By Ifésinàchi Nwádikè
TEDX has continued to expand the frontiers of global discussions through location of talk spaces within reachable localities where those who seek
for change gather to exchange ideas for a progressive and conducive environment. Such was the case on Monday, December 28 when expert-professionals converged at Accord Hotels, Atani-Arochukwu for the first ever TED Talk in Arochukwu.
Lined up to speak at the event were the likes of Pharm. Sam Ohuabunwa, Dr. Alex Otti, Pastor David Ibiyeomie, Mazi Ugochukwu Okoroafor, Mazi Azubuike Okoro, Mazi Emmanuel Kanu Iyi, Ngozi Jason-Nwadinobi among other engaging experts in their respective fields. Worthwhile ideas were shared in three key areas of Support Systems, Transformative Thinking and Communication Patterns.
Dr. Alex Otti, in his usually outstanding and intellectually stimulating speeches, used the opportunity of the event to reiterate his patriotic call for a collective renegotiation of Nigeria’s economic path, a tireless engagement that has become a cardinal point of his writings and speeches. Speaking on the title “Transitioning from Revenue Allocation to Revenue Generation”,
Dr. Otti juxtaposes the worrisome state of Nigeria’s sole economic dependence on crude oil with Johnson Spencer’s allegorical book Who Moved My Cheese? (1998). Who Moved My Cheese features four characters: two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two Littlepeople, human metaphor, Hem and Haw. (Note that the names of the Littlepeople are taken from the phrase “hem and haw”, a term for indecisiveness).
So, these four characters live in a maze, a metaphor for the environment, and look for cheese, another metaphor for happiness and survival. Initially without cheese, each group, the mice and humans, paired off and traveled the lengthy corridors searching for cheese.
One day both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor at “Cheese Station C.” Content with their find, the humans establish routines around their daily intake of cheese, slowly becoming arrogant in the process.
One day Sniff and Scurry arrive at “Cheese Station C” to find no cheese left, but they are not surprised. Noticing the cheese supply dwindling, they have mentally prepared beforehand for the arduous but inevitable task of finding more cheese. Leaving “Cheese Station C” behind, they begin their hunt for new cheese together. Later that day, Hem and Haw arrive at Cheese Station C only to find the same thing, no cheese.
Angered and annoyed, Hem demands, “Who moved my cheese?” The humans have counted on the cheese supply to be constant, and so are unprepared for this eventuality. After deciding that the cheese is indeed gone, they get angry at the unfairness of the situation. Haw suggests a search for new cheese, but Hem is livid with disappointment and dismisses the proposal.
Bringing this allegory home, Dr. Otti frowned at Nigeria’s headstrong and sole dependence on crude oil exploration at a time the world is negotiating its way out of combustible cars.
He believes that Nigeria’s government and are like Hem and Haw, who revel in the quick return of crude oil exportation and consequently turn a blind eye to other trusted economic leeway.
Dr. Otti is vehement in his stance that the dependence on oil has made successive Nigerian governments a less innovative one with no feasibility plans to bypass oncoming economic obstacles the poor demand of crude oil in the global market might cause sooner than later.
He is inconsolable that Nigeria is a country heavily run by federal allocation instead of taxes, noting that it is an inevitable economic dead-end that would be difficult to sustain in the foreseeable future.
He, however, pointed out that Nigeria’s government lacks the moral standing to ask for tax, given that tax, in his definition, is government’s share of the prosperity it has created among the masses through the provision of an enabling environment for healthy competitions and creativity.”
Dr. Otti is of the view that Nigeria’s redemption is possible when square pegs begin to occupy square holes.
He is adamant that those who have no business with leadership should not see power’s corridor, given that leadership is a serious business that requires foresight, innovation, compassion and the willpower to execute projects.
He mentioned that Agriculture is one of the sure ways to pull the nation’s economy up by the bootstraps but maintained that successive Nigerian governments have not been sincere in the clamour for economic diversification.
Concluding his talks, Dr. Otti enjoined Nigerians in all fields to join hands in changing Nigeria’s story through the sharing of information that can lead to inventions that would drive national change.
He concluded by announcing that entreaties for the annual Alex Otti Foundation Scholarship is currently being accepted for full tuition scholarship for all qualified Abia students in any university in Nigeria.