Where is Nigeria’s Elite Class?


By Dr Nicky Okoye

Every society should have an elite class these are the folks that ensure the continuity of progress and advancement. They ensure opportunities are distributed, the elite class ensures the poor people are well educated, the elite class ensures the commonwealth is invested for the future generations, they are guardians of the society. They protect and preserve due to their extensive connections and wealth.

The elite class is supposed to go out into the World and bring back the best for their Country. They use their large global wealthy communities to engage investment clubs, oversee investment aggregation and drive investment directly into the home society. Unfortunately this is not happening with Nigeria’s wealthy elite. Only a few care about Nigeria. And these few who do care are carrying too much of the burden. We need more to step up.

Let’s look at the majority of Nigeria’s wealthy, I cannot call them an elite class, because these folks are not invested in Nigeria’s future. Not all of them as I have said, a few are investing and mobilising for Nigeria but these ones are far too few. And so they are not enough to move the needle.

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A majority of Nigeria’s wealthy simply hang around Nigeria, to take as much as possible from Nigeria in order to deposit these funds, wealth, whatever into European banks. They focus their investments on buying European properties and to lookafter their progeny in European capital cities. NIGERIA’S wealthy educate their children abroad, they get their medical treatments and even their routine healthcare services are performed in Europe or the United States and more recently Turkey, Dubai and India. They Perish the thought that Nigeria’s medical services are up to global standards, even though they end up getting treated by Nigerian medical doctors, that were trained in Nigeria, when they go to Europe and America for their treatments.

The CEO of a major Nigerian bank, once laughed at me to my face, for making investments in Nigeria. He told me that he did not invest in Nigeria. I will preserve his anonymity, since that is not the object of my piece. However he is not alone, 95% of Nigeria’s wealthy are not vested in Nigeria’s future. This is sad but this is a FACT.

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A German expert, that had worked on a project for three in Nigeria once said that Nigeria’s wealthy and Nigeria’s street sellers operated with the exact same mindset. He concluded that Nigeria did not have an elite class.

It is,… Grab as much as you can, no matter who is undermined or what is destroyed in the process.

What a mindset.

In my most recent analysis, based on empirical data, Nigeria and Nigerians have arguably over $500 billion invested in foreign countries which has been deposited in these foreign countries by Nigerian business folks, Nigerian politicians and Nigerian civil servants over the last 40 years. This money should come home. And if I were to advise the administration, Nigeria must find a way to get these folks to return these funds back to Nigeria willingly. It will make all the difference.

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The current fall of Nigeria’s currency is directly tied to Nigerians fascination with getting educated abroad, getting treated abroad, acquisition of foreign goods, and making all our investments abroad. If we cannot buy made in Nigeria goods and services then the naira will continue to fall. If we cannot get our medical treatments in Nigeria then the naira will continue to fall. If our legislators insist on buying expensive imported Sports Utility Vehicles, whereas there are home made alternatives, the naira will continue to fall. This is not ROCKET SCIENCE.

Unless this unhealthy, self-destructive Nigeria wealthy mindset is addressed, and addressed quickly, Nigeria is doomed.

The year and perhaps down to the month that the anti-climax will hit is quite predictable at this stage.

This is the unfortunate truth.

-Dr Nicky Okoye Founder African Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Institute

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