A tale of many thieves

While still whimpering and crying over the proposed fuel subsidy and how it will affect our country, and the possibility of a rising bank interest rate, as well as increasing dollar to Naira exchange, I heard this out-of-the-world story. It blew me away totally and I was at the verge of giving up on this country.
After the just concluded mirage called elections, over 6000 direct data capturing (DDC) machines were stored in the INEC office. Recently, we were told that about 1388 of the DDC machines were stolen, the internal hard disk of another 2986 units and batteries of 644 units were also stolen. Now to me, this is the greatest irony I have seen in recent times. I was listening to Inspiration FM and someone gave an analogy which I want to re-present on this platform.
In studio, there is always a studio manager who is responsible for everything in the studio. If something gets missing there, the studio manager will be held accountable for these items and if he/she had delegated authority for whatever reasons, the person delegated will he held responsible. Now, if this is the case, then there is someone probably called a store manager who was responsible for the safe keeping of the DDC machines.
In case you think the DDC machine is like the size of mobile phones, you are wrong. The DDC machines are those laptops that were used to capture your data during the elections. Here we are talking about 20 per cent of the DDC machines stolen and no one can lay a finger on who should be held accountable for this.
I am trying as much as possible to remove my mind from the fact that to steal this number of machines, a car or bus was probably brought into the premises and these machines were moved into them under the glaring eyes of as many as might have been interested; and if you argue that they were stolen one after the other, how long will it take to observe that machines are being stolen if there is a daily audit of the store house which is a given for any store where items are kept?
We were told at a time that a ship was missing at sea and now 1388 DDC machines were stolen. I would not be surprised to hear tomorrow that an airplane is missing in the air or Aso Rock itself can no longer be found. The police are still telling us that they are investigating and questioning people on this issue. An issue I would have gotten to the root of if I was given the responsibility to do so, in less than 2 days.

The Making of Nigeria’s Mark Zuckerberg

Every time read about the young billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, I have a mixed feeling of envy and admiration for him. What scares me most, however, is that more than 80% of Nigerians in his age group do not even know who he is, talk less of share the kind of vision and passion he has. If you have not heard about that name before, you certainly might have heard of Facebook and probably have it opened on your desktop as you are reading this.

Mark, 27 years old, is the founder and CEO of Facebook and currently the 52nd richest person in the world, worth $13.7 Billion, a number behind Nigeria’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote according to Forbes. He found Facebook at the age of 20 from his dorm room and has since grown the social networking forum to a multi-billion dollar business.

Facebook started off only as an opportunity for students to upload and share pictures with each other and it spread beyond Harvard campus, where Mark was a student at the time, to other campuses such as Colombia, Yale, Stanford, and Cornell. Mark and his co-founders were approached by several companies to sell Facebook to them which they declined since they were not after the immediate monetary reward but wanted to build a platform that will forever change the world – a powerful and modest vision, I’d say!

I have once written an article on this and I will yet mention it again. It breaks my heart to consider what an average Nigerian youth spends his/her time doing. Be it a lady or a guy, you will find that a Nigerian youth is fully occupied with UEFA cup, EPL, African Magic, Musicals, Movies and even Facebook itself.

I look at this mix and it further makes me sad as I do not see anything in this list that smells like a Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin or Jerry Yang, all who made the Forbest Richest list under the age of 30. It will not be farfetched if one looks at the environment in which these people grew up and the kind of environment we are being exposed to in Nigeria. How can one explain why the seating president of Nigeria who is seeking a re-election refuse an interview with a renowned and globally recognized literary icon, Chimamanda Adichie and yet honour a staged faux pas called an interview with D-Banj?

Then you wonder why every young mind wants to be like D-Banj and not like Chimamanda.

Once again, we approach the general elections in Nigeria and we have the opportunity to define what kind of environment we want our kids and wards to grow up in when we cast out votes; a country that encourages them, from their infanthood, to see the world as full of opportunities and equip them to enjoy these opportunities. An environment that provides them with the tools, knowledge base, minds and resources to pursue their individual passion and make a living out of it.

To be furnished with leaders that they can dream to become like. It is no longer a secret that President Barack Obama of the United States had always found a mentor in Abraham Lincoln and it was not a surprise that he not only made history as the first black American president but also the only president after Abraham Lincoln to come from Chicago, Illinois.

Presently, there is no leader in Nigeria I would like to model my life after as they have all failed us woefully, amassing immense wealth for themselves at the detriment of the masses.

Nigeria needs leaders, models, mentors and history makers that the younger generation can learn from and as a result, aspire to grow their intellectual base so that tomorrow, a Nigerian can also feature in the list of the youngest richest people in the world, not from ill-gotten wealth, but as products of highly intellectual investment.