More of the children of the poorest of our compatriots are educated in private schools sprouting across the breathe of slum dwellings in urban conundrums like Lagos. But my understanding of realities did not hit until a British Professor from Newcastle walked into my office not so long ago. It was like Bartimaeus meeting Jesus. Lord that I may see.
I have since seen plenty. In tow with the Newcastle University academic, James Tooley, were members of an association of owners of down market private schools and some men of faith, covenant keepers who had embraced the mission of helping improve the quality of those schools. One of these men of faith had been in a class I taught at the Lagos Business School and told Tooley he knew a man evidently born for a cause like this. They were members of the Association for Formidable Education Development (AFED)

My instant reaction was, Oh God, not another cause. After 30years of being a champion for poor widows and investing much time and energy in youth matters, physically challenged people etc., surely not one more cause. Then Tooley began to bang on the gates of my conscience and soul by making simple points. Without these schools Lagos will need another 400 billion Naira a year to educate the children there and evidence based research suggest that children from those outperform those from Government schools by a wide margin and there are probably up to 18,000 of them in Lagos.

For a second, I paused. I can see. And I saw convergence of ideas. Now I know why it was a pastor who had been in my Class at the Lagos Business School that brought Tooley and these so called slum proprietors to my office. Why did I not see immediately. I was the same one that celebrated CK Prahalad and encouraged companies to see the wealth at the bottom of the pyramid. I was also the one constantly talking about demographic dividend and saying progress can come when we eliminate one of the major sources of inequality within and among nations by ensuring fair amounts of decent healthcare and education reach all, no matter where they were located, a point for which Princeton University Economist Angus Deaton gave a good account in the 2013 book; The Great Escape and Origins of Inequality. That, in my book, made him deserving of the Nobel Price in Economics.

Tooley, perhaps likening me to Thomas, the Apostle, who refused to believe when the master appeared to the group in his absence, urged me to go and experience it. I agreed. A tour of select schools in the company of the National President of the Association for formidable educational development who set it up. What an experience. The visits turned out to be about more than learning.

My arrival to the first of the schools I have visited, so far, took me aback. The children were holding up welcome posters, a five year old with a bouquet of flowers greeted me as I got off the car. Garlands and cultural dancers were part of the fare. Someone, I thought, may have misinformed them, so I needed a quick opportunity to correct the error of presumption that I was someone important. Indeed the images that struck me as the welcome unfolded was of Chief Aja Nwachukwu who was Minister of Education in the Tafawa Balewa cabinet, visiting schools in the 1960s.

But the substance of the visit, which unfolded as I listened to addresses of welcome, from the students, Teachers and school owners was enlightened for doubters. I could feel Tooley whose email I received shortly after he returned to Newcastle, further urging the visits, smiling as the points he tried to convince me about, came home. At Shangotedo in the Ibeju –Lekki axis, as in schools on the Mainland, from Ebutte Metta to Makoko, seeing how much appears to be evidently accomplished with so little I was immediately drawn to an initiative on primary education I recently pioneered.

The idea started about three years ago when I was reflecting on how world class education at the Primary and Secondary level with values and leadership modules or emphasis, could be brought to the children of the more socio-economically challenged of society as part of a movement for social justice. Inequalities, as the Gini Index shows, our country running policies that is sifting society, with some becoming super rich, and others being consigned into a permanent underclass. The one great equalizer was quality education and the idea was that through CVL we could create free quality schools for the poor. Two locations, one in Ikorodu and one in Delta State became takeoff examplars. Land was acquired and given by the community in both places, and the Foundation of a multinational manufacturing firm approved some money to support construction. We planned to get friends to adopt a child for #50,000 a year. Working with the Art of Living Foundation in India, whose schools around Bangalore I had visited two years ago. The model was certainly not a Bottom of the Pyramid model of a private sector providing value at base price, just as Nigerians thought milk was for the more materially well off until Cowbell sachets hit the market and generic herbicides and pesticides in small packages were taken into rural areas by the Candel company. The idea of value for money retail education may not have been properly understood as my visits showed they were perceived to offer more value than governments schools which were themselves too few and far between in the slum neighborhoods.

The evident value they were offering can literally be felt and held. With so few government schools and the massive goal displacement that meant the teachers in many of those schools would be off chasing small businesses and hawking shoes, most of the children would have been in the way of trouble and danger to society, on the streets. Then you look at the numbers of who is breaking out of the slums and it is clear Bottom of the Pyramid private enterprise is doing a lot more for progress and social equity than social enterprise and government schools.

The question is how best can we raise the quality of the contribution of AFED which has been carrying the bulk of the weight of educating the future of Nigeria. This question requires an urgent answer.

More comprehensive look at how we educate for rapid economic growth needs also to get on the agenda. In my view this will involve incentives for these Bottom of the Pyramid enterprise schools to rise to the dreams and ideals the students conjured up in the presentations they made to me. Champions for developing the regime of incentives need to work with champions for private vocational education and the variant I call executive vocational education. That new form involves taking unemployed university graduates and giving them both entrepreneurship training and specific vocational skills over a short period like six months, because of their exposure and maturity.

With these shaping the broader look on reforming education we may begin to truly look in the face the great source of inequality in our society.

Pat Utomi, Political Economist and Social Entrepreneur is founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership.


I am honoured to address you today as convocation lecturer. I am not particularly sure how the lot was drawn that resulted in my being inflicted on you. I am even more worried that the subject, Educating Nigeria for the 21st Century has been assigned me.

I have been a University Teacher for many years after a spell as an entrepreneur, a consultant and a manager in industry but I am not sure that I have managed to cumulate enough wisdom to speak with any authority on the subject of education. I respect myself and as a result, have thought such matters should be left to eminently qualified persons like Professor Pai Obanya, and if we want to disturb those resting peacefully, the memories of the like of Professor Babs Fafunwa. In my more rascally days as an undergraduate at the University of Nigeria in the season just following the Civil War, a hailing of the types of Prof OC Nwana would have been enough to settle who should have the right of way.

Since I did not have enough courage to decide my merit of the invitation to give this convocation lecture, I had no choice but to burrow into the subject matter in the hope that my understanding of the fact that parents are the first teachers of their children, should give me locus Standi, as a parent, to address the subject. So this is not likely to be the case of the mythical Onitsha woman socialite who when a sumptuous tray of Jollof Rice was served her said “Ha yee I was not expecting this” and promptly opened her bag to fetch the ready and waiting cutlery that would permit maximum effect in doing justice to meal.

Since curiosity drove me as a graduate student in the United States in 1979 to register for a class on Revolutionary education offered by a Professor doing research in Cuba, I have done little to educate myself on how people are educated, even though I am constantly engaged, in educating people, as a parent, and in settings that are more formal, as a teacher of business. Indeed note has to be made here of a caveat I have often offered at the beginning of some of my class sessions which is not original to me. It says that those who can, do it. Those who can’t do it, teach, and those who cannot teach use the case study method. As you all know, being a Business educator I primarily use the case study method. My need for redemption is evident.

The foregoing effort at providing advance apologies for my limitations notwithstanding, the call of duty still demands that we proceed on this excursion down the track of my thinking on the subject of the challenges confronting university education in Nigeria in the 21st century.

It seems to me that a decent way to proceed would be to establish how I think the 21st century is likely to emerge; What I think the critical needs for fitting into that emerging civilization may be and how learning can enable culture adapt. An appropriate first foot forward may then indeed be a snapshort of Nigeria at the dawn of the 21st century and where tertiary education in Nigeria is situated as the 21st century unfolds.

The 21st century dawned on Nigeria with a troubling remark by a man whose life spanned a good part of the 20th century and whose work defined the new discipline of management, Peter Drucker. He had noted that at the beginning of the 20th Century the quality of life of the average African and the average European were mainly similar or marginally different at best. But by the end of the 20th century, he pointed out, the difference was like night and day. This difference Drucker suggests is the result of productivity growth in Europe. In Africa, typified by Nigeria, productivity did not grow as it did in Europe because of education, technology and cultures of production.

Among the great boosts to output at the beginning of the 20th century was the advent of the moving Assembly line which made mass production possible and The Ford Motor Company would ensure that emerging middle class people could buy a motor car. But colonial Nigeria would not industrialize Nigeria. What colonial government required was maintenance of the activities of Law and Order, basic civility, and the evacuation of Raw materials to Europe. Formal education, beyond the requirements of acculturation of the traditional agents of socialization like the family, age grades etc. was knowledge for being obedient subjects of the empire and for administrative capacities to manage “minimum” government. The Higher Colleges in Yaba and elsewhere, as well as the University College in Ibadan, were set up to produce the leadership elite of this limited public service. It was not until self-Government came that Nationalist leaders in their new garb as leaders of government embarked on an aggressive policy of Industrializing Nigeria.

Limited as the goals of colonial Administration were, the tertiary institutions they set up were known to have been of high quality. When at independence the government of Prime Minister Abubarkar Tafawa Balewa wanted to determine the direction of the policy on higher education it set up a commission chaired by Oxford University educator Sir Eric Ashby. That commissions report is particularly remembered for its note that the quality of higher education in Nigeria in 1961 was as good as the best in the world, and for Ashby’s comment that it was harder to get into University of Ibadan, than to get into Harvard, that year.

In the same manner as the University College in Ibadan set enviable standards the first autonomous university in the country, the University of Nigeria in taking a different turn to produce professionals for a more ambitious national development agenda. Drawing from the role of the Land Grant universities on the United States which were critical to the Agricultural revolution there, the UNN which was midwifed by Michigan State University, inspired a new kind of excellence that took the American course system from object of jokes in British Nigeria, to the preferred approach for a good rounded education, as the General studies classes better prepared the UNN graduates for the general challenges of the environment and workplace.

The ‘alchemy’ of soldiers and Oil would despoil this tradition of academic excellence that spread from UNN and UI through the original 5 universities including the University of Ife and Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University.

With military rule and Oil money the belief Nigeria could do all things led to a view of funding availability and a more egalitarian notion of higher education. The regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo by 1978 sort to open access in a way that resulted in overcrowded campuses, inadequate facilities, poor teacher- student ratios and deterioration of standards and culture consequent on such pressure on facilities by the end of the century many of the universities had reached a point where the universities were a shadow of their years of glory.

During this period from 1948, when the University College was opened and the end of the century the political economy of Nigeria had gone from a colonial marketing board economy but on agricultural commodities to an emerging industrializing economy in which the regions were competing for who would bring the most gains of progress to their nationality groups. This phenomenon which influenced the race to industrialization, Television, and free education programmes was aptly described by Michigan State University professors Robert Melson and Howard Wolpe as “Competitive Communalism”

The Competitive Communalism epoch that anchored Nigeria’s Federalism would be eclipsed by a new season that characterized the last two decades of the twentieth century, the concept of sharing “the national cake” of oil receipts. This was done in a manner akin to the Vicar, the National Government, handling out prebends, to the Assistant Vicars. Richard Joseph in his book, Prebendal Politics in Nigeria labels this concept; Bureaucratic Prebendalism.

Its fruits unfortunately, included Dutch Disease, slow growth, a collapse of culture and a desperate need for structural Adjustment of the economy. One victim of structural Adjustment programmes and the need to shrink the frontiers of the expanding state was a decline in the funding of the university system.

If we are to educate Nigeria for 21st century effectiveness, a clear sense for that world, is imperative. Thomas L Friedman writes well the ‘prehistory’ of the 21st century. His conclusion: The world is Flat. In his much read book: The World is Flat- A brief History of the Twenty – first Century, Friedman reflects on the dramatic changes drive by technology and the emergence of huge populations of new middle class people with the coming of prosperity to India, and how globalizations ascendancy in the midst of all the new technologies are redefining standards and competitiveness.

The World had come to be a place of grave inequalities in the 20th century as Drucker already pointed out. Those inequalities came with the Great Escape from misery by a small part of the planet as a result of leaps in healthcare and output, as Princeton professor Angus Deaton provides a grand explanation for in the book: The Great Escape

The asymmetries of knowledge, information technology and access to capital were in a paradoxical way both deepened and eased by new technologies. Processing the technologies increased advantage over those who lacked it yet access to it made it possible for those who did not have it previously to leapfrog stages of development and even have some advantage over those still struggling to defend yesterday’s investments that were being overthrown or required more energy to unlearn what they had invested much to learn before climbing the new learning curve. I recall a personal encounter as the last century was barely three years to go.

I had been spending a sabbatical year from 1996 to 1997 writing a book as a scholar in residence at the Harvard Business School. I linked up with some of the Nigerian academics in the Boston area. One of them was an old friend Tayo Akinwande who was a Professor at MIT. In our conversation there was frustration that even though engineering had gone the way of microprocessing Nigerian engineering faculty were not keeping up. I then suggested that we could add value by designing a programme where we could select about 100 top engineering graduates in the country and bring them into a yearlong programme in which some of them could use their Leave time to come in and lead classes, and others intervene by satellite distance learning. We, from the Business school would have sessions in Entrepreneurship and then bring Entrepreneurs to endow a fund from which groups of these participants would compete on Business plans. The best would win a prize of about #10 million which could only be used as seed capital for the venture offered in the plan.

On return to Nigeria I took the idea to PTDF Secretary Chief Tayo Akpata in the hope they support the initiative. He liked it but time soon ran out on PTDF and the regime.

The World becoming flat had very direct consequence for learning, and Thomas Friedman spoke to this when he wrote that “The first and most important, ability you can develop in the flat world is the ability to “learn how to learn- to constantly absorb and teach yourself new ways of doing old things or new ways of doing new things” (p302 (release 2.0). This is clearly an imperative in a world where every job is increasingly going to be subject to digitization. I recall a statistic from a few years ago that showed salaries had gone up through the years for every category of workers in the United States except for the group with less than High School of education. The reason was simple. If you had enough brawn in the 1950s you could get a good job working the Assembly line in Detroit, with hardly any education. With the unions, wages kept getting better and a house in the suburbs with two cars in the garage was quite possible. But as the 20th century moved to its close the Assembly line in Detroit was increasingly robotics based and the factory worker had to understand how to programme those more efficient robots. With less than a high school education in Detroit you were increasingly becoming like the man in Organization learnings Rewan’s axiom where the rate of learning has to be equal to or greater than the pace of change in the environment or the organization would be in the mode of a Dinosaur, progressively.

Educating for the 21st Century will have to involve preparing people, in a time of rapid change, to understand and engage cultures distant and different, yet endowed in a manner that character can advertise trust, subject understanding, quickly communicate competence, and high Emotional Intelligence facilitate empathy with partners. These capabilities do not come easy but they flow readily from teachers passionate about their work, as a vocation, and tireless in pursuit of the education of the race, seeing that the future depends so on it. Universities the home of the highest level of such learning need therefore to be better understood.

To determine emerging challenges for University education it should make sense to establish why universities exist. The idea of a University is one I have tried to explore following the profound thought of John Henry Cardinal Newman that Anglican clergyman and Oxford scholar who would become a Prince of the Catholic Church and found the University of Ireland.

Twenty years ago I offered a summary of what a University had come to be in the light of the debate around the Cardinal Newman’s idea of a university.

“Institutions of higher education, usually comprising a liberal arts and sciences college and graduate and professional schools and having the authority to confer degrees in various fields of study. The modern university evolved from the medieval schools known as studia generalis; …The earliest studia arose out of efforts to educate Clerks and Monks beyond the level of Cathedral and Monastic Schools … were institutions in which the essences or universities were studied.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968)

These essences or universals set the course of higher education at this ultimate level along a path that was deliberately comprehensive in scope. This point is in fact more richly summarized in the 1952 preface to John Henry Cardinal Newman’s The idea of A University. He takes the view here that the university is a place of teaching universal knowledge. This implies that its objective is, on the one hand, intellectual, not moral; and on the other, the diffusion of knowledge rather than the advancement of it. The diffusion need brings the students but they will lack the osmotic capability of absorbing fully the existing base of knowledge unless the universal knowledge includes values that give context, meaning and relevance to the knowledge gained in the university. This is why this university confers its degrees on people who have been found worthy in ‘character and in learning.’

There are many who wonder if the character part of this qualification is still a serious consideration given the values of graduates in the workplace, the incidents of cult violence, examination malpractices etc., that have come to become pronounced aspects of the public view of the contemporary Nigerian university.

The idea of a university from the foregoing is of a place that diffuses ideas to people of character so the ideas can be properly utilized. But utilized for whose benefit? Since man is a gregarious animal and has always lived in communities which provide the non-appropriability goods he requires, it should seem reasonable that knowledge should be utilized both for his individual benefit and the benefit of the university community, and the progress of the society in which the university is located. A one-time chancellor of the University of Navarra in Spain, the Spanish priest Josemaria Escriva, states this most richly when he points out that:

“A university must play a primary role in contribution to human progress. Since the problems facing mankind are multiple and complex (spiritual, cultural, social, financial etc.), university education must cover all these aspects.” (Escriva, 1974)

To contribute to human progress, the university has necessarily to advance knowledge to new frontiers that make living more comfortable than has hitherto been the case.

I have however argued in the past that the university idea needs to be reconsidered to be in more specialized form to bring the knowledge and progress required by a man at this time in history. At my remarks of acceptance when my 1998 book was presented The Abiola Prize for the best academic text published in Nigeria I said the following words:

“Since the convergence of three streams of technology – computing, telecommunications and broadcasting – the vision of the information age has materialized and the possibilities for the future remain infinite. These infinite possibilities have redefined the competitive advantage of nations. To compete today countries not only need knowledge workers, they also need centres of excellence in academic research.

Ever since the Japanese showed that you could build successful technology companies without investing in basic science research and the Americans followed suit with companies like the Bell companies getting rid of Bell labs, tertiary institutions have had to play a more critical role in the research that moves society forward. How do our universities measure up in research?”

Books of worth cannot be published unless the best of academics are attracted to the university and have the resources to engage in research. Yesterday the best graduating students stayed back as junior fellows when the average, like myself, were thrown into the world. Unfortunately today what Nigerian society has done to the dignity of the academia led many of them to seek greener pastures outside the academic. This phenomenon has been made worse by the new idolatry of our time, the elevation of money to the level of god worshipped by society.

Those who stayed behind found themselves unable to find basic journals, not to talk of travel grants or funding for serious research. The need of the moment is therefore finding the best formula for ensuring that the best people stay behind and that the books, journals, travel grants and research funding are available. In my opinion one of the best ways to achieve that would be to have more specialized institutions in tertiary education and to encourage the other universities to become particularly known in some fields. In that way they can have closer cooperation with industry in the areas they add value and industry can better support them.

In my opinion we need to redesign many masters degree programmes as finishing schools where people who have developed decent skills that are inadequate or obsolete can realign their knowledge base to new realities. Take as an example the issue of engineering skills. Our professors are diligently striving to impart engineering know-how to their students. But the reality of our times is that micro-processing skills drive innovation and productivity gains.

We cannot expect business-as-usual professors in such areas. The challenge is to have a Centre of excellence that brings the best minds with engineering degrees and provides them both micro-processing skills and entrepreneurship training. To deliver the kind of value we hope to see in such a situation the institutions cannot afford to be all things to all people, so they have to focus.

In suggesting specialized tertiary institutions I am in no way consigning the traditional university with a broad spectrum of disciplines to the dustbin of history. Far from that. There is a place for universities that serve to provide raw materials for the finishing schools that many graduate programmes will have to become. The very specialized institutions complementing work done as undergraduates could be the anchor for the specialized skills needed to stay competitive.

The idea is to have a complementary network of knowledge providers, some of which train the average to maintain systems while others function as centres of excellence that shape the best for the challenges of moving society forward. At a time when we must leapfrog to close the development gap that has opened up between Europe and us in this century we cannot afford to ignore the ideas of centres of excellence that will light the torch for society to follow. It has by now become familiar refrain for me that the challenge of development is to restore in 2000 the relationship of the lowest decile of the population in Europe and Africa in 1990. In 1990 the difference between the quality of life of these groups was marginal. Today the difference is as with day and night. Technology driven productivity increases, which have given mankind more productivity growth in that last 100 years than in the 10,000 years of recorded history before the redesign of the stream engine by James Watt, have separated us from the industrialized West. To bridge this yawning chasm we need to reinvent education and create special centres of excellence that will provide the leadership for circumnavigating stages of development; competitiveness in knowledge is a function of the quality of human capital.

In the network of complementary institutions we also need to encourage diversity. There should be private and public institutions unrestricted by bureaucratic requirements that serve no purpose beyond the restriction of imagination and the satisfaction of the bureaucrats’ desire for control. Whereas the university should be a place for ideals and idealism where faculty are, as a colleague jokes frequently, a collection of anarchists united by a common car park, we should have competing concepts. There should be tertiary institutions with a niche in the locus of praxis where making things happen is treasured above the idealization of reality.


If the land grant universities “democratized” the prosperity the Agriculture revolution, and the computer based research and teaching hubs created industry clusters like Silicon Valley that transformed a struggling US economy of the late 1970s; what should universities do for Nigeria in the 21st century?

In my view the challenge of claiming the promise of Nigeria involves purging from the effects of a collapse of culture; positioning for competitiveness on the global value chains of factor endowments of different regions of the country. It is also a challenge building creative problem solving dispositions as different from the system –maintenance and solutions importation mindset that a season of oil wealth has foisted on Nigerian culture. As the effects of ICT and convergence shrinks the world into that mythical global village, globalization has demanded of us global citizens who play to global standards and not to Nigerian standards.

How can the universities rise to these challenges after a long period of underfunding and politicization of university administration in which, sometimes, academic excellence and town-gown engagement to solve society’s problems, were literally suspended?

As I have said before, this will involve each university trying to define its purpose in the face of some of these needs and a world constantly in the throes of change. And this may involve unlearning so it can learn. Let me illustrate with an example of what I once called executive vocational education.

Speaking at a summit on job creation in Rivers State a few years ago I lamented the paucity of skills in many sectors and showed that investors are sometimes limited by quality of people available in technical skills areas. My favorite illustration that when you see tiling that is neat you almost instinctively, conclude Malians, Togolese and Ghanaians had been recruited for the job. I concluded by suggesting that in the face of so many unemployed graduates ‘executive vocational training’ to provide six months crash course in Tiling/Masonry to such graduates with an Entrepreneurship module. The idea was that such graduates would recruit others a little less skilled, as part of gangs that would step into opportunities where Togolese Artisans were making a fortune while they went from office to office begging to apply for jobs not there.

But it would be difficult in the traditional university system to think of such course offerings unless a track of unlearning precedes new learning.

So, just as most businesses go out to fashion a strategy for their venture and revise them in the face of change, universities should be able to do the same. A Business case study I used to teach some twenty years ago was of a steel producer in the US that had mini-mills around the country and was one of the thriving stocks on the New York Stock Exchange. The name of the company NUCOR, which came from its earlier incarnation from the Nuclear Corporation of America points well to how corporate purpose can evolve.

Surely the purpose of the Nigerian university praised by Sir Eric Ashby has changed. Part of the crisis of university education in Nigeria is the failure to change purpose with shifting reality.

The university, besides being a place people come to learn should itself be a learning organization where, as in Rewan’s axiom, the rate of learning has to be equal to or greater than the pace of change in the environment. My prescription is that this learning adopt the “pedagogy of the Determined” approach.

I have advanced in previous writing a rejigging of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, idea.
The promise of colonial education was to improve the lot of once peasant peoples and help them raise their living conditions But, as Peter Drucker pointed out the quality of life of the average African in 1900 was only marginally different from the average person in Europe in 1900, but as the twentieth century came to an end the difference in their quality of life was as night and day. So what happened in the course of the twentieth century?

Part of the explanation may be found in the thesis of that Brazilian educator from 40 years ago, Paulo Friere. He was a Marxist and great admirer of Franz Fanon. I too admired Fanon but Catholic education saved me from being a Marxist long before I learnt that if at 18 you were not a Marxist something was wrong with your heart but if at 40 you were still a Marxist, something was wrong with your head. So I took the essentials of The pedagogy of the Oppressed, stripped it of its ideological overhang, drawing from the inherent entrepreneurial foundation of human nature, captured in Judeo-Christian tradition in Genesis 2:15 where man is made co-creator with God, moving creation forward, and offered the ‘Pedagogy of the Determined’ as escape from the pedagogy in which oppressed peoples from colonial situations received only enough to keep the status quo of oppression. That pedagogy of the oppressed also allowed limited controlled ascent of the colonized, and post-colonial Africa. The pedagogy of the determined entailed and compelled of every learner a vision of leapfrogging the productivity surge Peter Drucker identified in his comment about how Europe and Africa grew apart.

For modern America, education brought it prosperity through the institution of Land Grant Universities that supported the Agricultural Extension Services and made America’s Agricultural revolution possible, with some help from such remarkable institution building effort as the Peruvian Economist Hernando De Soto identifies in his Mystery of Capital and both Nial Fergusson, the British Historian at Harvard and Alan Beattie the Financial Times Economist show clearly in their books, Civilization and False Economy which strive to explain how North America prospered and Latin America faltered.

To liberate Nigeria from its location on the misery index is to retool its educational system in which an elite lacking in vision allowed the conditions of the pedagogy of the oppressed. We can see the evidence in how we took character building out of the educational system. Where once schools like Government Secondary School Owerri prided themselves with the motto: When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost something is lost but when character is lost, all is lost; to one that does not teach civics. How will they know values shape human progress. When history is not taught, how will they be inspired by heroes past to dream the impossible and make it happen.

The future of education is in taking the factor endowments of regions of the country and deciding to become globally competitive on their value chains, with educational systems aimed at vocational training, engineering, and scientific experimental skills that support dominant play on those value chains.

As a corporate learning organization the pedagogy of the determined should compel universities to begin the search for purpose with a vision of Nigeria in shrinking, interconnected planet at once imperiled by man’s conduct but opening opportunities in the interdependence arising therefrom.

The imperative of now is a learning university, healing yesterday’s errors, enabling a leapfrog over the years the locust has eaten, and opening up a brave new future. As Prof. Pai Obanya insists; “Higher education institutions in Nigeria will have to start from now on to apply the global vision on the development of higher education curricula with its emphasis on the inculcation of generic skills, the aim of which is to prepare students both for the world of work and to the demands of learning society of the 21st century. Beyond his prescription flowing from those comments which include a foundation year during which students are exposed to ways of learning; eliminating narrow specialization in Bachelors degree programmes, the involvement of wide range of stakeholders in curriculum review and IT as base subject for all the challenges the universities to rethink teaching and learning methods.

Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; the journey of this discussion lead to a simple conclusion. Like the sage said to the children who thought they were smart and came to him with a young chick held in the palm of their hands behind as they waited for his response to whether the chick was alive or dead: the future of higher education, as is that of Nigeria is in your hands, you the chieftain of the university system. What you do today will determine tomorrow. That is a sacred trust.

I thank you for your kind attention.

Patrick Okedinachi Utomi
BA. M.A. MPA, Phd. DBA
(Honoris Causa)


When politicians embrace a mantra it helps mobilization. When that mantra captures the imagination of a generation, it lays ground work for a movement that can enable the people own an idea and conduct themselves in a way that, in synergy, powers realization of the promise of the mantra, especially with overcoming snafus that are inevitable in the push for a new order. So what is the change Nigerians voted for and how will we claim the promise.

I got a glimpse recently from a great corporate statesman and distinguished elder citizen, Dr. Michael Omolayole. If there are a handful of people whose words have premium value in my ears he is in top billing. This first Nigerian Chairman and chief executive of the Unilever subsidiary in Nigeria, and distinguished octogenarian favours me from time to time with his views about the state of our Nation.

Knowing that he is the ultimate example of man of Character. I focus stoutly on the benefit from working at solutions on questions raises. Earlier this week he said to me: the change Nigerians want is not cosmetic or just at the federal level. Nigerians are tired of what Nigeria has become and they voted with their heart with a desire for real change at every level of government.

If this is what Nigerians want and voted for, then the politicians like myself, and the elected people in public life have a duty, a patriotic obligation to act in response to the wishes of the Nigerian people. This is the essence of democracy where power is truly domiciled with the people and failure to be sensitive to the will of the people should bear severe consequences.

What does this mean for how we currently order our steps in this season of transition, from the season Dr. Omolayole says the Nigerian people have rejected, and want to walk away from. Their destination we presume is one devoid of corruption and focused on passionately serving the people in advance of the common of all. For me some clear imperatives of these include stepping down on the traditions of narcissism dominant in the era rejected by the people, in favour of one that aligns with a priority of the good of all, over excessive love of self, in manner that diminish the common good; the preference for advance of the good of all in teamwork rather pulling in directions that leave a house divided that cannot stand. This is without prejudice to the fact that a multiplicity of perspectives, and contention between the perspectives advance the cause of democracy, and value of a marketplace of ideas.

Another imperative of the way things should be ordered is need for the elite not only to set aside the dominant traits of the tragedy of the commons’ in public life, in favour of an attitude of building elite consensus. This shared view on effort to achieve such common pool of good has to include thought leadership direction, political thrust consensus for development, and shared views of management orientation for effective implementation of goals set by leadership.

Let us speak to some of these issues in a little more detail. I have suggested that elite water down the self love so symptomatic of chasing power in our country, if the transition is to provide opportunity for coming generations to have better possibilities than our immediate past track record has delivered, even with generous income resulting from unprecedented, prolonged, period of very high Oil prices.

Disavowing extreme self love requires, for example, that we may sometimes step down personal ambition where it is evidently going to be disruptive of the goals of creating the new desirable order. The requirement here goes to all stakeholders, the ambitious and those irritated by the disruptive consequence of the ambitious. Altogether, not to err with caution and the spirit of forgiveness and understanding of the distractions of the push of self love will not serve us well. The crisis in the National Assembly is a case in point.

It is democracy to have the right to pursue, democratically, positions open to all, yet to detract from the track of hierarchically sanctioned consensus, motivated by extreme self love could poison the cause of the total change the people desire and demand. Such ambition, in going against the popular essence of desired change, can become undemocratic and condemnable. Still, premium need be placed on the cost of containing the disruptive effect of certain ambitions when energies that can be better channeled into transforming thrust gets spent putting the disruptive in what is thought their due place. That cost could set back the hard work needed to get the Nigerian people the change they have voted for. Investing much gravitas into building the political savvy required to circumnavigate unsavory disruption is a necessary part of strengthening our democratic institutions.

It is also important education for the ambitious to recognize that discomfort with a person by the top team does not mean they are not fit for purpose. In my work on organizational performance I had argued, using the IMB case study, in the 1998 book; Managing Uncertainty, that the idea that what determines membership of a top team is not limited to competence but to whether those in the top team are confident that they can trust the new member enough to share the risk and burden with them. So someone not welcome into the team today could be perfect for a new top team tomorrow.

I often illustrate this with a story the Late Chief Sam Asabia former Chief Executive of First Bank shared with me. When he was Private Secretary to the Premier of the Western region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he had observed that some ministers were always sleeping at meetings. So he approached the premier, asking when he would reshuffle the cabinet. A surprised Chief Awolowo asked why he thought a cabinet reshuffle was imminent. The Private Secretary meekly indicate there was a band of weak members of the cabinet who contributed so little. He was asked by Chief Awolowo who they were. After he named them Chief Awolowo volunteered some laughter and told him those men slept at meetings because the night before he was up late with them making the decisions the rest of the cabinet was pretending to be making at the meeting.

Many times the not so trusted break into the top team and the team becomes what I called “concentric circles of conspiracy’’ in the organic bulb that the top team can be, as the Asabia example shows. In the case of my IMB case, members of these top teams can cluster into what I called competing coalitions of commitment, which in that IMB example frustrated focus on common goal and depressed performance. Not to be favoured in a top team should be no reason to disrupt a change people are yearning for. Restraining ambition here may even better advance future ambition. To be so short sighted not to see that is tragic. Still the cost of split top organic bulb in terms of circles of conspiracy is so high, it justifies investing much resources in preventing entry into that top. Once there building factions or coalitions of commitment, which can lead away from administrations’ goals ensure as in the case of IMB. In that case it caused the Bank to slip from the top performing Merchant bank in Nigeria to getting Moribund.

The change people want is so important that we need to learn new lessons about leadership, management and values that shape human progress. At the leadership level it involves a strong vision of a just and egalitarian society with opportunities for all, the rule of law and celebrating merit, yet being compassionate enough that none is left behind. In that leadership dynamic, setting the tone of culture that changes the attitude of that which belongs to all belongs to none, will have to be a key goal. The tragedy of the commons, metaphor for the commons grazing field being grazed with no one committed to regressing the field until it is barren and the cattle all starve, whereas the private field is continually regrassed because of the consequence of not so doing for the herdsman whose daily bread depended on it. The tragedy of the commons writ large in contemporary Nigerian culture needs to be replaced by a philosophy of Ubuntu (I am because we are) expressing the point that the self interest is best advanced with the advance of the common good of all.

This mindset of the tragedy of the commons extended in a zero sum game mindset which is the enemy of a win-win, abundance mentality, has been truly the key to understanding our problems, characteristic of the old order which needs to change.

I have found that leadership, though very important, is not enough. Implementation failure is largely a matter of management. Rigor, discipline and judicious application of resources to goals and monitoring outcomes with clear consequence management capabilities is where we have often fallen flat.

The Nigerian people want to see these things change at the Centre, states, and local government levels with the attendant rise in the quality of life of all. This is what they are owed and what democracy must deliver in this time of change.

Pat Utomi Political Economist and Professor of Entrepreneurship is founder of the Centre for values in Leadership.


The African American Institute came to town recently. As part of the package of their annual conference I was requested to give a keynote on the future of education in Africa. I was not quite sure of the effect of what I said to those in the audience, but I found myself both frightened and excited by what came out of me regarding the subject of education. Why does education matter so much?

History teaches us that much of what we know as human progress is the product of education. History also teaches us that culture shapes human progress and that education, in its essence, is about the transmission of culture that prepares the next generation for how to survive in its environment. But it also inspires a disposition to adapt to a changing reality. Then there is the fact that education facilitates the institution building efforts that erect the boundaries which reduce uncertainty and make growth feasible.

Education has always been with us. As acculturation, it enabled generations construct and transmit the means of survival. For peasants who were literally so deep in water that even a ripple could drown them, as Tawney’s metaphor suggests, it allowed for a moral economy in which no one was left behind.

But education as the learning of ways from other cultures, usually to raise man’s material condition, has created more challenges. It came majorly true colonial education.

The promise of colonial education was to improve the lot of once peasant peoples and help them raise their living conditions But, as Peter Drucker pointed out the quality of life of the average African in 1900 was only marginally different from the average person in Europe in 1900, but as the twentieth century came to an end the difference in their quality of life was as night and day. So what happened in the course of the twentieth century?

Part of the explanation may be found in the thesis of a Brazilian educator from 40 years ago. Paulo Friere in his seminal work The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. He was a Marxist and great admirer of Franz Fanon. I too admired Fanon but Catholic education saved me from being a Marxist long before I learnt that if at 18 you were not a Marxist something was wrong with your heart but if at 40 you were still a Marxist, something was wrong with your head. So I took the essentials of The pedagogy of the Oppressed, stripped it of its ideological overhang, drawing from the inherent entrepreneurial foundation of human nature, captured in Judeo-Christian tradition in Genesis 2:15 where man is made co-creator with God, moving creation forward, I offered the ‘Pedagogy of the Determined’ as escape from the pedagogy in which oppressed peoples from colonial situations received only enough to keep the status quo of oppression. That pedagogy also allowed limited controlled ascent of the colonized, and post-colonial Africa. The pedagogy of the determined entailed and compelled of every learner a vision of leapfrogging the productivity surge Peter Drucker identified in his comment about how Europe and Africa grew apart.

For modern America, education brought it prosperity surge through the institution of Land Grant Universities that supported the Agricultural Extension Services and made America’s Agricultural revolution possible, with some help from such remarkable institution building effort as the Peruvian Economist Hernando De Soto identifies in his Mystery of Capital and both Nial Fergusson, the British Historian at Harvard and Alan Beattie the Financial Times Economist show clearly in their books, Civilization and False Economy which strive to explain how North America prospered and Latin America faltered.

To liberate Nigeria from its location on the misery index is to retool its educational system in which an elite lacking in vision allowed the conditions of the pedagogy of the oppressed. We can see the evidence in how we took character building out of the educational system. Where once schools like Government Secondary School Owerri prided themselves with the motto: When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost something is lost but when character is lost, all is lost; to one that does not teach civics. How will they know values shape human progress. When history is not taught, how will they be inspired by heroes past to dream the impossible and make it happen.

The future of education is in taking the factor endowments of regions of the country and deciding to become globally competitive on their value chains with educational systems aimed at vocational training, engineering, and scientific experimental skills that support dominant play on those value chains.

The future of education must be to enculturate the next generation to be creative, entrepreneurial and rigorous with integrity as cornerstone. If lessons from Finland and elsewhere are to serve us well, we have to learn that innovation does not grow on a tree. It is grafted unto real life from clearly thought through strategy. Indeed Eva Krutmeijers volume Innovation the Swedish Way is a worthwhile gift to all who must consider the future of education.

Education matters but enculturation has created social dysfunctions like many getting left behind in the trend of the Gini index of income distribution. Yet learning from other cultures can accelerate the great escape. Japan’s ascendency as the Tokugawa Shogunates collapsed and the Meiji Restoration saw Diaspora returning from Europe stirred new ways. India rising and China rising have equally profited from Diaspora influence, whether it be the Jagdish Bagwatis writing in Defense of Globalization or the Ed Lim’s leaving the World Bank to go and assist China, an active Diaspora role in stimulating new learning is important for the goals of a Nigerian pedagogy of the determined.

In considering all this we must strive to overcome errors of yesterday. Among the most grievous include the obsession with tertiary education and neglect of primary education. If what gets to the university is garbage what will exit cannot improve much. GIGO. Garbage in, garbage out.

My pet theory here is that attention went disproportionately to tertiary education because under the military, the real opposition were the intellectuals, the military focused on the university with one unsavory outcome that the academics began to pack and leave, leaving us with a phenomenon documented in an OPED piece I wrote some years ago titled “The generation that left town”. Brain drain needs now to become brain gain.

We have to understand the way we are to make sense of where we are going as Mark Morgan and Collaborators Levitt and Malek point out in Executing Your Strategy.

The truth about the way we are is that years of taking the eye off the ball because of easy revenues from an enclave sector called Oil, has made us lose what the Oxford educator Eric Ashby found in Chairing the Ashby Commission on Higher Education in Nigeria that made him remark that it was as good as the best in the World, with it being easier to get into Harvard than the University of Ibadan in 1962. To move forward we have like Thomas L Friedman counselled in his examination of the influences shaping business, and our times in general, in The World is Flat, to learn to learn in order to survive. Learning has to have a global dimension and a push for action in response to the changes happening at the speed or thought as Bill Gates alerts.

Pat Utomi, Political Economist and Professor of Entrepreneurship, is founder of The Centre for Values in Leadership.


The Nigerian landscape is littered with images of the triumph of politics. The new winners are either draped in silkwear of triumphalism and yesterday’s winners in today/s mourning fields cloaked in the bitterness of regret. But pray tell where is the legacy of progress that yesterday’s triumph brought, or the shine of human material advance, that today is bringing? There seems little doubt that part of what is urgently required is an ideology of sustained development no matter who is in power. One person anxious for an ideology of development and progress came knocking on my door recently. His narrative was sound but as he talked I was taken over by a sense of déjà vu. It was journey down a familiar road.
The visitor was a South African resident Nigerian scholar and activist who left the country during the struggle against military rule. He was worried that in the extreme partisanship of now, and obsession with power above purpose, > we seem to lack a guardian class that can keep the country focused on development and progress with a sense for what is setting the tone for progress around the world and the passion and clout to ensure Nigeria is rowing in that direction no matter who was sitting in the Villa. That meant a loose coalition of Thought Leaders disposed such that Aso Rock will continue to see the goals of their politics, mission and even self interest; and the people, common good, in their suggestions on how to travel the road of nation building and development, down the path of inclusive economic advance. He thought I was appropriately positioned from my antecedents to lead the effort to build such a movement for progress.
I knew he was very serious, so, to laugh, which would be a kind way to bring us down to earth, did not seem practical. I chose instead to provide a few stories on my struggle down that path. I began with one of the more surreal of the efforts. I had been involved with a small team working policy advise with Presidential candidate Olusegun Obasanjo in 1998. Among those in that team were Ifueko Omoigui and Ayo Teriba. For several weeks we met every day with the General in Ottah until we fought each other to a standstill on several issues. It was quickly clear to me that even if we succeeded in many things, including in reshaping the candidate”s thinking, sustained progress seemed improbable from the distractions and other ambitions of the man just returned to power after a twenty year Leave.
It is hard to build Nigeria working at being leader of Africa or chasing the Nobel Peace Prize. I thought a new strategy besides convincing the now President that Privatization was a good idea, away from his old anti-privatization ways, was needed. Relying on him to make it happen, seemed evidently foolhardy. I had to think of new ways, especially after I tried to get President Jimmy Carter to convince him that Vision 2010 was not poison because it was done under Abacha, and I did not get very far. Just change the cover of the book, the former US President had said when I raised the matter.
The new path forward I schemed up was to create elite consensus for progress. My strategy was to identify a number of influencers of competence and nationalistic fervor in different spheres of life and bring them together to brainstorm on how to work to make examplars of select leaders in public life to so attract attention to the fact that the ultimate success was in serving people well through delivering massive advances in quality of life of citizens in inclusive growth and development. I then began to draw up a list of such influencers who for the purpose should be mainly in their 40s with a proven track record.
From Commerce I had Aliko Dangote, Fola Adeola: civil society Olisa Agbakoba, Adams Oshiomole Femi Falana and Oby Ezekwesili , from politics I had the late Waziri Mohammed. I was to invite from the public service Bello Gwandu, Munir Jaafaru and Tunji Olaopa and Joe Keshi and Nasir El Rufai. I recall that from faith I had Femi Aribisala and Fathers Matthew Kukah and George Ehusani and from academia Gidado Tahir Adigun Agbaje, BUK Economist Murtala Sagagi and Charles Soludo. We had from the ranks of Governors Donald Duke and Joshua Dariye.. We picked some sharp officers from the military and the Intelligence services. I went and deposited money at the Akodo for all of us to gather for three days and brainstorm on how our collective brainpower, global network of contacts and pool of good will could help a few select governors deliver such extraordinary impact there would be no argument canvassing that our thrust was the way to go. I began to go round to proselytize my thinking. Waziri Mohammed literaly came under a spell from the idea, Fola and Olisa made valuable suggestions.
Some more details of the effort were published in a book I issued a second edition of about 14 years ago. It was titled To Serve is To Live – Autobiographical reflections on the Nigerian Condition. I went to work structuring the values of the movement. I had already received the commitment of a very brilliant former foreign minister of Uganda Olara Otunu to give the opening keynote at this retreat planned to be off the radar. Having heard Olara speak more than once about the Africa’s redemption and the place of Nigeria in that enterprise I wanted him to burden those men and women with that vision.
As things turned out Waziri got ahead of himself. One day while I was in Abuja serving on a committee on Petroleum subsidy I got a call from Waziri. Lagos State governor Bola Tinubu was hosting the Governors of the South in Lagos. Waziri had taken liberty to ask Aliko Dangote to host a first working meeting of those we could support to perform. I jumped on the plane and came to Lagos.
The motley crowd that gathered at Aliko:s had public and private sector as well as civil society credentials but I took one look and knew the dream was in trouble. Governors present included Orji Uzor Kalu, James Ibori, Lucky Igenedion, and Donald Duke who chaired the meeting. From civil society Adams Oshiomole was there and private sector players like Tony Elumelu were there too. When half way into the discussions one Governor whispered in lamentation: see as this place dry, no babes, I knew it was over. Next meeting was scheduled for Babes country, Benin. Even though I had nothing against babes, I stayed away. I thought one first had to work before playing but it seemed play was up front. Aliko, Donald and I met at the Dukes to try and rework things after Benin but the movement had become a political and not a development movement christianed the Under50s movement in Benin. The meeting hosted by Dariye in Government House Jos to create new momentum, was an unmitigated disaster. I told Oby Ezekwesili as we drove to Abuja the following day that the quality of effort at nation building seemed to be progressively deteriorating .
It certainly had come down from the days of the Congress of Concerned Citizens we helped found in 1983 with people like Femi Aribisala, Olisa Agbakoba, Emeka Ezera, Jimi Peters, Mohammed Garba and others. Some of nature of the group was commented on in an Opinion piece I wrote a few years ago that was titled ‘The Generation that left town.’ Of the two dozen of us in the group, largely new repats, only Olisa, Femi and I still lived in Nigeria, and from the group of principled people in the early days of the Concerned Professionals who put much on the line for justice on the elections of the 12th of June 1993.
My visitor was familiar with aspects of the excursion I had undertaken but was firm in his view we owed history a duty not to give up trying to build this movement. He was obviously sound in that judgment but the challenge of making such a movement have much impact will take more than trying again after a fall. Help can come from how civil society, and media honour and celebrate leaders that drive initiatives that result in a quantum leap in the human condition for a broad spectrum of the population.
My experience with having been involved in several efforts to build an alliance for development is that several paths can lead to the development ideology market. Leadership and communication are critical. A leader who builds a network around ideas of progress can change culture by personal example. I have given the example of then Malaysian Prime minister Mahathir Mohammed addressing the Global knowledge conference in 2000 in Kualar Lumpur. A Nigerian Doctor broke down and wept, asking me what we had done wrong that God would not send us such leaders, as he finished. Just as Mahathir built a coalition for progress and Lee Kwan Yew did in Singapore lucky leaders who emerged by happenstance should make it their duty to inspire such a coalition. My personal admiration for Bola Tinubu arises from such a track.
Think Tanks can also spread such an orientation in public life when they have an evidence based advocacy. In the 1970s and 80s the academic community was active on the pages of newspapers like the New Nigerian, Daily Times and the Guardian, creating the atmosphere that should have resulted in such a movement.
As a young Graduate student I had hoped for a modernizing coalition of the type Argentine scholar Gulliermo O’Donnell proposed in his Bureaucratic Authoritarian thesis in which he identified coalitions forged between the political elite and bureaucratic/technocratic elite for purpose of modernization and economic growth. Such an alliance which flickered briefly in the Gowon days when General Yakubu Gowon worked well with the technocratic top civil servants Like the Allison Ayidas, Philip Asiodus and Ahmed Jodas. It did not quite happen as I found in researching my own PhD thesis about 1981 and spending time with the principal protagonists. Still it prompted enough jealousy that ignited the purge of the civil service in 1975/76.
The call by Omano Omano for a coalition for development, across and beyond partisan lines is founded in good logic. He got my pledge to cooperate but it takes a small group of dedicated individuals, as Margaret Mead reminds us. It is really the only way history has changed and Nigeria’s history needs to change for good, away from poverty and ignorance, the Great Escape Angus Deaton has so well captured in the book of that titke.

Pat Utomi, Political Economist and professor of Entrepreneurship is founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership


Much of the routine criticisms of Nigeria politics has to do with the seeming of absence of ideas and ideology in organizing political competition and contestation for public office from where service can be rendered a population desperate for leadership so as to realize the promise of a great African modern nation state. It is useful therefore to situate the current campaign against corruption and buildup of consequence management in public life in Nigeria, in that context.

Something about the mood of the moment, in spite of those who as usual suggest the anti-corruption crusade may be targeting more of the opposition, suggest the a refrain from a hymn I have chanted for a quarter of a century is finally beginning to resonate among a broad part of the population. Corruption is far beyond goodguip, bad guys moral issue. It has indeed crippled the possibilities of progress in this land of great potential. But today it is desired to bring to the fore how that has harmed the place of ideas in politics and governance.
First, too many people in Nigeria have either lived in denial about the extent and effect of corruption; wish it away as a moral issue divorce from performance outcomes or seen it as nitpicking by those ‘unfortunate’ to be outside the arena of ‘chopping and so should want their turn for God to butter their bread. But the cost is so high and stirs us in the face all the time. Among the points I raise on this score is how it shapes perception of national character with costly consequences for our economy and the dignity of the Nigerian travelling around the World.
This denial on our side has not changed our reality and how we are seen. I often draw from the opening paragraph of a book on corruption and Development in Africa by Kempe Ronald Hope Snr and Bornwell Chikulo. Those first lines of the book suggest that corruption runs the range in Africa, from rare, in Botwana, to widespread in Ghana and systemic in Nigeria, tells a sad story.

I like also to recall an encounter with American investigative Journalism great Mike Wallace. While I was on sabbatical leave, writing a book on uncertainty and strategy in emerging economies, in 1996, in the United States. Wallace in an interview with Nation of Islam leader Loius Farrakhan challenge Farrakhan with questionable associations, industry visiting, in his words, the most corrupt country in the World, Nigeria.
I thought the reporting unfair and sent a fax to CBSTV expressing surprise that a thorough bred like Wallace would violate a law laid up for would be Journalists in Journalism 101 classes, care with the use of superlatives. Mr Wallace on receipt of feedback called me and suggested that sometimes hyperbole is used to make a point. He noted that Nigeria had disappointed many who wished it well by allowing corruption to cripple it. He said he had come to Nigeria in 1970 to interview the Head of State, Gen Gowon and presented an optimistic story about the coming of the first Black power. He said corruption had prevented Nigeria from claiming that promise. I insisted that even though his observations on corruption were not inappropriate it was still unfairing tarring of all with same brush not fair to many individuals and the country.

I said to him, I am a Nigerian and have served in Government at a presidential Advisory level, in industry as an executive of a multinational in manufacturing, in thought leadership and journalism as columnist, and at the time in academia and I could state with certitude that I had never asked or received a bribe in my life and I was sure there were many Nigerians better cultured than I.
Wallace expressed a wish he could correct the impressions and return to Nigeria with me and do such a story but regretted that in those Abacha days he could not expect to leave Nigeria alive after the stories with the hidden cameras and policemen extorting money on the streets now compounded by the Farrakhan interview.
The bigger irony of that encounter was that I had told Wallace I was a member of the Board of Transparency International Nigeria, as it was in those days. Barely a few months after the encounter Amnesty International published its first corruption index and Nigeria came out the most corrupt country of those surveyed in the World, in the perception of the business men surveyed. Wallace could then have been justified in his use of superlatives.
With these images dogging Nigeria from corruption one would expect it to be a central issue in how social, economic and political reforms are engage in Nigeria. But this has not been quite so until recently because the market place of ideas has been the arena of a few civil society types shouting themselves hoarse on the matter. The powerful who profited from the corrupt and corrupted order, somehow were successful in endouring the anti-corruption crusaders as impractical iconoclasts or even freaks angry with the world. So the mainstream saw the crusading with the bemused understanding reserved for those who have growing up to do.

For me the big challenge is in the effect corruption has on allowing for the flow of ideas that improve policy choice and reduces the extent of iatrogenic choices where the policies do more damage to the patient than the original problem policy intervened to solve.

Who are the kinds of people that engage in debates in the electioneering campaign process and how are they funded. No doubt just as people complain of the role of lebbyists in many more mature Democracies we can complain about the place of corruption in determining share of voice. The bigger part of the problem is that many people of ideas who could enrich the process. Many exit the arena, which for me is fleeing citizenship, but it is hard to be too hard on them.

The bottomline outcome is that the system is denied a body of ideas that can lead to consistency of superior ideas for progress. It is even more in the choice of political association and body of ideas, as ideology, that the trouble with corruption does even greater harm. Many who move from one party to the other, opposition to ruling and back if there is change.

In pursuit of the gains of being close to power in the Ruling Party some of those crisscrossing blur what the parties represent. If the lure of corruption were not there the tendency would be for belief systems to orient how and who people associate with. It would therefore be easier for people of ideas to coalesce into a followers of approaches on how to organize society in advance of the Common Good.

The lack of ideological movements make recruitment into political parties more challenging for people motivated by more than just raw power has meant that our society cannot find the right footing for sustainable growth.

As we hear the speculations on how bad things got with abuse of the Commonwealth it has become clearer that if we had a proper market place of ideas, Parties that were based on an articulated view of how human progress is made things would not have gotten as bad as they have become.

Pat Utomi, Political Economist and Professor of Entrepreneurship is founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership.


When I stopped by at a Nigerian Guild of Editors conference in Asaba a few year or two ago one old times made to effort to remind people of my journalism antecedents dating to the 1970’s at which point Onyema Ugochukwu, an Economics graduate who became a newspaper editor jumped in and said ‘Pat don Port’. Port or no port my love for journalism has never abated. But every day I lament the end of the era of Alhaji Babatunde Joseph, the great reporters and columnists like the Sam Amuka’s, Peter Enahoros and latterly the Gbolebo Ogunsanwos.

Why this nostalgia?
Every new day I am made more aware that the new generation of quality reporters moulded significantly by Lade Bunuola as my classmate and friend, Feminine Kusa, the super subeditor at the guardian have emigrated from journalism. My disposition to guide young reports when they come to interview me has been to be of help as best as possible and to elevate their dignity by insisting they neither violate the ethics of the profession nor grovel like beggars. Yet from time to time things happen that make you wonder.
I get calls about every day from reporters rushing to meet deadlines. I make an effort to be as cooperative as I can even when it is not convenient. When recently while meeting with group of people and talking to a gentlemen called Paul Olele on one telephone line, another line added to the noise level… as a journalist and pleaded that he required just a second of my time. So what is it? I literally snapped at him. I thought to just ask the person on the line to just call back. But the person quickly introduced himself as a journalist I said he needed just a second of my time. So what is it, I literal snapped at him. People are complaining about the lopsided nature of the President’s appointments. What do you have to say about it? I thought of a person who had thousands of appointments to make and had not, to my knowledge made a dozen and the appointments were already judged lopsided. My first reaction was to cut off the call. But I hate to be rude. So I said to him please let me be if all the appointment are from his village and they can do the job why should I care.
I continued my conversation with Paul Olele presuming I had managed to get rid of someone who did not do their homework. I still have not managed to read the report. But the first I heard of this 30 second telephone conversation with someone whose name I do not recall was someone saying he read my article about appointing people from the same village. I was puzzled because I knew I had not written any such article. It took my assistant pointing to something trending in social media about the subject of spread of appointments that I traced it to the few irritated minutes I spent on the phone with this reporter.
What worried me about the whole jumping to conclusion after less than the appointments is what I have come to borrow from Christian testimony of a dear friend as the near success syndrome in Nigeria. This friend’s testimony traces how he almost made first class, almost got there, almost did this. In many ways Nigeria always almost gets there. The window opens, as it did in 1999, and when the save Nigeria group and the consequent doctrine of necessity presented an opportunity for a fresh beginning and windows of opportunity. Often times these windows of opportunity were shut by acrimonious nitpicking by partisans and ethnic jingoists, my instant reaction to this business of nepotism in appointments was oh my God, there we go again, quarrelling about who was appointed can quickly distract and derail; and the near success syndrome will go on. Had I spoken beyond a few seconds I probably would have told the reporters that when John F Kennedy named his brother Robert, Attorney – General of United States in small cabinet that he should have been grateful he was not in Nigeria or Camelot would have been still born.
What I did find quite troubling about it all was the near total absence of serious homework in both the reporting and the reaction to the report. The kind of reporters Stanley Mace Bach and company trained were thought to provide background to their stories. The laziest effort at back grounding, since I write a blog and weekly columns, is that I have treated that subject so many times including in the last few weeks both in my writing and in public speeches that it should have been easy to show patterns. But a lazy reporting culture has come to feed on and feed declining civic culture in which the object of public conversation is to type cast people, go into name calling and in the social media hauling insults without understanding what is being discussed.
That none could ask how what was reported reflects the thoughts of Thomas Kingsley from 1948 which is retraining in my discussion of the subject tells how far both reporting and civic culture have sunk.
The matter is further compounded with a columnists who neither research nor think. Some claim to have 25 years’ experience but their minds are as closed as when they left their village in Imo State 25 years ago and all they have is one year’s experience repeated 25 times.
Who will save Nigerian journalism and civic culture with anybody who can get on social media thinking it is license to leave their brains at home.

Pat Utomi, Political Economist and Social Entrepreneur is founder of the Centre for values in Leadership.


Language humor always gets me going. The TV series Mind your Language was a hit with me, therefore one of my favourite Language jokes is of an ‘Americana’ fellow from Owerri who returning from New York greeted his grandmother with full compliments of a Bronx accent: Grandma How are you doing (‘ow-r-u-dooin’). Poor Grandma, assuming he was speaking the dialect, responded: edu rum nga nduru (I am still sitting where I was sitting). She had assumed he asked How are you sitting? On the matter of fuel subsidy in Nigeria I feel like the grandmother: edu rum nga nduru.
Those who have sat in my classes know that like most business teachers I am quick to state upfront, that there are no right or wrong answers, as in case study discussions. As such; what mattered was the rigor in arriving at a decision. Clearly there are many ways to skin the Christmas Ram. Some use boiling water to get the skin clean of hair, others hold it over the naked fire until the hair is burnt up. Surely there are many tracks to the village market of subsidy and optimal utilization of a finite and wasting asset we have been gifted with, called petroleum.
As a business teacher one of my refrains is that there is no such thing as the one and only right answer. We can arrive same destination through different highways. But as JK Rowling reminds in her Harry Porter stories, we are the choices we make. When choice is not marked by rigor the outcomes tend to be suboptimal, and sometimes defeating of purpose. In this case, of subsidies, the question must be why subsidy, what are the benefits, what were the challenges in its implementation and what are future costs and benefits of continuing such a strategy of enhancing well-being, as the purpose of government is optimal enhancement of the wellbeing of the people.
My views were and remain that whatever the object of subsidy, it had been converted into a scam that has hurt more, the poor people and encouraged inappropriate consumption by the more well off while lining the pockets of scammers. Those views remain. Evidence of this firm stance can be found in interview I gave on Sunrise Morning on Channels Television during that January 2012 protest of subsidy induced petrol price hike, and course of action in response. That has not shifted at all.

When someone recently suggested my views on petroleum subsidy may have shifted, I could not but remember the Owerri grandmother. Edurum nga nduru. My views on the matter have not shifted. What is the difference between being prominent in occupy Falomo ‘when subsidy was the excuse for fuel price increase; and saying “subsidies”, as we call the phenomenon, are distorting markets and prices, and taking away resources for government investment in the well-being of citizens.
Why do governments turn to subsidies. It could be to reduce the burden of high prices so the people can have access to a product or service that improves their welfare, which a market price would make improbable. It could be to boost production so jobs can be created. Still, subsidies could be designed to bridge regional challenges as with cross subsidization, a good example of which would be bridging in distribution of petrol across Nigeria.
My experience is that subsidies, which bring the welfare benefits that the goals that bring them about seek, also have costs. Whether they should continue, generally then depend on a cost- benefit analysis. Sometimes the costs come in the form of abuses that subsidies can unwittingly promote. In the case of Nigeria, a major part of that cost comes from a rent seeking culture which, in a time of impunity, encouraged leakages in which between 2011 and 2012 subsidy’s costs went up by several hundred billion Naira when prices of PMS in the international markets hardly moved.
It is clear that the projection of improved benefit for lower price is a phantom. All over Nigeria only Lagos and Abuja seemed to have those subsidy prices to go the people. Lately, even Lagos has slipped, as stations in Ajah and some other parts have been verbally advertising prices #20 more for each litre and selling only to those willing to pay those prices. Yet the subsidy excuse takes away from market conditions that create competition that force down prices. If we remember the early days of GSM when prices were up, and per second billing was thought improbable. Then the oligopoly was broadened as Glo came along, and Etisalat followed. Per second billing suddenly became possible. Prices also fell to Earth from the stratosphere.
My problem with our petroleum subsidy regime is not just that the presumed benefits are being scammed off and a few individuals are amassing wealth from the scam, but that no clear goal, after which the regime stops, is insight. Yet many government services are lost for the drain of the subsidy. Arguments, have been put forward that the regime should stay in place until the refineries are fixed or more refineries built in the country. As I have pointed out, there is no absolutely right or wrong answer. I not only desire a quick fixing of the refineries I would like to encourage a regime that sees our coastline dotted with refineries and little, if any crude oil, exported. This would no doubt not only result in more value to Nigeria; as one hundred dollars of crude export could readily be three thousand dollars in income, if we processed; but would increase supply to the point that domestic prices cannot but fall.
The real question is how long we can allow the hemorrhaging in the name of subsidy, which does not result in benefits that reach the people, to continue. Surely those who profit from this, inappropriately, will be further incentivized to sabotage the system for continued immoral gain.
As I wrote down these thoughts I watched an NTA report on long queues at petrol stations in Abuja. The anchor then switched to neighboring Nassarawa state where the lines did not exist. The difference, they were paying more. What was even unjust is that some of the marketers were taking delivery, collecting subsidy money for what they collected, and further marking up what arrived at the filling stations. They were making out like bandits at the expense of economic development, and the poor fellows trying to commute.
Surely a more disciplined government with less leakages reduces the cost of subsidies, but in the end it just short changes everyone, especially if it is not geared at improving production and reducing the demand beyond need, for it. Our middle class drive around far more unproductively that their South African colleagues became the price of PMS. These are the reasons I vote for the market to be used to force down prices instead on that, edurum nga nduru.
Pat Utomi Political Economist and Professor of Entrepreneurship is Founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership.


To make progress and have peace we need economic growth and for jobs to be created. That can hardly happen without innovation and hardworking risk takers who start businesses. Entrepreneurs, as that tribe is named, often complain that its increase is held back by the problem of access to capital. As a teacher of entrepreneurship I find that I have to spend most of my time telling entrepreneurs banks are not enemies armed to frustrate them.
Banks on the other hand are constantly complaining about loans that are not performing. The tendency is to accuse borrowers in general of not being diligent or of being guilty of sharp practices. I have often considered a focus group experiment including bankers and businessmen. From the kind of language a whole classroom full of entrepreneurs I was teaching used on bankers, just last week, I have a feeling the Fire Brigade may be required to be on standby for such a Focus Group session.
In the trading of blames the point still remains that entrepreneurs are needed for significant material progress. They need to work with sources of finance, one of which is the Banking system and that there are a few players who abuse the access to banks and so jeopardize access for honest, diligent entrepreneurs. How to flush out these willful offenders without harming the system has been a matter of some debate.
Among the solutions that have been tried, and is speculated as being about to be tried again, is publishing a list of presumed chronic debtors. When it was first done, and at points when the tactic has come up, I have often pointed to it as an iatrogenic policy choice. Such choices are made when the medicine applied to heal a disease does more harm, to the patient than the disease it aimed to cure.
This metaphor from Medicine was more famously deployed by a US Senator who was previously a Harvard Professor and a member of two cabinets in Washington, Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
There are many reasons why such choice is more harmful to the goal of the industry and the economy than what gain may come from making the real targets look bad. It is quite clear to me, and many others, that even with the best of intentions, regulators and those seeking to get the bad guys, could unwittingly become complicit in the prolonged reign of poverty.
The ironies in the approach include the fact that the real targets do not care about reputation, so the effect of publishing their names is a waste in advertising spend, but the list, as the last time, will include many disputed and out rightly incorrect claims, resulting in many libel litigations. Yet the courts and the credit bureaus designed to stop the credit- challenged from further access to loans are fully in place. More troubling is that many entrepreneur – wannabes, at a time we are preaching the Gospel of venturing, may be frightened off that track, lest a risk gone south make them object of ridicule.
The current state of frustration by entrepreneurs seeking capital is significantly a part of the last such exercise the frightened lenders of lending lest the cost of risk destroy them, and borrowers from being so reticent as to avoid even borrowing on a modest appetite. No modern economy can be grown at that emotional level of financial system engagement. The view that has been encouraged in the public domain assumes lending to be risk free and only troubled by dubious conduct. All ventures involve risk, some more than others. Where the risks are fully disclosed, as gain would have come to both lender and borrower it is usually that if risk crystalizes in the negative, it could impact the lenders for ill, but it even wipe out the borrower. The key is how to contain these risks such that overall the Banks, entrepreneurs and the system, profit.
Let me draw from practical local and perhaps one or two foreign experiences to illustrate why it is wrong to make out entrepreneurs who come to adversity as criminals, especially because many of the successful corporations in the United States have been in and out of Chapter Eleven bankruptcy.
Nigeria’s journey to the internet truly provides an example of views on Risk and how they can shape human progress. Twenty one years ago I was so ashamed several African countries were on the internet but Nigeria was not. Our telecommunications monopoly, NITEL, was beset with other problems. Addressing a group of entrepreneurs I chewed them up on private initiative not circumnavigating the regulatory minefield to redeem us.
Afterwards one of them came to me and asked if we could partner to make that happen. I was pleased. We spent hours working on strategy, then apportioned work. He would develop the technology feasibility, I the business model, and pulling the investment together. Then I invited a select group of potential investors to a dinner at All Seasons Restaurant in Victoria Island. Three among them were Managing Directors of Banks. My nervous presentation of the Model indicated we would lease E1 lines from NITEL and pipe our traffic to Pipex; a backbone provider in the UK. When I was done, one of the Bank MDs, Erastus Akingbola noted that the risk of something NITEL could disrupt by simply pulling off the E1 lines was too high. I could feel the wind going off my sail when another of the Bank MDs, Biodun Dabiri, responded, acknowledging the risk, but arguing that the risk could be mitigated.
That conversation made the point of our investment strategy which was that such technology investment was not the type you brought traders or money bags to, because their thinking on the risk would go against the mindset that gave them success, if they did not get quick returns.
Having been rescued by Dabiri, we would raise that night, the money that launched Linkserve, and a few months later, Nigeria was on the internet. But Akingbola’s fear proved real.
At an event in Abuja, then Chief of General Staff (VP) General Oladipo Diya was brought into what was probably the first Cyber Café in Nigeria. The company’s General Manger used photos from that to promote the company. What risk in those Abacha days. Security men quickly took over the company’s premises and NITEL pulled those lines. But, fortunately, as Dabiri suggested, the risk was mitigated and Nigeria’s first Internet Service Provider (ISP) was back up and running.
Imagine that the risk was not successfully mitigated and that those men borrowed the monies they invested and lost their entire life’s savings plus a small borrowed portion, because they wanted to make some profit putting Nigeria on the World map, making businesses more efficient through ICT, and opening more businesses to opportunity that would have eluded them. If you branded those men criminals, exposed what has the sanctity of Doctor-Patient, or Lawyer- client type confidence, in newspapers, would many people who know them take risks that move society out of poverty. What is more likely is that the most gifted retreat into using their talent for safe rent seeking creating the time bomb of unemployment we have.
The major issues in abuse of access to Bank facility is using the monies for activity other than what was agreed to, and not showing enough prudence and diligence in pursuit of the object of the facility, a moral hazard. This often happens because the lender does not have perfect information on the motives and actions of the borrower; the challenge of information asymmetry.
The perennial challenge of decision making in economic intercourse, because of information asymmetries which result in either “Adverse Selection”, when a used Car salesman removes one zero and tells you the car has done ten thousand kilometers whereas it had clocked up one hundred thousand, and ‘Moral Hazard’, when you tell the banker you need the loan to buy Yam seedlings whereas the intention is to marry new wives with the money, will always be there. The question is how do we sanction those n error.
The system has a duty to build to checkmate moral hazard. The trouble with the way we are going about it is that we are giving the impression risk is a moral hazard. That can be destructive of innovation and entrepreneurship. When honest borrowers are terrified you will increasing find that only the crooks come to play.
The credit Bureau system and the courts should be appropriate if used well. People are quick to say our courts don’t work so why do we not work with relevant authorities to make them work. Special credit courts with Judges well trained on the financial and economic systems could focus on quick dispensation of justice. To mock one of the most important pillars of modern democratic order, the judiciary, does not serve the system well. In a sense that is what we do with the extra legal process. The ghost of Bridge banks which have no basis in law and which have been used to violate the property rights of many remains an open sore that only truth can heal.
Another kind of asymmetry that increases risk in the financial and economic order is power asymmetry. This is especially so at a time of impunity when property rights are routinely compromised. When someone who has political power in their favor can get away easily with riding roughshod over the rights of another.
It is this which lead many investment advisors to counsel foreign investor- prospects to generally avoid regulated sectors of the Nigerian economy because regulatory risk, a function of power asymmetry, can pose severe risk to enterprise. My own experience alone provide ample illustration. From Oil and Gas, Banking, Power and regulated media, the failure of regulated sectors to be level playing ground prove with no doubt the point of my 1998 book; Managing Uncertainty- Competition and Strategy in Emerging Economies. Even the way waivers distorts markets tell same story.
In Banking, from the forced consolidation of the Soludo era, to the Sanusi Stress tests, all you need do is ask for an independent international forensic evaluation and eyes will pop out of sockets. But in a country where you can be judge, jury and choir master of public opinion cheerleading, justice is left only to God’s Court. Yet a savvy foreign advisory community, beyond sounding off in politically correct tunes, know the truth, as I learnt listening to a South African born PWC partner at Wharton a few years ago.
Who takes the blame for an investment that was okay until regulator action forced it south? The borrower who acted diligently or the regulator who wanted to use power to reallocate instruments of wealth creation to those they favor, thus compromising investments diligent made and in which no moral hazard was evident?
For five years I have ploughed almost all I have earned to service a loan made for investment well made but compromised by willful regulator abuse. Top that with one I have brought up before, an investment that has been frustrated in a land lease, with no cogent reason, except the unspoken one of the Lease being approved by a predecessor Governor from a different political party and with whom there had been much acrimony. It was a case that led a well-known former Attorney General to say to me: If they can do this to you, with your voice, imagine what they do to those who do not have a voice. It is such comments that determine comfort with investment which drive growth.
The Linkserve story and several other startups which appear in another one of my books; Business Angel as a Missionary show why the economic potential is not realized in our country, leaving so many so poor and vulnerable.
The matter of pressurizing those who abuse Bank access is an important one and should be part of our institution building agenda. Surely we can learn much from experience elsewhere and the state of thought on the matter which have been elegantly synthesized by Raghuram G. Rajan and Luigi Zingales in the their book Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists. We will do well to avoid solutions that do more harm to the patient than the disease.
Pat Utomi, political Economist, and professor of Entrepreneurship is founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership.


Confirmation has come that President Muhammmadu Buhari will be going to America this month. This going to America should not only be different from that of African prince portrayed by Eddie Murphy it should be different from that which marked both the beginning of the Yar’adua and Jonathan Presidencies. This going to America for an ailing nation of great potential must be a concrete effort at forging partnerships in pursuit of the great goal of the Great Escape from misery for the biggest concentration of the people of Africa descent.
Going to America has always been a matter laced with Irony. As a young Youth Copper reporting for the Newbreed Newsmagazine some thirty eight years ago I wrote a story that pointed to Army Intellectual, Olusegun Obasanjo, criticizing African leaders journeying to America. As head of state then he had evidently forgotten his old quips, and was preparing for a journey to America.
I have never thought of going to America a problem. The mindset of America their America’ offered by one of our literary giants was not my own frame. What my concern always was and remains the issue for this visit, is, how to go beyond ceremonials and photo opps. to handshakes that produce mutually beneficial outcomes. For the US and Nigeria this has to include in todays context a boosting of capacity for security and economic advance in Nigeria and Trade opportunities with new markets for American products where there is comparative advantage that do not depress prospects for sustainable development in a country of prospects.
With security problems in Nigeria’s North East threatening efforts to reduce the scourge of poverty, disease, and a brutish state of nature; a huge infrastructure deficit, financing gaps that have left even salaries unpaid for months, partnerships with foreign powers need be obsessively focused on relatioships that can help bridge gaps and uplift the Nigerian condition.
In this regard I am persuaded that with we, as Nigeria, should unveil a clear National Strategy anchored on latent comparative advantage based on select factor endowments in which value chains in which we are quite competitive are developed into global markets. With the Chinese understanding of the benefits of industrial policy in building such Values Chains, we should not be shy to do infrastructure deals around industrial parks with them. In the same way opportunities for partnerships with the South Koreans, Japanese and with the Australians in Mining and Road Infrastructure should not be allowed to slip by. With the Americans so much can be done with Power, services, Technology and education. We need to expand our fast growing education and health sectors. With so many Nigerians of the diaspora active in the US in these areas, the trip should be used to build bridges. We just saw reports of a meeting of Nigerian physicians in the US which took place in Orlando Florida. We should tag into that to be a medical tourism hub.
What a visit such as this must do is provide the opportunity for President Buhari to find that one quiet moment to provide assurance of lasting goodwill if specific support with arms, equipment and intelligence to accelerate ending the insurgency, is offered. A clear shopping list is helpful and a pointer to an appropriate desk officer to serve as clearing house should be determined. We should neither play the subservient with a begging nor our protocol laced meeting of equal sovereigns, friends don’t ask who is bigger. They know.
We miss much running around at the highest levels with much concerns when the Ambassador can court the right desk officer and get things moving. If President Buhari can convey the warmth of friendship, passion, and selfless giving of self for the good of a country that has been unfairly treated, he could get a useful nod from President Obama that his people can work with. He needs to have a few of those critical people with him. He must not leave the impression the ones before him left, that there is no capacity or interest in making promises bear fruit. Our failure to profit from AGOA is cape in point.
In that sense an opportunity to thank Obama for the Power Up Africa initiative with specific requests for how it can help reduce the darkness of our patch of earth at night and put many to work, so Boko Haram will find it harder to find recruits should be clearly stated. Here it will be nice to nicely apologize for our tardiness with AGOA, and pledge that in the spirit of change and new beginnings in Nigeria, the economy of Nigeria will be more engaged with an AGOA extension.
President Buhari will profit much from elevating the tone by showing resolve to whole heartedly fight corruption. America help with tracking and repatriating money stolen from the Nigerian people. This should be requested.
If change is to result in dividends for the Nigerian people PMBs visit to Washington must not be a visit from the leftovers. It must be worked at so it becomes a journey into a welcoming mat for a strategic partner. When President Jimmy Carter’s 1977 World tour that would have brought him from Europe into Africa was terminated in Europe, due to urgent developments at home, a rescheduling was done. On resumption in 1978 the visit to Nigeria was dubbed, by one of America’s newsmagazines as ‘Carter’s journey to the leftovers’. We owe it to our children that this visit to Washington not be seen as another visit from the leftovers.
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Pat Utomi, political Economist and Professor of Entrepreneurship is founder of the Centre for Values in Leadership.