Politics And Entrepreneurship In Nigeria: The Dilemma Of Being A Nigerian Doing Business In Nigeria
I don’t have to define Nigeria. We all know what it is. Unfortunately, Nigeria has redefined itself. It is no longer that geographical territory with defined authority and a specific number of people. It has come to mean something more ominous. That thing has come to have an impact on Entrepreneurship. So, let us look at politics and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
I will try to make this work devoid of all scholarly attributes as a layman would see it. My words will be as understandable as possible so that the vast majority of our users won’t find it boring and uninteresting.
For the benefit of those who will refer to this work in trying to define politics, it is a controversial topic. But you can see it from Easton’s view as the authoritative allocation of value. You can also define it as who gets what, when and how or in Nnoli’s words, all those activities that are directly or indirectly related to the acquisition of state power, consolidation of state power and the use of state power.
Simply put, politics is the interplay of powers as aligned to various interests within a geographical entity.
Well, let us leave politics. It will always be there as the undoing of many. I did give you a definition of entrepreneurship but it has been widely defined here. Just click on this link and you will see countless definitions of the concept.
When I saw the CEO of Sumobank talk about politics in Nigeria yesterday on his status, I was motivated and angry at the same time. Saying that Nigeria is a shithole of a country sounds more like an understatement than an issue. But it is what it is. Revolution may be our only hope but revolutions also have far-reaching implications on the polity.
This piece is an effort to realize the place of politics in the entrepreneurial sphere. How does the political mechanism dominant in the country affect and impact entrepreneurship in Nigeria? In the first place, we shall look at how politics affect entrepreneurship and we will look at remedies. Of what use is a lab test when no solution can be proffered? Let me do some magic people.
Politics And Entrepreneurship In Nigeria: How Politics Affect Entrepreneurship In Nigeria
Grants, subsidies and loans
For entrepreneurship to thrive there has to be easy access to money. You cannot ride a car without fuel. It is quite simple. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you will need funds to push your ideas.
In my years of working in Entrepreneur Platform, we have had to meet people with amazing entrepreneurial abilities and great innovative ideas and some ultimately gave up because of the lack of access to funds. That shit is not funny though.
Now, if the polity is in good hands, there would have been enough access to funds. Everybody won’t get funds but at least, people will get encouraged with what is available.
Don’t get it wrong though; there are grants, loans, and subsidies available but there are two problems with the schemes.
- They are grossly inadequate. It can barely make any impact.
- Even the little that is available is given to the wrong people most times due to favoritism and nepotism.
The way Nigerians living in Nigeria are perceived can only be experienced than imagined. It is beyond normal explanation and it is terrible. It is actually safe to say that you are viewed as a criminal just because you are a Nigerian.
Now, someone is going to ask me how it is the fault of politics. It is actually something I will conclude logically to avoid unnecessary confusion.
Politics controls everything in a country. It is the mechanism with which rules are made and enforced. The poor leadership has led to a lack of employment and a poor state of life. in fact, it seems that politicians live to impoverish people.
As a result of this poor state, people have resorted to other aspects making ends meet. One of them is advanced fee fraud which has metamorphosed to Yahoo Yahoo or G+ as the case may be. This has so dealt with the image of Nigeria that the people out there who would want to do business with the Nigerian entrepreneur are so skeptical.
I remember on several occasions where companies wanted to partner with sumobank but got skeptical after learning that we are Nigerians based in Nigeria. One of the deals would have gotten us a million dollars. So many entrepreneurs go through this same shit. That is the reality of politics and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
The quality of the education system
The education system is bad today because politics failed to take charge and better the lots of people there. The budget that is meant for the sector is always very low compared to what it should be and what is obtainable in other countries.
Resultantly, there is always bickering between the government and other concerned people on unpaid salaries, arrears, promotion, quality of infrastructure and general well being. The education system is not well arranged or placed to spur people to actions and that is what is. Entrepreneurs don’t get motivated by the school system so they are only inspired by others. It is wrong.
Of course, you can argue that these entrepreneurial courses offered in schools but they are done on a theoretical basis. This does not guarantee anything. Financial education is suffering and it is the result of the relationship between politics and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
It is a well-known fact that security is necessary for entrepreneurship to succeed anywhere in the world. I know that it is the primary responsibility of the government to maintain security. You know the Nigerian situation brother, it is really great.
We have moved from Niger Delta insurgency to Kidnapping and from kidnapping to Boko Haram terrorism and now we are dealing with the Fulani Herdsmen Menace. Crazy country, right? How in God’s name do they want entrepreneurship to work in Nigeria? Well, it is practically everything that is affected by this gross mismanagement of resources and misplacement of priorities by the politicians. It is virtually every sector of the economy.
Licensing and certification process
If you have never gone to seek to license as a startup, you may not understand the import of what I’m about to explain. Politics and entrepreneurship in Nigeria are so related in this regard.
Did you hear about the licensing threshold of bike hailing startups? It is a whopping 25 million naira and these are startups. They are so naïve and insensitive to the plights of the young entrepreneur.
When we went to CBN to inquire on the share capital needed to run a Finetech company so we could start processing it, we were told that the cheapest is 50 million naira. We are meant to be a startup, remember. The legislations are not just adding up and it is because politics and entrepreneurship in Nigeria are not acting harmoniously.
The quality of lawmakers
The quality of our lawmakers will determine the nature of laws that are made in a country. Remember you cannot give what you don’t have. It is that simple.
Actually, I cannot begin to tell you about our legislators and policymakers’ incompetence. We wake up every day to one foolish policy. These guys are not entrepreneurial minded so it is actually difficult for them to make decisions that will have a positive impact on entrepreneurs. This is another issue on politics and entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
The Way Forward
Shall we remain in sin so that grace will abound? God forbid. There won’t be any need to put this up if we are not going to look into measures to curb the effects. Politics and entrepreneurship in Nigeria are so intertwined that for any increase in the lot of entrepreneurship to happen, there has to remain an increase in the nature of politics.
My friend, let me tell you the truth; there are many works on the deficiencies of our politics and how they have dealt with us. Today, we are just going to look at what can be done to better the political sphere. Sadly enough, as a student of political science, I know how difficult this is going to be. It is going to be crazily difficult. But it is doable.
I wanted to itemize the way forward but it is really of no use. The only way to get this going is to have a more responsive government that can change the image of the country and the way things are done. If this is not done, the prospect of entrepreneurship will still remain very poor.
To change our political system is a collective responsibility and until that is done, we are in for a bigger challenge.
Don’t get it wrong; even in adverse situations, you can still make it. But I want to ask you a question; is there really a need to trek to Lagos if you can just fly there. Time is of the essence.