Sustainable progress or development is the catalyst for the future.
The UN earlier this year officially launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at propelling the world towards a prosperous and sustainable future. The idea and promise of a sustainable future though very bright and shiny but recall that development is directly a function of power and its accompany policies, these factors combined must work hand in hand.
Throughout history, the eras of giant leaps in development and the champions of these eras were those that followed this ideology, from ancient Egypt to the Romans to United Kingdom and Europe to America then Asia. During these same eras, many nations and people who had only one of these factors crumbled and failed to match up to the developmental strides of these ‘Super Powers’. More recently the Middle East is championing development.
What bothers me is that Nigeria fails to fall under having any of these factors as both accessible power and sustainable policies are unavailable to propel development.
I am a firm believer that progress just for the sake of it, is worthless if it is not sustainable.
Under power/energy, research indicates that at the minimum, 1,000 Mw of electricity to every 1 million citizens is necessary to drive development. Nigeria currently generates about 4-5,000 MW of power for its 170 million citizens, that leaves a gap of 165,000 MW of electricity to drive development. This huge deficit is filled up to the best of its ability by the citizens themselves and in the process spending over 4-5 trillion Naira a year on fuel for generators alone. How do we drive sustainable development based on these?
As for policy, the erratic and largely self-centred nature of past governing persons and bodies has left the nation trying desperately to find her way back with very progress per time before another overhaul occurs and we start from scratch all over again. Again, how do we drive sustainable development based on these?
How do we do it?
The solution as it were is relatively simple and straight forward: Produce more sustainable electricity and better purposeful governance. Good, but here is the challenge, for some reason the policy makers across the nation have refused to recognize the need for the policies to be developed in Nigeria but rather are looking more short-term and self-enriching. This has affected the nation’s ability to generate power/energy/electricity to drive real sustainable development.
Another solution would be renewable energy, but to eradicate the huge gap in power generation in the country, it would require huge capital, capital that the current state of the economy won’t permit and would take up a lot of time to complete each project till it bridges that gap.
What then is the way forward?
My answer would be to provide accessible, cheap, alternative clean source of electricity to drive the required development and to also harness the considerable entrepreneurial drive of Nigerians into developing and creating solutions that don’t rely on the corrupt and bureaucratic system of government to make the policies that permit sustainable development. Instead, we should provide solutions that force the government into making policies to encourage those solutions.
This process begins in the various institutes of learning. We shouldn’t just teach entrepreneurship but entrepreneurship geared towards sustainable development.
Sustainable development is OUR responsibility…we need to stop relying on the government to solve all OUR problems.