Five Major Challenges Facing Nigeria in the Coming Year 2015Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
By Prof R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
As the world order goes through necessary and continuous fundamental shifts and changes the role of each community will be changing. Hence in the coming year 2015 Nigeria will face many new challenges, a number of them will just be the continuation and accumulation of unresolved past year crises, or the results of new conflicts and several others unpredictable phenomenal resulting in big scale conflicts. Nigeria will face five such major challenges in the near future. Some of us may see these as opportunities while others will view them as risks. These challenges will bother on political instability, economic downturn, continuation of further sources of insurgencies and insecurity, youth unemployment and social unrest and general government failure leading to a failed state.
Nigeria is a large country but where correct and accurate data driven systems have not been allowed to pay its useful roles. A data driven system would work with facts and figures including participatory roles from the public by collecting their opinions on local or national issues. Nevertheless the general science of governance is to works with or without data in every community. Leaders that imbibe the option to work with facts and figures are scientists whereas those that choose to work without the opinion of his constituencies are gamblers more likely to err. The political challenges facing Nigeria in the year 2015 is beyond just the February 2015 general elections. Nigerian politicians are not ready to learn or ready even to be realistic. Politics is an art of grabbing and accumulation but also has a component of horse trading. A politician ought to know when to quit the stage and make room for a new entrant; not here in Nigeria when the game is a do or die affair. Hence the challenge is that even if the elections were to be free and fair none is ready to believe the results. There is no template with which to compare any result, no public opinion, the registered lists are inadequate, the officers will compromise their positions, and the politicians are hell bent, and so on. This difficult challenge can still be viewed as an opportunity for correction and allowing the modern technology to play a large role in the electoral processes. The priorities the politicians must focus on in the new year is the breaking away from the old style of “Do or die” and lose everything to a more realistic approach of “Give peace a chance” for continuity. It is up to them because head or tail Nigeria will continue to exist.
The Nigeria economy is by far a factor that will create another major upheaval because we envisage that many states and even Nigeria federal governments will fail to pay their staff as at when due from 2015. Already the Nigeria federal government has been rumoured as eyeing the money staff members have been saving with pension administrations under the new pension scheme. Workers must protect their savings. The price of petroleum is going down further in year 2015 not only because of economic slum created by the fluids between the West and Russia but much more because nearly every country has got some oil in its backyard to export. The quantity of petroleum oil in circulation will increase to keep the price low. In advance economy this should have been some good news except in Nigeria that has so far failed even to account for their daily production and has been unable to refine and distribute within and outside Nigeria shores. Whereas we expect economic challenges to be defined around ability or inability to acquire or adapt new technologies and other indices Nigeria remains primarily an economic importer.
It is the view of many authors that unemployment is a voluntary phenomenon and could be cleared by simple natural market forces. Or simply that one is born to react to survival instincts and in that process he or she struggles to get engaged doing something to meet the survival goal. Then we may define a classical theory as a natural rate of unemployment, which will be a function of a given set of education and training, individual preferences and endowments. Hence in any labour market the wages can be used to clear the market and any unemployment that remains is voluntary. Not so any more as government policies and intervention are now crucial functions to clear the labour market. The individual is to acquire the self endowments in the form of education and training whilst the government is to create enabling policies and infrastructure to encourage and generate job creation. This shared function between the individual and the government has pushed up unemployment as the greatest challenge to developing economies like Nigeria. The numbers graduates seeking employment is greater than the number of jobs the developing economy is creating. Then we have a large collection of idle hands that want to work but can’t find job annually. The consequences are a social menace. Nigeria has a backlog of all classes of unemployment such as total unemployment, under-employment, under-paid workers, unrelated employment to training, unemployable graduates and the others. The challenges are similar.
At last, and for whatever reasons, the United Nations representative in Nigeria, Mr. Daouda Toure has called on Nigerians to devise innovative ways of ending the insurgency in the North East ahead of the 2015 elections. Mr. Toure recently made the call in Abuja at a Strategic Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Peaceful Elections in 2015, organized by the Democratic Governance for Development Programme (DGD) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG). Eventually the situation in the North Eastern Nigeria is a big concern also to the people in the United Nations and they want improved situation so that the voting population in that part of the country can participate in the polls. Even the UN has come to the realization that unless we have some form of stability, some control over the situation everybody’s right would not be respected and not everyone will be able to vote. We had expected the UN officials to have moved its army into the North Eastern part of Nigeria a long time ago. The ongoing war there is not designed for the Nigerian Army who appears divided on issues. Some reports indicting senior Nigeria army officers others targeting junior officers disagreeing with their so called bosses on professionalism rather than on mutiny. The Nigerian army can not investigate itself just like we argued that the USA police are incapable of self investigation of the grievous violation of the rights of black citizens on alleged minor cigarette offences leading to them been short or manhandled and killed.
UN should not just be interested in the 2015 elections but the general welfare of Nigerians that has been compromised within and outside Nigeria. The election violence we forecast is based on the assumptions of the people who parade themselves to be politicians whereas they are yahoo-yahoo guys doing it in a “do or die” style. In this way they put the lives of Nigeria citizens at great risks just because of selfish and personal desires. The UN should get engaged early to forestall further violence. The violence we are predicting can come from government sources or from the opposition parties, from one religion or from the others, depending on who feels cheated most. The question is no longer whether elections are going to be rigged but “who rigs the most?” is the average thinking of the so called political class. Only these politicians can help themselves because they are blind and power drunk to think only of the violence option and to believe only in the winning scenario.
Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi
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