Elumelu: “Nigeria needs reset; investment in social infrastructure, civil society”

Temidayo Taiwo-SidiqAugust 29, 20236 min

At Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Tony Elumelu calls on leaders to create a ‘joined-up government task force’ to champion Nigeria’s youth and entrepreneurs at the highest level.

Describes the joblessness of Nigeria’s youth as betrayal of a generation, and plundering of the commonwealth as inhumane and cruel.



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Billionaire and philanthropist, Tony O. Elumelu has called on Nigerians to collaborate in unity to reset the country, while making a case for investment in Nigeria’s social infrastructure, the civil society, courts of law and administrators of justice.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Founder advocated this in a keynote address delivered on Sunday, August 27, 2023, at the 63rd Edition of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference taking place in Abuja.

“Our private sector, our philanthropies, our civil society, all citizens must be brought together and be empowered – as real, valued and executing partners for this national renewal, this nation building. It behoves us all to collaborate in unity to reset Nigeria. So, what does this mean? For me, this is nothing less than a fundamental renewal of the social and economic infrastructure of Nigeria.”


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Explaining that no country or entrepreneur can truly thrive without the rule of law and peace, he called on all leaders in various spheres of influence to encourage certainty and fairness for the young and old, women and men, as well as future generations. 

Elumelu, who noted that Nigerians were known to be vocal and have an army of legal minds who can argue and dispute, stressed the urgent need to act, which he described as driven by our enormous younger generation, the threat of climate change. He added that by the clocks ticking on Nigeria’s natural resources, the same will soon be left behind as the world races towards a green economy.

“And let us invest in our social infrastructure, in our civil society, our courts of law and our administrators of justice.  No country – and no entrepreneur, can truly thrive without the rule of law, without peace, without certainty and fairness – for all – for our young, our old, our women and our men, our future generations. 

Let us invest in security:  Banditry, kidnapping, oil theft, pipeline vandalisation, and transmission line cuts.  These create uncertainties, fears, deprivation, poverty, and untold hardship. We know Nigerians can talk; we know – and I am surrounded today by advocates – that we can argue and dispute, but now we must act. 

There is an urgency, driven by our enormous younger generation, by the threat of climate change, by the clocks ticking on our natural resources, which will soon be left behind, as the world races towards a green economy,” he stressed.


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Describing nation-building as a call to arms – a vital task – a necessity, he urged Nigerians across political affiliations, ethnic differences, and socioeconomic differences to join hands with the government in the journey to transform Nigeria, which he stated demands collective dedication.

“Our country has experienced division – unnecessary division and the squandering of heritage. Nation-building is a call to arms – a vital task – a necessity. At its core, nation-building is the intricate process of forging a cohesive, harmonious, and united society out of diverse individuals, cultures, and ideologies. It is the art of constructing a shared identity, purpose, and vision that transcends all individual interests.

Transforming Nigeria is a journey that demands our collective dedication, building across political affiliations, ethnic differences, and socioeconomic differences. One that is not the responsibility of our government alone. Great nations start with great people, not just great leaders.”


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Elumelu, in noting that poverty anywhere is a threat to all Nigerians, proffered urgent support for the young ones to become economically engaged as the ultimate panacea for insecurity and extremism towards prosperity.

Calling on leaders to invest in women, who he described as a panacea to lifting families and communities out of poverty, also called for investment in the power sector, and the brand Nigeria.

“The nurturing of entrepreneurship is not merely an economic endeavour but a social responsibility.  By empowering our youth, supporting start-ups and SMEs, the private sector contributes to equitable wealth distribution, job creation, and social advancement.  It paves the way for economic empowerment that uplifts communities and contributes to a more inclusive society.  We all owe this to our people, even for our own enlightened self-interest.

This is what I call Africapitalism: conscious capitalism; fair-minded capitalism, equitable capitalism; shared values and shared value;  shared destiny; shared prosperity; not prosperity at the expense of inclusiveness, prosperity for the majority, not the few,” the billionaire remarked.

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Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq

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