When the Editor of The Interview, Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe asked me to write a few words about a book that had impacted my life, I didn’t have to ponder for too long. In spite of the several books I have read in my lifetime, one is clearly outstanding, having had life-changing impact on me. It is a book that invalidated the Economics I studied in school while doing both Bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Accounting and a Masters in Business Administration.
For you to understand the weight of and the transformational impact of this book on me, you need to know that I am a thoroughbred Chartered Accountant, a past president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, a former Commissioner of Finance, former Group Managing Director of NICON Group of Companies and an alumnus of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) Kuru, to mention but a few. My education, training, professional career and varied experience have been in the theatre of Management, Finance and Accounting. In fact, this book, as far as I am concerned, invalidatedBreton Woods Institutions, capitalism, communism, socialism and all the other ‘isms’ that had appeared hitherto. No wonder empires rise and fall. Hitherto strong Western economies have fallen or are failing and global recession has engulfed the planet, with most of the interventions being only palliative. There seems to be no permanent solution in sight.
Ever since about the first quarter of 2012 when I first read the book, I have become a Development Finance and Management expert of an uncommon species.The about 400-page book is titled, Templates for Nigerian Transformation, by Apostle William Iheanacho Otabil. It introduces a concept he calls ‘Godonomics’. Using the Holy Bible as a sole reference, he created a multi-stakeholder, community-based, investment and empowerment template for wealth creation, job creation and poverty eradication that is all-inclusive, sustainable, fail-proof, bottom-up grassroots-based, ‘idiot’-friendly and simple, with an inbuilt and impeccable corporate governance mechanism.
The book’s basic tenet is that human capital, which has creative ability made after the image and likeness of God, is superior over production capital, land and all its contents. Therefore production capital (which is inordinate) should be easily accessible to human capital (which has innate creative abilities) in order to catalyse and multiply it and the end result would be wealth creation, employment generation and poverty eradication. Only by this paradigm can mankind fulfil the divine mandate in Genesis1:28; “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion… over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” He validated this position as God’s proper order: I.When God created Adam (human capital), he empowered him by giving him the Garden of Eden (production capital), with the charge to be fruitful and to multiply.In other words, to create wealth. But when Man sinned, the order was reversed; production capital started to have dominion over human capital. Access to capital became difficult and Herculean. The result of this kind of paradigm is the creation of idle human capital, which is unemployment and ideas and innovations die unfulfilled. No wonder unemployment is a global phenomenon.
God, however, found a friend in Abraham, through whom He created a holy nation and also gave witness to Himself by re-establishing the proper order. When His redeemed people came back from slavery in Egypt after 430 years, every tribe, every clan, every familyand every man was settled with an inheritance of land (production capital). It was only a matter of time before the holy nation grew in every facet of life. II.When the Church was born, as recorded in the book of The Acts of the Apostles, owners of lands, buildings and houses sold them and massive capital was mobilised to empower the believers in productive engagements. The end result, as is recorded, was that “there was no needy person in their midst”, meaning that poverty was completely eradicated.
This suggests that any society that must grow would need to mobilise capital and place it in the hands of all willing and able entrepreneurs with creative ideas. Now wait a minute, many questions are popping up. How are investors compensated? What about sustainability? What about this and what about that? All the answers are in the book. He developed a template with the acronym H.O.P.E. – for House Of Productivity and Empowerment –that, through the creation of an impeccable and inclusive corporate governance structure with inbuilt transparency and accountability, creates protégé companies, which are empowered for productive engagements. To ensure sustainability, key inbuilt components of the template are global best practices, value and supply chain management, deployment of professionals, monitoring and mentorship with entrepreneurs working not as sole entrepreneurs, but in small groups to massively create wealth, jobs and to eradicate poverty. Investors get their money fully repaid, which becomes available to be re-invested to empower another set of protégés, yet they still retain twenty per cent equity in all the protégécompanies in perpetuity.
Sounds like folklore doesn’t it? But it is actually real. I believe that it is a clarion call for like-minded people to arise with the mindset of dealing with the scourge of youth unemployment in our society. It is time to put our money where our mouthsare. It is time to, once again, sell off houses, lands and buildings to massively mobilise capital and empower our young people in productive engagements and make phenomenal returns on investment at the same time. A veritable template actually exists that is inclusive and dynamic, that can achieve this and kick poverty right out of our society. Yes, there is H.O.P.E for our generation! E-copy of the book is available at: http://www.buynaija.com/publications/tntnewedition.pdf