Mark Essien: A collection of ‘cheats’ on how to transform a state in Nigeria

This is a collection of ‘cheats’ on how to transform a state in Nigeria


  1. Fix Education: Hire the best teachers. Pay them well. Test them constantly. Make education free and compulsory. Pay for the best students to go to the best private schools.
  2. Fix Childhood nutrition: Open ‘food centres’ for children up till age 14. Create large farms for basic staples. Constantly test diets to make sure they are balanced.


  1. Make sure the top 1000 students via an independent exam study outside the country
  2. Make the internet free. Give out huge numbers of smartphones at dirt-cheap prices
  3. Hold at least 300 competitions per year that promote learning (e.g best scientist, best engineer)
  4. Make sure the top 1000 university graduates do their masters abroad
  5. Any hint of violence in a university should be immediately quelled. Have the DSS always present in Universities
  6. Hand out smartphones to every person living in a village.
  7. People working in companies can apply for a 1 year rotation into another company abroad. They gather foreign exposure
  8. The state must attempt to make sure at least 30% of all university education people have travelled abroad.


  1. Make all government spending public on a website, down to the smallest detail
  2. Make all government officials declare all companies they and their relatives are involved in publicly.
  3. Introduce BVN validation for company directors
  4. Make the bank inflow and outflow details for all government employed people automatically examined by an ‘audit unit’ in the EFCC
  5. Legalise the submission of video and audio evidence of corruption
  6. Make a website where people can officially submit corruption allegations. Make these allegations sent to the parties mentioned via email for response.
  7. Anyone under investigation for corruption should vacate their government seat. If convicted, should never hold a government post again.
  8. All government bids must be placed in a website in public. All companies that can bid must be registered on this site with Industry, years in existence, directors, affiliated with and public comments


  1. States must generate and consume their own power
  2. Bulk import solar panels at heavily discounted prices. Sell to state indigenes
  3. Open a Chinese run factory to produce deep cycle inverter batteries. Transfer technology to locals
  4. Import huge numbers of solar water heaters
  5. Build ‘solar trees’ in every village
  6. Ban all bulbs higher than 60 watts
  7. Upgrade the transmission lines for evacuating power. Sell power to neighbouring states


  1. Open innovation competitions for hybrid mini-buses powered by electricity
  2. Produce these buses in your state to replace the ‘Keke’
  3. Have multiple hotlines to fix potholes
  4. Use alternative human powered methods to patch roads, e.g Cobblestones.
  5. Evaluate high traffic roads and do fundamental, deep fixes on those roads
  6. As part of the social scheme, every day lottery out road cleaning/maintaining jobs to people looking for manual labour (e.g grass cutting)
  7. Develop local road cleaning technology
  8. Map out all gridlock areas and come up with a comprehensive plan to fix those places
  9. Look at the physical size of the airport and if not good enough for the number of passengers at peak periods, fix it. Concession the airport management to an external private company for 1 year routines.
  10. Build dedicated public transportation lanes.

Cleanliness and Environment

  1. Map out every building and give it a particular ID
  2. Fine all buildings/fences which are unpainted and make them pay a tax at the end of the year
  3. Make people responsible for cleanliness in their buildings up the edge of the road and increase the tax of the building if this area is not maintained
  4. Use a volunteer force to report unclean places. These people are rewarded from the tax collected on unmaintained properties
  5. All abandoned properties are given 2 years to be cleaned up, otherwise they are auctioned off
  6. Standard models for consumer facing businesses are to be developed. All roadside shops have to adhere to certain fixed options that they have


  1. Provide loans of up to N10m for businesses, guaranteed by international passports and BVNs. If the business defaults, the owners will automatically have their accounts locked and cannot travel till bills settled.
  2. Seed mini-funds to take equity investments in businesses. These funds are for-profit funds. The most successful fund managers get increasing amounts of capital to invest
  3. Hold 4 trade-fairs per year where Chinese companies come and demonstrate machines that can be used to produce certain things
  4. Build large scale farms and sell them to private individuals once the farm is running
  5. Consolidate rural farms into larger farms
  6. Build government owned first level processing. E.g it makes Orange Juice. This factory will absorb all the excess produce from the farms, ensuring there is a constant buyer
  7. Encourage consumption – make sure people want beautiful houses, nice environments, etc. The more people want, the more the economy moves.
  8. Activate all mines and natural resources. Export, and in the meantime build processing plants locally.


  1. Make it illegal for a hospital to turn away a patient. Any hospital that does so loses its license
  2. Build ‘crowdsourcing’ platforms for hospitals to raise money for needy patients
  3. Build ‘mega hospitals’ in some locations that are staffed with the best international doctors and equipment
  4. Provide health ‘vouchers’ for people in villages. Each person gets 2 per year and can cash them when they want.

Social Welfare

  1. Build a peer-to-peer system. People who need welfare register themselves on a site with video, etc. They can be helped by others. This encourages them to learn to use smartphones for this.
  2. Government contributes to the above system, but private individuals can do so also.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Mark Essien is the founder of

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