Nigeria - After 16 April 2011 - Which Way. For one reason or the other, I have deliberately avoided the debate on who rules us. To me, it does not matter, because the majority rules - whether through fair or rigged election or selection. If the majority of Nigerians, irrespective of their level of formal education, is still bothered with sentiments and not issues on matters of common good, there is nothing an individual like me can do. What bothers me, however, is what economic direction this potentially great country could chart for the future. Nigerians have not realised, or if they do, have not paid enough attention, to the peculiarities of Nigeria amongst nations. Nigeria is a country with the largest concentration of black people; and should be the model for all black nations; it is big, at least in population - hence, so many mouths to feed; its near geographical location to the rich markets of the West is an advantage - which is yet untapped; its God's given resources that could propel it to dominate the world economy is being frittered away, and those who are gifted to lead never get the chance to lead. One more thing, as Nigerians, we are too base and ordinary in the thinking of what height Nigeria can reach. The sad thing is that Nigerians fail to realise the huge capacity that any government possesses. By statute, government has huge resources at its disposal. Government, therefore, is all about the capacity to do good - common good - and that is the measure a government should be judged. If a government performance does not give the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people, then that government has failed the majority and at a time like this (election), the government should be set aside for another 4 years to give way to other people to try. There should be no sentiments. However, our mental development, in evolution, has not reached a level devoid of sentiments on issues that are so fundamental to common good. We are a great people, but I do not think we have evolved, mentally, to a level that confronts challenges of a modern world. Luckily, we have oil, and can still afford to fiddle in lazy mental exercises. The late great Fela summed it up: we always find a reason for failures. According to the late President Kennedy of the U.S. 'The cost of freedom is always high and Americans have always paid it...' A Nigerian, I doubt, is ready to pay that price. Government is a business, but because Nigerian government has failed to make its business work, we hear these days that government has no business in business. That is an admission of failure. I was in China last week through Dubai in the U.A. E and spent some days in both countries. In each of these countries, I witnessed government businesses work efficiently. Please, don't give me the crap about the stupid Nigerian factor, because it is nothing but a reason for failure. I was part of a delegation, last week, to seek partnership with some Chinese aviation organisations in Shenyang (northeast China), and Beijing. At the end of the tour of Aviation Industry Corporation of China in Beijing that held, to say the least, most of us (Nigerian delegation) spellbound, I asked an inquisitive question, 'Who owns this company?' We were told that it was 100% government owned. Somebody in our team commented, 'So, government can work.' They told us that no institution can make a business work better than government because of its huge resources - anything less is a failure of that government. AVIC, as the company is called, had a turnover of over $60 billion U.S. dollars last year, and has a revenue target of one trillion by 2017. It is one of 3 of such companies with similar portfolio, owned 100% by the Chinese government, that are allowed to compete with each other - locally and globally. I am yet to see any privatised institution in Nigeria that has worked better than when government was still working for the people. We have thrown the baby away with the bath water. Our level of economic development still needs the muzzle of state funds to nurture any project of common good to fruition - rail, roads, aviation, power, water and environmental control, etc. Without government participation in mobile communication, Nigerians still have to move about with minimum of two handsets. Privatising government business in order to spread the nation's wealth amongst Nigerians is different from deliberately starving government business of funds and sound managers in order to devalue the worth of that business so that those in government can buy it cheap for themselves, friends and families. This has been the trend since 1986. Not only that, they even get concession to start trading on the stock exchange floor earlier than is morally defensible. Thereby, they exposed innocent Nigerians to exploitation by those who had had the advantage of buying the business cheap in the first place - Transcorp easily comes to mind. My plea is that we should stop decimating Nigeria's prospects and elect those that can make government work for the people. Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick, Zaria