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In This Vulnerable World Nigeria Must Get the Politics Right

Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi

By Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi

Nigerians must get their politics right in order to meet the aspirations of her people and achieve sustainable development in this vulnerable world. Africa is generally very vulnerable to (a) disease epidemics because of her climate and level of scientific development, (b) food insecurity because her rate of population growth is faster than rate of food production in the face of land depreciation and population movement away from the farmland to the urban areas, (c) hacking and all technological warfare from the more advanced world. The simplistic approach Africans are taking by allowing just any set of individuals to rule over them may yet be a most costly single mistake to further deprive the continent from moving forward. Hence Nigeria in particular, must get its politics right in order to improve the standard of living of its citizens.


Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The Nigeria First Republic (1960 -1965) was adversely affected and driven by the cumulative colonial experience of the politicians of that time. Before the independence they were united by the frustration of the low dignity they had suffered under their colonial masters but after the independence nothing seems capable to unite them. In fact the serial interventions of military coups ware to create the necessary decorum and order the proper development of the society. Unfortunately the military men got embroiled in more complex corruption, nepotism, and ineptness than the politicians they came to correct. This was in addition to the military seizing power through the gun and making a military rule no longer an aberration but a system against human rights and against the dignity of all civic norms.

Nevertheless the developments that came the way of Nigeria during the military rules remain very substantial and beyond what Nigerian politicians have ever been able to achieve. The People Republic of China, the Communist in Russia, and many others were able to achieve physical development under a similar scenario where Nigeria had failed because those others had well focused leadership. The setting in the Arab countries also calls for mentioning where modern societies have emerged from the deserts because a set of leaders guided the society to move forward.

The factors contributing to poor development and lack of a set of core aspirations and common goals were brought on board by the politicians’ incapability to pursue developmental ideology guided by a well laid out developmental action plan. The first few military regimes in Nigeria drew up some national development plans even though they were poor in the overall implementation of their action plans. The advantages in following a development action plan are multiple which may include coverage, comprehensiveness, common goal and continuity amongst others. Nigeria is at a crossroad in every area. Her development plans are subject to individual politicians and government appointees rather than being guided by a national road map like a national development plan.

The vulnerability that concerns us at the moment is the long term security of the citizens in terms of (i) appropriate and adequate education of youths and their employment, (ii) food availability, accessibility and affordability, (iii) proper healthcare security for all, (iv) shelter and general accommodation for all, (v) adequate energy to power the few industries immerging   and (vi) a proper retirement pension to look after old age. Nigerians are vulnerable in each of these areas and we should be concerned.

For example let is consider the current Nigeria pension scheme. It can be recalled that Nigeria undertook a pension reform which was signed to law in 2004. We have since discovered that the current pension has been modelled after that of Chile in South America. According to some authorities in the subject, the model that Nigeria is now celebrating was a model Chile used between 1981 and 2008. Chile has now got a new pension model for its citizens since 2008. Chile’s new pension can be recommended for most countries of the world, including Nigeria. Nigerians’ vulnerability here is at least twofold; copying a model that was failing in a South America after they tested it for 26 years and providing a retirement scheme only for a tiny proportion of the entire population. Some of my PhD students and I are now working to seeing if we could come up with an optimum model that is rich and workable. The model dumped by Nigeria in 2004 was richer but government failed its citizens at implementation stages.

Africa will remain vulnerable not only to the continent’s low economic and technological capacities but the dysfunctional politicians and a society that in generally is ignorant and gullible to politicians’ dictates, and their give and take. We expect politicians to know and act comprehensively and collectively on our behalf. We also expect them to think and plan ahead of the general society as our guides and people who should know where we ought to be as a nation. If the politicians would not deliver on these primary items how could we possibly depend on them to provide a robust African society sooner rather than later?

 Prof. R.A. Ipinyomi, Department of Statistics, University of Ilorin, Nigeria 
ipinyomira@yahoo.co.uk or/and raipinyomi@unilorin.edu.ng


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