By Anote Ajeluorou
For Nigeria to attain greatness and rise above its current challenges some of which are constitutionally enshrined such as quota system, tribe and federal character that lead to ineptitude and a myriad of other ailments, the spirit of excellence must be seen to be at work at all levels of human endeavour.
This submission was made yesterday by two technocrats boardroom gurus, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode and Chief Lugard Aimiuwu and other motivational speakers at the Excellerate Symposium designed to enthrone the spirit of excellence in Nigeria through raising a community of excellent citizens. It was held at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos.
They also submitted that tomorrow’s world belongs to those countries and individuals that have the competitive edge, which Nigeria lacks at the moment, saying Vision 2020/20 is doomed to fail since budgetary provisions do not get implemented early enough to keep up pace with developments in other parts of the world.
Keynote speaker, Aimiuwu, stated that the country could be well-managed if Nigerians cultivated a culture of excellence to adapt to the needs of a rapidly changing world. He noted, “Nigeria recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee without much gold in the kitty… My definition of the new world order is one in which advantage belongs to the strong. The strong then use the advantage to create new strengths, to create new advantage, in the manner of a recurring decimal. In the human world, real advantage comes from creating real value. Value attracts value; rubbish attracts rubbish. Value begets value; rubbish begets rubbish.
“In the fiercer competition of the new globalised market scenario, there is little scope for rule of thumb or ‘common sense’…, which cannot be substituted for professionalism built on skills, driven by competencies, and shaped by best philosophies, best principles, best practices and best contextual fit… Excellence cannot be conjured; it has to be achieved. Excellence is the oxygen of development. Corrupt legislators cannot compete with non-corrupt legislators”.
Aimiuwu then went on to expand on the principles of excellence as consisting of not just being better than one’s contemporaries and predecessors but being better than oneself. He argued that God has already overstocked Nigeria with miracles, and said, “What you are is God’s gift to you; what you become is your gift to God”.
Aimiuwu further decried the blame-game philosophy for which Nigeria’s under-development is underpinned both by its leaders and the led, and noted that there was no room for excuses in a globalised, competitive world. “The world is driven by the power of ideas, of leaders who have clear vision what to do. Nigeria’s nascent democracy as excuse for failure is parochial. We blamed the colonial masters after independence; then we blamed politicians after independence. Military after military came and blamed those before them. Now, the executive blames legislators; legislators blame the executive. Politicians blame politicians. And we all blame the constitution. Who blames self? Who is going to take responsibility for our development?
“Excuses for failure cannot get us anywhere. We must blame ourselves for our lack. We are what we allow ourselves to be; you cannot rebrand a leprous brand. After decades of oil wealth, Nigeria sits majestically at the bottom of human development index. No one does business with an unserious people. Excellent is not a part time attribute. No one will wait for Nigeria to get it right. If Nigeria does not start competing with the rest of the world, what happened to the dinosaur will be a child’s play; it will go into extinction. Nigeria must confront its demons in all ramifications otherwise Vision 20/2020 will just be a statistical bus stop and not a destination”.
In his opening remark chairman of the occasion, Onosode, tasked Nigeria to imbibe the culture of better time management at all times, as time was a non-renewable resource, which Nigerians waste unrelentingly that result in the loss of man hours. He singled out Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola for his spirit of excellence in service performance and charged Lagos residents to be good followers by not throwing things out of their car windows and indiscriminately cutting the roads being built, saying, “We need to be patriotic followers by following good examples”.
XMO Global CEO and international guest at the symposium, Mr. Terry Pruett, said it would only take just a few out of the lot to make the need revolution Nigerians crave. He argued that excellence was the standard, the bar to be raised and said it was what would bring Nigeria up from the doldrums it had been immersed through inept leadership.
He stated, “Excellence starts with expectation from oneself and from others. We have to raise our expectations. If only one per cent of people in this country say they don’t want electricity to fail, it will happen. Excellence is intentional; it’s a continuum and always in motion. Excellence is not a finished product; it’s the raising of the bar, the standard for better performance”.
The convener of the Excellerate Symposium and CEO, Whitedove Publicity Limited, Mr. Kenneth Ebbi, stated that his goal and passion was to raise a community of excellent citizens having been sickened by the sheer ineptitude that now characterise the nation’s body politic. He said, “I believe there are still thousands of Nigerians who believe in excellence. I’m trying to bring all of these people together under one roof to be able to create a critical mass to make a change in this country. No country that is great that is not given to excellence. Change will come by a communal effort to return the culture of excellence. I’m determined to spend my last kobo to ensure this happens”.
Other speakers and eminent guests in attendance included Ambassador Segun Olusola, Mrs. Yvonne Ebbi, Pastors John Enelamah, Poju Oyemade, Dr. Lloyds Atabansi, Ali Baba, Damilola Oluwatoyinbo, Comfort Coleman and Mrs. M.O. Odesoya.