Our Missing Piece: Ambition

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image: themedianet.org

Nigerians are always in a rush. We are extremely hardworking. We are everywhere. We are very intelligent. We are many many things but ambitious. Nigerians aren't very ambitious. All our ambition can be sum in one short sentence, "I better pass my neighbour."

We have got all the resources to do more than Dubai and Abu Dhabi are doing. We have got more human capital than a lot of the developed countries. Yet we don't have a booming manufacturing industry; we import almost everything and we don't put effort into anything that will take 10 or more years to bear fruit except it is schooling. And this is what is stunting our growth.

Everyone is divided into two broad categories: those who want to work hard to be better than their neighbours, and those whose heroes are the politicians and just want to outsmart their neighbours. Almost no one thinks beyond beating his neighbour. Very few original thinking. The result is everyone flocks to the same industry and type of business while some industries have been dying since 1984.

To most Nigerians, success is about working for a multinational company and rising to the top. To most Nigerians, success is about being famous and earning millions. To most Nigerians, success is about being better than your neighbours. To some Nigerians, success is about instant reward. We don't create work of arts -- done out of pure passion and drive for perfection. We don't build world first or largest -- anything that will take many many years to complete. We don't work on the things we most need, only the things that make us look marginally better.

We have some of the best professors in some of the best universities in the world. We have some of the best brains smashing academic records across the world. We have the most hardworking people in the world. Our missing piece is ambition. We seldom see beyond our neighbour.


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