What approach or approaches do the Federal and State governments in Nigeria adapt in the economic treatment and management of their people? The Nigerian system is an arrogant one. People largely tend to be disrespectful to other people and it is worse if one as much as has levers of political or economic power over the other. But we are very serious when we say that it is difficult to discern the guiding economic principles that underpin federal and state governments’ treatment and management of citizens.
We believe that the question we are asking is a valid one. How do federal and state governments see citizens economically? Do they see them from a macro perspective or do they see them from a micro perspective? This is an important question because it is truly a thing of amazement like we have said before, how government continues to be distant from its people. Is it a problem that emanated from the way governments view their citizens? Can we find answers to whether we have governments who are fixated in the choice they have made between viewing citizens from a macro or a micro perspective?
Indeed, it is a question for which an answer can be found one way or the other, that is, a macro approach to policy formulation or a micro approach to policy articulation and delivery? Could it be that there is a mixture of both, which leads to confusion and, as a consequence, nothing really is being applied, and that federal and state governments don’t really know what to do? Or is it that even when an approach of viewing citizens in the policy scheme of things is either macro or micro, there isn’t really a deep understanding of what that particular choice represents?
There are so many questions to ask and deservingly so. The reason for this is the total chaos, the lack of real, genuine and scalable progress in the Nigerian firmament. Why is Nigeria bugged down and why can’t federal and state leaders be truthful to themselves and admit that, indeed, there is massive failure all round and genuinely make come out to make amends? We know that we are a proud and arrogant people and we know that as a country we have not really been helped by our diversity because those who know how to exploit circumstances, have chosen to exploit the differences in our religions, cultures, ethnicities. This they have done out of selfishness; never minding that their actions keep our country stagnated. They come and they go, ultimately they die. But the knowledge that they eventually come to the end of their lives never challenges their conscience on what state they eventually leave Nigeria in. So, how, indeed, do federal and state governments see their citizens?
Is there even an interest, a desire or need to know, what these approaches represented in the government responsibility towards its citizens? Does anyone government even care to desire the best policy approach or option that best meets citizens’ needs? So, is it macro or is it micro? From which prism does government view its citizens? But why do we ask? Well, it would appear that things tend to permanently fall apart in Nigeria, and we think it is because there is a wrongheaded approach to state-citizen relationship, which has long broken down, hence citizens have never trusted Nigerian governments.
Now, it is not that we have some certainty that either of micro and macro view of citizens’ treatment is wrong. We are firmly of the view that each has it merits and each has its disadvantage. But it takes wisdom and a deep, trained interest in the emancipation of citizens, to be able to work to interrogate everything put on the table. Indeed, it is a challenge on leadership to both be broad minded, and narrow-minded.
Why is it important to really come to an understanding of how federal and state government see citizens? We think that Nigerians are largely seen by their governments as one huge gathering. And this is because they get away with a whole lot of things, including murder. In this huge basket of a view, a lot of distraction is created. But there shouldn’t really be if leaders are certain that their number one priority is the citizens’ and Nigeria’s wellbeing. Between a macro and a micro governments’ view of their citizens are the chances that things can get lost in the details.
The macro approach aggregates. There are economists who argue that policy makers care more about aggregate performance, but others will tell you that aggregate indicators form just part of a complex set of different objectives that policy pursues. To put it simply, our concern is about how governments in their pursuits of aggregates misunderstand their citizens and misgovern them as a result. It is this misgoverning of citizens that leads to such claim about wasted potential.
We think that for decades, apart from the peculiarity of our circumstance as a country, the individual has been absent in the heart of governments. It is possible to hear a lot of lip service being paid to different issues, but the truth is that there is a gulf, there is a distance, between government and citizens. We think that there is a need to return to micro policy making, one that recognises the individual and that brings government closer to the people. The aloofness governments show to their citizens at federal and state levels is one which needs to stop, because whatever position anyone occupies, she or he is equal citizen with everyone else.