To some, past mistakes, if not corrected, are bound to re-occur, seemingly apply to Nigeria. In the present scenario, where agitations and conflicts are stifling overall development in the country, there is the belief that those development lessons learnt during the 57 years since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, should be brought to the fore to help the nation overcome her present challenges and move forward as expected. To you, what are those past lessons in development that Nigeria can benefit from at this trying period?
* Very poor leadership qualities, avarice, unpatriotism, dishonesty e.t.c forced Nigeria down on her knees over time. Now petroleum is rapidly getting dis-favoured, globally, so de-emphasising oil crave and arms proliferation is overdue. We must diversify into agriculture, trade, tax, security e.t.c instead. Production of pencils, sports equipment and wears e.t.c will catapult our gains therefrom geometrically considering the economic laws of comparative advantage, diminishing oil returns and economic downturn, our huge human resources and vast market potentials etc. call for restructuring now.
– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos. State
* Nigeria has had a relatively long experience in development planning beginning with the Colonial Development Plan (1958-68) the medium-term development plans and national rolling plans. Other major initiatives include – the Structural Adjustment Programme; the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy; the Strategy for Attaining the Millennium Development Goals; and the 7-Point Agenda – and the Nigeria Vision 20:2020 which seeks for Nigeria to become one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020. In addition there is increasing investment in critical infrastructure and efforts on the development of a framework for joint financing of infrastructure projects between the tiers of government, and encouraging private investment in infrastructure. We also have the separation of powers between the legislative and executive arms of government and the civic engagement and citizen participation in government policy, programmes and the effective election which leads to peace and democratic handling over to the incumbent government and in the agricultural sectors that is registration of farmers that improved the supply of inputs. Good governance in terms of war against in discipline, upgrading the internal security of government, and enhancing the efficiency of their operations promoting private sector-led non-oil growth to build the foundation for economic diversification by the present government.
– Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder of Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Abuja
* The aftermath of the Nigerian civil war was not properly addressed and it’s a clog in the wheel of our progress. Until this is adequately addressed, we may still continue to be divided as a nation, which is not in our best interest both for the short and long-term.
– Ms Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State
* Our collective corruption-filled mindset, lack of accountability and transparency, religious extremism, tribalism, nepotistic tendencies, failing institutions, and disobedience to the rule of law, are all as a result of our collective selfishness which can never be addressed by separation of even restructuring. The question is can restructuring or separation end corruption; will it stop drug pushing, kidnapping, crime and failure to obey the law? The lessons to learn vis-a-vis the current agitations are that until the ordinary citizens change our mindsets, any separation or restructuring will only lead to more ethnic strife, marginalisation and poverty. For example, is there a region in Nigeria today where most governors and public officers at all levels are not corrupt? Remember, our leaders are all a product of the society that produces them, restructured or not.
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State
* As we mark our 57 independent as a nation, it is not time for celebration but to have sober reflection on how to move the nation forward. Where we are at 57 is disappointing because we have abundant resource to move higher than where we are but because of corruption in governance where looting has become priority to our leaders. Until we change our orientation in governance over stealing, Nigeria will still remain where we are in development.
– Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State
* Total and genuine attention to agriculture and reformed agro-economic policies properly structured, which we’ve missed so much, will take us to the Promised Land. Instead of over-dependence on our now fading oil, other minerals resources must be tapped now. Like division of labour properly reformed non-oil sector especially at the local government level has tremendous gains still fallowing. Our rudderless leadership must face realities and act fast now.
– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State
* Marketing Boards in the past were there to fix and control price of commodities. It is sad that today poor farmers receive little for the goods they sell to the rich who dwell in the cities; thus increasing the poverty of the poor, despite insufficient supply of fertiliser, seedlings, insecticide, and loans to boost his/her manual farming, while the advanced countries are using machinery. Kidnappers, Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen are major hindrances to farming and harvesting, as farmers cannot go to their farmland.
– Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna State
* At 57, we should have advanced in every sectors of endeavour to move the nation forward, especially with regards to the abundant resources at our disposal. It is very unfortunate. What is the rationale behind the setback? Time will tell.
– Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos State
* We should go back to our former roots. The North should go back to its groundnuts, cotton, hides and skins, beniseed; the West should return to its cocoa, timber e.t.c, while the East should go back to its coal and oil palm e.t.c. The lack of development we experience today is for us turning our backs on these God-given resources and total dependence on oil that was not there before. Our disunity is because we have deviated from the right to the wrong. The earlier we reverse the current trend, the better for all of us.
– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna
* In the 57 years of Nigeria’s independence since 1960, the major development lesson we have learned is that Nigeria has no business being a poor country full of deprived and frustrated citizens, simply because the ruling class has consistently robbed and denied the masses of their share of the commonwealth. This looting and selfish practice has persisted since independence although the earliest leaders did well in sincere governance. So, to move forward, this culture of impunity in high places has to stop, and the wicked leaders must be held accountable and made scape-goats for crimes against humanity. This is the reason for the agitation for secession and the anger in the land.
– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State
Top lesson: Change in citizens’ orientation
Second: Continued economic diversification
Third: Harness national resources properly
Radical tip: Punish bad, selfish leaders!
Number of respondents: 10
Highest location: Lagos (5)
Next Week: Your Next Step for Nigeria at 57?
Many Nigerians believe the current situation can be better as the nation marks 57 years of independence from colonial domination. With the present threats of corruption, religious intolerance, rising crime, youth unemployment, kidnapping, ritual killings, mounting poverty, citizens’ anger and agitation, the status quo needs change. To you, what is the next step for Nigeria to ensure better overall development at 57 years?
Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (September 28 & Monday, October 2) to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, AND firstname.lastname@example.org. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, October 5