Our self-inflicted recession as gift

Like the name suggests, our blog-cum-epaper: soon hopes to fill the gap between Nigeria of today and Nigeria of the future with speculations, ideas, and images. Our goal is to sit as the prefix to Nigeria’s economic and political development, so that one day we can say: soon, Nollywood will be the world’s largest film industry or soon, Nigeria will achieve uninterrupted power supply or more urgently, soon, Nigeria will be out of recession.

We are all aware that the economic recession (otherwise known as inflation to the man on the street) has been the hot topic in Nigeria today; while on the other hand, pockets of hope such as: Owambe (my euphemism for events sector), Church, Nollywood, Music, Football, Agriculture, Solar Energy, herbal medicine and side businesses offer a glimpse into Nigeria of the future.
As we hope to think our way out of today’s recession, we have to understand that our economy, once totally dependent on oil, is suffering due to an unhealthy aspirational culture that has seen us attempt to Westernize our economy. So for instance, we ban hawkers, chase away roadside cobblers and vulcanizers, refuse to document Nollywood (until lately) because they do not fit into the Western prescription of what should count as sectors of the economy. In ignoring our large informal and unsalaried economy, we have based our economic projections on a small segment: the documented, salaried economy; and by so doing we have remained dependent on the West tipping the balance of trade in their favour. So rather than look to the West, soon will, in the midst of the recession, glory in our unsalaried informal economy: those ragtag industries that keep Nigeria moving. We will look closely at those sectors we have jettisoned: those undocumented sectors with healthy cash flow that actually run our current sub-economy.

We will catalogue those beautiful unique things within our geographic and financial reach. For where if not Nigeria can you get a shoe shiner, or a cobbler right at your doorstep, without going to a town centre mall like in the Western cities we admire, where else can you have empty bedrooms sit idle in large compounds and not pay bedroom tax. Where else than Nigeria can you get repairs for your electronics and clothing cheaper than purchasing the original. For how did Nollywood get its acclaim for becoming the 2nd largest film industry in terms of output if not through smash and grab. In looking at how to get out of recession, we will celebrate these hidden beauties of our economy. With Street Stock Exchange, we will document our unsalaried informal sector: barbers, roadside vulcanizers and tailors. With Cheap Icons, we will promote goods and services that are within financial reach while we cast our minds on tomorrow through futuristic polls on the 2019 general elections.

We hope that by filling the gaps between how we arrived at recession and how we can get out of it, we can also move from import dependency to local sufficiency and then to the desired mix of local sufficiency and exports. For example, have you noticed how one of our national strengths: The Church (my euphemism for religion) has flourished in spite of the recession? In this inaugural April – May cycle when we approach Easter and Democracy Day holidays in April and May respectively, we will, weekly, explore Church as Strategy: how Nigeria and/or the Church can take advantage of burgeoning religious entrepreneurialism in becoming an economic giant. We will also welcome submissions in all formats as we hope to co-create the future of Nigeria.

Baba Oladeji Editor