An Interrogation of Democracy in Africa


Olusesi Oluwole.

There are fusillades of evidence all over Africa that Abraham Lincoln’s theorization of democracy being government of the people, by the people and for the people lacks contextual and practical synthesis in the African continent. While not advocating for interminable military dictatorship anywhere in the region, it is important to note that most African states have not been able to wriggle out of recumbent poverty – one of the central problems democracy should ameliorate.

The overall essence of democracy is to ensure development governance through which people would be liberated from want to sustainable availability of material and economic basis for survival: adequate security, good health, infrastructure, among other welfarist fundamentals. But with the current survival crisis on the continent, there is therefore need for the continent to determine or redefine, appropriately, the form of government they want – a democracy that is altruistic or the one that is permanently manipulated and benefited by the esoteric political class.

With the current near collapse of social movements and independent media all over the continent –which is now being socially substituted by radical fundamentalist insurgency - establishing a humane and sustainable democracy remains a burden. While accepting that there is no alternative to democracy in Africa, the bourgeois template on which it is being re-affirmed must be interrogated.

One of the major challenges of Africa’s democracy today is dearth of ideological leadership. Upstart to power, historically, has been traceable to crass opportunism – in the sense that those that fought against military hegemony and dictatorship were played out and ‘rejected’ by the same people they fought for – and that is where the crisis of followership as a ‘class ally’ in the continents recumbent underdevelopment comes in.

Since 1980’s, most countries in Africa have moved from one party or military dictatorship to multiparty democratic rule. This was the outcome of pressures from within the nations and the consequences of global system change following the end of the Cold War. The result of these has been the widening of political space which include political participation and the use of election to chose ‘leaders’. The so called the elections, in most cases, are always bitterly contested because the incumbency factor always frustrates change, with the ruling party manipulating the process through the deployment of state forces and resources.

So the disillusionments are yet to be addressed and the high expectation that democracy would address decades of poverty, corruption and underdevelopment have hardly been met.  Despite the current facades of democracies, countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the collapse of ‘ancient regime’ had hitherto led to coup d”etat, chaos, civil wars and regional unrests.

According to Cyril I. Obi, “Africa, in the spirit of the global moment has embraced democracy or, more precisely, liberal or multiparty democracy. This has found acceptance within Africa’s political elite, and perhaps more significantly, within the donor community and Western democracies that seek to connect the process to market-based economic reforms and development on the continent. They also seek to globalise their own political culture and market ideology as part of the process of universal homogenization.”

And to concretise this ‘international conspiracy’, Obi posited: “In this regard, they have had cause to intervene in the political crises in Guinea Bissau, Sao Tomé and Principe, and Zimbabwe in the attempt to ensure that democracy is enthroned in these countries. However, the situation in Zimbabwe is a lot more complex and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the AU, as well as the international community, have largely failed to arrest the steady slide of the country into crisis.”

Hence, according to Thomas Ohlson, there has been connection between multiparty democracy in Africa, disempowering people and favouring the elite class, and the pursuit by parts of the international community of a global hegemonic neo-liberal ideological project in Africa. He hence took the position that one of the challenges of African democratization is its deepening by returning power, ensuring social justice and a more equitable redistribution of resources to ordinary people through a transformatory process that empowers them to take control of the democratic project in the real sense of freely creating a government of the people, for the people, by the people.

All across the continent, the mental laziness of the emergent political leadership of being unable to theorise altruistic and articulating such in corporeal forms have further rendered it inert to meet up with global developmental trends.  This has helplessly resulted in invidious primitive accumulation of property through unlimited looting of the state.

Democratising Looting

“Africa is poor, ultimately, because its economy and society have been ravaged by international capital as well as by local elites who are often propped up by foreign powers. The public and private sectors have worked together to drain the continent of resources…” this is the position taken by Patrick Bond’s version of ‘Looting Africa.’  The international conspiracy to eternally pauperise Africa has always been there. A recent Guardian news reveals that Western countries are using aid to Africa as a smokecreen to hide what it described as ‘sustained looting’ of the continent, saying the continent loses $60bn yearly through tax evasion, climate change mitigation and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies.

The report added that while Western nations send about $30bn in development aids to Africa every year, more than six times that amount leaves the continent back to the same countries providing them. Hence the perception that such aid is helping African countries, the report added, has “facilitated perverse reality in which the UK and other wealthy governments celebrate their generosity whilst simultaneously assisting their companies to drain African resources.” The Guardian UK, while making a reference to a report by UK and Africa-based NGOs, it added that foreign multinational companies siphon $46bn out if sub-Saharan Africa each year; while $35bn is moved from Africa into tax havens around the world annually.

Despite the conspiracy which was hitherto anatomized in Walter Rodney’s famous book ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,’ it is important to note that exploitation and expropriation of the continent through various means including aids are impossible without institutional greed.


The Case For a Near Mandatory Alternative: The Nigerian Experience



Ope Owotumi.

In his 2015 State of The Union speech, President Barack Obama quipped “when what you’re doing for fifty years doesn’t work, it’s time to try something new”. It is this level of progressive-mindedness that endears the objective onlooker to American politics. It is shaped by the ever-changing times and the varied mentality of the people whose lives it governs. Their policy shifts- on homosexuality, marijuana use, military involvement, civil liberties, religion, free speech and even foreign policy- they are informed by the times. They are not informed by political bickering only, by disorganised sentiments or even by a rigid sense of right and wrong. Their stances on these issues are not always right or morally defensible- but they are informed by the dynamics of change.

In our Nigerian reality however, we see a different trend. We see a pattern of rigidity and inflexibility. Office holders are unrepentantly insistent on the propriety of their actions regardless of the public opprobrium that they attract. A bad bill with little prospects of enforcement will be passed anyway because its backers want it so. A tactic that is glaringly unproductive will remain unchanged because its proponents lack the decency to admit its failure. This pattern is bad for the image of the government. But if the image of government is all that were at stake in the face of stubborn adherence to obsolete ideas, we would simply pour venom on the government and move on. Sadly, there is a lot more that we lose when we anchor mediocrity in rigidity. It is for this reason that I say that when what you are doing for six years does not work, it is time to try something new.

This government has battled with insurgency for the past 6 years. Nigeria has battled with organised crime for decades more. It battled with and seemingly conquered militancy in the Niger Delta. One therefore wonders why its performance against insurgency looks more like a feeble appeal than a fight. The reason is not far-fetched- whatever tactic the government has hitherto employed just does not work. The President has touted a carrot-and-stick approach.

It was in dangling the carrot that the government negotiated with certain people parading themselves as insurgents in possession of the kidnapped girls. Mr Doyin Okupe was on CNN to tell the world that the government had gotten a firm undertaking from the insurgents and that the kidnapped girls would be returned in no time. Unless no time means eternity, Mr Okupe was clearly wrong- the girls remain abducted and the government stands shamed. The carrot as a tactic has not worked and shows limited potential of working (after all, by the President’s own admission and the government’s hostage-negotiation gaffe, the recipients of the carrot are unknown). This tactic must give way to something new.

Then comes the stick. The failure of the stick is even worse than the decomposition of the carrots. Large portions of North-Eastern Nigeria are under the direct control of insurgents despite the fact that there was an extended State of Emergency in certain states of that region. We have seen and heard reports of soldiers fleeing from battle, begging for their lives before assassination, refusing to fight, being handed old weapons with limited magazines, being made to pay from their purses for the treatment of injuries sustained in battle and being told (in effect) to each do the work expected of 6 soldiers. This tactic (if ever it could be called one) is clearly not working. We need it changed.

The war against terrorists who fight by guerrilla means cannot be always calculated. Sometimes, response must be sporadic, instant and decisive. Hit-and-run is a basic tactic of guerrilla warfare and the period of retreat is a vulnerable period for the guerrillas. Certainly, we need to have well equipped and alert forces whose mandate will not be to prevent attacks but to mobilise in very little time, give chase to retreating guerrillas, and apprehend or eliminate insurgents. This tactic fits the Nigerian scenario well because the insurgents have operated by guerrilla tactic. Indeed, after razing Baga to the ground, the insurgents did not occupy the city, they retreated to some other base- classic hit-and-run. Of course, this will not mean giving up on the prevention of attacks- it will only operate as a supplement.

How about terror-prevention? Our government shows itself as either unwilling or unable to prevent terror attacks. Terror is prevented by a variety of ways. Metal detectors, road blocks, vehicular checks and speed bumps are not enough- and they are all our government appears to be doing. One wonders, what will happen if while searching a vehicle, a Nigerian Policeman encounters an IED? Will he flee or defuse it? It is beyond question now that crime prevention also includes intelligence gathering and forensic investigation. When the Nation of Islam was founded, the government of the United States kept tabs on the movement and eventually one John Ali, a personal aide to the Honourable Elijah Mohammed, leader of the Nation was an FBI plant. The Nation would go on to show itself as a non-violent group. However, had that group been violent, John Ali would have proved effective. Nigeria definitely needs its own John Alis.

The world over, the responsible government does not wait till an attack before acting. Intelligence agencies all around the world plant people in criminal circles and weapon black-markets to prevent attacks and monitor movement of arms. They install eyes in the skies, on the streets and in storefronts to help replay events that they missed but need to see to get justice and apprehend criminals. They risk Human Rights suits by listening in on conversations and monitoring private messages to pick up chatter about extremist activities. They proactively purchase weaponry of the future as an investment and not as a reaction. This we have not been doing- because we are too busy insisting on the previous tactic, blinded by arrogance and incited by overconfidence.

Now I know that if we have informants in terror groups, it is not something that would make the news. But then, if we have working informants who are neither dead nor turned, their results should show. When, if ever, did we have a terror plot stopped? When, if ever did we have insurgents arrested at a strategy meeting? When, if ever, did government forces breakup an insurgent meet? We can take a cue from Belgium who made 10 raids and multiple arrests within two weeks of the Paris attacks under circumstances that suggest that they had solid intel- how else does one explain the release of automatic gunfire by men who otherwise paraded themselves as law-abiding citizens? How about Paris? In response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the Prime Minister has proposed the employment of 1100 more intelligence officers!

Our President has a history of ambivalence and not just on national security. His response is usually slow and belaboured. Most times, it comes too little too late appearing to be more political than empathetic. Of course, he has said that he likes to deliberate and consider all options before taking steps. However, we do not need a President who requires all the time in the world before he makes up his mind. We do not need a President who cannot anticipate problems, draw up possible responses and fit them into real occurrences. We do not need a President whose first response to every domestic threat and attack is denial but is quick to commiserate with other nations upon the occurrence of foreign attacks. We do not need this kind of leadership and we do not deserve it-no, not in these explosive times. Tactics must change.

But this government has shown itself unable or unwilling to change. Its actors are the same, its tactics are unchanged and its emphases are permanently misplaced. We have a government that is more interested in roads and rails than in the riders of these infrastructures. We have a government that touts increased economic indices and more food when there are less and less people available to exploit the growth or eat the food. We have a government that has refused to openly acknowledge that its primary duty is our security because such acknowledgement will expose its lapses. Such a government must change tactic or go.

In his 2015 SOTU speech, President Obama said “My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America”. Our President has not come to a counterpart acknowledgement. For six years, he has pursued a tactic that is either non-existent or futile. We must not make the same mistake. Our experiment under this government has failed. And when what we’re doing for six years doesn’t work, it’s time to try something new. The trial of something new is the mandatory alternative. Since our government has refused to change, we must change. We must adopt a new option because our old, six-year old option does not work. Sanity, decency and posterity are counting on us to “try something new”.


Underdevelopment in Africa: A Great Deal of the Fault Lies Outside the Continent.

John O. Ifediora.

The 2008 recession was the first time since the great depression of the 1930s that developed nations, as a collectivity, felt the full effect of the medicine they have been prescribing to developing nations; and like the former recipients, they did not care much for it. The financial meltdown that began from the housing market bubble in the US, and spread to the industrialized world in quick succession laid bare the fundamental weaknesses of free and unregulated capital market, and international trade. Developing nations were spared the anguish, but for how long? But a decidedly relevant question is why the economic downturn was more remarkable in developed economies, and less so for developing ones? Are we to assume that developing nations are relatively immune from financial and economic crises as a result of prudent macroeconomic policies they designed for their respective national economies or is it due to the infancy of their financial sectors, and credit-market isolation from the industrialized world?

In this paper, I intend to show that the economic world order devised by developed nations and set in motion since the mid 1980s is based on two different economic platforms each designed to address the respective needs of the world community of nations; one to accommodate macroeconomic policy needs of developed and donor nations, the other for developing ones, and aid recipients. I propose to use two policy-initiatives devised by developed nations and their multinational surrogates to spur global economic integration, and guide developing nations out of poverty to make my case. Specifically, my discussion would point to the neo-liberal policies of deregulation of capital markets, and free international trade as advanced by rich nations, and implemented by the ‘Unholy Trinity’ of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO as the source of past and current global financial crises, and the primary reason for the abysmal economic realities extant in developing nations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since the goals of sensible macroeconomic policies (monetary and fiscal policies) are stability and growth, it would be shown that neo-liberal policies in this regard have been catastrophic, and need to be modified, especially in light of their impact on the economies of developing countries.


At the outset, a brief review of the current infrastructure of the global financial system is in order. The past thirty years of globalization effort by the developed world has seen incredible growth in capital flows engendered by progressive deregulations of capital account transactions, the drive to boost global investment through a combined strategy of price stability and high interest rate, and a strong agenda by the WTO to lift all remaining restrictions on foreign direct investment, and tariffs. On the upside, this neo-liberal push for deregulation and liberalization of trade and capital flows have the capacity to enhance domestic growth in recipient countries through relatively easy access to foreign funds that could be utilized to establish and expand the host country’s industrial capacity. But there is a catch; an untargeted and free flow of foreign capital could be a major source of financial crises that has the remarkable potential to destabilize a national economy and impede economic growth. More on this in due course.

For a better appreciation of how trade deregulation and liberalization of capital accounts affect national economies and the global financial system, a brief look at the constituent parts of a country’s balance of payment account is useful. A country’s Balance of Payment (BOP) account consists of two sub-accounts: current account, and capital account. The current account primarily records recurring economic transactions, trade in goods and services, and fund transfers by migrants into the country; the capital account on the other hand concerns itself with the country’s international exchanges of assets and liabilities, the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI), portfolio investments, and loans. Of the two sub-accounts that make-up a country’s Balance of Payment Account, the capital account is arguably the primary source of macroeconomic stability or dislocations attributable to the neo-liberal efforts at liberalization that the world has witnessed over the last three decades. I will return to this point momentarily.

The Role of the IMF, the World Bank, and Developed Countries in the current global Financial System

When developing countries run into financial crises, as they often do, their usual port of call is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of the Bretton Woods institutions formed by the allied powers (primarily the US and Britain) right after WWII. Then, its primary mandate was to extend short-term financial credit and loans to a war-turn-Europe, and to countries emerging from colonial rule. Its counterpart, the World Bank, was designed to assist in long-term infrastructure development and capacity building, and during a significant portion of the post-war years executed their mandates reasonably well until the rise of neo-liberalism in the mid 1970s. It must be noted that before these Washington Institutions or more informally, the ‘Washington Consensus’ became fully embedded in the neo-liberal orthodoxy, there were no banking crises in the developing world between 1945 and 1971, and only 16 currency crises within the same period in contra-distinction to 17 banking crises, and 57 currency crises between 1973 and 1997 when the IMF began the hard push for capital account liberalization (Friedman, 2000).

It should not come as a surprise, even to the disinterested observer, that much of what transpires in the global financial system or the global economy for that matter, is determined by the activities of rich industrialized countries. Collectively they produce on average 80% of the world’s total production of goods and services, account for 70% of all international transactions, and control up to 90% of all foreign direct investments (Ferguson, 2003). And since the richest ones amongst these countries are the major contributors to the IMF and the World Bank, they also shape the rules by which the global economy is run. Unfortunately, these rules of economic engagement are bifurcated: one set of rules that embody keynesian activism for rich countries, and neo-liberal orthodoxy and free market for the rest.

Neo-liberal orthodoxy as an economic philosophy is essentially an upgraded package of the ideas of 18th century classical economists of the likes of Adam Smith, and the 19th century economist, David Ricardo. Their mantra is simple enough: Sound monetary policy (low inflation), small government that should always strive for a balance budget, privatization of state-owned enterprises, free international trade, and deregulation of capital markets and foreign direct investments. These doctrines, since the mid 1980s, have shaped and motivated policy prescriptions emanating from developed nations, and have served as the primary force behind the drive towards global integration of national economies. The multilateral Washington Institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, cannot help but advance these same policies since they are funded and controlled by developed countries led by the US.

Until the 1970s, the aim of macroeconomic policy (monetary and fiscal policies) had been to minimize the magnitude of swings in economic activity; this required prudent intervention in the economy in order to tame the business cycle by using a mixture of fiscal policy tools and monetary instruments. But with the increasing dominance of neo-liberalism and its partiality to monetarism, the focus of international lenders, including the Washington Institutions, changed dramatically, and so did their policy recommendations to developing nations in need of financial assistance. To the Neo-liberals, inflation is the worst impediment to economic growth and stability, and must, therefore, be restrained. To achieve this, they recommend a two-pronged procedure --- governments should live within their means, and central banks should not supply more liquidity than is absolutely necessary to sustain real growth. In order words, the central bank should embark on a single-minded approach to price stability. In the 1980s, New Zealand took this advice to heart and indexed the salary of its central bank’s governor to the inflation rate in reverse proportion.

The neo-liberal logic in this regard is really quite simple: investment is essential for economic growth; international investors and lenders abhor market uncertainty that comes with price instability and inflation; therefore in order to attract capital needed for economic growth, prices must be relatively stable. In the 1980s when hyperinflation coincided with the near collapse of several South American countries, i.e. Peru, Brazil, it was easy to convince many policy makers of the efficacy of this policy thrust. However, realizing that governments were not the only profligate spenders, that individuals and businesses were just as irresponsible, the Bank For International Settlements (BIS) weighed-in with yet another tool to contain inflation --Capital Adequacy Ratio requirements for commercial banks. The problem with Neo-liberal monetarism as advocated by developed countries in concert with the ‘Washington Institutions’ is that the facts do not support their theory, but that is a minor detraction; never mind that countries in the developing world have had to endure the consequences of such flawed logic for three decades. To the neo-liberals, the response by David Ricardo to similar questions would suffice. When asked ‘why do the facts not fit your free trade theory of Comparative Advantage? Mr. Ricardo answered, ‘so much worse for the facts’(Brisco, 1907).

Inflation is not necessarily a Bad Economic Phenomenon

Stanley Fischer, the erstwhile chief economist at the IMF, recommended an annual inflation rate of no more than 1-3% in order to sustain price stability and economic growth (Chang, 2005). However, in the mid 1960s and 1970s, Brazil maintained an average inflation rate of 42% per year but managed to boast one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a per capita annual growth rate of 4.5% within the same period. However, between 1996 and 2005, the period it was compelled by the IMF to adopt neo-liberal prescriptions, it reduced its annual inflation rate to 7.1% but its per capita income took a turn for the worse; it grew at an annualized rate of 1.3%. South Korea’s experience with the IMF is equally instructive. In the 1960s and 1970s, its inflation rate averaged 20% and 19% respectively; but coincidentally it was also a period when Korea experienced its ‘miracle growth’ of 7% per capita growth rate (Chang, 2005). Both research and experience have shown the neo-liberal prescription to be wrong.

A study by Michael Bruno, a former chief economist at the World Bank, and William Easterly, shows that when the rate of inflation is below 40%, a clear correlation between inflation and economic growth rate cannot be established. Indeed other studies have shown that moderate inflation (below 40%) is not necessarily harmful, and may actually coincide with rapid economic growth, and job creation (Irwin, 2002). What empirical evidence shows is that tight monetary and fiscal policies required to suppress inflation at the 1-3% rate suggested by Stanley Fischer are more likely than not to stifle economic growth, and impact workers in two very distinct ways: the value of the workers’ current and past income would be protected from an inflation ‘tax’, but their future earning capacities would be severely limited due to reduced economic activity. But again, this is a minor wrinkle in the Neo-liberal mantra that guides the globalization effort for both market and financial integration.

The Cost of Price Stability and Monetary Discipline: The case of South Africa

South Africa, in 1994, embraced macroeconomic policy recommendations by the IMF to stabilize prices in order to attract foreign capital that should lead to sustained economic growth and employment. The government thus kept interest rate artificially high at 10-12% through the late 1990s and early 2000. Inflation was definitely checked at an annual rate of 6.3% during this period. But also within the same period, the profit rate in the non-financial sector was 6%, but with interest rate between 10-12%, only a few firms could afford to borrow needed funds for investment. As a consequence investment fell from 25% to 15%; and its per capita income grew at an annual rate of 1.8%. Today its official unemployment rate stands at 26-28%; one of the highest in the world (World Bank, 2008).

It is important to note here that while rich industrialized countries prescribe high interest rate as means to monetary discipline, they frequently resort to lax monetary policies that generate income and jobs in their respective national economies. At the height of the post war economic expansion, real interest rates in developed countries were extremely low. Between 1960 and 1973 average interest rate in Germany was 2.6%, in France it was 1.8%, in the US it stood at 1.5%, and Sweden averaged 1.4% (Oxfam, 2003). The result, as expected, was unprecedented economic growth.

I now turn my attention to two important tenets of Neo-liberalism that have the most serious consequences on the global financial system, and by extension, national economies: deregulation of Foreign Direct Investment, and free international trade.

Should Foreign Direct Investment Be Regulated?

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is the most stable of all elements in the capital account. Debt and portfolio equity are very volatile sources of foreign funds, this is especially true of bank loans. For instance in 1998 total net bank loans to developing countries stood at $50 billion; but soon after the financial crises in Asia, Russia, and Brazil in 1997-1998, it dropped to an average of -$6.5 billion per year for four years. But by 2005, it had risen remarkably to $67 billion (Bhagwati, 2004). Portfolio equity investment, while not as volatile as bank loans, are not stable. A major problem with these two sources of foreign capital is that they come and exit at the wrong time; they are readily available when the domestic economy is doing well, and leave in an economic downturn --- a period when they are critically needed to pull up the economy. The biggest danger they pose to a host country, however, lies in their ability to induce asset-price inflation that lead to artificial bubbles in certain sectors of the host economy if left unrestricted; when such bubbles deflate, as demonstrated by the 1997 Asian crises in Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia, the ‘herd mentality’ of capital drains the economy of crucial funds.

Given the volatility of foreign capital, it becomes even more of a challenge when left unregulated as experience with deregulation of capital markets in the 1980s and 1990s has shown. Between 1945 and 1971 when governments regulated global finance to suit their development needs, developing countries experienced no banking crises, had 16 currency crises, and one case where a banking and currency crises occurred simultaneously. However, between 1973 and 1997 when the IMF and developed countries stepped up their effort to liberalize global finance, the developing world experienced 17 banking crises, 57 currency crises, and 21 simultaneous banking and currency crises (Allen, 2006). These are in addition to the biggest of them all …. the 1998 financial crises that pushed the economies of Brazil, Russia, and Argentina into a flux. The acute volatility and the pro-cyclical nature of international financial flows have, of late, given the IMF reasons to re-think its stance on opening up capital markets in the developing world. It now accepts the view that premature opening of the capital account could harm a country by making the form of the inflows unfavorable and by making the entire domestic economy susceptible to sudden swings of capital flows.

FDI on the other hand is a reasonably stable source of extra capital (in 1997 net FDI inflows into developing countries was $169 billion, between 1998 and 2002 it averaged $172 billion per year despite the financial crises the developing world was experiencing during this period); it also contributes immensely to a country’s external balance, and enhances domestic productivity through technology transfer and managerial expertise. This is because contributors generally seek to have direct influence or control of the firm or enterprise they are funding. But there is a catch; when the host country has an unregulated and open capital market, FDI can be monetized and sent out of the country in very short notice. Subsidiaries of transnational corporations can use their local assets in the host country as security for internal loans and transfer the funds out of the country, thus creating a negative impact on the country’s foreign exchange position. Transnational corporations operating in host countries can also negatively impact a recipient country’s foreign exchange position through imports of inputs they need for domestic operations, and contracting for external loans.

While FDI continues to be indispensable to economic growth and development, it can be problematic, and has the potential to retard long-term growth if left unregulated. This occurs through its ability to suppress current and potential future domestic competitors in the host country. With the ability to provide superior products and services at competitive prices, the level of productive capacity in the host country is effectively compromised in the long-run if endogenous industries are killed-off through competitive pressure. Moreover, transnational corporations, as a rule do not transfer their most valuable technology or productive activity to developing countries, thus limiting the quality of technology available to their subsidiaries in the host country. Despite the current advocacy of the WTO on deregulating FDI, and a ban on all restrictions, capital and innovative technologies remain nationalistic; the vision of a borderless world in international transactions remains illusive, and would remain so for a very long time given that protection of innovative technologies is at the heart of the disparity between rich and poor countries. With the possible exception of Nestle that produces less that 5% of its global output at home (Switzerland), the majority of international firms produce less that 30% of total output abroad; for Japanese firms it is it less than 10% (Tandon, 2007).

In order for a host country to experience the maximum benefit of FDI, it must regulate its entry, and direct it to targeted industries where it is most beneficial. China, for example, severely restricts FDI but still manages to attract 10% of total FDI in the world. This is principally because it offers a large and growing market, good infrastructure, and a pool of technically advanced labor force. The same is true with Korea, Singapore, and India; they all restrict the level of FDI that flows into their economies, and only allow those that are needed in specific sectors. This strategic approach to development has served these countries well; china used a 30% tariff to protect its industrial base, and India used one that is above 30% to achieve the same objective while imposing severe restrictions on FDI (Kessler, 2003).

Foreign Direct Investment follows economic development; not a cause of it

Capital, like all productive economic inputs, flows to where it can obtain the highest returns possible. It is in this context that one must understand what motivates investors to put their financial resources at risk. Countries that provide investors with the proper social infrastructure, a pool of relevant work force, a safe environment, and a potentially strong market for their products and services would attract foreign investment. This means that countries must either have the potential for, or have experienced sustainable economic growth before it gets the attention of transnational companies. It is in this sense that policy makers should not regard FDI as a cause of economic growth, but rather that FDI has the potential to contribute to economic expansion only after such expansion has begun. It is also for this reason that developed countries as a zone account for up to 90% of all FDI made and received annually.

Concluding Remarks

The neo-classical theory of free markets instructs countries to stick to the things they are already good at producing. The implication for poor and developing countries is that they should stay engaged in activities that have kept them poor because that is where they enjoy comparative advantage over rich and developed countries. The hard reality is that if poor countries are to grow economically, they must defy free market dictates, and make the difficult choices that require short-term sacrifices for future prosperity. Capacity-building through acquisition of advanced technology from developed nations, and innovation driven by emulation of successful countries requires unwavering dedication on the part of governments and captains of industries. Capacity-building requires not only putting in place social infrastructures amenable to high-level productivity, it also entails investing in human capital development through education and training opportunities. With determination and the right investment strategy, poor nations can ultimately gain the technological capacity they need to spur economic growth. But this requires patience, for capacity-building is a long-term exercise that does not come by waving a magic wand.If necessary, a combination of tariffs and subsidies may be put in place to protect and encourage new industries, and afford them enough time to accumulate new abilities, i.e. importing new technologies, improving organizational structures, and training workers to become internationally competitive. All these may mean short-term reduction in consumption abilities for the country, but it is inevitable if the hard choices must be made in the drive towards economic growth and development.




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Lewis, D., Rodger, D., Woolcock, M., 2005, “The fiction of development: Knowledge, Authority and Representation,” Working Paper Series, London School of Economics and Political Science, No. 05-61, pp. 1-8.

Mauro, P., 1995, “Corruption and Growth,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, CVI; pp.682-712.

Meredith, Martin, 2005, The fate of Africa (New York: Public Affairs), p.414-560.

North, D., 1990, Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance (Cambridge University Press), P. 17-38.

Orsborne, Evans, 2004, “Measuring Bad Governance,” The Cato Journal, 23, No.3, pp. 403-22.

Rose-Ackerman, S., 1978, Corruption: A Study in Political Economy (New York: Academic Press).

Sachs, J., Warner, A., 1997, “Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies,” Journal of African Economies, 6; pp. 335-76.

United Nations, 2002, Millennium Development Goals, Data, and Trends (New York: United Nations).

United Nations Development Program, 1999, The Human development Report (New York: Oxford University Press) p. 171.

Van de Walle, 2001, African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis (Cambridge University press) pp.5- 35.

World Bank, 2000, World Development Indicators (Washington, DC: World Bank).

World Bank, 1998/99, Global Economic Prospects and the developing Countries, (Washington, DC: World Bank), p.53.

Williamson, Oliver, 1994, “The Institutions and Governance of Economic Reform,” Proceedings of the World Bank Annual Conference on Development Economics; pp. 171-197.












Modern Unconventional Warfare: How Ready are Nation-States and Their Standing Militaries?

The war on terror cannot be fought on a conventional battlefield where opposition forces fire at each other. National militaries that are trained on this form of warfare are now finding it increasingly difficult to engage amorphous enemies that are elusive, baseless, and can strike at will. This reality is not foreign to African militaries that have sought to engage militant insurgents, and ultimately realize that the enemy is ‘faceless,’ unidentifiable, and unwilling to engage the conventional rules of military combat. In this article David S. Maxwell shows why America, with the world’s most lethal military force at its disposal, is having difficulties containing the elusive forces of Al-Qaeda. African governments can learn from Maxwell’s narrative.

 David S. Maxwell

The United States has the most powerful conventional military force and the strongest nuclear deterrent in the world. It remains the sole superpower because it is well prepared to fight and win in state on state conflict.  Yet the majority of wars, conflicts, and threats in the 21st Century are unlikely to be purely conventional or nuclear.  In the 21st Century we are more likely to experience kinds of warfare for which scholars have been hard pressed to find a name. Scholars have used many names including irregular warfare, hybrid warfare, 4th Generation Warfare, and of course the post 9-11 rediscovery of insurgency and counterinsurgency.  Yet despite all these various names the one overarching form of warfare that encompasses all is unconventional warfare (UW). However, the fundamental question is do we understand unconventional warfare?  And if not, why not?

We know that the Department of Defense (DOD) defines unconventional warfare as “activities to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow a government or occupying power through and with an underground, auxiliary, and guerrilla force in a denied area.”[1]  Although this was designed by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) UW working group in 2009 to be a broad definition and apply generally to this form of warfare and not specifically from a U.S. centric perspective it continues to connote a very narrow description of warfare (e.g., the overthrow of a hostile government) and has often been relegated to the province of Special Operations Forces and more specifically Special Forces.[2]  Furthermore many political leaders either fear the blowback from such operations or, perhaps worse, have unrealistic expectations of the efficacy of UW.  However, as I have argued before, if the United States is going to consider employing unconventional warfare as an option in support of policy and strategy then it is imperative that policy makers, strategists, and theater commanders and staffs have sufficient understanding of and appreciation for unconventional warfare not only if UW is to be conducted by the US government but also for when the US government must develop policies and strategies to conduct operations to counter unconventional warfare executed by opponents of the US or our friends, partners and allies.[3]

Although this definition now resides in the DOD dictionary there is no DOD or joint level doctrine specifically for unconventional warfare.  There is no national policy for unconventional warfare.  There is Army Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Special Forces doctrine[4] but, as we know, few people in uniform or out really read, study, internalize, and practice the concepts published in our doctrine.  USSOCOM has been working over the past year to remedy the lack of joint and DOD doctrine and will soon publish the first ever joint doctrine for UW; however, that is unlikely to solve the problem of policy makers and strategists not appreciating and understanding unconventional warfare and all that operating in that realm of warfare entails.  There seems to be an insufficient intellectual foundation in unconventional warfare.

Before addressing the lack of intellectual foundation let me state for clarity the essence of UW.  Definitions and doctrine aside, unconventional warfare at its core is about revolution, resistance, and insurgency (RRI) combined with the external support provided to a revolution, resistance, or insurgency by either the US or others (who may or may not have interests aligned with the US and may in fact be opposed to the US and our friends, partners, and allies).  This is a type of warfare that is timeless, timely, and something that we can expect to occur over time in the future.  It is both political in nature and at times violent – even as violent as conventional warfare in some cases.

What makes me say that we do not have an understanding of and appreciation for unconventional warfare?  Two recent articles from the New York Times and the Daily Beast illustrate this.  In the first Mark Mazzetti writes about a classified CIA report that alleges that the US has rarely been successful in training and equipping rebel forces and because of this report the US Administration was reluctant to arm and train Syrian rebels.[5]  Christopher Dickey takes issue with the report and claims there have been some successes despite there often being an “acrid aftertaste” as in the case of the Afghan war in the 1980s.[6]

What the Mazzetti and Dickey articles (as well as simply the emphasis on “train and equip" by government spokespeople and pundits) illustrate is that policy makers really do not understand the nature and conduct of unconventional warfare.  It is neither an abject failure in every case nor is it a war winner in almost any case but it is a viable strategic option if used in the right conditions at the right time by the right organizations.  But most importantly it is both risky and hard and what makes it most difficult for policy makers and the public is that it is time consuming.  It cannot be employed "in extremis" in most cases (in the fall of 2001 post 9-11 being an exception) and really requires long-term preparation, thorough assessments, and relationships with key players to have chance of being successful.  And most importantly it must absolutely be part of and in support of a coherent policy and strategy.

Again to restate the problem there is little intellectual foundation for unconventional warfare.  Yes there are some important books to ready from Max Boot’s Invisible Armies to John Tierney’s Chasing Ghosts, to John McCuen’s The Art of Counter-Revolutionary Warfare as well as works by Hy Rothstein and Thomas K. Adams and one of the most prescient studies by the late Sam Sarkesian from 1993: Unconventional Conflicts in a New Security Era.  These are all important to read and I would commend them to any policy maker or strategist; however, what the all lack is how to think about the strategic application of unconventional warfare because they do not delve sufficiently into the common “principles” used to conduct unconventional warfare (save perhaps McCuen’s work).  There is only one time in the history of the US military that unconventional warfare was sufficiently studied to provide the necessary knowledge to policy makers and strategists and that was in the 1950-1960’s with the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) and the partnership between the Army and the Academy.

We have a number of contemporary examples about UW that are worth examining to illustrate both our lack of understanding as well as the continuing importance of UW.  We have only to look at both Libya and Syria from a US perspective and how we either “led from behind” or are now focusing only on train and equip.  We have thoroughly adopted such concepts as “through, by, and with” and “train and equip” and “building partner capacity” as ways in our strategic calculus.  But we do not understand the complexity, the difficulties and the depth of operations and activities necessary for the conduct of effective UW and we expect to simply apply building partner capacity and train and equip to problems that may require an understanding of UW to support a strategy.  This is most prominently illustrated by the public statements of our political leadership and pundits who only focus on training and equipping rebel forces as if this action is enough to succeed and achieve our interests.  The second example we have comes from competitors and opposition.  We are seeing variations of UW conducted by the Russians and their New Generation Warfare,[7] the Chinese and their Three Warfares,[8] and the Iranian Action Network.[9]  And finally groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are conducting variations of UW (though ISIL might be said to have completed its UW campaign and is now functioning like a quasi-state).  Interestingly the roots of these strategies and campaigns can be found in George Kennan’s political warfare that he described in his 1948 memo to the Policy Planning Staff:

Political warfare is the logical application of Clausewitz's doctrine in time of peace. In broadest definition, political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation's command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such operations are both overt and covert. They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures (as ERP--the Marshall Plan), and "white" propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of "friendly" foreign elements, "black" psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.[10]

Kennan describes the realm of revolution, resistance, and insurgency that can contribute to coercing, disrupting or overthrowing a government or occupying power.  These are truly strategic actions and objectives but the question remains: do we understand what it requires to implement strategies with campaigns that either support or counter-revolutions resistance, or insurgency.

To graphically illustrate our lack of understanding of unconventional warfare we can turn to two charts from the Assessing Revolution and Insurgency Strategy (ARIS) project.[11]  The first depicts the relationship and relative size of the fundamental components of UW: the underground, the auxiliary, and the guerrilla or armed military force as well as the public component.


For some years in Syria we have been focusing on training and equipping the “armed component” (and until recently provided only limited non-lethal assistance).  Yet it is the underground that provides the key to understanding the motivation, objectives, interests, methods, and strategy of the leadership of a revolution, resistance, or insurgency (RRI).  It is through the underground that we can not only vet members but also try to determine one of the most important questions of “what comes next?” after the organization achieves success.  We really need to assess all the organizations of an RRI and not solely the armed component, which seems to always be the focus of our strategy and activities.

Another chart illustrates the scope of activities in an RRI environment and in particular the underground.  We tend to focus only on the “tip of the UW iceberg.”

Again, the focus on the armed component as the main effort shows that we lack the depth of knowledge required to not only understand UW but to devise strategies that include UW as an option and most importantly to support UW operations.

Conversely when faced with the threats of RRI to our friends, partners, and allies, we need to understand the same relationships, methodologies and concepts in order to devise strategies and campaigns to counter our opponents’ UW operations (assuming we deem it in the US national interest to do so).

The above charts are from the Assessing Revolution and Insurgent Strategy Project (ARIS).  As noted this project existed in the 1950’s and 1960’s as part of the Special Operations Research Office.[12]  There has not been an organization like SORO since that time that has provided the intellectual foundation for UW.  However, the work of SORO has not been lost and in fact has been not only captured but updated.  A partnership between the US Army Special Operations Command and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory led by Paul Tomkins, a retired Special Forces Officer has resulted in updated versions of the project, building on the foundational intellectual framework from the 50’s and 60’s.

While we lament the lack of national policy and DOD and joint doctrine on UW, we should look to the ARIS project for the intellectual foundation for UW based on history but well adapted to the present and for the future.  Even some within the Special Operations community dismiss any study of historical examples of UW as anachronistic and not worth the effort necessary to develop a deep understanding of the phenomena.  However, within the ARIS project are not only case studies of revolution, resistance, and insurgency from the 20th Century through 2009, there is detailed analysis of current UW practices, methods and strategies being employed in the contemporary operating environment.  Although I strongly recommend that the entire project be studied I commend two of the works so that those who wish to being to understand contemporary UW can begin to build the foundation necessary to understand and appreciate the need to have strategies that employ UW along with the ability to counter UW as part of the national security tool kit.

In Underground, Insurgent, Revolutionary, and Resistance Warfare (2d Edition, 25 January 2013) a reader can glean important insights into recruiting to include radicalization as we understand it today, financing of UW operations (e.g., “threat financing,” and the development of shadow governments just to name a few of the important topics. In Human Factors Considerations of Undergrounds in Insurgencies (2d Edition, 25 January 2013) one can understand how the Internet and media are exploited by resistance and insurgent organizations, the use of propaganda, group dynamics and more on radicalization, the employment of terrorism as well as nonviolent resistance.  We find everything from the political action to subversion, to violence in the ARIS Project, with the all-important emphasis on human factors.  What is important is that the ARIS Project is not a rehash of historical UW (though you can trace its development through history).  It provides the most relevant and current information on how various resistance organizations are conducting UW around the world.  The techniques, methodologies and strategies discussed throughout the myriad publications in the entire project provide us with the knowledge for our own employment of UW as well as our strategies for countering UW.

However, I have heard from friends in the national security community that there is great reluctance to describe the actions threat organizations as unconventional warfare or to advocate that the US should employ unconventional warfare.  There seems to be no stomach for the complex, violent, messy, and difficult to control nature of unconventional warfare.  However, it is clear to UW practitioners that there is a role for UW in Syria if our intent is to support resistance to ISIL (as well as Assad).  And of course assessing the resistance from a UW perspective might also reveal that support to the resistance is infeasible.  But if our strategy in Syria and Iraq fails, a contributing factor could very well be our distain for UW.  We have both deniers of UW threats (who want to “bin” everything in terrorism and insurgency) and those who think UW is anachronistic and not longer relevant.  To which I respond, read, study and internalize the ARIS project and you will be enlightened and if not you will remain in the dark about UW.  UW is not some passing phenomena.  It is also something not to be romanticized in ways such as been done with the re-emergence of counterinsurgency.  To borrow a time worn dictum we have to deal with the world as it really is and not as we would wish it to be.  Unfortunately some in the national security wish they did not have to worry about UW, either ours, or our enemies’.

There is much more to discuss on UW and countering UW. We need to determine effective concepts of employment and especially campaign plans in support of strategy and we need to develop policy makers and strategists who understand the complex nature of UW and recognize how it is being employed around the world.  We need to figure out how to train not only military forces in UW but the intelligence community and other government agency personnel as well.  We should also determine if we need a new SORO-like organization.

Let me close with two thoughts. First, if you are going to enter the discussion or criticize UW as anachronistic and no longer of value because terrorism and insurgency are the dominant threats then I would urge you to first read the ARIS project especially the two books on human factors and undergrounds.  Second, I would offer the following as something to think about as we look to the future of UW.

I argue that one of the important missions for both the intelligence and the SOF communities is the continuous assessment the resistance potential of current, nascent and potential future revolutionary, resistance, and insurgent organizations.  By understanding the resistance that exists around the world we will be in a better position to develop strategic options and avoid many of the pitfalls we have experienced in the past decades and that the CIA report referenced in the NY Times will likely show.  But the problem really lies with policy makers who grasp at straws and want to "do something" and then force the intelligence community and SOF to conduct long duration unconventional warfare operations "in extremis" without the necessary preparations or understanding of the operational and strategic environment.

A modification of the fourth SOF truth[13] might be that it is hard to conduct effective UW by beginning UW operations after crises occur.  (Of course Afghanistan 2001 might be considered an exception by some but the reality is that the success of OEF from October 2001 to January 2002 rested on the foundation of relationships built prior to 9-11 that allowed for at least sufficient understanding of the resistance potential.)  The same is true for countering UW.  America can only be effective in UW and Counter UW if it invests in developing the intellectual foundation necessary to develop strategies and campaign plans.  The ARIS Project is part of that foundation.

UW comes from the past, is here in our present, and will be around in our future.  And with no apology to Trotsky for stealing his idea:  You may not be interested in UW but you can be damn sure UW is interested in you.

David S. Maxwell is the Associate Director of the Center for Security Studies and the Security Studies Program in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is a 30 year veteran of the US Army retiring as a Special Forces Colonel with his final assignment serving on the military faculty at the National War College. He spent the majority of his military service overseas with nearly 25 years in Asia, primarily in Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. He has Masters of Military Arts and Science degrees from the US Army Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies and a Master of Science degree in National Security Studies from the National War College of the National Defense University. He is also a pursuing a Doctorate of Liberal Studies degree at Georgetown and teaches Unconventional Warfare and Special Operations for Policy Makers and Strategists in the Security Studies Program.

End Notes

[1] Department of Defense Dictionary of Military And Associated Terms, Joint Pub 1-02, as amended 15 August 2014, p. 263.

[2] David S. Maxwell, “Unconventional Warfare Does Not Belong To Special Forces,”  War on the Rocks, August 12, 2013,

[3] David S. Maxwell, “Thoughts on the Future of Special Operations: A Return to the Roots - Adapted for the Future,” Small Wars Journal, October 31, 2013,

[4]  Army Training Manual, Unconventional Warfare, 6 September 2103,

[5] Mark Mazetti, “C.I.A. Study of Covert Aid Fueled Skepticism About Helping Syrian Rebels,” NY Times,  October 14, 2014,

[6] Christopher Dickey, “The CIA’s Wrong: Arming Rebels Works,” The Daily Beast, October 19, 2014,

[7] Janis Berzins, “Russia’s New Generation Warfare In Ukraine: Implications For Latvian Defense Policy,” National Defence Academy of Latvia, April 2014

[8] Stephan Halper, “China: The Three Warfares,” For the Office of Net Assessment, May 2013

[9] Scott Model and David Asher, “Pushback, Countering the Iran Action Network,” Center for New American Security, September 2013,

[10] George Kennan, “Policy Planning Staff Memo,” May 4, 1948,

[11] USASOC, Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategy,

[12] Joy Rhode , Armed with Expertise: The Militarization of American Social Research during the Cold War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013)

[13] Five SOF Truths were authorized by COL(RET) John Collins in 1987.  Today they can be found on the USSOCOM web site:

Truth 1: Humans are more important than hardware.

People – not equipment – make the critical difference. The right people, highly trained and working as a team, will accomplish the mission with the equipment available. On the other hand, the best equipment in the world cannot compensate for a lack of the right people.

Truth 2: Quality is better than quantity.

A small number of people, carefully selected, well trained, and well led, are preferable to larger numbers of troops, some of whom may not be up to the task.

Truth 3: Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced.

It takes years to train operational units to the level of proficiency needed to accomplish difficult and specialized SOF missions. Intense training – both in SOF schools and units – is required to integrate competent individuals into fully capable units. This process cannot be hastened without degrading ultimate capability.

Truth 4: Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.

Creation of competent, fully mission capable units takes time. Employment of fully capable special operations capability on short notice requires highly trained and constantly available SOF units in peacetime.

Truth 5: Most special operations require non-SOF assistance.

The operational effectiveness of our deployed forces cannot be, and never has been, achieved without being enabled by our joint service partners. The support Air Force, Army, Marine and Navy engineers, technicians, intelligence analysts, and the numerous other professions that contribute to SOF, have substantially increased our capabilities and effectiveness throughout the world.


The Economic Development of Nigeria from 1914 to 2014



Jake Okechukwu Effoduh.


There is a common Igbo proverb that says: No elephant is burdened by the weight of its tusks. The current economic problem in our nation is often lamented and cursed as unendurable, as if it is peculiar to the nation alone. Similarly, the fiscal measures introduced by the government are looked upon as hindrances or impediments, which a few may consider as irrelevant and unnecessary impositions. Yet, to look back at our growing up problems as if they are burdens, which we must cast off immediately, or run away from, is to be superficial and incapable of understanding ourselves, an offshoot of our character. The Nigerian economy, whether advancing or otherwise, is the weight that we must bear in our growth towards maturity, and in coming into full being as adults and as a nation. A mother does not complain of the weight of the child she carries on her back. The child is part of the process – the route towards her self-fulfillment.[3]

Conversely, Nigeria has witnessed significant and laudable economic progression from her amalgamation[4] till date. The indicators to buttress this fact are untold and can be gleaned from our advancement in different sectors including but not limited to the economic development in agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, foreign trade and investment, urbanization, communication and information technology and of course oil and gas. This paper seeks to unearth the progression of economic development of Nigeria from 1914 to 2014.

The emancipation of the Nigerian economy from the 1914 regions of Nigeria

Nigeria has always played a major economic role in the world. Being referred to as the largest black nation, The Nigerian economy is one of the most developed economies in Africa. [5]

In 1914, the British formally united the Niger area as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Administratively, Nigeria remained divided into the northern and southern provinces and Lagos Colony. The people of the South, with more interaction with the British and other Europeans due to the coastal economy, adopted Western education and developed a modern economy more rapidly than in the north. The regional differences in economy continued to be expressed in Nigeria's political life as well. For instance, northern Nigeria did not outlaw slavery until 1936.[6]

Before the country was colonized by Britain, during the second half of the 19th century, the various nationality groups that currently make up Nigeria were largely an agricultural people. They were food self-sufficient and produced a variety of commodities that were exported overseas. During the 19th century, the abolition of the slave trade cleared the way for expansion of trade in agricultural produce from Africa to Europe, particularly palm oil from the West African coastal areas. The coastal enclave of Lagos became a British colony in 1861, a center for expansion of British trade, missions, and political influence. Late 19th century and early 20th century Lagos was also a center for educated West African elites who were to play prominent roles in the development of Pan-Africanism as well as Nigerian nationalism.

In northern Nigeria, Muslim reformer and empire builder Uthman dan Fodio established the Sokoto Caliphate in the early 19th century over the Hausa trading states. A predominantly Fulani aristocracy ruled over the majority of Hausa-speaking commoners, including both merchants and peasants. Expansion of agriculture, trade, and crafts made this area probably the most prosperous in tropical Africa in the 19th century, engaged in trade both to the coast and through the traditional routes over the desert to North Africa.

At the end of the 19th century, Britain began aggressive military expansion in the region, in part to counter competition from other Western countries and to break down monopolies which local traders had established in commodities such as palm-oil, cocoa, and peanuts. Britain declared a protectorate in the Niger delta in 1885 and sponsored creation of the Royal Niger Company in 1886. A protectorate was declared over northern Nigeria in 1900. Despite the loss of sovereignty, however, the strong political and cultural traditions of these societies initially enabled many to accommodate nominal British rule with little change in their way of life[7]

British colonial administrator joined together the nationality groups in 1914 into a larger economy for the benefit of British industrial classes. Under colonial rule, Nigeria remained an agricultural country, exporting raw materials to Britain and importing from it finished goods. Therein lay the argument to the origins of the dependence of Nigerian economy on commodity markets of the industrialized Western world for its foreign exchange. While the industrialization of the country was discouraged, rudimentary foundations for a modern Nigerian economy, however, were laid. Colonial economic policies shaped future independent Nigeria's economy, particularly in marketing, labor supply, and investment.[8]

Starting in 1949, when Nigerian's recently emergent Labour, commercial, and professional elites were first consulted by the British as part of a constitutional review, the peoples of Nigeria engaged in ongoing debate over the pressure of decolonization, independence, and modernization. Between 1951 and 1959, the major political parties played leading roles in unifying and locally mobilizing the economic elites.

The period of the colonial administration in Nigeria was punctuated by rather ad hoc attention to agricultural development. During the era, considerable emphasis was placed on research and extension services. The first notable activity of the era was the establishment of a botanical research station in Lagos by Sir Claude Mcdonald in 1893. This was followed by the acquisition of 10.4 kilometers of land in 1899 by the British Cotton Growing Association (BCGA) for experimental work on cotton and named the experimental area Moor Plantation in lbadan. In 1912, a Department of Agriculture was established in each of the then Southern and Northern Nigeria, but the activities of the Department were virtually suspended between 1913 and 1921 as a result of the First World War and its aftermath. From the early 1920s to the mid-1930s, there was a resurgence of activities and this period has been called the 'Faulkner Strip Layout' era in honour of the Director of Agriculture, Mr. 0.T. Faulkner, who devised a statistical design for experimental trials in green manuring, fertilizer projects, rotational cropping systems and livestock feeding. From the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, there were significant intensification and expansion of research activities, and extension and training programmes of the Agricultural Departments. Additional facilities for training of junior staff in agriculture were provided, as well as scholarships for agricultural students in Yaba Higher College and Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad[9].


The intensification of hostilities during the Second World War (1939-45) led to the slowing down of agricultural activities and the call to Departments of Agriculture to play increasing roles in the production of food for the army and civilians in the country and the Empire. Production of export crops like palm products and rubber which could not be obtained from Malaysia as a result of Japanese war activities in South-East Asia, and such food items as sugar, wheat, milk, eggs, vegetables, Irish potatoes and rice whose importation was prevented by naval blockade of the high seas increased. A special production section of the Department of Agriculture was set up to deal with the situation. On the research side, attention was devoted largely to the possibilities of evolving permanent systems of agriculture that were capable of replacing rotational bush-fallowing systems prevalent in the country and realizing the promises of mixed farming in the north. During this period, the WAIFOR (West African Institute for Oil Palm Research) in Benin was started and the research on cocoa was intensified at Moor Plantation, Owena near Ondo and at Onigambari near lbadan. Achievements of the period include the development of 'Alien Cotton' in the south; rice cultivation in Sokoto, Niger, llorin, Abeokuta Colony and Ondo provinces; the introduction of wheat cultivation in the more northern parts of the northern provinces; the expansion of production of such export crops as cocoa, oil palm and groundnut; development of agricultural implements as well as designing farm buildings; intensification of horticultural activities; the development of a marketing section of the Department; the extension of the Produce Inspection Service to cover all principal export crops; investigations into the possibilities for organized land settlement schemes; and investigations into the possibilities of irrigation in northern Nigeria.


The period of Internal Self Government from 1951 to 1960 began with the constitutional developments, which led to independence of the Regional Departments of Agriculture. The Federal Department of Agricultural Research was retained since constitutional provisions placed agricultural research on the concurrent legislative list, while extension work remained a regional responsibility. The research findings of the Federal Research Stations were to be transmitted through Regional ministries responsible for agriculture and natural resources. There was also the setting up, in 1955, of a Technical Committee of the Council of Natural Resources made up of Federal and Regional Ministers and officials for the formulation of national research programmes as well as the coordination of Federal and Regional research activities.[10]

Following World War II, in response to the growth of Nigerian nationalism and demands for independence, successive constitutions legislated by the British government moved Nigeria toward self-government on a representative and increasingly federal basis. By the middle of the 20th century, the great wave for independence was sweeping across Africa and Nigeria became independent in 1960[11]


The advancement of the Nigerian Economy after the 1960 Independence

The process of colonial rule and formal economic exploitation ended in 1960 but left Nigeria a relatively strong but undiversified economy. Thereafter, Nigerians were poised to remedy this defect and to build a self-sustaining Nigerian economy comprising agricultural, industrial, and service sectors[12]

From independence in 1960, the state took up the direction and planning of economic growth and development. Education was progressively expanded at all levels to reduce the rate of illiteracy and to provide the requisite skills and labor force for development. Infrastructure of roads and communication networks were constructed far beyond what was inherited from colonial rule. Hydroelectric dams were built to generate electricity. Secondary industries and automobile assembly plants were established to create more employment opportunities. Because of the paucity of native or local private capital, these activities were undertaken and financed by the government, often with foreign assistance from such countries as Britain and the United States.[13]

The problem of food shortages and imports was addressed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the late 1970s the military government of Olusegun Obasanjo embarked upon “Operation Feed the Nation.” His civilian successor, President Shehu Shagari, continued the program as the “Green Revolution.” Both programs encouraged Nigerians to grow more food, and urged unemployed urban dwellers to return to the rural areas to grow food crops. The government provided farmers with fertilizers and loans from the World Bank. The food situation stabilized, although Nigeria still imported food.[14]

Another relevant feature of the Nigerian economy was a series of abrupt changes in the government's share of expenditures. As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, national government expenditures rose from 9 percent in 1962 to 44 percent in 1979, but fell to 17 percent in 1988. The economic collapse in the late 1970s and early 1980s contributed to substantial discontent and conflict between ethnic communities and nationalities, adding to the political pressure to expel more than 2 million illegal workers[15] in early 1983 and May 1985.

The lower spending of the 1980s was partly the result of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) in effect from 1986 to 1990, first mooted by the International Monetary Fund and carried out under the auspices of the World Bank, which emphasized privatization, market prices, and reduced government expenditures. This program was based on the principle that, as GDP per capita falls; people demand relatively fewer social goods[16]and relatively more private goods, which tend to be essential items such as food, clothing, and shelter.[17]

From 1980, about 70% of the total working population was engaged in agriculture, producing yam, cassava, plantains, rice, beans, sugarcane, and citrus fruits for food, and cocoa, oil palm and kernel, groundnuts, rubber, cotton and timber as raw materials for local industries and for export.

The agricultural policy of both the Federal and State governments was to increase agricultural output substantially as a weapon against malnutrition and a means of improving the standard of living of every Nigerian. Much money was therefore spent in providing farmers with fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural inputs at heavily subsidized prices. In addition, tractor hire services and land development schemes were expanded at government expense as an additional contribution to agricultural production.

The Nigerian Agricultural and Co-operative Bank, with headquarters in Kaduna, established grant loans (both directly and indirectly) to farmers. Priority was given to food crops, coastal-water fishery, poultry, beef, piggery and diary in various parts of the country. The new scheme, the Green Revolution, was launched for the promotion of agriculture. A National Council on Green Revolution was established in April 1980 to coordinate the activities of all ministries and organizations involved in agricultural production, processing, marketing and research. The Council is also charged with the responsibility of finding new ways that will facilitate the application of science to agricultural production in Nigeria so that the country can achieve self-sufficiency in agricultural production in the shortest possible time.[18]

The establishment of the iron and steel industry received priority attention in the nation’s bold march towards industrialization. About One Billion Naira at that time was allocated to this sector in the 3rd National Development Plan.[19] Considering the increasing demand for steel, the availability of iron ore and coal in the country, and the importance of the steel industry as a leading factor in rapid industrialization, the Federal Government decided to accelerate the establishment of suitable iron ore and steel plants in the country. In April 1971, a steel development authority was created amongst other things, to plan and develop iron projects in the country.

In order to ensure the effective implementation of the projects, the steel authority was further reorganized. Three other organizations - the National Steel Council, the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the Associated Ores Mining Company Limited was created. In addition, the Delta Steel Company was established to operate the Aladja (Warri) direct reduction plant. Contracts were signed for the establishment of three rolling mills at Oshogbo, Jos and Katsina. The foundation stone for the Delta steel project was laid on March 30, 1979 while construction work was intensified on the infrastructural requirements for the Ajaokuta blast furnace steel plant. The plant went into full production by June 1983[20]. Heavy investment was planned in steel production. With Soviet assistance, a steel mill was developed at Ajaokuta in Kwara State, not far from Abuja. The most significant negative sign was the decline of industry associated with agriculture, but large scale irrigation projects were launched in the states of Borno, Kano, Sokoto, and Bauchi under World Bank auspices.


Great effort was also directed to liquefied natural gas, fertilizer and other petrochemical industries. Industrial development in other areas made steady progress. The manufacturing industry moved away from production of light consumer goods such as beer, soft drinks, cigarettes, shoes and textiles, to the substitution of a wide range of other formerly imported goods like salt, plastics, aluminum goods, garments, sugar, shoes, paper and cement.[21]

In the aspect of the economic development of Nigeria’s Industrial finance, the Federal Government in the bid to provide additional finance to industries in the country, established banks and financial institutions. An example of such financial establishments is the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank. Nigeria gave rise to the NIDB on January 22, 1964. The primary role of the NIDB is to produce medium and long term loans and sometimes equity investments to new and expanding industries. The minimum loan investment in any project by the NIDB was N50, 000. The bank’s resources stood at N275.4 Million as at December 31, 1980. Also at that date, the bank had sanctioned more than 451 investments amounting to over N360.5 million. There was also established, the Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry (NBCI).[22]

Industrialization, which had grown slowly after World War II through the civil war, boomed in the 1970s, despite many infrastructure constraints. Growth was particularly pronounced in the production and assembly of consumer goods, including vehicle assembly and the manufacture of soap and detergents, soft drinks, pharmaceuticals, beer, paint, and building materials. Furthermore, there was extensive investment in infrastructure from 1975 to 1980, and the number of parastatals jointly government and privately owned companies proliferated. The Nigerian Enterprises Promotion decrees of 1972 and 1977 further encouraged the growth of an indigenous middle class.

Mining played an increasing important role in the country’s economy. Among the minerals mined are iron, tin, columbite, limestone, coal and oil. The Nigerian Mining Corporation controls the mining of solid minerals in the country.

Education also expanded rapidly. At the start of the civil war, there were only five universities, but by 1975 the number had increased to thirteen, with seven more established over the next several years. In 1975 there were 53,000 university students. There were similar advances in primary and secondary school education, particularly in those northern states that had lagged behind[23].


The Oil Boom and the economic development of the Nigerian Oil[24]

By the late 1960s, oil had replaced cocoa, peanuts, and palm products as the country's biggest foreign exchange earner. In 1971 Nigeria by then the world's seventh-largest petroleum producer, became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The dramatic rise in world oil prices in 1974 caused a sudden flood of wealth. Much of the revenue was intended for investment to diversify the economy, but it also spurred inflation and underscored inequities in distribution. In 1975, production fell sharply as a result of the sudden decrease in world demand, and prices moved downward until late in the year when OPEC intervened to raise prices. Nigeria fully supported OPEC policies.[25]

In 1972 the government issued an indigenization decree, the first of a number of Nigerian Enterprises Promotion decrees, that barred aliens from investing in specified enterprises and reserved participation in certain trades to Nigerians. At the time, about 70 percent of commercial firms operating in Nigeria were foreign-owned. In 1975 the federal government bought 60 percent of the equity in the marketing operations of the major oil companies in Nigeria, but full nationalization was rejected as a means of furthering its program of indigenization.[26]

The oil boom which Nigeria experienced in the 1970’s helped the nation to recover rapidly from its civil war and at the same time gave great impetus to the government's program of rapid industrialization. Many manufacturing industries sprang up and the economy experienced a rapid growth of about 8 percent per year that made Nigeria, by 1980, the largest economy in Africa.

The military regimes of Murtala Muhammad and Olusegun Obasanjo benefited from a tremendous influx of oil revenue that increased 350 percent between 1973 and 1974, when oil prices skyrocketed, to 1979, when the military stepped down. Foreign oil companies, such as Shell-BP, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Agip, and Texaco, operated in partnership with the government in the oil sector, the mainstay of Nigeria's economy. The capital-intensive oil sector provides 95 percent of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings and about 65 percent of its budgetary revenues.[27]

A major feature of Nigeria's economy in the 1980s, as in the 1970s, was its dependence on petroleum, which accounted for 87 percent of export receipts and 77 percent of the federal government's revenue in 1988. Falling oil output and prices contributed to another noteworthy aspect of the economy in the 1980s—the decline in per capita real gross national product, which persisted until oil prices began to rise in 1990. Indeed, Gross National Product (GNP) per capita per year decreased 4.8 percent from 1980 to 1987, which led in 1989 to Nigeria's classification by the World Bank as a low-income country[28] for the first time since the annual World Development Report was instituted in 1978. In 1989 the World Bank also declared Nigeria poor enough to be eligible[29] for concessional aid from an affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA).

By the late sixties and early seventies, Nigeria had attained a production level of over 2 million barrels of crude oil a day. Although production figures dropped in the eighties due to economic slump, 2004 saw a total rejuvenation of oil production to a record level of 2.5 million barrels per day. Development strategies were aimed at increasing production to 4 million barrels per day by the year 2010.

The petroleum industry is central to the Nigerian economic profile. It is the 12th largest producer of petroleum products in the world. The industry accounts for almost 80% of the GDP share and above 90% of the total exports. Owing to the surge in international oil prices during 2007- 2008, Nigeria managed an annual GDP of US$352.3 billion. The nation ranks 33 in the world in terms of GDP. The GDP per capita is US $2,400.[30]

Petroleum production and export play a dominant role in Nigeria's economy and account for about 90% of her gross earnings. This dominant role has pushed agriculture, the traditional mainstay of the economy, from the early fifties and sixties, to the background.

Major Events in the history of the Nigerian Oil and Gas:
1908: Nigerian Bitumen Co. & British Colonial Petroleum commenced operations around Okitipupa.
1938: Shell D' Arcy granted Exploration license to prospect for oil throughout Nigeria.
1955: Mobil Oil Corporation started operations in Nigeria.
1956: First successful well drilled at Oloibiri by Shell D'Arcy
1956: Changed name to Shell-BP Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited.
1958: First shipment of oil from Nigeria.
1961: Shell's Bonny Terminal was commissioned; Texaco Overseas started operations in Nigeria.
1962: Elf started operations in Nigeria. (As Safrap), Nigeria Agip Oil Company started operations in Nigeria
1963: Elf discovered Obagi field and Ubata gas field, Gulf's first production
1965: Agip found its first oil at Ebocha, Phillips Oil Company started operations in Bendel State
1966: Elf started production in Rivers State with 12,000 b/d
1967: Phillips drilled its first well (Dry) at Osari –I, Phillips first oil discovery at Gilli-Gilli -I
1968: Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited) was formed, Gulf's Terminal at Escravos was commissioned
1970: Mobil started production from 4 wells at Idoho Field, Agip started production, Department of Petroleum Resources Inspectorate started.
1971: Shell's Forcados Terminal Commissioned, Mobil's terminal at Qua Iboe commissioned
1973: First Participation Agreement; Federal Government acquires 35% shares in the Oil Companies, Ashland started PSC with then NNOC (NNPC), Pan Ocean Corporation drilled its first discovery well at Ogharefe –I
1974: Second Participation Agreement, Federal Government increases equity to 55%, Elf formally changed its name from "Safrap", Ashland's first oil discovery at OssuI

1975: First Oil lifting from Brass Terminal by Agip, DPR upgraded to Ministry of Petroleum Resources
1976: MPE renamed Ministry of Petroleum Resources (MPR), Pan Ocean commenced production via Shell-BP's pipeline at a rate of 10,800 b/d
1977: Government established Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by Decree 33, (NNOC & MPR extinguished).
1979: Third Participation Agreement (throughout NNPC) increases equity to 60% Fourth Participation Agreement; BP's shareholding nationalized, leaving NNPC             with 80% equity and Shell 20% in the joint Venture. Changed name to Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC)
1984: Agreement consolidating NNPC/Shel1 joint Venture.
1986: Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
1989: Fifth Participation Agreement; (NNPC=60%, Shell = 30%, Elf=5%, Agip=5%).
1991: Signing of Memorandum of Understanding & joint Venture Operating Agreement
1993: Production Sharing Contracts signed –SNEPCO, Sixth Participation Agreement; (NNPC=55%, Shell=30%, Elf= 10%, Agip=5%). The coming on-stream of Elf's Odudu blend, offshore OML 100.
1995: SNEPCO starts drilling first Exploration well, NLNG's Final Investment Decision             taken
1999: NLNG's First shipment of Gas out of Bonny Terminal.
2000: NPDC/NAOC Service Contract signed
2001: Production of Okono offshore field.
2002: New PSCs agreement signed, Liberalization of the downstream oil sector, NNPC             commences retail outlet scheme[31]


National Economic Development Plans and Policies

In the pursuit to increase the material welfare and well-being of the citizens, various governments have over time embarked upon numerous developmental policies, plans, programmes and projects. Notable among these was the First National Development Plan (1962-1968), which was designed to put the economy on the path of accelerated growth by prioritizing agricultural and industrial development as well as training of high-level and intermediate manpower. [32]

The Second National Development Plan (1970-1974), through to the Third National Development Plan (1975-1980), were devoted primarily to reconstruct and rehabilitate infrastructure that were destroyed during the civil war years. This period witnessed massive investment of resources into the rehabilitation and construction of new infrastructural facilities[33]

There were over 2000 industrial establishments in the country. These contributed substantially to the Gross National Product. The industrial policy of the government to ban or restrict the importation of products which can be manufactured in the country will enhance the contribution of the manufacturing sector of the economy and reduce the nation’s reliance on external resources. This policy is already paying dividends judging by the number of goods now manufactured locally and the list of new industries being established or proposed.

The fourth National Development Plan was from 1981 – 1985 and it is of course the fourth of its kind by the Federal government since the country attained political independence in 1960. The Fourth National Development Plan, like the previous plans, is a deliberate instrument for harnessing the country’s national resources for the benefit of her people. To this end, the specific objectives of the Fourth Plan Period were as follows:

  1. Increase the real income of the average citizen;
  2. More even distribution of income among individuals and socio-economic groups;
  3. Reduction in the level of unemployment and underemployment;
  4. Increase in the supply of skilled manpower;
  5. Reduction of the dependence of the economy on a narrow range of activities;
  6. Balanced development – that is, the achievement of better balance in the development of the different sectors of the economy and the various geographical areas of the country;
  7. Increased participation by citizens in the ownership and management of productive enterprises;
  8. Greater self-reliance - that is, increased dependence on our own resources in seeking to achieve the various objectives of society. this also implies increased efforts to achieve optimum utilization of the country’s human and material resources;
  9. Development of technology;
  10. Increased productivity, and
  11. The promotion of a new national orientation conducive to greater discipline, better attitude to work and cleaner environment.[34]

The Fourth National Development Plan was designed to reduce the dependence of the economy on a narrow range of activities and broaden the economic base as well as develop the technological base. The economic downturn of the early 1980’s necessitated the implementation of Economic Stabilization Measures and later the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which was aimed at creating a more market-friendly economy and to encourage private enterprise through the removal of cumbersome administrative mechanisms in economic management. The economic deregulation and liberalization policies of the late 1980’s and 1990’s had the goal of fostering effective allocation of scarce resources.

Furthermore, Nigeria’s Vision 2010 was aimed at “transforming the country and focusing it firmly on the path to becoming a developed nation by the year 2010”. According to the document, the private sector was expected to be very active, within a market-oriented, highly competitive, broad-based, private sector-driven development process. In addition, the return of democratic governance in the country in 1999, brought along with it the introduction of a series of reforms, aimed at redressing the distortions in the economy and restoring economic growth. The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) of 2004 were a home-grown poverty reduction, value-reorientation and socio-economic development strategy for the country.

All plans, programmes and visions enumerated above, were to guarantee Nigeria’s economic development by altering the model of economic structure of production and consumption pattern, reduce dependence on oil, diversify the economic base, generate employment, and create a globally competitive and stable economy[35].

The Nigerian Centenary Economy

Nigeria is still classified as a mixed economy emerging market, and has already reached middle income status according to the World Bank,[36] with its abundant supply of natural resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, transport sectors and stock exchange[37] which is the second largest in Africa. Nigeria is ranked 31st in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) as of 2011. Nigeria is the United States' largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa and supplies a fifth of its oil (11% of oil imports). It has the seventh-largest trade surplus with the U.S. of any country worldwide. Nigeria is the 50th-largest export market for U.S. goods and the 14th-largest exporter of goods to the U.S. The United States is the country's largest foreign investor. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected economic growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009.[38] The IMF further projected a 8% growth in the Nigerian economy in 2011[39]

According to Citigroup[40], Nigeria will get the highest average GDP growth in the world between the years 2010 and 2050. Nigeria is one of two countries from Africa among 11 Global Growth Generators countries.[41] Previously, economic development had been hindered by years of military rule, corruption, and mismanagement. The restoration of democracy and subsequent economic reforms has successfully put Nigeria back on track towards achieving its full economic potential. It is now the second largest economy in Africa (following South Africa), and the largest economy in the West Africa Region.[42]

Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves.[43] Petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of GDP and 80% of Government earnings. However, agitation for better resource control in the Niger Delta, its main oil producing region, has led to disruptions in oil production and prevents the country from exporting at 100% capacity.[44]

The country has a highly developed financial services sector, with a mix of local and international banks, asset management companies, brokerage houses, insurance companies and brokers, private equity funds and investment banks.[45]

Nigeria also has a wide array of underexploited mineral resources which include natural gas, coal, bauxite, tantalite, gold, tin, iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc.[46] Despite huge deposits of these natural resources, the mining industry in Nigeria is still in its infancy.

Agriculture used to be the principal foreign exchange earner of Nigeria.[47] At one time, Nigeria was the world's largest exporter of groundnuts, cocoa, and palm oil and a significant producer of coconuts, citrus fruits, maize, pearl millet, cassava, yams and sugar cane. About 60% of Nigerians are directly or indirectly in the agricultural sector, and Nigeria has vast areas of underutilized arable land.[48]

Nigeria also has a manufacturing industry, which includes leather and textiles (centered in Kano, Abeokuta, Onitsha, and Lagos), car manufacturing (for the French car manufacturer Peugeot as well as for the English truck manufacturer Bedford, now a subsidiary of General Motors), t-shirts, plastics and processed food.

Nigeria has one of the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world, major emerging market operators (like MTN, Etisalat, Airtel and Globacom) basing their largest and most profitable centres in the country. The government has recently begun expanding this infrastructure to space based communications. Nigeria has a space satellite which is monitored at the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency Headquarters in Abuja. Four satellites have been launched by the Nigerian government into outer space. The Nigeriasat-1 was the first satellite to be built under the Nigerian government sponsorship. The satellite was launched from Russia on 27 September 2003. Nigeriasat-1 was part of the world-wide Disaster Monitoring Constellation System.[49] The primary objectives of the Nigeriasat-1 were: to give early warning signals of environmental disaster; to help detect and control desertification in the northern part of Nigeria; to assist in demographic planning; to establish the relationship between malaria vectors and the environment that breeds malaria and to give early warning signals on future outbreaks of meningitis using remote sensing technology; to provide the technology needed to bring education to all parts of the country through distant learning; and to aid in conflict resolution and border disputes by mapping out state and International borders.

NigeriaSat-2, Nigeria's second satellite, was built as a high-resolution earth satellite by Surrey Space Technology Limited, a United Kingdom-based satellite technology company. It has 2.5-metre resolution panchromatic (very high resolution), 5-metre multispectral (high resolution, NIR red, green and red bands), and 32-metre multispectral (medium resolution, NIR red, green and red bands) antennas, with a ground receiving station in Abuja. The NigeriaSat-2 spacecraft alone was built at a cost estimated at over £35 million. This satellite was launched into orbit from a military base in China.[50]

NigComSat-1, a Nigerian satellite built in 2004, was Nigeria's third satellite and Africa's first communication satellite. It was launched on 13 May 2007, aboard a Chinese Long March 3B carrier rocket, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China. The spacecraft was operated by NigComSat and the Nigerian Space Agency, NASRDA. On 11 November 2008, NigComSat-1 failed in orbit after running out of power due to an anomaly in its solar array. It was based on the Chinese DFH-4 satellite bus, and carries a variety of transponders: 4 C-band; 14 Ku-band; 8 Ka-band; and 2 L-band. It was designed to provide coverage to many parts of Africa, and the Ka-band transponders would also cover Italy.

On 24 March 2009, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, NigComSat Ltd. and CGWIC signed a further contract for the in-orbit delivery of the NigComSat-1R satellite. NigComSat-1R was also a DFH-4 satellite, and is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011 as a replacement for the failed NigComSat-1.[51] On 19 December 2011, a new Nigerian communications satellite was launched into orbit by China in Xichang. The satellite according to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan which was paid for by the insurance policy on NigComSat-1 which de-orbited in 2009, would have a positive impact on national development in various sectors such as communications, internet services, health, agriculture, environmental protection and national security.[52]

The last time the Nigerian government rebased or re-benchmarked her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was in 1990 despite the fact the rebasing of any country’s GDP comes up in every five-year period. The Statistician-General of the Federation and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale on April 6, 2014 released the official figures of the new rebased GDP of Nigeria. The highlights of Nigerian GDP after the re-benchmarking are as follows:

  •  Nigeria’s revised GDP is now N80.2 trillion ($509.9 billion). This dramatically increased the GDP by 89%.
  •  Nigeria is now ranked the 26th economy in the world and the largest economy in Africa as a result of the rebased GDP.
  •  The structure of the economy is now more diversified than before. Previously, the agriculture sector consisted of 33% and the service sector comprised of 26%. With the results of the new GDP, agriculture now represents 22% and the services sector which includes communication, Finance, Insurance, Arts and Entertainment, Real Estate, Public Administration, Education and Health Services account for 51% GDP.
  •  Other vital sectors on the re-based GDP results are Oil and Gas 15%, Manufacturing 6.7%, Telecoms 8.7% and Nollywood 1.2%.

The rebasing of Nigeria’s GDP was done to follow international norms because every country rebases its GDP figures every five years in order to adequately capture data on economic activities. For instance, Ghana rebased its GDP in 2010. Notably, the informal sector has contributed in projecting the country’s economy to be the largest in Africa by outdoing South African economy to the second position.[53]

The informal sector in Nigeria accounted for an estimated 57.9% of the country’s rebased GDP going by the pronouncement of Dauoda Toure, the United Nations resident coordinator and the representative of the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) in Nigeria. According to Usman (2014), the informal sector contributed immensely to the services sector, which impacted 51% to the rebased GDP. In addition, call credit vendors, petty traders and unregulated economic activities in the informal sector formed part of the component of the services sector. The informal sector is rapidly increasing in Nigeria and its pivotal role in the economic development of Nigeria over the years has not been documented. The rebasing of the Nigerian’s GDP holistically surveyed the role of the informal sector in the development of the Nigerian economy for the first time. Further to this, the informal economy provides employment for the army of the unemployed youths thereby reducing poverty and assisting in the country’s GDP growth.[54]


Recommendations for the advancement of the Nigerian Economy

Nigeria has a bold vision of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020, as outlined in its "Nigeria Vision 2020" strategy. This is very achieveable. Despite being described as a developing country, Nigeria is a powerhouse on the African continent by virtue of its size. Its vast oil wealth also promises much in the way of potential finance for development. How can this enormous potential be realized, and what policies are needed to achieve this ambitious dream of economic growth and prosperity? The goal of becoming a top-20 economy can only be achieved if Nigeria also makes the transition to a new economy based on knowledge, productivity, and innovation that will enable it to be competitive in a 21st century context. According to the World Bank, there are common factors that are associated with successful development. No country has attained development outside these common denominators. These are:

Economic growth: This has to do with poverty reduction. Experience shows that countries that have reduced poverty substantially and in a sustained manner are the ones that grow fastest. Successful development is predicated on a country having sustained periods of high per capita income growth. Mass poverty and economic development don't go together.

Vibrant private sector: It has been established that private firms, including small and medium-sized businesses in rural nonfarm sectors, play a critical role in generating employment, particularly for the youth and the poor. This is where the contribution of the microfinance banks is needed. Undeveloped real sector coupled with mass unemployment are obstacles to development.

Empowerment: The citizenry must be empowered to contribute to development. Accordingly, every person should be able to enjoy good health and education. People should shape their own lives by being able to participate in the opportunities provided by economic development. People should have their voices heard about decisions affecting their own lives. Furthermore, there should be essential public services such as health, education and safe water. These are critical social services that should be provided equitably.

Good governance: Good governance is perhaps the most important factor in development. Without good governance, every other thing is in disarray. Good governance in both public and private sectors creates an environment where contracts are enforced and markets can operate efficiently. It ensures that basic infrastructures are provided, with adequate health, education and security. People can effectively participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Ownership: A nation's development agenda must be homegrown. This ensures that there is widespread support for the programmes and reform measures that underpin it.

State collaborations: To achieve economic development in Nigeria, collaborative efforts with other countries may be beneficial to the mutual interest in economic advancement. For example, the President of Benin Republic and African Union (AU) President, Dr. Boni Yayi announced his intention to collaborate with Nigeria to ensure economic development of both countries through the provision basic infrastructural facilities.[55] The two countries were tie through Ife, Benin, Sokoto Caliphate, Kanu Kingdom and other affinities, and currently, more than 50 percent of Benin populations are Nigerians, hence the need to bring about the synergy to better the lots of the people as proposed by the President of Benin Republic. Collaborative action and partnership of States can help foster economic roles in development through mutual benefit investments and infrastructural expansion.[56]

Knowledge development: Knowledge has always been central to development. Traditionally, cultures that knew more than others were better able to adapt to their environments, survive, and thrive. In ancient times, knowledge was spread through the most serendipitous ways from migratory movements to religious pilgrimages, from wars to intertribal marriages and, thus, traveled across continents. Nowadays, the Internet has become the primary vehicle of knowledge dissemination almost the entire gamut of human history and knowledge is available in an instant and at little cost through the World Wide Web. Knowledge is becoming truly global, accessible, and democratic. The impacts of this paradigm shift are all around us. Countries such as the Republic of Korea, India, and the United States of America that can harness the power of new technologies nurture a cadre of knowledge workers that can push the productivity and innovation frontiers. Others that fail to do so remain mired in poverty. The global financial crisis has shown that countries can no longer rely on narrow and static paradigms of growth, such as Nigeria and its natural resource endowments. The era when natural resources dominated trade has given way to an era in which knowledge resources are paramount. Our world is changing rapidly and those who will be able to acquire, adapt, and utilize new ideas and innovations, regardless of who has invented them, will create tremendous wealth in the process. To achieve Vision 2020, Nigeria needs to move beyond the stop-start development patterns of an oil-based economy to create a stable and prosperous base for a 21st century society built on a critical mass of knowledge workers.

Not since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution has there been a more urgent time to rethink outdated development paradigms. How can Nigeria prepare for this century? What areas must its leaders focus on to achieve the vision of a new Nigeria?[57] Based on the foregoing, Nigeria must do the first thing first. We must start from the grassroots to transform the economy. We must improve on the already established pathway towards an advanced economic development.


From 1914 to 2014, the Nigerian economy has witnessed several phases in development. The economic status of the nation has been affected by political instability, exploitation and a myriad of other factors just like many other nations of the world but amidst such obstructions, Nigeria’s economy has evolved over the years and it is still on a journey to its rise in fiscal and industrial development. Attaining 100 years of existence since the 1914 amalgamation, Nigeria has course to celebrate its economic strength and diversity in several areas of development but at such a defining moment in Nigeria’s history, it is a strategic moment to redefine her economic policies, promote the expansion of investment, trade and agriculture as well as control natural resources to the fullness of their productivities and of course eliminate all forms of misuses and venality that hinders the maximum achievement to our economic expansion. With good governance and the best economic approaches, Nigeria will surely advance to the zenith of economic development

* Fellow and Assistant Director, Council on African Security and Development [CASADE]. This paper is also published as a chapter in the Book: ‘Nigeria: A Centenary of Constitutional Evolution 1914-2014’ (Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies) 2013. Pgs 974 – 1005.

[1] A tribe from the South- Eastern region of Nigeria and one of the major spoken languages in Nigeria.

[2] Akporobaro F.B.O and Emovon J.A Nigerian Proverbs: Meaning and Relevance Today Nigeria Magazine, Lagos, (1994), p. 113.

[3] Ibid. P. 114.

[4] The Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria amalgamated in 1914.

[5] The Nigerian Diaspora <> accessed 4th May 2013.

[6] Centre for Global Development: Publications, Nigeria <> accessed on 4th May 2013.

[7] The Historian: Reference Page on Nigeria’s History <> accessed on 4th May 2013.

[8] World Production History: Nigeria in the 19th Century <> Accessed April 12th 2013.

[9] Nwachukwu Chinweizu. N. “The History of Agriculture in Nigeria from the Colonial Era to the Present Day: Pointing all agricultural programmes. Posted to the web: 5/12/2006 8:19:27 PM <>

[10] Nwachukwu Chinweizu. N. “The History of Agriculture in igeria from the Colonial Era to the Present Day: Pointing all agricultural programmes. Posted to the web: 5/12/2006 8:19:27 PM <>

[11] J. A. Atanda and A.Y. Aliyu (Eds.) Proceedings of the National Conference on Nigeria Since Independence: Political Development, Zaria: Gaskiya Corporation, 1985.

[12] Nigeria: Political and Constitutional Development Since Independence <> Accessed on the 3rd of May 2013 at 11:00am

[13] UNDP, Country Profile: Nigeria. <> accessed on 19 April 2013.

[14] World Bank Profile: Nigeria

[15] Mostly from Ghana, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad

[16] Produced in the government sector

[17] M. Yusufu 1998 “Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)” <> accessed 20 April 2013.

[18] Tempo Newspaper, Vol. 13, No. 23, P. 8. 16 December, 1999.

[19] The National Development Plans are further discussed later in this chapter.

[20] National Assembly Department of Information & Public Affairs Welcome to Nigeria: Inter-Parliamentary Union spring Meetings, April 12 – 17, 1982. Third Press International, Lagos 1982. P 14- 15

[21] Ibid., P. 14 – 15.

[22] Ibid., P. 15.

[23] Ibid., P. 16.

[24] Oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956 at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta after half a century of exploration. The discovery was made by Shell-BP, at the time the sole concessionaire. Nigeria joined the ranks of oil producers in 1958 when its first oil field came on stream producing 5,100 bpd. After 1960, exploration rights in onshore and offshore areas adjoining the Niger Delta were extended to other foreign companies. In 1965 the EA field was discovered by Shell in shallow water southeast of Warri. In 1970, the end of the Biafran war coincided with the rise in the world oil price, and Nigeria was able to reap instant riches from its oil production. Nigeria joined the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1971 and established the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) in 1977; a state owned and controlled company which is a major player in both the upstream and downstream sectors. Following the discovery of crude oil by Shell D’Arcy Petroleum, pioneer production began in 1958 from the company’s oil field in Oloibiri in the Eastern Niger Delta. Source: <> Accessed on 4th of May 2013.

[25]   Irina Romanova 2007, Oil boom in Nigeria and its consequences for the country’s economic development, Munich, GRIN Publishing GmbH, <>

[26] Oil and Gas, ‘African Development Bank'. (2005) Murrow Prints. p. 12.

[27] Brian Pinto Nigeria During and After the Oil Boom: A Policy Comparison with Indonesia Oxford Journals <> accessed 19 April 2013.

[28] Based on 1987 data.

[29] Along with countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Chad, and Mali.

[30] The Nigerian Petroleum Industry <> accessed on 4th of April 2013.

[31] Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, <> Accessed on 4th of May 2013.

[32] National Assembly Department of Information & Public Affairs Welcome to Nigeria: Inter-Parliamentary Union spring Meetings, April 12 – 17, 1982. Third Press International, Lagos 1982. P 11.

[33] Sanusi Lamido Sanuso, CON Governor Central Bank of Nigeria. Nigeria’s Economic Development Aspirations and the Leadership Question: Is there a nexus? A Paper delivered at the 2nd General Dr. Yakubu Gowon Distinguished Annual Lecture October 19, 2012 at page 3.

[34] National Assembly Department of Information & Public Affairs Welcome to Nigeria: Inter-Parliamentary Union spring Meetings, April 12 – 17, 1982. Third Press International, Lagos 1982. P 11 - 12

[35] Sanusi Lamido Sanuso, CON Governor Central Bank of Nigeria. Nigeria’s Economic Development Aspirations and the Leadership Question: Is there a nexus? A Paper delivered at the 2nd General Dr. Yakubu Gowon Distinguished Annual Lecture October 19, 2012.

[36] Onuah, Felix (29 December 2006). "Nigeria gives census result, avoids risky details". Retrieved 23 November 2008.

[37] The Nigerian Stock Exchange.

[38] IMF Survey: “Nigeria Needs Sustained Reforms to Build on Success”. <> Retrieved 21 November 2008. Aminu, Ayodele. <> Africa: IMF Forecasts 9 Percent Growth for Nigeria (Page 1 of 1)

[39] Godwin, Atser. "The Punch: IMF predicts 9% GDP growth rate for Nigeria". <> Retrieved 21 November 2008.

[40] Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate Travelers Group in October 1998 (announced on April 7, 1998). The year 2012 marks Citi's 200th anniversary. It is currently the third largest bank holding company in the United States by assets. Citigroup has the world's largest financial services network, spanning 140 countries with approximately 16,000 offices worldwide. The company currently employs approximately 260,000 staff around the world, which is down from 267,150 in 2010, according to Forbes. It also holds over 200 million customer accounts in more than 140 countries. It is one of the primary dealers in US Treasury securities. According to Forbes, at its height Citigroup used to be the largest company and bank in the world by total assets with 357,000 employees until the global financial crisis of 2008. Today it is ranked 20th in size under the Fortune 500 list. In comparison, JPMorgan Chase, which is ranked 16th on the Fortune 500, is now the largest bank in U.S. as of 2012. <>

[41] Odueme, Stella (9 May 2011). “RenCap projects 8% growth for Nigeria in 2011”. <> Retrieved 28 May 2011.

[42] FORGET THE BRICs: Citi's Willem Buiter Presents The 11 "3G “Countries That Will Win The Future”. <> 22 February 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.

[43] The country joined OPEC in 1971.

[44] "Africa's Ten Largest Economies in 2007". <> 17 January 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2010.

[45] DeRouen, Karl R.; Paul Bellamy (2008). International Security and the United States: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 546. ISBN 0-275-99253-5. Retrieved 26 December 2008.

[46] Lewis, Peter (2007). Growing Apart: Oil, Politics, and Economic Change in Indonesia and Nigeria. University of Michigan Press. p. 168. ISBN 0-472-06980-2. Retrieved 26 December 2008.

[47] The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind. Macmillan. 2007. p. 1093. ISBN 0-312-37659-6. Retrieved 26 December 2008.

[48] Ake, Claude (1996). Democracy and Development in Africa. Brookings Institution Press. p. 48. ISBN 0-8157-0220-5. Retrieved 26 December 2008.

[49] Levy, Patricia (2004). Nigeria. Marshall Cavendish. p. 14. ISBN 0-7614-1703-6. Retrieved 26 December 2008.

[50] Ibid.

[51]Nigeria Launches Satellite In China". <> Retrieved 10 March 2012.

[52] Ibid

[53] Awojobi, Ayakpat and Adisa, ‘Rebased Nigerian Gross Domestic Product: The Role of the Informal Sector in the development of the Nigerian Economy’ International Journal of Education and Research Vol. 2 No 7. (July 2014) P. 302. Accessed 1 January 2015.

[54] Ibid.

[55] “Economic Development: Benin to collaborate Nigeria” from the official website of the Cross Rivers state government.<> accessed at 1:46pm on the 16th of April 2013

[56] “Our vision is to bring together the two countries by linking them through railways, airport, seaports and road networks to promote the desired economic activities in the area, the political will is already there and I am optimistic that we will achieve that” he said.

[57] Radwan. I, Pellegrinii. G. Knowledge, Productivity and Innovation in Nigeria: Creating a new Economy. Accessed at <>25th of May 2013.

It is Time!

Nigeria’s Presidential election set for next month promises to be all things to all voters and onlookers alike. One sure thing, however, is that it would be hard-fought, both by the candidates and party loyalists. Incumbency confers tremendous benefits to Mr. Jonathan, but barring shameless rigging, he deserves to lose the contest. Reasons for being sacked by the electorate abound: he was never a popular president but nonetheless stumbled into the presidency by default, and got elected for his first term in office principally through the political monopoly of his People’s Democratic Party (PDP); and in his watch the insurgency of the militant group, Boko Haram, intensified with horrendous consequences on the innocents. But the sobering fact is that this group also controls a defined territory within the territorial competence of Nigeria; this is not only outlandish, it is treasonous.

President Jonathan’s hope to retain his job is largely based on the unquestioning support from his party’s core base, and rent-seeking behavior from parasitic functionaries that populate federal, state and local governments. Charges of misappropriation of petroleum funds by his administration have not been resolved, but this is a minor nuisance to his followers who expect nothing less from a thoroughly corrupt administration that has witnessed a cascade of serious allegations of corrupt practices made against a host of its ministers and deputies. But while corruption deepened its roots, the military remains ill-equipped and marginalized; so is the police force and scores of civil servants who have gone for months without pay. In the likely event they get paid their salaries, their purchasing power would be worth much less due to the devaluation of the national currency, an act that can only be attributed to bureaucratic inefficiency, and mismanagement of the Sovereign Fund which nobody has bothered to give a full account of its contents. If the Sovereign Fund was well-managed, there would have been no need to borrow so much from international institutions that invariably insist on devaluation of domestic currencies; nor would the need to restrict imports by devaluation arise.

The inability to protect the country is good enough reason to give Goodluck Jonathan the pink slip, but there are plenty others that would task the patience of the most dedicated reader if enumerated. The administration’s inability to properly explain away charges of human rights violations by the US and European countries has made it impossible for them to lend Nigeria substantial military support in the war against terrorism; this has, as a consequence, pushed the Jonathan administration into China’s realm of influence where disbursement of aid and assistance are unencumbered by such distractions. Along with disaffected supporters who voted him into office in the last election, many senior party officials and loyalists have deserted him and his ruling party to join the opposition group.

Muhammadu Buhari is not exactly without blemishes. His rule as a dictator some thirty years ago was not exemplary, nor remarkable. Human rights also suffered under his administration in his ‘war against indiscipline’ in the country. But in spite of these minuses, he presents the better opportunity to end the nightmarish terror campaign President Jonathan has so far been unable to contain. Better yet, he has the capacity to begin a healing process in a country fractured on religious and tribal grounds. While his administrative skills as a civilian head of state is yet to be tested, electing him gives the country a necessary genuine opening for reconciliation and peaceful co-existence; the expectation that his election would engender exchanges of love songs between splinter ethnic groups long mired in distrust and hatred would be premature. He is after all mortal. For all these and more, he deserves the opportunity to lead the country in the next four years.

UN Millennium Development Goals: Good intentions with bad consequences

The Millennium Development Goals represent a well-meaning but extremely misguided attempt to assist emerging economies in their development efforts. The recognition by the industrialized and wealthy constituent countries of the UN that their developing counterparts are in dire need of assistance is the first step towards a meaningful strategy for a holistic development program. However, the next step in this endeavor has perennially proved difficult, for the simple reason that donor –countries, and lending institutions have consistently addressed the problem of underdevelopment, poverty, malnutrition, and debilitating diseases from two damaging policy approaches: one informed by charity, the other by the properties of Ricardian-style free trade economics. The former stems from the ‘good-neighbor’ impulse that compels developed nations to offer humanitarian assistance to other countries in need; a commendable gesture, but one that should be implemented only in times of emergency, and for a limited period. The latter is based on a false economic premise that free trade amongst nations, regardless of their respective stages of development, would lead to a higher standard of living for all. The following discussion is designed to contextualize the Millennium Development Goals, and show why they do not conduce to development.

How Countries Achieve Sustainable Development

Beginning in 1485 in the reign of Henry VII, England ushered in the industrial revolution, and quickly realized the benefits of manufacturing goods --- it confers increasing returns to investment through continual decrease in the cost of production. In mechanized mass production, the first unit is the most expensive to produce; its duplication in massive quantities entails ever smaller marginal cost, and hence larger profit margins. It is the accumulation of such profits over a period of time that creates the collective wealth of a nation, which in turn makes development sustainable. This shift from a purely agrarian economy to one with a strong manufacturing base complemented by a diversity of productive sectors gave rise to England’s remarkable economic growth --- ---large profits from manufacturing activities made higher wages for workers possible, which in turn fueled higher levels of consumption, and productivity. But England, in this period of industrialization, did not engage in ‘free’ trade with other nations; instead it used tariffs and customs’ duties to regulate imports and exports. This enabled its ‘infant’ industries to gain strength and expertise over time, and once well established, they became well positioned to compete effectively with foreign competitors. The same procedure was followed by the US under the guidance of Alexander Hamilton in the 1780s, and for more than 150 years the US engaged in protectionist trade practices that protected its industries from harmful foreign competition. This practice of ‘first industrialize and then protect the home industries’ can be traced to all developed and wealthy countries in Europe, North America, Japan, and Korea. Simply put, countries become developed through industrialization, which requires a complete shift from an agrarian or commodity-based economy to one properly diversified. Through patents and tariffs, developed countries are able to protect knowledge (know-how via patents), and determine where production takes place (effects of tariffs).

Why Countries remain underdeveloped and Poor

Agrarian economies ---production of agricultural commodities, and raw materials—depend on the availability of a fixed input, land. As a consequence, and by operation of the properties of physics, the fixed capacity of land means that agrarian production is invariably subject to diminishing returns to effort after a certain point. This necessarily imposes a limit to growth, and because the commodities produced are universally ‘identical’, producers have no control over prices received for their products. They must rely on demand and supply to determine how much their products would fetch in the market; this is the essence of what economists call perfect competition, where under free and unmonopolized market conditions, competition in identical commodities lead to the lowest prices possible. With diminishing returns to effort, agrarian economies cannot improve their collective lot through higher sustained effort beyond a certain level; this is their biggest handicap, and when compelled to engage in unrestrained international trade, the market further depresses their level of income through broader competition that includes countries with advanced industrial base. The result is lower income, and, when coupled with population growth, abject poverty.

The only way out of this depressed state of affairs is to emulate developed and wealthy nations, which is to put in place a systematized policy of industrialization, and regulated trade. For no country in the world’s history has ever achieved sustained development, and high-income levels without going through the industrialization phase, and then affording its infant industries adequate protection from foreign competition until such time that they are able to compete effectively.

Effects of Millennium Development Goals

The objective to halve the number of people living on less than one dollar per day, achieve gender parity in education, improve the environment, eradicate diseases, significantly reduce infant mortality, and the number of people living in hunger is remarkably humane. The problem with this massive undertaking is that it is a stop-gap measure with palliative effects in the short-run; the long-run consequences, however, are inhumane for they tend to erode the will for self-sufficiency and conduce to dependency. It leads ultimately to what has been described as ‘welfare colonialism.’ By not emphasizing industrialization as a component of the overall objective, by which countries are helped to put in place complex mechanisms for diversity of productive activities that include a strong manufacturing presence, fundamental structural problems would remain unresolved. But worse, the achievement realized by way of education, and other investment in human capital would be lost through emigration of skilled workers to developed countries due to lack of adequate employment opportunities at home (the infamous brain drain).

Thus, the UN can insist all it wants on gender parity in education, eradication of diseases, and on all the other noble goals for developing countries, but so long as the countries in question lack the requisite industrial background necessary for development and economic independence, poverty, diseases, high infant mortality, and hunger would continue to define the fate of targeted countries. The effects of welfare colonialism is to keep developing countries perpetually dependent on the good-will of developed countries, and to serve as the source of cheap raw materials for industrial production in developed nations. The US history provides good instances of this phenomenon. Prior to 1776, the British forbade industrial production in the US save for the manufacture of mast, and used the US as a primary source of raw materials for England; industrialization was discouraged for obvious reasons. Prior to the US civil war, the southern states were heavily invested in agriculture, while northern states invested their efforts in industrialization; the consequent disparity in income, and development remain visible today. The state of affairs of American Indians in reservations provides ample testimony of the dangers of palliative policies that create dependency; a similar fate awaits developing countries in the path of UN MDGs, unless corrective measures are put in place to abort foreseeable long-run consequences.

Chinese Investments in Africa are Both Welcome and Worrisome


Godwin Haruna.

China’s audacious incursions into Africa, which have manifested in its aid and economic investments in recent years, is among the most widely discussed aspects of its global rise. Although development theorists have credited China's emergence as a global economic power with its homegrown development policies, its ambitious forays into Africa to push the frontiers of development is welcome, but also worrisome.  With investments increasing ten-fold in the past few years, many reckon that China’s return to Africa arose from its identification of the continent as the future engine of global growth. However, controversy has continued to dot the path of the Sino-African economic relations as not a few fear it might be another “colonizing” enterprise.

Even with all the controversies, Africa appears to lag far behind in considerations for Chinese investments. According to UNCTAD Statistics, Chinese investment in Africa reached its height in 2008 when Africa accounted for almost 10 per cent of its total global Foreign Direct Investment from about 4.3 per cent in 2004. But in the following year, the figure fell roughly four-fold and in 2010, the number was almost negligible at 0.3 per cent. A country by country breakdown of Chinese investment in the African continent according to the Heritage Foundation (China Global Investment Tracker Interactive, January 2012) shows that in 2012, China’s investment in Africa focused primarily on five countries – Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger. Its construction sites in these countries are often flooded with hundreds of thousands of both skilled and unskilled Chinese migrant workers.

The breakdown by country showed that Nigeria has had $15.42 billion net investment from China, Algeria $9.23 billion, South Africa $6.64 billion; Democratic Republic of Congo $6.55, Niger $5.26 billion, Egypt $3.27 billion, Libya $2.68 billion, Zambia $2.49 billion, Sudan $2.210 billion, Ethiopia $1.9. In all of these, among China’s major investors in Africa are CNOOC (Nigeria), Sinopec (Angola), China Railways Construction (Nigeria), Sinomach (Gabon), CITIC and Chalco (Egypt), China Nonferrous (Zambia), Minsheng Bank (South Africa), SinoSteel (Zimbabwe), CNPC (Niger and Chad), and China Metallurgical and Sinohydro (DRC). All these enterprises invested in Africa actively in the period 2005–2008, but in 2009– 2010, their presence waned and in 2011, the only big Chinese investor in Africa was the China Railways Materials Commercial Corporation in Sierra Leone with total investment of $260 million.

Controversy has trailed the contractual agreements with these new-found Chinese enterprises in Nigeria. For instance, when the Nigerian government did the last oil bid round, most of the Chinese and other Asian companies promised out-of-the-box investment in other sectors of the economy, but none has been fulfilled. Some of those enticing promises will never be met because the companies involved have long left the shores of Nigeria. But trade between China and African countries has continued to surge by an average annual rate of 30 per cent for much of the past decade, driven by China’s appetite for oil and minerals, and its sales of clothes, cars, telecommunications and other goods to African markets. Investments in mineral or oil fields must go beyond simply buying up natural resources. In their attempt to attract investment from China, African countries must note what is happening around the world and not restrict investment drive with China to oil, gas and mining.

Britain, France and Germany have recently extended olive branches to China, but France has at least one major advantage over its neighbors: It's particularly well-poised to cooperate with China on investment in Africa, with historical advantages to serve as a springboard for the Asian power's ambitions on the continent. According to French foreign investment and jobs data, nearly 200 Chinese companies had operations in France as of last year, making it the country's eighth-largest investor. Since 2010, China's investment in France has steadily grown, at a rate of 6 percent between 2012 and 2013. On a trip to China, a French official observed that Chinese companies lack a basic understanding of Africa. As a past colonizer of many African countries, France has had a presence on the African continent for nearly 150 years compared to China's mere 20. And China is often scolded by the West for some of the ways it does business there, without sufficient attention to local factors.

In a book on this economic relationship, Deborah Brautigam notes that China’s success as a developing country in reducing poverty and achieving rapid economic growth makes it an attractive and credible partner for African nations. Brautigam makes the point that even as the developmental impact of Chinese aid and economic cooperation varies across Africa, the “deciding factor” is not so much China as the country in question, and the stability of its government.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gave a promise recently at the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Abuja, Nigeria that his country would continue its assistance in providing robust infrastructure transformation for Nigeria and other African states. To signal how seriously China takes its growing ties with Africa, Keqiang announced new funding commitments of $12 billion to Africa. He added, “We will add $10 billion to our already committed credit lines to reach a total of $30 billion and put an extra $2 billion into the China-Africa Development Fund to reach $5 billion. We will provide 18,000 scholarships to Africa and train 30,000 professionals of various types. The Chinese government means what it says, our co-operation with Africa will be based on mutual benefit.”

According to the Chinese leader, the Chinese and African economies are complementary to each other, with Africa needing investments, and China having surplus. To realise inclusive growth infrastructure, especially transportation, must be at the fore front, and he said China would assist Africa in building high-speed rail networks. Africa currently has 23 percent of the world’s landmass, but only 7 percent of global rail lines. China would also provide assistance for building and expanding Africa’s express and motorways, as well as build out a regional aviation network for the continent. “China proposes a China-Africa regional aviation plan through an aviation joint venture with African partners. China will also support the movement of labour-intensive Chinese industries and enterprises to Africa to help with job creation,” he said, and added that all the Chinese assistance would come without political strings attached.

“We will not interfere in the local politics of any African country, or ask Africa for things which are impossible to observe or do. We will also ask Chinese firms to abide by the environmental and other laws of their host nations,” Keqiang said. It was the Chinese premier’s first visit to Africa since his emergence in 2013, during which he also visited Kenya and Ethiopia. Many expressed the optimism that these promises rendered amid a standing ovation at the WEF summit, would be met in the years to come. That would be the only way to douse the present skepticism surrounding the Asian country’s involvement with the continent, which had a chequered history of exploitation with colonizers.

It is important to note that the investments in Africa and promises of more, create both challenges and opportunities. Now is a crucial time to ensure that regulatory agencies and lawmakers in both recipient countries and China adhere strictly to good practices in order to avert unwarranted harm to the environment, human rights, and local communities. China is a relatively new actor in development finance in the global economy, therefore, it is well placed to benefit from the lessons and experiences of other countries. There are many examples of foreign investors and companies creating or becoming embroiled in significant financial, environmental, and social setbacks in emerging economies. A few examples would suffice: Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria, Shougang Group in Peru, and the Ilisu Dam in Turkey are corporations trailed by controversies owing to their practices. Also, the issue of shipping large contingent of both skilled and unskilled Chinese migrant workers into Africa should be closely examined. The continent is already home to millions of unemployed youths with few good prospects in sight.

Why Pandemics, such as Ebola, are Threats to Regional and National Security.

Sara E. Davies.

Pandemics are for the most part disease outbreaks that become widespread as a result of the spread of human-to-human infection. Beyond the debilitating, sometimes fatal, consequences for those directly affected, pandemics have a range of negative social, economic and political consequences. These tend to be greater where the pandemic is a novel pathogen, has a high mortality and/or hospitalization rate and is easily spread. According to Lee Jong-wook, former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), pandemics do not respect international borders.2 Therefore, they have the potential to weaken many societies, political systems and economies simultaneously.

The association of pandemics with national security threat grew to prominence in the1990s. In 1995, the World Health Assembly (WHA) agreed to revise the International Health Regulations (IHR), the only international legal framework governing how WHO and its member States should respond to infectious disease outbreaks, on the grounds that revision was needed to take “effective account of the threat posed by the international spread of new and re-emerging diseases”.3 In 2005, the IHR revisions were adopted as WHA Resolution 58.3.4 Article 2 announced that the scope and purpose of the instrument was “to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks”.5  Since its entry into force in 2007, signatory States have been working, individually and collectively, to meet their core capacity requirements under the new framework.

The focus of IHR is on the prevention and containment of public health emergencies of international concern. Member States committed themselves to building core capacities in the areas of national legislation, policy and financing, coordination and National Focal Point (NFP) communications, surveillance, response, preparedness, risk communication, and human resources and laboratories. It was widely presumed that not all member States would achieve these eight capacities by the 1 July 2012 deadline, but those that could not would identify areas in which they needed assistance in order to achieve these capacities.

The political logic behind the attachment of health to security within the IHR framework would underline their importance and help sustain the political will needed to achieve the core capacities. The global threat posed by pandemics required a global approach to security as the rapid transmission of disease in a globalized world means that capacity failures in any member State could place any other state or society in peril. By 2013, 110 member States out of 195 signatories requested an additional two-year extension to build the capacities. This unexpectedly large number could be interpreted in one of two ways. First, that member States are not taking their commitment seriously and that the use of security language in the health field is no more than rhetoric. Second, that most states face immense challenges when it comes to building core capacities, especially when domestic health systems are fragmented, inadequately funded and understaffed.

At this stage, indications point to the latter rather than former explanation. Multiple extensions were built into the IHR framework in recognition of the fact that the revised framework demanded much more of member States in terms of pandemic prevention and containment. The evident difficulties in these 110 States are largely rooted in more general health system deficiencies and do not reflect political objections to the IHR or the sense of shared responsibility for the prevention of pandemics.6

This is reflected in the fact that it is those capacities most associated with the general performance of health systems that have proven most resistant to strengthening. According to the latest figures, nearly two thirds of the States parties that reported their IHR implementation progress performed best in surveillance (with a global average score of 81 per cent), response (78 per cent), and zoonotic events (80 per cent), while performance was much lower in relation to human resources (with a global average of 53 per cent), chemical events (51 per cent) and radiological events (53 per cent).7 Some 194 member States have appointed NFPs. Assessments of NFP functionality have revealed that they “recognize the value of engaging with government sectors outside the health ministry, [but] they lack the convening power needed to establish solid and reliable linkages”.8 In other words, the NFP’s recognition of the need to engage with others may outstrip the political process. At this stage, it may be safely said that the implementation lag does not reflect a lack of commitment to IHR but lies in deeper issues surrounding state capacity and political processes. In these circumstances, viewing pandemics as a security issue has encouraged a deepening of commitment to international cooperation and pandemic preparedness, but some of the associated structural changes will take more time.

One response to the capacity challenge has been the promotion of a more targeted approach to implementation. In 2013, Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO argued: “The aim [of IHR core capacities] is not only to achieve the widest possible population coverage. It is also to ensure that there are no significant gaps at the national level, as these have the potential to threaten the health security of all countries in the world”.9  There are two interrelated concepts in her statement: the responsibility of states to protect as many of their citizens as possible and their responsibility to health security between states. The relationship between individual, national and international security is related to the introduction of concepts such as “human security” and “sovereignty as responsibility” in the post-cold war era, which tied the capacity of the state to secure its population to that state’s domestic and international legitimacy. Based on a realist understanding of the world, one prominent criticism of this approach was that, as rational self-interested entities, states would only commit resources to human security when they derived some direct benefit from it. Directed at the IHR framework, this critique suggests that the framework is primarily aimed at protecting states, particularly developed states, from the economic and other ills of pandemics and not, in fact, at promoting human security. Expecting core capacities for pandemic prevention to be prioritized in states where, for example, health-care coverage is far from universal has raised the question: who really benefits from the securitization of health?

This question is legitimate but neglects the discussion that has flowed from the health security movement since the 1990s. Today, debates concerning what should follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are primarily focused on the promotion of universal health care as a core goal.10 In 2007, the Oslo Ministerial Declaration by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, France, Indonesia, Norway,  Senegal, South Africa  and Thailand suggested 10 implementation priorities which included the marriage of health security with health equality: “a global partnership for overcoming both structural and economic barriers to development and health is fundamental for reaching the MDGs and reducing vulnerabilities to neglected and emerging infectious diseases” (emphasis added).11

This Declaration inspired the adoption of a General Assembly resolution on Global Health and Foreign Policy.12 In December 2012, the General Assembly reinforced the link between security and universality in calling for member States to “recognize the links between the promotion of universal health coverage and other foreign policy issues, such as the social dimension of globalization, cohesion and stability, inclusive and equitable growth and sustainable development and sustainability of national financing mechanisms, and the importance of universal coverage in national health systems”.13

This approach clearly refutes realist cynicism and shows an emerging consensus that health security rests on universal and equitable health systems upon which sustained implementation of the IHR core capacities depend. A key priority then is to ensure that access to and distribution of core capacities is equitable within and across societies and that the progress of IHR does not inadvertently weaken other aspects of the health system.

In South and East Asia, for example, things have progressed amid a number of competing priorities and political interests. The region sits on key trading routes, has already proven to be a hot spot for novel infectious diseases (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, severe complications from Enterovirus and influenza strains such as H5N1 and H7N9), has multiple states in political transition, civil unrest, dormant and active armed conflicts, and has a number of states recovering from armed conflict. There is also sharp diversity of wealth, health coverage and health governance.

Since 2004, in the aftermath of SARS, member States to WHO South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) and Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) began meeting to develop a collective strategy for addressing emerging infectious disease outbreaks. The resulted Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases (APSED) framework was adopted in 2005. APSED aimed to assist member States with the implementation of the revised IHR and to develop a series of implementation goals and shared experiences that would reflect regional concerns and realities outside the confines of the IHR. APSED, in its second phase of implementation in 2010-2015, still works according to the principle of tailoring the IHR core capacity requirements to the priorities and capacities of SEARO and WPRO member States.14 WHO SEARO and WPRO staff, along with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEA N), have worked together in efforts to share dialogue and highlight progress across the eight IHR capacities. From its inception, the APSED framework has been couched in strong security rhetoric, one that the ASEAN secretariat has readily adopted to promote regional cooperation.15,16

However, with this ready adoption of a national security lens have come concerns that the overall approach conceals deep structural shortfalls when it comes to IHR compliance in the region. It is sometimes charged that security rhetoric allows the region to appear engaged while doing little to ensure that domestic health and political systems are reformed to meet the commitments made to IHR .17,18 ,19 These programmes rely on self-reporting and hold workshops that engage like-minded health responders, while there is no forum to openly address problems where progress is seriously lagging.20

In responding to these concerns, while it cannot be said that all member States are effectively achieving their core capacity targets, the region has exhibited a willingness to recognize the challenges it faces. Most notably, nearly every SEARO and WPRO member State has reported on progress towards IHR implementation, a rate of reporting significantly above any of the other WHO Regional Offices. When novel outbreaks occur, this emerging shared knowledge of where capacity and capacity gaps exist is a significant advantage, as the region’s rapid and largely effective response to H7N9 demonstrates. Indeed, WPRO and SEARO have made the most progress in narrowing the time difference between outbreak alert and formal confirmation. This is no small achievement.

There are three key concepts about the relationship between pandemics and security. First, associating health policy commitments with security can elevate the level of priority given to an issue and deliver results. While 110 member States will not meet their IHR core capacities by 2014, the majority of these States are working towards an implementation path with the WHO Director-General. Few other areas of global governance can boast similar levels of commitment and compliance; fewer still where core national capacities and structures are concerned.

Second, health security has not distorted policy by drawing attention away from the health crises that affect most of the world’s population. In fact, heightened global and national interest in pandemic prevention and response has helped to elevate the goal of universal health-care coverage. It is now widely recognized that effective prevention and response to a pandemic requires national health systems that are accessible and equitable. Universal health-care coverage is not the only answer in strengthening health systems but many states, such as China, perceive it as a core part of their effective response to disease outbreak events.

Third, IHR compliance needs to be understood through a regional lens and supported by global institutions. Regional mechanisms allow a more tailored approach that recognize the contexts in which states operate and establish frameworks consistent with regional norms. This all helps to build the necessary trust and confidence. However, regions and individual states cannot do this on their own and WHO has a major role to play in assisting its regional offices and cooperating with its member States. The wider United Nations system, especially bodies such as the Peacebuilding Commission and agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Children’s Fund, have a supporting role to play in helping states build the technical capacities needed to deliver the IHRs.

While the marriage of security and health has helped build the necessary global political will to implement the IHRs, the institutional, technical and political challenges in achieving this goal cannot be overstated.


1    Doshi, P., “The elusive definition of pandemic influenza”, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, vol. 89 (2011), pp. 532-538.

2    World Health Organization, “World Health Assembly adopts new International Health Regulations: New rules govern national and international response to disease outbreaks” (2005).

3    World Health Organization, Revision and Updating of the International Health Regulations, WHA48.7, Forty-eighth World Health Assembly (1995).

4    World Health Organization, Revision of the International Health Regulations, WHA58.3, Fifty-eighth World Health Assembly (2005).

5    Ibid.

6   World Health Organization, Department of Global Capacities and Alert Response Activity Report, 2012 (WHO Lyon Office, 2013). Available from WHO_HSE_GCR _ LYO_2013.3.pdf.

7    World Health Organization (2013), Implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005). Report by the Director-General (A/66/16), Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly.

8    Hardiman, Maxwell C. and World Health Organization Department of Global Capacities, Alert and Response, “World Health Organization perspective on implementation of International Health Regulations”, Emerging Infectious Diseases (2012). Available from

9    See World Health Organization (2013), Implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005).

10  World  Health  Organization, Informal Member State Consultation on Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Summary Report (2012). Available from states_20121214.pdf).

11  Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, France, Indonesia, Norway, Senegal, South Africa and Thailand, “Oslo Ministerial Declaration—global health: a pressing foreign policy issue of our time”, The Lancet (2007).

12  Global health and foreign policy (A/63/33), 27 January 2009.

13  Global health and foreign policy (A/67/L.36, para. 3), 12 December 2012.

14  World Health Organization, “Securing Regional Health through APSED, Building Sustainable Capacity for Managing Emerging Diseases and Public Health Events”, Progress Report (World Health Organization Regional Office for Western Pacific, 2012).

15  Caballero-Anthony, M., “Non-Traditional Security and Infectious Diseases in ASEAN: Going Beyond the Rhetoric of Securitization to Deeper Institutionalisation”, The Pacific Review, vol. 12, No. 4 (2008), pp. 509-527.

16  Haacke, J. and Paul D. Williams, “Regional Arrangements, Securitization, and Transnational Security Challenges: The African Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Compared”, Security Studies, vol. 17, No. 4 (2008), pp. 775-809.

17  Aldis, W., “Health security as a public health concept: a critical analysis”, Health Policy and Planning, vol. 23, No. 6, (2008), pp. 369-375.

18  Stevenson, M. A. and A. F. Cooper, “Overcoming Constraints of State Sovereignty: Global Health Governance in Asia”, Third World Quarterly, vol. 30, No. 7 (2009), pp. 1379-1394.

19  Vu, T., “Epidemics as Politics with Case Studies from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, Global Health Governance”, (2011) (see http://blogs.shu. edu/ghg/2011/06/21/epidemics-as-politics-with-case-studies-from-malaysia-thailand-and-vietnam/).

20  See Haacke, J. and Paul D. Williams (2008).

Can Nigeria's Buhari Seize This Momentum?

Godwin Haruna.

2015 promises to be Nigeria’s best opportunity to upturn years of rapacious rape by a mindless political class. Across the world, this country is acknowledged correctly, as rich with enormous human, material and natural resources. However, a combination of rudderless leadership, humongous corruption and misplaced priorities have ruined the nation and reduced the mass of the people to paupers. The political class thrived feeding fat on the vulnerability of the hapless commoners, who constitute the overwhelming majority. The political elite dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been notorious in the squandering of the commonwealth because they have tenaciously held on to power at the centre since the nation returned to civil rule in 1999. It is very heartening that 2015 promises to change all that.

From the pulpit to the informed political commentators and the much abused commoner on the street, the mood for change is palpable. This is the moment the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), which was formed as a result of the merger of several parties about two years ago, has to capitalize upon to seize power in next month’s presidential poll. In its presidential primaries held in December to select the party’s flag bearer in the polls, majority of the delegates chose the austere, disciplined and incorruptible army general and former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari. Against the background of money politics in Nigeria, Buhari won the contest against former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, two sitting governors, Rabiu Kwakwanso of Kano State and Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and media guru, Sam Nda-Isaiah, all of whom are believed to be far ahead of him in terms of political war chest. He won so convincingly and overwhelmingly in a widely acclaimed free and fair primary election contest.

Since his victory to square it against incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, who was merely handed the PDP’s ticket after other contestants were pressured to back out, the mood of the nation has been energized towards change. Against the background of Jonathan’s poor performance since he mounted the saddle six years ago, an overwhelming majority of Nigerians have pitched their tent with the stern-looking general. This popular support and goodwill are what analysts and public affairs commentators have based their forecast in the impending presidential poll. But can Buhari cash in on the present momentum and coast home to victory when the chips are down in February?

It looks certain that the desired change Nigerians are clamouring for is about to be bequeathed the nation. The signs are glaring from all corners. The fiery Catholic priest and founder of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, in a rare New Year revelation to a multitude of the faithful from the South-east, endorsed Buhari as the best man for the job. In a sermon dripping with anger, Reverend Mbaka lampooned Jonathan over what he described as his poor performance in the past six years, and predicted that the second term ambition of the president would hit the rocks. In the widely reported sermon tagged, “From Good luck to Bad luck” at the end-of-year Adoration mass to usher in the new year, Father Mbaka said he and millions of other fellow compatriots were disappointed by Jonathan’s administration which had failed to ensure the release of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists over eight months ago, not to talk of other heinous crimes of mass killings of innocent citizens.

Remarkably, Rev. Fr. Mbaka had recently anointed Mrs. Patience Jonathan as the next Nigerian First Lady in 2015 when she, alongside the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Nwanneka, worshiped at the Adoration Ministry where the First Lady admitted that she experienced “a spiritual rebirth.” On that occasion, the spiritual father also did something symbolic after anointing Mrs. Jonathan – he released some birds to go and fight for Jonathan. However, on New Year’s eve, Fr. Mbaka disclosed that Jonathan was going nowhere as far as this year’s election was concerned, recalling that  one of the birds – which symbolised the President –  he released  during Mrs. Jonathan’s visit to the Adoration Ground,  refused to fly.

“All the other birds I released flew away but the healthiest of them which is Jonathan’s bird could not fly. I tried to make it fly but it could not fly,” he recalled to the huge excited congregation that cheered him on. He disclosed that after prayers, the sign he received from God was that Jonathan was not fit to rule the nation anymore. He alleged that the Jonathan-led administration, was too corrupt and accused the president of surrounding himself with very corrupt public officials, whose corrupt activities he had turned a blind eye while millions of Nigerians suffered daily in abject poverty and endless insecurity.

He said further: “Jonathan has ruled for six years .We need change. NEPA is not working because of corruption. The privatisation of public companies has not yielded any fruit because of corruption. Jonathan surrounded himself with very corrupt officers who advise him. Nigerians are sick and tired of wasting innocent lives without government doing enough to stop the destruction.”

For the doubting Thomases of the seriousness of his revelation, the cleric told the congregation of over 30,000 worshippers that he resisted delivering the sermon which he said came from the Holy Ghost but God warned him to ensure the message was given to the nation not minding whose ox was gored. In his comments on Buhari, Fr. Mbaka, who said he was not being partisan, observed that the APC presidential hopeful could not islamise Nigeria as being rumoured in some circles. He confessed that he had never met the General before but recalled that he fought corruption seriously as Head of State.

“I don’t know Buhari. I have never sat with him before. I am not being partisan, but I want total change in Nigeria.  Buhari cannot make Nigeria an Islamic country because we are in a democracy. It was IBB government that dragged Nigeria into Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC). When Buhari fought corruption, people became careful about their actions. Anyone who says Buhari will islamise Nigeria is not being fair. If a northerner will rule the country and insecurity will stop, so be it. If a Yoruba man will rule Nigeria in 2015 and we have peace and stop the shedding of innocent blood, so be it. Nigerians are tired of wasting innocent lives,” said the cleric, who announced that he was not bothered whether the next President would be a Northerner or Yoruba or Igbo so long the person fought corruption and meant well for the citizens.

In the reckoning of analysts, this kind of revelation makes 2015 presidential election not to be too close to call as many people expect. They believe that a winner will emerge so decisively in the first ballot. A wind of change is blowing across the land at the speed of light. It is like a hurricane sweeping across the nation carrying everybody along in its wake and this desire of Nigerians makes Buhari’s victory a fait accompli.

THISDAY Newspaper columnist, Dele Momodu summed up thus: “If President Jonathan is able to bounce back from the current blitzkrieg, then it means the wind of change would have been fatally downgraded to the extent that something major would have gone wrong with the APC candidates and/or their campaign. But I don't see this happening. I'm willing and ready to place a bet that the PDP has reached its final bus stop, for now, after reigning unchallenged for 16 years. This is to be expected. Even the best of democracies abroad, political parties often suffer from natural law of diminishing returns after staying in power for so long. This kind of fatigue has already set in for PDP and a President Jonathan would be the natural collateral damage in the process.”

He posited further that although Buhari and Jonathan have their drawbacks as individuals, a fact known to many people, but the former seems to have managed his own in such a way that people have come to terms with whatever is regarded as his shortcomings while they have given up on any redeeming grace for Jonathan's apparent weaknesses. The consensus among serious political commentators is that the president either wittingly or unwittingly has blown apart the enormous goodwill on which he rode to power four years ago through his ineptitude in the art of governance. Contrastingly, his main challenger, Buhari, apart from firming his grip on his core support base in the North, has widened his acceptance across the South-west, South-east and even South-south through a deft political rearrangement in the APC. Buhari’s inroad into the entire Southern part of the country points to a landslide victory on February.

However, despite these projections, the opposition must not be complacent. Although incumbent presidents have been defeated in democratic elections in some African countries notably, Zambia, Ghana, Malawi, Benin Republic, among others, not to mention advanced democracies of Europe and America, where parties change batons routinely, incumbency factor in a pauperized nation like Nigeria, could be very strong. This is more so as being displayed by some rabid and well-funded supporters of the ruling party that elections are not won on issues, but on cash and carry basis. With public purse at its disposal to fritter away, it is very clear that the electorate would be shamelessly lured with cash and other things by the ruling party. This much we know, having raised 21 billion naira in one night! Perhaps, this remains the last resort of the desperate supporters of the ruling party to cling to power. If what happened at the APC presidential primaries is any guide, where the least funded candidate emerged in a landslide, then, PDP would rely on their hefty purse to their peril. The Nigerian electorate have become wiser.

The issues that define this election are very dear to Nigerians irrespective of class. Why should we return Jonathan amid the insecurity of lives and property? In almost five years of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s term of office as Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar was relatively stable. Never was there an occasion to massively devalue our currency as being mindlessly done with its consequent inflation. Then, look at Nigeria’s infrastructure, existing ones are not maintained and new ones are a far-cry so that a journey of two hours by road takes eight hours to accomplish. Added to all these, is the high level of corruption in Jonathan;s government about which practically nothing is being done. So where is the incentive to vote continuity?

On the other hand, you have a Buhari that has held quite a number of public offices in the past during which he acquitted himself creditably. Despite attempts at mudslinging him, no one has come up with any credible accusation of corruption against him. The present frustrations of a vast number of Nigerians clearly puts him ahead of his competitors as the best man for the job. His legacies as head of state when he introduced the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) and the monthly environmental sanitation remain with us till today. His achievements as Chairman of the Petroleum Task Force (PTF), where he bequeathed enduring development projects across the country are some of the positives people point to in their clamour for his emergence as President to halt the sinking ship of state. Despite holding various public offices, including the highest office in the land, Buhari has never been linked with ownership of any oil well or company where he holds controlling shares.

As an ordinary mortal, Buhari does not possess the magic wand to end all of our problems in one full swoop, but his emergence alone is bound to instill confidence in our decadent institutions. This is the confidence required to reinvent the country once more. Also, a Buhari presidency would certainly reinvigorate the confidence of the international community and other institutions in Nigeria’s capacity to restore its fading glory. This is why the APC and Buhari should seize this momentum presented to them on a platter of gold! Some months ago, this emerging epoch seemed unrealistic, but before our very eyes, Buhari holds the ace. He must rise to the occasion, along with his teeming supporters, to deliver the knock-out punch for Nigeria to rise again.

If in the 2003 race, he won over 12 million votes virtually all by himself and in 2011, he also won more than 12 million votes without a visible political structure beyond the street appeal, then, he remains an enigma. The present arrangement which brought forth the party on which platform he is contesting, remains a veritable stage to actualize his dream of re-directing the course of the nation from the present rudderless leadership.