Feature: Nigeria needs ambitious Industrial Programme


By Ayo Akinfe


Coming up with an ambitious industrial programme that will get the likes of Dangote, Air Peace and Innoson to merge their operations to create a global conglomerate must be a key policy of our next president

[1] No matter how you look at it, the world’s largest black nation should be seated at the high table of humanity. At some stage it is inevitable we will be because we live in a changing world. For instance, China is now the world’s second largest economy, so a G-7 meeting without Beijing present is comical. Nigeria’s seat is just waiting for us to occupy it one day

[2] Canada has the smallest economy of all the countries in the current G-7 with a GDP of about $1.7trn. Nigeria can easily match this in 10 years were we hellbent on achieving it. I do not see a $2trn economy by 2030 as beyond us. We have the natural and human resources but what we lack is the drive as a people. We are waiting for the government to create wealth at a time when government is just a means for acquiring personal wealth

[3] Nigeria just needs to enjoy something like 20% GDP growth every year between 2022 and 2030 and being among the world’s top 10 economies will be a fait accompli. I think once we get our heads around the reality that it is not the government that will provide this growth, we will be home and dry

[4] You just need to look at the two biggest growth industries in Nigeria over the last 20 years and you will find that the government had nothing to do with them. Neither Nollywood or Nigeria’s plethora of evangelical churches were built by the government. They are both thriving today despite challenges like limited power supply, poor roads, corruption, etc. When we want to do anything, we get it done

[5] For me, what is missing in Nigeria is an industrial drive. When I look at how Krupp Industries more or less single-handedly rebuilt Germany after World War One, I ask myself where Nigeria would be if we had industrialists with this kind of drive. Up until the end of the Second World War, Krupp produced battleships, U-boats, tanks, howitzers, guns, utilities and hundreds of other industrial goods

[6] Under Nazi rule, Krupp became synonymous with slave labour but it started out as a pioneering company for workers’ rights. Its chairman Alfred Krupp initiated a system of unprecedented benefits and social programmes for workers who pledged loyalty to the company, including on-site technical and manual training, accident, sickness and life insurance, housing (sometimes free), recreational facilities and parks, schools, bath houses and department stores. Widows and orphans were guaranteed an income if their husbands or fathers were killed

[7] Krupp also produced steel used to build railroads in the US, capped the Chrysler Building in 1929 and manufactured machinery used to travel to the bottom of the ocean. All the Maxim machine guns Frederick Lugard used to colonise Nigeria were manufactured by Krupp as the company had a contract with the British armaments company Vickers to supply them

[8] You just name it, Krupp has manufactured it. Trucks, cars, trains, shops, etc. All the while, it has had to compete with rivals like Daimler, BMW, Opel, etc. When Nigeria wants to join the community of respected nations, we will follow this example as we have done with Nollywood and evangelical churches. Why my people expect the government to do this for them is beyond me. A government-led programme will be bureaucratic and cumbersome. Besides, it will be dictatorial with orders coming from on high. Many of such orders will be out of sync with realities on the ground

[9] We have a few people doing their little bit industrially like Aliko Dangote, Allen Onyeama and Innocent Chukwuma but they still lack the clout to compete globally. Personally, I think we should merge their operations and create an industrial conglomerate that will operate at the level of Krupp. During World War Two, if Hitler needed 1,000 Panzer tanks, he just told Krupp to supply them and it was done

[10] Nigeria today cannot manufacture a common battle tank and then we wonder why Boko Haram remains undefeated. It is unfortunate that most Nigerians do not even find this embarrassing. How can a nation of 200m people still be importing battle tanks, assault rifles, automobiles, railway carriages, etc. I find that an embarrassment to the human race. Before you jet out on your next junket to Dubai or throw an owambe, reflect on this. Nigerians – You are the problem!


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