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The security question, economic policy and other crucial issues

By Adisa Adeleye
It is a pity that weeks after the presidential election, the election which was generally agreed to be fair and free; Nigerians would still be under the feeling of uncertainties about the structure and composition of the federal cabinet and also the security of life and property of the individual.  Unfortunately, if feelers are reliable, President Jonathan might disappoint his numerous admirers as to his ability and that of his ruling party (PDP) to forge a new Nigeria.

The problem of security has been painfully treated by the media and others as intractable and dangerous even before the last elections.  The reliability of the federal government on the ability of the various security services to protect various sections of the community has been proved to be highly inadequate to meet the challenges.

Observers have noted with profound regret the lack of unpreparedness of various administrations in tackling the dangerous rise in ethnic, religious and political violence leading to the copious shedding of innocent blood of Nigerian citizens, especially in some Northern parts of the country.  It is no secret, as have been demonstrated many times, that Nigeria is so security porous that any terrorist organization could strike at will, day or night.

The case of Boko Haram is not new to the country since its foundation about ten years ago.  It has struck disastrously at will several times with unpardonable ease and authority at citizens, churches and police stations.  The recent bombing of the car park of Police Headquarters in Abuja tells an ugly story of a sorry state of affairs.

If the recent incident of Boko Haram‘s threat to life and property of the individual has jolted the conscience of a non-security conscious nation to action, what about other threats to civilized and peaceful living? If, according to some political leaders, dialogue is desirable with Boko Haram to stop bombing and destruction, the question is, who would represent a terrorist organization openly?  Reference to American negotiation with Taliban does not make political sense since USA is regarded as ‘imperialists‘ in Afghanistan.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram stands for Islamisation of the State with total destruction of Western education, culture and values.  The Nigerian Constitution allows for freedom of worship and pursuit of education to any level.  The Federal State and Local governments fund lavishly the development of western education without discriminating against Islamic studies.  It looks as if the doctrine and the mode of operation of Boko Haram followers do not allow for any meaningful dialogue.

Some Nigerians have attributed the root of insecurity to political imbalance and economic uncertainties of the country.  From the Nigerian civil war to the present, States have been created to cater for the rights of the minorities against the harsh rules of the majorities.  It has been observed that though desirable, some states were created without any cultural or ethnic consideration or in many cases, the need for economic viability.

Thus some states harbor ruthless majorities and restless and often rebellious minorities.

It has often been pointed out that there is a need to provide a forum for dialogue for Nigeria‘s many groups to decide on how to live together in peace without constant threats of bombs or other forms of destruction in any part of the country.

While the structure of a country is fundamental to its stability, the economic viability is a desirable factor for its development and growth.  Thus, a country like Nigeria, divinely blessed with mineral and human resources could wallow in abject poverty if such resources are wasted or mismanaged.  Wastage or mismanagement of resources could arise from bad planning and corruption, which is an endemic disease in the country.

It is admirable that federalism is accepted as a form of government in Nigeria, even if in reality, true federalism is not being practiced in the country.  The adulterated federalism (introduced by the military) has prevented fiscal responsibility and proper accountability.

There is no need for the Federal Government to be monthly Father Xmas to the States and there is no reason why the federating states should be economic appendage of the Federal Government for survival.

The great economic problems faced by President Jonathan are not his alone (unless he chooses to be a lone-ranger in his party‘s fashion) but problems to be shared by all stake-holders, including, of course, the revitalized private sector.  The provision of adequate power which has eluded the country in the last twelve years should be jointly tackled by all parties to produce a lasting solution.

It is recognized that without adequate power supply the aid pills (by Central Bank) to the recuperating manufacturing industry would be in vain.

I am happy that the Central Bank‘s conservative adherents of classical economists of the past have now recognized the limitation of monetary policy in reducing inflation.  The Sanusi Lamido Sanusi‘s pet idea of tightened monetary policy has become illusionary, and has restricted free flow of funds to the critical real economy.

A policy of cheap money to unlock funds to the economy, to increase locally produced goods and services, if properly managed and aided by friendly fiscal operations would tend to promote growth and employment. It should be realized that President Jonathan has promised the provision of Power and Wealth for the people – living people and not the dead.

The present position points to a dismal future, if not seen and tacked as such by all parties working as a team. There is a case or a genuine national government.


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