Exploring the essence of value by Dr. Segun Oshinaga

by Church Times
By Dr. Segun ‘Tremendous’ Oshinaga
Men and women of value are sought for wherever they may be found. Whatever else you may have, without treasure or value, you cannot be in hot demand. Value is what distinguishes you from the multitudes. The possession of value makes you to stand out and become sought after.
I am going to be using value and treasure interchangeably. Value is an industry term while treasure is a ministry (Christian) term. They mean essentially the same thing for the purpose of this article.
Unfortunately in Africa and in Nigeria in particular, we have shamelessly substituted TITLES for TREASURES and STATUS for SUBSTANCE. Our Universities now award DEGREES to people have no degree of certainty in any anything (to ‘produce’ anything). We have become noted for wealth without hard-work and infamous for being consumers with no capacity for production of any item. Our leaders are known for their shameless flamboyance while in office. They are experts at sharing so called ‘national cake’ with absolutely no thought or idea how to bake any ‘cakes’.
We drive cars we cannot make. Our kitchens are stocked with foreign food and fridges with foreign drinks. We wear cloths we cannot make and live in houses with imported fixtures/fittings. All our reckless spending mania paid for with finite natural resources that are rapidly drying up. We need no prophet to tell us that we are doomed, until and unless we start creating value.
I have taught this principle for more than thirty years – a black man with value is worth ten thousand white men/women who are not contributing any value. The truth is that value has become ‘stateless’ and ‘colour’ blind. If you carry treasure, the world will beat the path to your doorstep, no matter where you live in the world; be it in rural Kitui, Kenya; rustic Maiduguri, Nigeria or in the forest of Rwentobo in Western Uganda.
Today, value is a global citizen. China and India are perfect examples of this principle. Both nations have proved beyond a shadow of doubt that large populations (trained to create value) are not a liability but an asset. The speed of value creation in both countries has shown that the more the people (with skills), the more human capital there can be. Populations multiply the creativities and ingenuities of a people. Both countries have successfully harnessed the ‘human capital assets’ of their people.
In the last fifty years, China has leapfrogged in industrialization and manufacturing. She has become the manufacturing centre of the world and set to, inevitably become the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world within a generation.
The world, particularly the Western world is frightfully awaiting the Chinese century. China’s march to becoming the foremost country in the world has been grueling and tireless with focus, pain and grit. Just under a century, she has largely become a first world though there are still wide swaths of Chinese territory hovering between 2nd and 3rd world. Imagine moving over 770 million people from abject poverty in 40 years. That’s a feat unequalled in world history.
This feat didn’t happen because of the exploitation of natural resources but the excavation of resources of the mind and a fierce channeling of the skills of her people to ‘produce’ things that the world needs as cheap as possible. The trick was to equip the 770 with skills that produced the needs of the world. Value creation lifts out of poverty.
Only lazy nations depend on only the natural resources. It’s cheap, particularly if you require the skills and expertise of other nationals to ‘dip up the resources’ and all you do is collect ‘rent’ on your own resources.
“The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting:”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12‬:‭27‬a ‭KJV‬‬
We are that proverbial lazy man. But the lazy man here is even better than us. At least in his own case, ‘he hunted’. We neither hunt nor roast.  Pathetic, if you ask me!
India, the second largest population in the world has achieved a near similar feat, like the Chinese. She has become the biggest contributor to technology in the world. One particular value that India has deliberately and intentionally chosen to offer the world is IT. There are now seven cities across that large country that have made IT/Technology their major focus.
Bangalore, also known as Bengaluru, is often referred to as the ‘Silicon Valley of India,’ is India’s largest information technology (IT) hub. It is home to major global technology companies, including Infosys, Wipro, and TCS, as well as numerous startups. There six other cities like that: Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, NCR – The Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) includes the cities of Delhi, Gurgaon, and Noida and Kochi.
IT/Tech has become their biggest  export.
Consider the list below and then you can appreciate the reality of India having harnessed their human capital and excelling in the technology field.
The Indian CEOs of top ten companies in the world.
1. Sundar Pichai – CEO of Google and Alphabet
2. Satya Nadella – CEO of Microsoft
3. Leena Nair – CEO of Chanel
4. Arvind Krishna – CEO of IBM
5. Shantanu Narayen – CEO of Adobe Systems
6. Nikesh Arora – CEO of Palo Alto Networks
7. Pawan Munjal – CEO of Hero Motocorp
8. Jayshree Ullal – CEO of Arista Networks
9. George Kurian – CEO of NetApp
10. Laxman Narasimhan – CEO of Starbucks
These Indians have become global citizens. The skills and the value they carry will give them passage in every country of the world.
How do we get out of the rot? I have a few suggestions requiring immediate and urgent action.
1. Convert our ‘theory only’ universities to technical laboratories where ‘real life skills’ are taught.
An apprentice of one year at the computer village has more real time experience with the computer than most of our professors of Computer Science. Most of the IT gurus in India have never seen the walls of a university but they get trained in IT Technical Schools.
2. Our present political leaders are a very bad example to young people. Collecting humongous pay every month for doing absolutely nothing sends a wrong message to the society. The ‘optics’ depresses the creativity and potential of a people. We need leaders who lead by example, whose appetite is for home grown solutions. Leaders who are willing to lead by example in every way.
3. A radical reorientation of the people from import dependency (taste for everything foreign) to taking pride in home grown products.
In closing, Africa and Nigeria in particular needs to urgently learn China and India on how to rapidly and radically help our people to acquire skills in all areas of society we can stop being mere consumers to producers in all areas of human endeavors.

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1 comment

Oyewole June 23, 2024 - 11:18 am

Dr Segun, I appreciate this piece. It is the obvious, but you can’t build something great on nothing. Value is created by people who know and value Values!

Our professors are doing their best in spite of the derelict infrastructures states in our universities. That’s why many of our egg heads are migrating to a better clime!

The government cannot do it alone – but we need stable and consistent policy frameworks and supportive governance structure and rule of law plus security to become innovation hub. The issue of power is very important even with the above present. The appendage of Nigeria problems are too octopuses to imagine, but doable with strong commitment and political will.

Furthermore, I forgot to mention above that in most developed nations, it is the citizen that invest in the various sectors once the government provide the necessary framework and policies. Shikena!


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