Development cannot be assessed in isolation. Development is best measured by improvement of lives of people inhabiting a geographical space. Development without and marked changes in the lives of citizens is a wasted statistics. This is also hinge on basic Infrastructures which can help improve quality of lives of every stakeholder . A commitment at different levels of governments to infrastructural development will go a long way in guaranteeing the change we desire. A case where there is a sustained neglect of infrastructure will lead to low quality of life and services that can be delivered.
The month of August helped me to reassess some of the things that have contributed to slow development in Nigeria and some parts of Africa. For about twenty two days, I embarked on a tour of Asia and Middle East with particular emphasis on United Arab Emirate and some parts of India. As a professional with keen interest in development, my attention was focussed on transportation, Power supply and Health management facilities. This adventure led me to visit several facilities. I took time to pay close attention to what obtained. Unlike in my previous visit, I was more concerned about systems, policies formulation, government commitment and attitude of the citizenry in some of the places visited.
In the area of transportation, there appeared to be a serious commitment to improvement of roads construction. In addition to this, rail system is working, even though there is room for improvement. Air transport was prioritised to reduce accidents and mishaps. International Airports in both Dubai and across India were carefully constructed and maintained. Incoming Air passengers as well as outgoing need not wait unnecessarily. Passengers need not wait for long hours before they could pick up their luggage. For instance Mumbai and Kochi International Airports in India are designed in a way that can help transit passengers move on fast.
The Country is not perfect as it has its own share of corruption cases among others. There was also a commitment to new roads development as well as commitment to maintenance of the old roads. In kochi for instance, the road from the international airport which leads to the the city is being reconstructed and and new rail system is being open up for easy movement of people.
In terms of power supply and generation,India and United Arab Emirate are working hard. Few years ago, India was generating lower energy than what it has today. It is on record though,there seemed to be more power supply and reduction in cost in power usage in Mumbai when compared to states like kerala in India. Yet individual can still determine what they use according to their financial capacity. But the point is that it is available. Unlike here where there has been no marked increased in power generation.
We do think Nigeria and other Africa Countries can learn from this.This is especially so In Nigeria. Time was when there was regular supply of electricity in Nigeria. Many artisans could work without been idle or lack what to do. Then also, they were generating a level of income that could sustained them. Today, irrational or absence of power supply had robbed them of daily meals.
One other area we took Interest in was the health care facilities. We went round some of the health care facilities in Dubai and India. What was obvious was that there was a deliberate efforts by governments as well as private individuals to build, enhance current Infrastructures of health care system. In one of our visits to the largest, newly constructed and the best health facilities in South Asia, Aster Medcity, one could not but noticed the quality of infrastructure in terms of equipment etc and provisions made for the patients and their accompanies. What do you want to talk about, the operating theatres, the large receptions, waiting areas, international lounge etc. What surprised one was the fact that the cost of accessing these facilities are not out of the pocket for average people.
When one looks at these Countries and consider the resources available to them compare to some Africa Countries, one may be tempted to weep for his beloved country. The question is why is that the citizenry prefer ‘stomach infrastructure’ over real infrastructure? Why is it that leaders is it that Africa is not blessed with leaders who have foresight and can pursue right goals even when the citizens want immediate palliatives? Sometimes, it is being discovered most people do not know how to prioritise.
It then depends on leaders who can cast right visions that people will see. With selfless service, many citizens will see the leaders meant well, Why is it difficult for one administration to focus on one or two development goals and achieve them that being jack of all trade and masters of none? Why do we continue in the same circle, jeopardising the future? Each government, administration has a golden chance of making a difference and yet they destroy them. We must commend few like Governor Tunde Fashola in Lagos Nigeria, Rotimi Amaechi of River State Nigeria among others. Today they have become like a shining light of what is possible. We give them ‘unnecessary accolades’ today because they they accolades re doing seem out of place. Meanwhile these are the basic things where citizens are well informed accolades rend people get into power with clear vision of what they want to achieve.