Friday, October 11, 2013

NIGERIA'S ECONOMIC EMANCIPATION August 31, 2011 at 8:52am NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC EMANCIPATION, THE WAY FORWARD That Nigeria is very strategic in God’s prophetic agenda for Africa and the World at large is a clear fact. Nigeria is a nation of destiny with the highest concentration of blacks. God has equally deposited enormous resources in Nigeria, an investment that must bring corresponding dividends. It is however, a tale of woes as we refuse to fully fulfill this great destiny. The economic situation of the country is a sorry case and this has produced very many other serious problems. I believe strongly that God has brought President Goodluck Jonathan on scene to fix the problems and set a new leadership paradigm that will reposition Nigeria in the new global order. I continue to see my President as the modern day Moses to lead the long awaited emancipation of this country as the nation is reformed and her history re-written. If President Goodluck Jonathan will not disappoint God like Saul, then he must be prepared to align himself with God as he assiduously work to tackle the following menace and change the current socio-political and economic equation of Nigeria. Wealth Distribution: We do not need a seer to predict the danger inherent in a society that has the gap between the rich and the poor so vastly wide. The dangerous situation in Nigeria now is the gradual elimination of the social and economic middle class. It is either you are highly rich or you are poor. The situation keeps degenerating and the attendant frustration of the inability of the government to arrest the trend is the increase in criminality in the society. The economic situation of Nigeria now is “murdering”. The cost of a normal plate of food is averagely N200 and to eat three (3) square meal a day means an average person will spend N18, 000 a month on food alone. If government is struggling to pay N18, 000 minimum wages and it can afford to pay some few selected individuals more than 400 million naira per head in the same economic situation, then you can understand why it will be very difficult to curb criminality in our country. It is the contradictions in the system that is producing criminality. We need a new political and economic order that can expose the in-equities, unequal power relations, inequalities and hegemonic class relations that underpin conflict in the country. National wealth must be redistributed. Government cannot afford to pay terribly fat salaries to political officers when it cannot pay N18, 000 minimum wages which is even grossly inadequate. When we bridge the gap between the rich and the poor we will be addressing many other issues. President Jonathan must be sincere to work toward wealth re-distribution then he will have peace in governance. 2. Absurdity of one commodity Export economy: One other major distortion of our economy is the failure of the government to diversify the economy stay. After more than fifty (50) years of existence as a nation, we have not been able to develop the various facets of our economy. We still continue in the “rentier” economic style. Nigeria’s oil wealth and the revenue derived from the industry over the decades have not manifested in improved, corresponding infrastructural development, wealth generation, poverty reductions and appreciation in living - 2 - standard for majority of Nigerians. Other sectors of the economy have been neglected instead we have taken to “share-share” life, resulting in political instability and the horrendous level of corruption that is visible everywhere. The political and economic capitalist elites are bent on not allowing the oil revenue to be channeled toward holistic development of the various aspects of the economy but rather confine the wealth only within their enclaves. President Jonathan must rise up to the task of using the oil wealth for massive development of other sectors and a radical transformation of the nation’s infrastructure. It is a shame that South Africa deployed 5 billion dollars to generate additional 3,000 megawatts of electricity whereas after Nigeria spent more than $16billion over a period of about ten (10) years, our electricity generation rather dropped below 3,500 megawatt. Part of individual’s building project now is the sinking of boreholes because the State cannot adequately provide water for the citizen. Virtually every road you travel in Nigeria today is death traps, “pot holes” and “man holes” everywhere. V.I.O is checking vehicles for road worthiness but who is checking the State for the “driving or car worthiness” of the roads? After fifty (50) years, what can we say about the agricultural sector of the economy? What has happened to our cocoa, coffee and palm? Sometimes, I wish oil should stop flowing in Nigeria so that we can wake up from our economic coma or slumber. President Jonathan must not disappoint God in revitalizing our country’s economy by coming up with a radical economic approach that will eradicate economic and political elites motivated by the terrible, desperate, greed-driven quest to corner oil wealth and rents only to their enclave. Jonathan must help build a new social pact with the people based on an emancipatory, transformative, and participatory developmental democracy. 3. Strangulating, global economic system: If Malaysia could do it, Asian power could achieve it, small Singapore nation succeeded in attaining breakthrough, then Nigeria under the leadership of Goodluck can equally attain it. If we don’t “localize globalization”, we may not be able to break even. I want to seriously beg President Jonathan not to fall victim to Bretton Wood Institutions’ diabolic economic template, the agenda of which will only favour the industrialized capitalist nations. We must come up with our own realistic economic policies that will help in industrializing our country instead of being the “junior partner” and supplier of raw materials and capital for the foreign countries. Why should we continue to export crude oil and agricultural raw produce and importing the finished products at very exorbitant prices? Some “local cartels” are bent on making Nigeria to continue to export crude oil and import petrol, kerosene, diesel and other oil products at unbelievable prices. - 3 - 4. Dieing Education Sector: Nigeria economy is going down but the rate at which education is going down is faster than the general economic situation. The current situation of the nation’s education sector is terribly saddening. The corruption in the society has eaten very deep into the education sector. Learning from Ghana, when her economy was down in the 80s, education sector was not allowed to go down. It is very hard to get any WAEC/NECO Examination Centre where cheating is not the order of the day. The worst offenders are the unbridled private Secondary Schools where their owners in collaboration with the disappointing parents are bent on finding easy way avenue for the unserious students. Government should set up independent examination monitoring task force to randomly check exam centers to arrest the situation. Any school caught in any examination malpractices should be immediately closed down. Unless an independent task force, the education system is so corrupt that no rescue policy may succeed. In the gang-up against educational progress in our country, are the many elements in the Ministry of Education, WAEC and NECO and the dangerous greedy private school owners who are greed driven. These elements connive together, feeding corruption in the system and encouraging examination malpractices. The earlier government does something, the better. One major reason for the mass failure is the reliance of students on examination leakages. Our students will only seat up when they discover there is no room again for examination malpractices. We also need to redefine our tertiary system to make its focus relevant to the current national needs. There is no serious link between our tertiary educational system and industrial/manufacturers world. We need a complete “reconfiguration” of the content of our tertiary education to make it relevant to our context. Mr. President, heaven is counting on you to lead this new dispensation that will bring about radical emancipatory transformation and reposition Nigeria as a leading economy – a pacesetter for the whole of Africa. You can do it, we can do it! Revd. ‘Dele Kolade Senior Pastor, Barnawa Baptist Church, P. O. Box 4337, Barnawa, Kaduna. E-mail: www.delekolade.blogspot,com The writer is also currently a Postgraduate Student of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna (Master in International Affairs and Strategic Studies (MIASS).

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