Governance… Politics, Economy
Dung Pam Sha is a Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science, University of Jos, Plateau state.
In this interview on Nigeria’s 56 Anniversary and the way forward, he talks on the Economic and Political quagmire the country is trapped in.
He said that the big problem that Nigeria encounters today is based on the way the country has been structured since the colonial times which has determined the many policies Nigerian governments have been following for quite some time now. He spoke with Isa Abdulsalami Akpovi in Jos
“We know that the regimes that we have seen in Nigeria have practised what we call neo – liberal policies, neo – liberal policies that ideologically recommend that the state must and give way to private sector operations. And at present, Nigeria doesn’t have a very buoyant private sector that will take over the responsibilities that government at present is allocating to it. So, we find the much national corporations and playing these roles and they are not playing these roles in such a way that we will go nationally and industrially and so there is a big problem.
“So, I will recommend that the government of the federation should take a look at the debate again on the merits of on the planned economy and merits of neo – liberal economy and see if there can be an integration somewhere and where we will meet and to move forward.
“I will recommend that a policy frame work should be set in place which will take on board the participation of communities, the participation of workers, participation of cooperative societies, the participation of private sectors, and so it should be an indusive and development and frame work development of the government.”
Secondly, Sha said that he believes that the personnel that would run the economy should be people that are knowledgeable in economic development.
“Maybe, financial experts, political economists, sociologists, all must be put in place and to design a new frame work for the government,” he contended.
What is the difference in Nigeria’s political scenario?
“In many advanced democracies , things are working because there is a fairly good understanding among the political class.
“They may be divided on one or two issues, but the major vision of the society has been engrained in them and they know what should be done at any particular period in time. So I think the major problem in Nigeria has been the lack of cohesion of the political class which is also permeating to the electorate because the electorate are also following the pathways created by the political class.
“And that is dividing the Nigerian society and that is not a very good for an index for a democratic growth, and so it is like politics and democracy are in recession as well because things are not moving well. “The ruling party has constituted its own regime, the opposition is out of it and we can see from time to time, the opposition members are being, so called harassed in a manner that will give the impression that really the ruling party is targeting the opposition. “And we are saying this to make the point that no democracy will succeed without a credible opposition. And so, we think that the regime should create the environment where the opposition would be respected and their view respected.
“That is not to say that those who are found guilty in the previous regimes for a variety of reasons, should not be questioned. These are two different things. Government must create the platform and the opportunity and the environment for opposition to exist. But they must also follow up on people who have questions.
“So, I think that what the present regime should do is to think of creating an atmosphere for inclusivity in governance. And secondly they must insist that governance is carried out for the good of all and not only the good of the members of the regime. We also think that the present regime should develop a strategy in delivering the so – called dividends of democracy eg, that you must have a way that people’s welfare is taken on board and that health services must be looked at carefully and implemented and education to the young and the old should also be given emphasis.”
He says if the regime pays attention to all that, the people will be part and parcel of the democratic growth and development.