continuing-education establishment, reduction in the cost of education and also, the MBA and Executive Education will require open-heart surgery aimed at shifting focus from finance and marketing to human resources. Leaders will need to be master of the liberal arts to deal with future employment scenarios a clear cut determinant of responding to the universal need to pursue creative work.


Mustapha Taofeeq Ajibola  writes from Ilorin, Kwara State.


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

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One comment

  1. I totally agree with your point but don't really feel the need to be under some pressure to use academic language. We need to develop human capital, but not the way society is interpreting it at the moment with too much emphasis on higher degrees for its sake.


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