Visualising a flourishing Nigeria
Martin Ike-Muonso, a professor of economics with interest in subnational government IGR growth strategies, is managing director/CEO, ValueFronteira Ltd. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 9, 2020535 views0 comments
Creation energises all things to grow and improve. Inanimate objects are also part of the growth and improvement process when used correctly. That is why we celebrate the growth of entrepreneurship and profits as well as innovations and inventions. That is also why we desire income in exchange for our skills, talents and time. Nations are not exempt from this process. As the population of people grows, so shall the income needed to take care of them become. The pressure to get enough of this income also forces man to create innovative ways of producing efficiently. Such innovative creations equally require the postponement of present delights. Nations need not grow at the same pace, but those that disregard these principles not only pay dearly for it but are pushed back – against their will – on the path of growth and improvement.
The greatness of Nigeria was evident from its very foundations. Its capacity to be the wealthiest country in the world is equally not in doubt. Most countries of the world reputed today as flourishing at some point in their lives passed through much of what Nigeria currently experiences. Regardless of the events that spike fear and uncertainty in the hearts of many, Nigeria trudges on to greatness. It is important to note that there are only a few countries in the world that would have gone through what we currently experience and remained in peace and united as a country. Although this unity faces severe threats, graciously, they are not a full-scale war that would have considerably destabilised governments and governance. That is also why we still have a funded army that is struggling to contain it. All of these, however, do not play down on the ugly and devastating impacts of these undesirable events. We, nevertheless, possess a spacious headroom to rise above these seeming setbacks and flourish.
It is a widespread belief that one’s vision is his life. By strongly envisioning what one wants to be that he has never been before the trajectory of a new life is defined. Nigeria has never lacked in this respect. At various times, we had a vision for 2000 as well as that for 2020. Vision-2020 had tremendous momentum and spurred a lot of hope among Nigerians. Interspersed between those dates were several medium-term plans as well as goals that were set by several subnational and federal governments. These visions and earmarked goals did not survive. And for all that period, we inadvertently lived the image and intentions of other countries rather than ours. It is much the same way as someone abandoning his own life and living the life of another person. We are now in 2020 and are not living the aspirations which we set for ourselves to supposedly manifest at this time. The realisation is, however, not foreclosed. We are much closer to the achievement of those visions than at any other time in our history. Yes, we had sound visions at several times but could not realise those visions because of our collective unwillingness to make them succeed. Directly or indirectly, we all benefited from the various failures. The leadership might not have done fantastically well, but the followership equally failed to resist what might have constituted a shift from the focus. Our collective unwillingness to execute sound policies and programmes necessary for our good has a huge unpalatable price. It is only natural that when people fail to uphold the rules that promote peace, they are only inviting anarchy.
We also know that peace, the rule of law and the promotion of investment activities all things being equal lead to abundance and prosperity. We also desire these things which for several years eluded us. However, it appears that we are now heading to an era of lasting peace and the rule of law. For several years the various States that constitute the United States of America fought fierce battles with each other. The result was that each of those nation-states realised that they desired more peace than war to make progress. They no longer wanted to shed more blood. That resulted in today’s much-celebrated constitution of the United States of America. It also promoted liberty, freedom, the rule of law, and inevitably the accompanying prosperity. All nations of the earth throng there to share in the opportunities that flow out of this freedom. We have fought a civil war in Nigeria. Despite the enormous losses of human lives, it does not appear as if we learnt any lesson from it. The parting words of “no victor and no vanquished” were merely on the lips of the government that pronounced it. The marginalisation of different ethnic groups continued. We had an abundance of oil money, which we failed to utilise for our advancement, but gladly frittered them away and into the pockets of many. Today, we wished that the oil money never stopped flowing. But the future remains bright despite the seeming hood of darkness over the country.
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Insurgency, kidnapping, suicide bombing, hostage-taking, and the stretched war by Boko Haram are some of those signs that the end of bad times is near. It is obvious. Even in our national assemblies, the language is becoming different. The tone of those who used to consider themselves above the law is softening. It is like more people are beginning to realise it is better to have a country that is working and at peace, where the rule of law provides shades of opportunities for everyone rather than a country that is cornered by a few greedy mortals. After all, there may no longer be any hiding place for anybody if the threats to peace continue unchecked. So, there is hope that fewer persons may likely work against good initiatives and programmes that benefit all. It was the selfishness that deprived many young northerners of education that has fuelled the rate of enlistment into the Boko Haram insurgency. Today, our government now use executive aircraft to convey repentant members of the rebellion back home. This kind of executive treatment and the accompanying benefits accorded these penitents are what they would not have ever dreamt of in their lives. So, the insurgency pressure may have its advantages after all. We are now falling for the compelling force to recognise what is right and do it. And that raises the hope for a Nigeria that will flourish to the benefit of every person. So, each time we fail to uphold what is right, somewhere along the line, we are likely to be beaten into shape.
The lack of willpower to control and bring to book the killer Fulani herdsmen who were roaming the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and perpetrating intolerable evil has resulted in the emergence of regional security architecture and infrastructure. Who would have ever imagined that this would be possible? We are seeing it beginning to crystallise before our very eyes. Our protracted “I do not care attitude” when these murderers were killing, and maiming myriads of ordinary Nigerians gave them the boldness to commence the molestation of the daughters of the rich as well as kidnapping the privileged. It was now that it became evident that anybody could be a victim that various regions of the country started doing what they would have done three decades ago. Hopefully, the democratisation of security apparatus across the geopolitical zones may lead to more robust political structures along those lines too. The civil war perhaps was orchestrated by much of the signs that we see today. Gowon, the head of government of Nigeria at that time who also presided over the massacre of more than 3 million Igbos corroborated that. Today, his state of Benue is feeling the heat seriously. Those who claimed to have fought for Nigeria are the same people calling for a disintegrated, more euphemistically restructured Nigeria. We have nobody to blame but ourselves; and collectively too.
Once upon a time, the people of south-east Nigeria cried over marginalisation. Today, the tears are flowing like streams from the eyes of many ethnic regions in Nigeria. There is a crescendo of hues and hullabaloos for equity and fairness across geopolitical divides. Perhaps, when the belief in it gains more momentum, the structure and the processes for upholding and sustaining the values of justice and balance will be much more reliable than it would have been before this time. Recall that before now, there was a national conference that our leaders flung its outcomes and recommendations albeit highly acceptable to many Nigerians under the rug. Today, it is like more Nigerians, including those that schemed its stowaway are calling for its implementation. The legislature is also calling for the review and amendment of the constitution. So, the seeming bad times might just be the necessary pressures that are required to create the desired positive environment of prosperity.
We did not need humans from the outer planet to tell our governments to implement the single Treasury account (TSA). It is precisely the same way that our ancient gods did not compel them to set up the commission for the fight of economic and financial crimes. It became necessary when it was apparent that we have danced naked for too long and could not afford to continue living in the insanity doing the same thing always and expecting different results. For several years we all directly and indirectly defrauded this country and was consciously pushing it into the financial miry clay. In the face of all of these, we kept silent when we should speak. We defended those that robbed our treasury because we had a transient opportunity to benefit while it lasted. The heat is getting too hot, and we are learning to do the right things a little too late but still quite early.