Wanted, Socioeconomic Activists In Nigeria Today!

Nigeria has so many passionate political activists resident in Nigeria and in the Diaspora whose voices are heard loud and clear in the news, in print, and in electronic and social media. Their activism is laudable, their passion is commendable, and their push for better outcomes for the Nigerian people is admirable.

There is, however, a paucity of socieconomic activists. If there are many of such activists, they need to raise their voices, vigorously promote their activities, and redouble their efforts to openly confront headon, begin to tackle with vigor, the socioeconomic challenges that face our nation.

Socioeconomic activism at the community or state level has the prospect of having an immediate and direct impact on peoples lives and on the community or state at large. A successful outcome of a strategy embarked upon in one community or state can be replicated in other communities and produce a ripple effect nationwide.

I hereby propose a strategy that socioeconomic activists can employ in any community or state that is willing to confront its socieconomic challenges headon.

Consider a pilot community or state in any part of Nigeria with a population of several million people some of whom may live in the Diaspora. Assume that a fraction of this community members, say one million, can be persuaded, mobilized, organized, and motivated to work cooperatively on a common agenda of creating jobs, reducing crime, promoting business opportunities, and creating wealth for the people of the state or community.

Socioeconomic activists in that state or community can propose and aggressively promote a monthly community or state development levy of between N160 naira and N1000 naira or between $1 US dollar and $7 US dollars (approx). Of course members of the community or state who are willing to pay more monthly should be encouraged to do so.

Within a year, up to N1 billion naira or more of a growing seed capital may have accummulated. Socioeconomic activists driving this process should identify members of the community or state of impeccable character, integrity, and business acumen to manage the growing fund to foster trust and encourage participation of the people . At all stages of the process measures must be put in place to promote accountability, transparency, and trust.

With a monthly inflow of up to N100 million naira or more, managers of this growing fund can confidently seek partnerships with local universities and research institutes, local governments, state governments, and the federal government. Partnerships can also be sought with international agencies, local and international investors, and local and foreign companies.

The goals of such partnerships should be to establish in the state or community investments in the areas where the community or state has a comparative advantage. Such investments could be in any of:

1. Commercial farms.
2. Agro processing industries.
3. Mining operations.
4. Animal husbandry and live stock farms.
5. Fisheries and poultry farms.
6. Ecological parks, botanical parks, game reserves.

7. Industrial parks.
8. Information technology parks and call centers.
9. Assorted infrastructure projects including rural infrastructures and tourism infrastructures.

10. Afforestation projects to control erosion, reduce global warming, impede desrtification, and promote environmental beauty.

11. Environmental sanitation.
12. Education and healthcare delivery support systems.

These measures will provide jobs for many, reduce unemployment , create wealth in the state or community, engage the youth in productive pursuits, and reduce criminality in the community or state.

The managers of the fund should create a comprehensive website to show the socioeconomic activities being pursued, the partnerships being forged, the contributions being made by the members of the community or state resident in Nigeria or abroad. This will promote transparency and accountability and encourage members of the community to continue to pay the levy. The website should also be able to accept monthly, quarterly, semi-annualy, or yearly payments of the levy via paypal or credit card to make payments easy.

This is a great opportunity for socioeconomic activists and the people of a state or a community to step up in unison and become active participants in the solution of the socioeconomic problems in their state or community.

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Articles by Abitunde Taiwo