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Managing Director, Transerve Disc Technologies Limited, Pastor Cyprian Orakpo, has said that people can reach the top if they adhere to some basic principles.
He spoke to journalists in Lagos on the sidelines of the public presentation of his book: ‘Journey To The Top.’
Orakpo, currently the Pastor in charge of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God (RCCG), Lagos Province 19, Strong Tower Sanctuary, Ogudu, Lagos, explained that the book has basic principles that when applied would enable an individual, organisation and even a country to reach to the top.
Orakpo said, “I have been wanting to write a book to chronicle some principles that I unknowingly deployed, that I believe got me to where I am today. So that others can be in better control of their lives to determine where they want to be, either at the top or at the bottom. Achieving success in life is predictable. There are certain things which if you do, you will likely be successful. But there are certain things which if you also do not do, you can not succeed in life.
“My wife has a bosom friend, Pastor Ngozi Okure, a prolific writer who has written 30 books. She is a missionary and wife of The Country Coordinator of RCCG Mission in Venezuela, Pastor David Okure. She came to see me sometime in 2022 at the church I was pastoring then, RCCG, Peace Assembly, Victoria Island Lagos. She said that she followed my teachings on ‘Journey to the top,’ both on-site and online and decided to transcribe them into a book. I immediately concluded that God surely wanted me to write this book. So I fleshed up the book a little more, added a few more explanations and testimonies and Bible passages, and the book was birthed.
“It was not as if I learnt all these principles. Some were learnt of course but most of them were just sheer providence that I stumbled into them and began to practise them. It was later when I went to Lagos Business School that I began to read about some of them. I was like, this is what I have been doing all along unknowingly. I therefore felt that I should put it in a book as a legacy for my generation and to assist anybody who is determined to reach the top of his life, career, marriage or vocation.”
Orakpo said Nigeria, could still reach the top and become a cynosure in the comity of nations, in spite of its current challenges.
He stated that the country could still become a preferred destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), regardless of its economic issues, and insecurity, in some parts of the country.
He said, “Top actually means a desirable place, a place of fulfilment, a place of satisfaction and a place of joy, a place of dominion and victory. You will not be in doubt when you reach there. There is nobody who does not desire to reach the Top.
“God has ordained everybody to reach the top, the top of his life, the top of his or her marriage, and the top of his business. God has also ordained nations to reach their various tops, whatever that top is. Nigeria can reach her top in so many years. It is not rocket science. There are many things that Nigeria can do well to get to her ordained destiny.
“It begins with leadership. Leadership can set the tone. Leadership can show commitment and more responsibility. Leadership can show more accountability. Leadership can be more sensitive to what people are going through. These are some of the principles I shared in the book.
“The first principle I shared in the book was that the top is a desirable place in life. God ordained everyone to reach the top. In fact top is the only place that God wishes for us when He said in Deut 28:13 “And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail, and thou shalt be ABOVE ONLY”. So you must first and foremost believe that the top is the will of God, desirable and possible. The top is not as congested as the bottom. There is enough space at the top for any person who will dare to apply these principles.
“Secondly, I talked about the principle of visioning in reaching the top. My company’s vision was to be the best value creator for all the stakeholders. By stakeholders, we mean the staff, vendors, the regulators, the banks, and the community where we operate. And of course, stakeholders include the board and the directors of the company.
“Nigeria, as a nation, can reach her top by also having a vision to be the best value creator for her citizens. The best value creator for her citizens in such a way that the government will become citizen-centric, such that the citizens will be the centre of all the programmes and policies. The vision of the country can be that the country will be run so efficiently that no Nigerian will desire the citizenship of another country. The citizens of Nigeria in other words can’t find a better country than Nigeria because our government has become the best value creator for its citizens. Be it in education, science, technology, communication, financial services, power supply etc. For example, if it is education, students from Nigeria will be able to compete with any educational system in any other country of the world. If it is science, technology, communication, Infrastructure, or power supply, we will be comparable anywhere in the world.
“So Journey to the top is not rocket science. Things can work in Nigeria. How can we be talking about 3,000 or 4,000mw of power after 23 years of this present democratic dispensation? It is totally unacceptable. And there are so many other things that one can do.
The industrialist urged the three tiers of government to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
Orakpo said,“There are many things that the government can do. And by government, I mean the three tiers of government (Local, State and Federal government). The three tiers of government are responsible for the provision of a business-friendly environment for businesses to thrive in Nigeria.
“Let me start with the local government. Today, in Lagos, and permit me to say in probably other states in Nigeria, there are many non-state actors that are frustrating the manufacturers from thriving. There are all kinds of tolls being collected by non-state actors allegedly with the connivance of some people in government. Along a stretch of road, you may see three different toll points with touts and ‘agberos’ brandishing all kinds of weapons to collect one levy or the other with local government receipts (whether genuinely or not). The fact that this is happening in broad daylight and unchallenged by law enforcement agencies, says it all.
“Time will fail me to talk about the multiplicity of taxes and rates from state governments such that most manufacturers have departments dedicated solely to attending to different agencies from the state government. As a manufacturer under the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), we have suggested that all the activities of these agencies be harmonized and if possible, for a joint inspection for all the agencies, in other to save the real sector from suffocation.
“The same thing could be said of the federal government. For example, look at the road leading to our only seaport in Lagos (Apapa and TINCAN Island ports), especially from Mile 2. For the past ten years, that road has been literally impassable. What will it cost the government to fix such an important road? All the factories and businesses on that axis have literally shut down. Moving 1 x 40 feet container of raw material from the port to your factory (in Lagos), a distance of not more than ten kilometers sometime ago costs as much as N1.4m. Meanwhile, the freight from China to the same port of the same container was not more than $3,000. How on earth can manufacturers in Nigeria compete with Made in China goods and in Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA)? Time will fail me to talk about the time it takes to clear goods at the port with layers of agencies rendering similar services, or the difficulties manufacturers face in exporting their goods either through the Ports or through our land ports to other West African countries.”
He called on the government, and national and state Houses of Assembly to reduce the cost of governance.
According to him, it is imperative for concerted efforts to be exerted to eliminate or reduce corruption.
He stated that Nigeria’s debt viz-avis the Gross Domestic Production was not high.
He said the major problem is low revenue, corruption and wastage.
Orakpo said, “I do not really think that the debt is high. We have many countries that have a higher debt per GDP ratio than Nigeria. America and Japan for example are some of the most indebted nations in the world. But it is not just the volume of debt. That may not be saying it all. The problem we have is that we have low revenue, wastage and corruption. Most of the money that borrowed funds were not productively utilized. Most of them were used to pay salaries, allowances and unnecessary bureaucracies. Have you seen our leaders, ministers, legislators, and the escort vehicles that follow them? Have you seen the allowances of the ministers, National Assembly members and their special assistants? Most of the debt is spent on consumption with zero value to the economy. So high debt is not a major problem but what the money was used for.
“We should address it by reducing waste and corruption in governance, deploying the borrowed funds to productive uses, and earning more revenue through production. We can produce most of what we import through the encouragement of the real sector by providing basic infrastructure, single-digit interest rates, improving on our ease of doing business and patronizing locally made products etc.
“Nigeria is a highly endowed nation with ample human and natural resources. We certainly can reduce our cost of governance. What are we doing with about 45 ministers and the bogus National Assembly? I learnt that the USA does not have as many ministers as we do. Each of them may have more than 5 special assistants and other aides and they will all have accommodation, vehicles, allowances provided for them etc. Do we need such a high number of government functionaries and their aides? Some of our problems might be traced to waste in government. There is so much waste in government in Nigeria. And we are asking the citizens to make sacrifices. What about our leaders? What sacrifice are they making for national development? Are they not one of the most-paid public servants in the world? I believe that our leaders should lead in sacrifices for us to follow.”
He lamented the nation’s high inflation rate and proffered strategies to address it.
Orakpo said, “Inflation is a situation where much money is chasing fewer goods. The unification of exchange rates, the removal of subsidies, the unbridled printing of naira, and unaccountable borrowing from the Central Bank of Nigeria by the federal government (Ways and Means) are the recent causes of inflationary pressures. To bring down inflation, we must produce more than we import, stop printing of money, reduce or eliminate corruption, encourage saving, invest in infrastructures and other long-term projects etc.”