According to PROFESSOR IBITAMUNO MITCHELL AMINIGO, the Nigerian Nation is a potentially great one because of its large geographical size, its huge population, its abundant natural resources and its “great” human resources. Nigerians have featured at all levels of professional, intellectual and technical achievement in almost every corner of the world. Perhaps the only area where we have not produced manpower is space science or astronomy. But that is not a problem. We cannot be thinking about astronauts when we cannot feed ourselves, produce iron and steel, refine our freely and God given crude oil and gas, manage the country on the basis of justice, equity and fairness.
But the simple solution to the Nigerian development debacle is here with us! The nation has thinkers, intellectuals, scientists and brain workers but we do not use them. The nation has technocrats and scientists domiciled both at home and abroad. But we do not have a development plan. The elections that brought the present national government into power took place in 2015, but the government had no development blue print to advance the nation scientifically, technologically and economically. Until our nation is industrialized we shall keep playing the second fiddle to the owners of international capital whether from Asia or the West. What is a development plan or blue print?
An eight year strategic development plan would have from 2015 given as an idea where the nation was headed: industrialization, economic and agricultural revolution, taming insecurity, solving unemployment and poverty, educational revolution, health, power and infrastructural revolution. But did we have it?
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THE PRESENT SCENARIO
What the federal government does is to simply use the Niger Delta People’s money, to pay civil servants’ salaries, politicians’ allowances, fight insurgency half-heartedly, fight crime and banditry half-heartedly, pay lip service to the real development challenges. And so after four years of a new government there is no visible sign of further development. Rather we had a recession. We are battling religious sentiments, herders domination of farmers, brutally fighting separatist campaigners, but solving none of the problems of youth unemployment, Niger Delta underdevelopment and ethnic domination of some groups by others.
Rather than continue the shameful and embarrassing practice of sharing federal revenues on a monthly basis without a development blue print for each state, President Buhari should henceforth require all the thirty Six states to have a development plan to be funded with the federal allocations. Each State should forward a development plan to Aso rock. The federal government should then assemble professors, experts, intellectuals from every discipline to study these proposals. Each state must have a plan for the following areas:
Economic & Enterprise revolution
Health care revolution
Rural development revolution
Moral and Ethical revolution
Political arrangements and ethnic representation
The state governments must be prepared to channel the Federal allocations on a monthly basis to these and other high points of development needed in each zone of the nation. For example, herders and farmers should be organized by their State governments for peaceful co-existence, not for internal colonization.
Concerning education each state should be required to supply data on school enrollments, female enrollments, school infrastructure such as libraries, laboratories, I.T., teacher quality, retraining needs and practices, school buildings etc. All obsolete school buildings over 20 years old must be earmarked for refurbishment. This must take place from the primary school to the tertiary levels.
In the riverline parts of the nation including Lagos, Ogun and Cross Rivers States, communities must be linked to the national grid for power or solar lighting to enable the citizens live like human beings in the 21st century. Enough of internal slavery!
BUHARI’S ACTION CONGRESS GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA
The federal government itself has to draw up its own development plan for the nation: the Refineries must be repaired and maintained so that importation of petroleum products is drastically reduced and finally stopped. The Iron and Steel projects at Ajaokuta, Aladja and Katsina must all be revisited. Power must henceforth be a top priority item. Agricultural development should be given more focus and the states monitored to achieve progress. The Almajiri Schools and Migrant fishermen’s children’s schools must be improved upon.
The federal and state governments should henceforth utilize the expert knowledge of intellectuals in the universities and research institutes on a regular basis. We should seek their advice and expertise, not on party basis.
It will be seen that when all the thirty six states are made to focus their development on the basis of their peculiar circumstances, ecologies, raw materials and natural endowments, the federal government will gradually cease from its present “father Christmas” role and become an umpire for the states and zones in their healthy competition for progress and development of the nation from their various perspectives. The 21st century has shown us how China and India, both poor nations in the past have now climbed the economic development ladder. The south Asian minidragon nations were like us fifty years ago. Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Sir Lanka, the gulf states were all third world nations like ours. But over the past half a century they have left us behind. President Buhari now has the chance to write his name in gold by rewriting the history of the Nigerian nation. When we can feed ourselves and also export food and other agricultural and industrial products to other nations in Africa and beyond, we can then claim to be “the giant of Africa”, otherwise, we are deceiving ourselves because being the “largest black nation” which nevertheless has become the poorest is not a matter for pride but shame and embarrassment.