Design Can Save Nigeria!

April 27, 2017         BY Tosin Lanipekun


Design Can and Will Save Nigeria. Bold statement, but read on to find out what I mean.

What is Design? Design is the deliberate, conscious, consistent and caring development of sustainable system-driven solutions for real world problems.

Nothing great happens by accident. In case you haven’t noticed, the whole world is currently teetering on the precipice of chaos. But I digress… my primary concern here is Nigeria. The country did not randomly degenerate into chaos.

It’s old news that most countries in Africa were force-melded together by Imperialists for commercial gain in the Victorian era.

But that was over 100 years ago. That design is old and has stopped yielding optimal dividends for its designers.

Nigeria should be an excellent case study for the 53 other African countries. For this to happen, the country desperately and urgently needs a redesign. Its reality needs to be authentic, indigenous and future-focused.

2030 is the next UN target for sustainable development and it is just over a decade away. Here’s a simple, three-pronged manifesto of what Nigeria can design between now and then. If you want something more comprehensive, read Dele Olojede’s Ten Big Ideas article:

Education is the starting point for all progress. For Nigeria it should be more STEAM than STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths). Let Nigeria be a veritable hub for Science, Technology and the Arts. Encourage innovation. A national school curriculum focused on proficiency and a reinforcement of our collective identity (yes, we have one) and ideals (language, art, and history). A national framework driving true excellence and not just box-ticking examinations rigmarole as has become de rigueur in our tertiary institutions.

Infrastructure means three main things: Transport, Power and Housing. Let’s have a truly national road and rail network that ranks among the best globally. Let’s look to sustainable energy sources for power; putting our abundance of sunlight to good use and let’s plan to build homes at all tiers for all strata of society and provide free housing for the lower class.

Governance needs to evolve. Yes grandpas and grandmas, it’s time to let go and leverage the youth. Step back and get the young, energetic, highly educated (at home and abroad) polity actively involved in running things. This is the best legacy the OBJ generation can leave behind. PLEASE DO IT!

This is Design – Assessing what exists and fashioning what works

We can’t solve every challenge at once, but we can start by designing our way out of where we are and towards where we need to be.