My Vi­sion 2020 for Nige­ria

The Punch - - VIEWPOINT - Jide Ojo

stim­u­lat­ing Nige­ria’s eco­nomic growth and launch­ing the coun­try onto a path of sus­tained and rapid so­cio-eco­nomic devel­op­ment. The blue­print ar­tic­u­lates Nige­ria’s eco­nomic growth and devel­op­ment strate­gies, for the eleven-year pe­riod be­tween 2009 and 2020, and will be im­ple­mented us­ing a se­ries of medium-term na­tional devel­op­ment plans.”

From the afore­men­tioned, it is clear that the NV 20:2020 was a grandiose plan. Prior to this, we had had the Vi­sion 2010 when we thought all so­cial ameni­ties such as hous­ing, health, ed­u­ca­tion would be avail­able and af­ford­able for all Nige­ri­ans. Be­fore that, we had sev­eral devel­op­ment plans and eco­nomic blue­prints. I re­call that for­mer Pres­i­dent oluse­gun obasanjo launched with glee the Na­tional Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment and Devel­op­ment Strat­egy pop­u­larly known as NEEDS. There was also the State Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment and Devel­op­ment Strat­egy known as SEEDS as well as its lo­cal gov­ern­ment ver­sion called LEEDS.

While the Vi­sion 20:2020 was sup­pos­edly be­ing im­ple­mented, this regime in 2017 launched the Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery and Growth Plan. “The Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery and Growth Plan is a medium-term Plan for 2017-2020, de­vel­oped by the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent muham­madu Buhari for the pur­pose of restor­ing eco­nomic growth while lever­ag­ing the in­ge­nu­ity and re­silience of the Nige­rian peo­ple - the na­tion’s most price­less assets”.

In spite of these devel­op­ment strate­gies and eco­nomic blue­print, Nige­ria’s Human Devel­op­ment In­dex value for 2018 re­mained 0.534 - which put the coun­try in the low human devel­op­ment cat­e­gory- po­si­tion­ing it at the 158th out of 189 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries. In April 2019, the mis­ery In­dex ranked Nige­ria and South Africa as Africa’s most mis­er­able Coun­tries. The coun­try still ranks high on ma­ter­nal and in­fant mor­tal­ity while our life ex­pectancy is one of the low­est in the world.

Why is it that in spite of all the devel­op­ment plans, strate­gies and goals as well as the vi­sions of devel­op­ment, the coun­try still lags be­hind in the comity of na­tions? The an­swer is not far-fetched. We are long on rhetoric and short on de­liv­ery. We are very adept at slo­ga­neer­ing and pro­pa­ganda rather than do the need­ful. The po­lit­i­cal will to do the right thing is lack­ing while our lead­ers pri­ori­tise their per­sonal ag­gran­dis­e­ment over na­tional devel­op­ment.

Nige­ria has for long been clas­si­fied as one of the re­source-curse coun­tries. The po­ten­tial is high. The human and ma­te­rial re­sources are many. our nat­u­ral re­sources com­pris­ing oil and gas as well as solid min­er­als are enough to make us at­tain the Vi­sion 20:2020. Un­for­tu­nately, we are per­pet­ual underachie­vers. As aptly de­scribed by the Pro­fes­sor of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence and in­cum­bent Vice Chan­cel­lor of Ig­bine­dion Univer­sity, Eghosa os­agae, Nige­ria is a crip­pled gi­ant.

It shouldn’t be so but that is the stark re­al­ity. Among the key con­trib­u­tory fac­tors to our un­der­de­vel­op­ment is cor­rup­tion. We have been un­for­tu­nate to be gov­erned by a team of ra­pa­cious lead­ers whose wel­fare and well-be­ing are pri­ori­tised over and above those of the cit­i­zens. If the re­sources of the coun­try had been used to de­velop it and not di­verted to pri­vate pock­ets, our de­cay­ing in­fra­struc­ture would have been long fixed. Our public schools would not be in deplorable con­di­tions that they are; our hos­pi­tals would not be mere con­sult­ing clin­ics that many of them are now; our road net­works which are pot-hole rid­den and death-traps would not have been this aw­ful. What would Nige­ria have had to do with poverty? Iron­i­cally, due to cor­rup­tion and mis­man­age­ment of the na­tion’s re­sources, we are now the world cap­i­tal of coun­tries with ex­treme poverty.

As we start this New Year and decade, can our lead­ers across board – the three arms of gov­ern­ment and the three tiers of gov­ern­ment – make a new com­mit­ment to work as­sid­u­ously for the bet­ter­ment of our suf­fer­ing moth­er­land? Can they make a New Year res­o­lu­tion not to pil­fer the coun­try’s re­sources again? Can they turn a new leaf and shun cor­rupt prac­tices in all ram­i­fi­ca­tions? Can they sim­ply make our money and other re­sources work for us? That would be very heart­warm­ing if they can do that.

on the part of the cit­i­zens, we also have roles to play. our duty is to sup­port gov­ern­ment to suc­ceed. To whom much is given, much is ex­pected. As cit­i­zens, we all must shun our petty cor­rupt prac­tices. We must be our brother’s keeper. We must pay our taxes, stop van­dal­is­ing public util­i­ties and be pa­tri­otic. We must also en­gage our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and de­mand trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity in gov­ern­ment. As the say­ing goes, eter­nal vig­i­lance is the price of lib­erty.

Happy New Year ev­ery­one!

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @jideo­jong

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