Buhari, President-elect: Moving Nigeria’s Economy into Growth-path and Accelerating Development (1) | Independent Newspapers Limited
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COLUMNIST, Scientific Analysis

Buhari, President-elect: Moving Nigeria’s Economy into Growth-path and Accelerating Development (1)

Posted: May 12, 2015 at 1:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Francis Ogbimi

 

Nigeria has been stagnating for decades. What is the evidence?  The cardinal evidence is mass unemployment. Nigeria has been experiencing mass unemployment for over 30 (thirty) years. Growing economies demand employment of categories (Lewis, 1972). The corollary is that stagnating economies experience unemployment of all categories. This is why employment in quantity and quality is the most important variable for measuring the progress of an economy. So, Nigeria has been in the woods, off growth-path for over 30 years.

The most important function of the intellectuals of a nation is to provide the knowledge for guiding the growth and development of their nation. When the intellectuals of a nation are unable to provide the needed knowledge for guiding the development of the nation, it stagnates and drifts. Nigeria has been drifting since independence in 1960 because the knowledge to guide the growth and development of the nation is lacking. In Nigeria, rather than try to understand why the nation has been experiencing mass unemployment and stagnating, Nigerians are being misled by those who do not understand the development process who had the opportunity to be in influential positions in government,  those who lack a sense of history and other shallow-reasoning people who have been promoting the false claims that all Nigeria needs is to erect infrastructure so that foreign investments especially Direct Foreign Investments (DFIs) can flow into Nigeria to enable the nation achieve passive  economic transformation overnight. The Nigerian ‘experts’ also claim that Nigerian university graduates are not employable and that self-employment, entrepreneurship and employment in agriculture are the solutions to the mass unemployment, poverty and stagnation problems in Nigeria. This article is written to demonstrate, using historical evidence and logic that the claims by the Nigerian experts who have been directing the economy, especially economists, accountants, bankers, lawyers and indeed some scientists and engineers are false. Consequently, the Nigerian economy has been in the woods for decades. Also this article is written to suggest what Gen (rtd)  Muhammadu Buhari, President-elect of Nigeria, must do to move the economy into a growth-path and accelerate sustainable economic growth and industrialization and solve unemployment and poverty problems in Nigeria.

We have been investigating the basis of the present global distribution of wealth and power, for decades. Our research methodology was a combination of the historical and the logico-mathematical perspectives. So, we probed the history of human development over the past 5000 years.  We asked relevant questions like:  Did the technologically advanced nations of today –  Britain, the United States of America, Japan, others, experience mass unemployment in the past?  Were they poor at a particular time? Our curiosity-driven research has been blessed with a book series with the following titles:

i.   Solution to Mass Unemployment in Nigeria, 160pp + ix.

ii. Understanding Why Capital Investments Cannot Promote Sustainable Economic Growth and   Industrialization, 130pp + x.

iii. Understanding Why Learning Is the Primary Source of Growth, Industrialization and Development, 110pp+vii.

iv. Understanding Why Education and Training Are Indispensable to Rapid Industrialisation and Development, 120pp + viii.

v.  Causes and Remedies for Poverty in Africa, 124pp + viii

vi. Understanding the Theory and Practice of Federalism and Democracy, 238pp + viii.

Vii. Understanding Why Privatisation Is Promoting Unemployment and Poverty and Delaying  Industrialisation in Africa, 250pp +viii.

History reveals that all the technologically-advanced nations of today experienced mass unemployment for centuries before they achieved Industrial Revolution (IR). All the technologically-advanced nations of today had agrarian economies like Nigeria’s, for centuries. The modern Western Europe – ancient Gaul, was harnessed into the Roman Empire in 55 B. C. The western portion of the empire broke-up in 406 A. D. The various ethnic groups in the region occupied by modern England and other invading ethnic groups metamorphosed into the Kingdom of England in the tenth century (Carrington and Jackson, 1954; and Brooke, 1968). All through the 1500s, English farm families were dispossessed of their land and forced to look after themselves as best as they could. The proportion of England’s population that was destitute rose dramatically. By the end of the 16th century, many thousands of common people were forced into begging, stealing and prostitution (Defleur, et al., 1977). A common belief in an agrarian economy, is that the real solution to unemployment and poverty, is to provide land for able people to farm and make a living themselves. This thinking probably influenced the actions taken by individuals and government concerning England poverty and unemployment problems during the early 1600s (Defleur, et al. , 1977). It was during the early 1600s that charters were first issued for establishing colonies in the New World – the Americas.  Such ventures were probably perceived as solutions to the problems of the English poor. The healthy and able-bodied poor could be sent to the colonies where people were in short supply and there was uncultivated land. That was the beginning of how the English poor (area boys?) were exported to America (Defleur, et al., 1977). Poverty and sufferings continued in Britain for many more centuries before the nation achieved the first modern Industrial Revolution (IR). The general grievance, civil wars and military rule in England during the period 1640-1688 had a lot to do with unemployment and poverty. Thus, entrepreneurship and self-employment in agriculture did not solve the problem of unemployment and poverty in agrarian Britain. The British experience was typical of European nations. Britain did not establish a public educational system till after it had achieved IR and fought the two World Wars (Dent, 1975). So, Britain only had apprenticeship scheme. That is, though European nations did not have formal educational systems for many centuries, they experienced mass unemployment. The experience of European nations suggests that it is not inappropriate educational systems that produce mass unemployment.

Britain achieved the first modern IR in the period 1770-1850 (Gregg, 1971). When Britain achieved the IR, the adult males and females in the nation were not many enough to fill available job openings created by the revolution. Consequently, employers of labour had to resort to employing children to work for many hours in the day. This is the basis of the scandalous child-labour in Britain during the early times of the European industrialization. History, therefore, demonstrates that rapid economic growth and industrialization are the solutions to mass unemployment and poverty.

Reading the lips of Nigerian leaders over the decades revealed that they do not think that Nigeria would become a manufacturing nation one day. That explains why they talk of oil, gas, solid minerals, cocoa – the things they can sell immediately and get money to spend.  All they do about developing the economy is to beg the Caucasians and Asians that there are investment opportunities in the Nigerian economy; they should bring Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to Nigeria and develop the Nigerian economy over-night while Nigerians rest on their oars. When they talk of what they think Nigerians can do, they talk of: farming, making cassava bread and exporting cassava chips to China, making cassava cake. Nigerian leaders never talk of manufacturing scientific products like cars, chemicals, drugs, paper, iron and steel and aluminum. Whereas Nigerian leaders travel in limousines, helicopters, jets, etc., made by Caucasians and Asians, they think that Africans are sub-humans who would never manufacture scientific products. Our leaders are very wrong. It is industrialization that Nigeria needs not entrepreneurship and self-employment. It is industrialization that will bring about many activities that will provide many millions of job openings. It is industrialization that will make Nigeria a manufacturing nation. Nigeria can achieve rapid industrialization.

Organized intelligence is the new factor of production (Galbraith, 1967). This is an association of men and women of diverse technical knowledge, experience or other talents, which modern industrial planning requires. It embraces a large number of people and a large variety of talents. It is on the  effectiveness of this organization that  is now agreed that the success of modern business enterprises depends. The entrepreneur, individualistic, restless person, with vision, guile and courage was the economists’ hero long ago, not now (Galbraith, 1967).

Industrialization transforms an agricultural/artisan economy into one in which scientific knowledge, skills and competences are applied in solving problems in all aspects of life. The Nigerian 54-year experience demonstrates unequivocally that Western social scientists do not understand the industrialization process. No one solves a problem he or she does not understand. My patriotic  advice for the President-elect of Nigeria, Gen Buhari,  is that he should not engage  economists, accountants, bankers and other social scientists who have been involved in the management of the Nigerian economy since 1960 to try again to solve the problem he or she does not understand.  The nation should raise the National Planning Commission to a super –Ministry to plan for Nigeria and forbid the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria planning the economic development of Nigeria. Social scientists have fixed ideas which cannot solve the problems confronting Nigeria today. Nigeria should engage scientists who are ready to learn to manage the Nigerian economy. Let us do something new.

 

GSM: 08037062056; e-mail: fogbimi@yahoo.com