By Sani Danaudi Mohammed
Given the strategic position it occupies in Africa, nay the global space, and the large deposit of its vast human and material resources, Nigeria unarguably matters. It is crystal clear that a number of nations like Malaysia, Singapore and Ghana that used to look up to Nigeria as a ‘Big Brother’ have conspicuously outdistanced her on the track of development. This explains why the deplorable socio-economic and political conditions of Nigeria are of serious concern, not only to its citizens but also to the world at large.
The World Bank’s attention has been repeatedly drawn to the dispiriting situation of Nigeria. To the world apex bank, Nigeria reeks of endemic poverty. And this is why its research trajectory on the Nigerian State Poverty index has been a subject of great concern, especially now that our population is growing by 3 per cent per annum and in geometric progression. As of now, Nigeria is comfortably classified among the Third World countries of the world on all fronts. This has been attributed to the consistent failure of the successive regimes to achieve and implement 50 of their visions or policies.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government of Nigeria, in its coordinated approach to fixing Nigeria at sundry points, has come up with different transformative agendas for the country. Some of these agendas, like the Vision 2020 Agenda and the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme (ERGP), have stumbled at respective hurdles. The latest Vision 2050 came up as a transformative agenda aimed at facilitating the timely redemption of the failed Vision 2020 as well as the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme (ERGP).
Alternatively described as Agenda 2050, Vision 2050 is strategically designed to guide the economic intervention initiatives of the Nigerian government in the next 28 years. The Nigerian population is expected to hit the World Bank projection of 400 million, a development which will safely place the country as the third most populous country in the world after China, India and the United States of America. In view of this development, Nigeria must look beyond APC and PDP, North and South, Islam and Christianity to vote for a Nigerian as President who has the vision to achieve these actions that are very crucial to the process of transforming Nigeria into a First World country by 2050.
Increased Funding for Education
To transform Nigeria from a developing country to a developed country come 2050, the Nigerian government must do its utmost to increase its funding of education. The incontestable truth is that no nation can rise beyond the level of its education. It is crucial for the government to gravitate towards the recommended benchmark of nations allocating 20 to 21 per cent of their annual budgets to education. Allocating less than 10 per cent of its annual budget (a far cry from the recommended benchmark) will not enable Nigeria to facilitate, among others, sustained access to quality education for the benefit of all Nigerian children of school age. It is incontrovertible that the more the commitment of the Nigerian government towards the increased funding of its education, the more the chances of taking Nigeria to the pedestal of a First World nation.
Proper Control of Nigeria’s Resource Wealth through Diversification
Scholarly findings, like Nwanyisonde (2013), have revealed that the economic backwardness of a resource-rich Nigeria as a developing country is attributed to poor control of its natural resources. And this is why it has not been able to catch up industrially with the rest of the developed nations. It is noteworthy that the major reason why Nigeria still remains a developing country in spite of its vast deposit of natural resources is the high level of corruption which has eaten deep into its economic development fabrics. The Nigerian government must evaluate the nation’s economic situation before and after the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in 1958.
The government must reflect on why the nation’s economy appeared more diversified before oil was discovered than after it was discovered. Therefore, to make Nigeria rank among the economically developed nations by 2050, its government must start setting, in motion, a proper mechanism that would enable it to stamp out corruption from the system, invest its windfall from its natural resources like crude oil into real sectors like agriculture and industries and develop a strategic blueprint for the infrastructural revolution that will facilitate the desired development.
Proper Restructuring Through Constitutional Review
The political turbulence that Nigeria currently faces is principally chalked up to constitutional defects. There is a curious need for the Nigerian government to demonstrate sincere commitment toward the overhauling of the 1999 Constitution by which the nation is currently managed. My position is that we should make a conscious recourse to the Independence Constitution which was carefully drafted to address our glaring heterogeneity and diversity as a nation. That the Constitution recommended federalism for Nigeria was never a misnomer, given its culturally and linguistically diverse status. Until our current Constitution is reviewed to cater for this reality, Nigeria’s stability cannot stop bursting at its seams.
To me, when Nigeria is restructured through this process, all ethnic rivalries and separatists’ agitations which have, for many decades, threatened the peace and harmony of the nation, will predictably cease. As a matter of course, no meaningful development can be achieved by Nigeria towards being transformed from a Third World nation to a First World nation in the presence of insecurity, the hegemonic tendencies of certain ethnicities, marginalization and leadership crises which emanate from the much-talked-about constitutional defect.
The transition from Consumption to Manufacturing.
Nigeria is conspicuously a consuming nation, and no nation can become developed if it does not rise above this level. The manifest foreign exchange crisis which we currently experience in the global market is not unconnected with our status as an absolutely consuming nation. To join the league of developed nations, Nigeria must be steered by its government towards becoming a nation that produces or manufactures for other nations to consume. Hence, it must ensure the sustained provision of the basic needs like power, energy and manpower that would drive development in this respect.
Governance and political leadership in Nigeria have been driven by self-interest and other Primordial considerations which take priority over that the public interest. The state has failed in three major areas: security of lives and properties, promotion of the rule of law and provision of visionary leadership in making Nigeria self-sufficient economically, socially, educationally and otherwise to compete with other first-world countries.
Nigeria needs a Visionary leader other than just a politician who can burst only experience long as Nigeria is to forward. Kwankwaso, Peter Obi, Hamza Al-Mustapha and Prince Adewole are among other options for Nigerians. Nigerians must turn a new leaf to be partners in the foundations of making Nigeria great again. The masses must get it right this time around because only candidates with vision and transcontinental policies should be voted into office. The increasing population of Nigeria will never allow us to have peace unless they have Jobs and this is the greatest possible challenge that any emerging President may be confronted with.
Politicians who are out to fulfil their lifetime ambition are not an option long as Peace, Unity, Progress and Security are to be met. Any politician who shared the above transitional visions should the next President and Nigerians should be guided in making this decision by patriotism without playing to the glary of the regional, tribal, party and above all religious considerations. We need a one Nigerian State where Chenedu will be elected Governor in Bauchi or
Ogun,Danaudi in Enugu or Oyo,Adebanjo in Sokoto,Kano or Plateau,Nanjwan in Bayelsa or Kebbi and Muhammad Maisahihi in Anambra or Benue ,Tokshik and Fedilis in Jigawa or Yobe.It is only traditional visionary leadership will grantees this dream of making an entity beyond political speeches and newspapers headlines.
Daudi, National President of Arewa Youths advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, Writes from Bauchi via [email protected].