Dr. Louis Brown Ogbeifun

Accredited Mediator | Certified Professional Manager and Trainer in Workplace Conflicts


Breaking Free from the ‘Jaapa’ Syndrome: A Call for Meritocracy, Transparent Governance, and Strategic Economic Planning in Nigeria

Knowing how the “Jaapa” bug has infested our people is incredible. When I read that a man with a thriving business sold all he had for twenty million Naira and headed abroad, I asked, couldn’t he have just waited to weather the storm to make his business better? Does the dollar fall from European trees? Why can’t we all work to make our country better?

I am worried for such an excellent Nigerian who succeeded here migrating abroad and might face the painful realities of being dehumanized because of the character of the few rotten eggs who would make the world stop us from migrating to their countries in the future.

Nigeria needs to reverse the jaapa syndrome. The first thing to do is become a law-abiding country where the leaders shall always lead by good examples. Secondly, the judiciary must show that it can dispense justice quickly. Thirdly, it should display transparency and accountability in electoral matters and all spheres. Nothing will work without a foundation for electing credible leaders, and no investor with integrity will invest in a country without respect for the rule of law.

As a country, we must be deliberate in planning a rejuvenated civil service. A situation where some Governors now appoint their wives and children as judges and approve who should be in the State and National Assemblies, not because they merit it but because they are who they are to those at the helm of affairs. We can not suppress and press others down to wait. “For the turn-by-turn Nigeria Limited,” and expect the future to be kind to throw good governance and its plausible outcomes at us.

We should also be deliberate in our exportation and importation drives. Nigeria is ripe for exporting only finished products from its crude and other natural resources—no exporting natural resources for finished products. That should stop by 2024.

We do not need a decade to fix education, healthcare, electricity, and forex. The solid foundations could be laid and built on with us reaping the harvests in eight years. Obama inherited a terrible economy in the US. But he did not get stuck on lamentations during his years in the White House. He followed through with his blueprints to make America return to the path of economic bliss in less than eight years.

We are failing and crippled by leadership failures and greed. Unfortunately, those who should speak out against misgovernance whose lives are negatively impacted by corruption and bad governance are always quick to rationalize why a government is performing poorly. We also fast to sermonize that the government inherited a bad economy.

Didn’t those in governance at any point in time know that the economy was not doing well before they asked for the people’s votes? The more we rationalize failures and failings of political parties and their leaders because we are loyal party people, the more we encourage them to dodge the interrogation of transparency and accountability principles in governance.

For me, I see a better Nigeria if only we, from today, use merit as a criterion in all we do. Nigeria can be the hub of oil and gas because the world is beckoning on Nigeria as a replacement for Russian gas. But can we see enough to know that we should quicken our footsteps before the midday sun hits the center of our heads?

If we allowed the next year to pass us by without humongous gas infrastructural layouts, the world would look elsewhere for its supplies, and we might never recover from the lost opportunity. A radical change is possible in four years.

Grace and peace!!!