SO while Nigeria is the giant of Africa in term of population, more than 80 percent of Nigeria’s population is full of sound and fury in the brain because of the shallow education which they have been receiving. This is why majority of Nigerian professionals are not depending on their professional training for a living. Also no Nigerian university is among the best 200 universities in the world.
Even in area of sports Nigeria’s vast population has not been put to advantage to achieve significant success. Nigeria is a Lilliput when it comes to sports even in Africa. This is a clear case of a retrogressing country, development wise.
In 2006, ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, who unfortunately left infrastructures worse than he met them in 1999, set a 14-year development agenda for Nigeria to be among the 20 most developed countries in the world by 2020. His successors, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and subsequently Goodluck Jonathan inherited the 2020 development agenda when they came on board as president in May 2007 and 2010, respectively.
The eight Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, set by the United Nations to be achieved by 2015 were conceived in the year 2000. Sadly Nigeria has failed to meet the goals. The former presidential adviser to Mr. President on MDGs admitted recently that Nigeria could only meet three out of the eight goals by 2015.
This is not a pass mark. After seven years into vision 20-2020, there is no sign that things have started changing in the areas of qualitative education, electricity, hospitality and tourism, empowerment of the citizenry, increase in diversified exportable agricultural products, exchange and interest rates, inflation and security of lives and property.
Above all, the level of corruption at the local, state and national levels has not shown that Nigeria is making efforts to be among the 20 most developed countries by 2020. Nigeria needs to make hard choices in the financial sector if she wants to realise her vision 20-20-20, according to CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Even Charles Soludo said Nigeria should move with the speed of light if she wants to realise her 20-2020 vision.
China rose from ground zero in the world in 1978 to number two in 2008. They achieved this feat through hard choices, including execution of public treasury looters and confiscating the looted items to the state. This will be one of the hard choices Nigeria will have to make. Another is true fiscal federalism as was the case up till 1966 where each state or region retained 50 per cent of revenue accruable to it.
The present situation has made all the states not to focus on internally-generated revenue as they fold their arms and wait monthly for petroleum money to survive.
And finally China’s economic miracle is anchored on high, moral and ethical principles based on the teaching of the great Chinese philosopher, Confucius who lived 400 years before the birth of Christ. In the same vein, most Nigerian leaders and the led must change their idle and evil life style of immorality, greed, corruption, avarice and wickedness to follow men to hard work, sacrifice, honesty, decency, sincerity, frugality and respect to elders and fear of God.
The present insecurity in the country is one of the greatest obstacles against both local and Foreign Direct Investment. There can be no significant inflow of foreign direct investment where the economic environment of Nigeria is not conducive for even local investors. Many closed their businesses because of unreliable public power supply. Those still in business are merely doing so to keep themselves busy even as they suffer loses. In Makurdi, Benue State, like all other states in Nigeria, many business centres, saloons, cold drinks joints have closed shops due to their inability to continue to run their businesses on generators. In 2009, Direct Foreign Investment was about $3.3.billion but declined to $668 million in 2010. Decline in local investment since 2008 because of business failures in Nigeria is more than the decline in foreign investment. The third of GDP and employment rates of developed countries are contributed by local investment.
But Nigeria is experiencing retrogressive local public and private investment. Many public enterprises in almost all the states, including Benue, were mismanaged to death. Subsequent administrations were unable to revive them for wealth and employment creation.