Nigeria’s many problems and politicians dilemma
By Adisa Adeleye
Many Nigerians and also friendly foreigners agree that the country is facing various problems on political stability and economic reconstruction. The major problem is that of national unity in an atmosphere of the rising profile of ethnicity and religious bigotry.
The past weeks have witnessed the registration of more political parties and the proliferation of manifestoes – all pointing to the same goal of prosperity. I must confess my profound misunderstanding or lack of appreciation of promises made by political parties which, in actual fact, are not meant to be kept.
The promises are often couched in beautiful phrases, resting on false but elegant statistical figures, but signifying little or no change. The recent statements of intent by both new (but old) parties (APC and PDM) lead to the same goal of a prosperous and safe democratic state which would be our inheritance after the expected defeat of the ruling party (PDP) in the 2015 elections.
According to some analysts, the year 2015 is still far away for many miracles (or otherwise) to happen that could affect mere political calculations or economic postulations. In the midst of political euphoria reinforced by the seemingly successful reconciliation efforts, the PDP‘s assumption of sixty years of uninterrupted rule is seriously being challenged not only by internal forces of opposition parties but also by the external fore- boding of the end of Nigeria in 2015.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Alhaji Ahmadu Bello
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Alhaji Ahmadu Bello
There is no doubt that the soothsayers of doom are basing their facts on the difficulty or the danger of removing a sitting government and the proverbial reluctance of accepting results of elections. The Governor Jang‘s stand on his defeat in the Governor‘s Forum election and the Rivers State political melo-drama are not only examples of political immaturity.
It is easy to conclude that the manifestoes of the opposition parties, though elegant, are for the future while the reality of the moment dictates the deeper appraisal of the transformation agenda of the present administration in bringing the country to the shore of peace and prosperity. It is re-assuring that the past rulers of the country like General Gowon, Chief Obasanjo and General Babangida have assured us of the continuity of the nation after 2015, even if as some believe that they were parts of the old and some unsolved problems of the country.
The former Commonwealth Secretary, Chief Emeka Anyaoku who believed in the political survival of the country advised a satisfactory reconstruction to allow for political and economic stability. He prefers the Six Zone structure to the present amorphous 36 States.
In the race to build a modern and economically viable country, many analysts have expressed some serious doubts on the suitability of the present state and local governments‘ structures. The present states and local councils were carved out of the old three regions to ensure unity and bring governance and prosperity to the grassroots. With oil money in 1970s and 1980s, the creation of states and local governments became crazy and a ridiculous passion for former military dictators. Many states were created without due regard to economic viability, political integration and ethnic affinity.
It has been observed that except in South-West (Yoruba); South-East (Ibo) states where language and culture are similar, and in some Northern States with identical religion, culture and language are the same, some of the present States harbor major tribes and restless minorities. The Delta State as an example is made up of the Ibo, Urhobo, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Itsoko tribes while Benue State harbors the Tiv majority and restless minority, Idoma; some states by their composition have become fertile grounds for violence and instability.
Therefore, a country so big in size and deficiently structured, and worse of all, relying on oil as major national income and forced into unity under a strong but crafty central government needs both psychological and pathological examinations, leading to a clinical surgery called in political jargon, Restructuring.
Amidst economic anxieties and political perplexities, President Jonathan has assured the nation that by 2015, all will be well and that his political opponents would be overwhelmed by the “intimidating credentials” of his party.
Unless there are other weapons hidden in the armory, the present PDP`s political and economic credentials are neither `intimidating nor exciting, but jaded and intolerably mixed up. Its politics has recreated the ghost of ethnicism and its economics has bred poverty in the midst of plenty though uncoordinated liberal fiscal policy of Dr Okonjo Iweala and anti-growth tough monetary stance of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. It looks as if President Jonathan has become a passive onlooker.
It is becoming impossible to maintain macro-economic stability, full employment and price stability. Nigeria‘s macro-economic stability has been based on low value of the Naira, high lending interest rate (over 20%) and heavy unemployment rate (0ver 30%).
The developed economies depend on low lending rate (between 2% – 3%), strong national currencies and tolerable unemployment rate (between 3% – 5%). An unemployment rate of 8% would put the ruling party under pressure and possibility of defeat at the next election.
An economic solution to the scourge of malaria lies in its total eradication and not in pouring extra money on drugs. Construction of new drains and constant clearing of existing ones would prevent pools of stagnant water (breeding ground of mosquitoes). Construction of new drains and maintaining and clearing of drains would tend to stimulate the economy and increase employment.
It is noticed that fake drugs like malaria are instant killers in the country and that the federal government is trying to control the distribution of drugs through the country.
My addition to this is that all drugs used in the country are manufactured locally while antibiotics and other strong drugs are manufactured locally under foreign license or imported only by registered local drug manufacturers. Import licenses for drugs should be strictly controlled in the interest of the nation.
Encouraging local drug manufacturers through incentives would stimulate the economy and increase employment. At present, both the government and the opposition parties should work together to bring peace and prosperity to the country and the people.