Addressing Obstacles Hindering Growth Of Nigeria’s Economy
By Nriji Matthias Chima
After Nigeria’s Independence in 1960, successive governments have been articulating laudable implementable economic programmes aimed at revamping and sustaining the economy, to little or no avail.
This is because of the continuous struggle by two social contending forces to capture the soul of Nigeria’s economy.
They include the Nationalists and the Reformists groups which have two different economic ideologies designed by them to suit their respective economic agenda.
In their struggle to influence any leadership to accept their economic ideologies for the control of the Nation’s economy, they believe that non-acceptance of their ideologies will lead to campaign against the incumbent administration and subsequent overthrow of the government.
For instance, during Tafawa Balewa’s regime between 1960 – 1966, a group of Nigerian Urban Elites known as the Nationalists captured the soul of Nigeria’s economy making the government to introduce programmes aimed at protecting the Nation’s domestic potential to accelerate economic growth that could ensure social equity in the distribution of the Nation’s wealth.
These economic ideologies were largely expanded by General Yakubu Gowon’s administration of 1967 to 1975.
Within the period under review, the government introduced the National Development Plan aimed at restructuring facilities damaged during Nigeria’s Civil War in 1967.
However, from 1975 to 1976, there was discontinuity of the economic programs as the reformists group staged what was regarded as the reformists coup which ushered in a new leadership in the country headed by Generals Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo.
With the death of Murtala Mohammed in 1976 however, the Nationalists group quickly recaptured the soul of Nigeria economy.
Within the period of 1976 to 1980, General Olusegun Obasanjo’s government came out with what was called “Pro-Poor” Economic Policies such as Accelerated Food Protection program, World bank Assisted Agricultural projects, River Basin Development Authority Schemes, Operation Feed the Nation among others.
Then, successive governments embarked on measures to revamp and sustain the economy such as Currency Change in 1984, Wages Freeze, Substantial Cuts in Government Spending and Clampdown on Sundry Economic Saboteurs backed up with legal instrument of miscellaneous Offences Decree no 20.
Sadly, the Nationalists group campaigned against the government and in 1985, a new administration under General Babangida emerged.
Unfortunately for the Nationalists group, the Reformist, quickly recaptured the leadership and ensured the continuity of the already laid economic ideologies by the immediate past leadership.
The International Monetary Fund, IMF quickly indicated its intention to grant the regime a loan for revamping and sustaining the Nation’s economy with continuity of the reform programs.
In their reaction against the reform program, the Nationalists group organized protests, riots and workers” strike across the country.
Between 1999 and 2007, the country’s administration which was in the hands of President Olusegun Obasanjo as a civilian Head of State, laid a new economic foundation with proper implementation of the programs among which were the National Poverty Alleviation Programme and National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy, NEEDS.
Nonetheless, as it stands today, it is imperative to understand that for the Nigerian economy to be revamped and sustained, the two contending social forces should overlook their interests and allow laudable economic programs to be continuously implemented.
Nigeria, the giant of Africa and the leading nation of the continent with abundant natural resources, is now a country where many of its citizens cannot afford three square meals a day.
Consequently, the nation must give priority to the areas of agriculture, solid mineral deposits and other untapped and unharnessed abundant natural resources.
Interestingly, the current leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is embarking on financial empowerment of farmers and Cooperative societies for realization of food security in the country.
All efforts must therefore be channeled towards revamping and sustaining the nation’s economy for the welfare and development of its citizens.
Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Salihu Tejumola
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