Actors fueling Nigeria’s socio economic contradictions
The time is auspicious for the handlers of Nigeria to draw a lesson from countries like Singapore by having the state/Nigeria industrialised to help solve the nagging problem of unemployment. Harvard Political Professor, Samuel Huntington, in August 1995, at Taipei, was, among other things, asked of his impression about Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s effort to develop Singapore and he scantly summed it up this way: the honesty and efficiency Senior Minister Lee has brought to Singapore are likely to follow him to his grave.
However, not only did Lee’s efficiency survive him but history has since assisted in providing answers to the correctness or otherwise of Professor Samuel Huntington’s declaration. Two years after the slanted observation, Singapore, a country with a GDP of $3 billion in 1965 grew to $46 billion in 1997, making it the eighth highest per capita GNP in the world according to the World Bank ranking.
Singapore’s progress going by reports is a reflection of the advances of the industrial country – their inventions, technology, enterprise and drive, a united and a determined group of leaders, backed by practical and hard-working people. One useful lesson our leaders here must not fail to draw is that Singapore under Lee grappled with the problems of unemployment in the country and came to the recognition that the only way to survive was to industrialise. This informed why the country concentrated on getting factories started. Despite their small domestic market of two million, he protected locally assembled cars, refrigerators, air conditioners, radios, television sets, and tape-recorders, in the hope that they would later be partly manufactured locally.
From this new awareness, flows the major difference. Nigeria’s current posturing is more of man-made than natural, more of leadership gaps than lack of resources. While this appalling situation daily unfolds on our political space, the global leadership stage is littered with telling evidence about leaders that demonstrated sagacity and professional ingenuity that our leaders have refused to learn or replicate their resourcefulness on our shores.
The present threat of hostility in the country which has gotten to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of government no longer function properly did not come overnight but started gradually and steadily before getting to this definitive level. Nothing in my views explains more why the nation Nigeria is failing than our national budgetary framework, which originally was meant to channel spending to a particular direction making it possible to manage the income available to prevent overspending and debt. So that income cannot surpass expenditure or at the very least equal it.
The nation needs a sincere and selfless leadership, a politically and economically restructured polity brought by the national consciousness that can unleash the social, economic and political transformation of the country while rejecting the present socio-economic system that has bred corruption, inefficiency, primitive capital accumulation that socially excluded the vast majority of our people. We must ensure limited gains for holding political power and weaker incentives for every group and every ambitious, upstart individual that tries to take control of the state.