How Professionals Can Lead the Re-imagination of a New Nigeria

Innovation is not a mere buzzword; it’s the lifeblood of progress. And in the context of a nation, innovation takes on an even more critical role – that of building and shaping its destiny. As we navigate the complexities of our world, it’s imperative that professionals play a pivotal role in driving innovation for the purpose of nation building. In this essay, I will delve into the essence of innovation, the role of professionals in shaping a nation’s future, and the imperative call to action that lies before us.

At its core, innovation is about breaking new ground, conquering new territories, and mastering new arts. It’s the process of pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and creating something new that adds value to society. And in the context of a nation, innovation is synonymous with progress, development, and growth. It’s about reimagining what’s possible and then translating that vision into reality.

Professionals, with their specialized knowledge and skills, are uniquely positioned to be the torchbearers of innovation for nation building. They are individuals who have dedicated themselves to a particular occupational activity, often driven by a passion to make a difference in their field. But being a professional is more than just a career choice; it comes with a set of obligations that extend beyond individual success.

The distinction of a professional lies in the rigorous standards of education and training they undergo, preparing them with the knowledge and expertise required to perform their specific role. Moreover, professionals are bound by strict codes of conduct that emphasize ethical and moral obligations, particularly those that promote the public interest. This unique combination of expertise, ethical responsibility, and commitment to the greater good sets professionals apart as key players in the nation-building process.

A nation is not merely a geographic entity; it’s an identity, a community, and a shared destiny. Nation building, then, is the process of constructing and shaping this identity, uniting the people within a state to ensure long-term political stability and viability. It’s about developing a sense of belonging, fostering unity, and creating an environment where every citizen can contribute to the collective progress.

In the context of Nigeria, a nation brimming with potential and poised for greatness, the role of professionals in nation building cannot be overstated. With the largest economy in Africa and a population that’s both a blessing and a challenge, Nigeria stands at a crossroads. Its destiny is one of greatness, but the path to realizing that destiny requires deliberate action. This is where professionals step in.

As professionals, we must recognize that nation building is not a passive endeavor. It requires innovation, intentional planning, and a commitment to addressing the nation’s most pressing challenges. The statistics are telling – nearly 200 million people, 90 million living in poverty, and a perpetual struggle to provide meaningful employment. It’s clear that innovation is the key to unlocking solutions to these complex issues.

Innovation, however, is not a one-size-fits-all concept. In the modern era, innovation is synonymous with harnessing the power of technology. From big data and artificial intelligence to cloud computing and cryptocurrency, innovation is fueled by cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to reshape industries and transform societies. And who better to lead this charge than professionals who understand the intricacies of their fields and can drive meaningful change?

Leading innovation for nation building involves a multi-faceted approach:

1. Education for Empowerment: Professionals must advocate for education that goes beyond job preparation. We need to nurture skills that empower individuals to become job creators and entrepreneurs.

2. Pioneering Standards: Copying solutions isn’t enough. Professionals should spearhead the development of standards tailored to Nigeria’s unique challenges and opportunities.

3. Cultivating Curiosity: Fostering a culture of asking questions and critical thinking is essential. Curiosity is the catalyst for innovation and progress.

4. Solving Challenges: Challenges are opportunities in disguise. Professionals must build a community of problem solvers, tackling issues that hinder progress and growth.

5. Leading Ethically: Ethical leadership forms the bedrock of innovation. Character, courage, capacity, and competence guide professionals as they drive transformative change.

In the journey towards innovation-led nation building, Nigeria’s history serves as a cautionary tale. We’ve missed opportunities due to an insufficient embrace of data-driven innovation. Whether it’s the agricultural revolution, the printing press, or the computer age, the lack of innovation has perpetuated a cycle of missed chances, with foreign influences often taking the lead.

But Nigerian professionals have the power to shift this narrative. We can champion innovation through data, ensuring that we harness the potential of cutting-edge technologies. In an era marked by short attention spans, we must sustain innovation efforts and lead in the age of data and technology.

In conclusion, the destiny of Nigeria and the black race are intertwined. The path to greatness lies before us, and as professionals, we hold the key to unlock that potential. Let us embrace the challenges, drive innovation, and reimagine the future of our nation. Nigeria’s greatness is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice. Together, as professionals, let’s choose to lead innovation and build a New Nigeria – a nation that stands as a beacon of hope, progress, and unity.

By Engr. Michael Oluwagbemi, PE, PMP
August 2023

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