10 things any serious nation must have if it wants to be respected internationally

By Ayo Akinfe 

(1) The capacity to manufacture its own military hardware. There is simply no way you can provide security within your borders if you have to buy equipment on the international market. It is totally impossible to get the equipment you want at the price you want, in the specifications you want, at thetime you want and in the quantities you want if you do not have a domestic manufacturing capability 

(2) Every serious nation has at least one globally acclaimed landmark that serves as an international tourist attraction. Be it Big Ben, the Statue of Liberty, the Taj Mahal, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, the Kremlin, the Brandenburg Gate, the Pyramids of Giza, the Kaaba, the Great Wall of China, Robben Island or Niagra Falls

(3) Any country that takes pride in securing and defending itself has one main battle tank. Once a year, in most cases at Independence Day, these tanks are rolled out in a show of national pride. They include US - Abrams, UK - Challenger, Russia - T90, Germany - Leopard 2, Israel - Mervaka, China - ZTZ99, India - Arjun, etc. Nigeria is shamelessly still buying outdated T72 battle tanks from Russia and we wonder why Boko Haram is laughing at us 

(4) Every nation that takes pride in itself has one industrial conglomerate that serves as the bellweather of its manufacturing industry. Be it Siemens in Germany, Phillips in the Netherlands, Rolls Royce in the UK, Tata in India, Mitsubishi in Japan, Boeing in the US, the China Railway Construction Corporation or Renault in France. Historically, they have always manufactured the engines that power their economies and defence equipment 

(5) Every self-respecting nation must be able to produce a mass-used local automobile, no matter how basic. When I look at Skoda in Czechoslovakia, Lada in Russia, Daewoo in South Korea, Proton in Malaysia and Hyundai, I ask why Africa remains asleep. Watch China and India steak a march on the global automobile market with the introduction of electronic cars over the next 10 years 

(6) Now that the era of the battleship is over and nobody is building destroyers anymore, in 2019, the navy of every serious nation secures its maritime borders with an aircraft carrier. Very few people will sell you aircraft carriers, so you need to manufacture them yourself. Just imagine the security we would have in the Niger Delta if it was patrolled by an aircraft carrier with say two dozen F-16s on board 

(7) I find it hard to stomach the fact that no Nigerian city has a tube metro. Forget New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, etc for a minute and look at other developing nations. New Delhi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro, etc are all now getting in on the act. How past Lagos State governors have been able to sleep in their beds at night knowing they have failed to deliver in this area is beyond me 

(8) Any country that is serious about its future must be able to provide basic healthcare. People only travel abroad for specialist care that is unique. Ask yourself how many of Nigeria’s general hospitals have functioning accident and emergency wards. South Africa’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital used to be the largest in the world. Do you know it has 6,760 staff, 3,400 beds and occupies 170 acres. We struggle to maintain 300 bed hospitals!

(9) Today, green and clean energy is now a status symbol. Nations are competing with each other to build the biggest solar farms, largest offshore wind farms and biggest recycling plants that convert waste to energy. Are we not ashamed of the fact that we are not participating in this human race?

(10) Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, for me your most important task is the oversight function. Getting the executive to answer questions in all these areas is key over the next four years. More importantly, asking them how they intend to grow the Nigerian economy to fund all these projects is your main task. Let us see if you are rubber stamp pawns or if you can provide the National Assembly with teeth!