WHAT a special day today is! It is both the beginning of the year 2020 and also the start of the third decade of the third millennium in the epoch of our Lord.
Following the failure of General Sani Abacha’s Vision 2010 which died with him, the democratic government of the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua in 2009 created the Nigerian Vision 2020 which, based on Nigeria’s economic prospects as confirmed by foremost world rating groups, pronounced as follows:
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“By 2020, Nigeria will be one of the 20 largest economies in the world, able to consolidate its leadership role in Africa and establish itself as a significant player in the global economic and political arena”.
The picture of things as we step into 2020 is way different from what was declared. Nigeria is ranked as the 27th largest economy in the world in nominal Gross Domestic Product, GDP and the 22nd in purchasing power parity.
It retains the number one position as Africa’s largest economy, GDP, but because of severe failings in so many other sectors, emerged in 2018 as “the poverty capital of the world” with the largest number of out-of-school children (13 million).
With a population which crossed the 200 million mark and growing at about three per cent, the economy will continue to be the main challenge every administration will have to find ways of tackling in the foreseeable future.
Our poor economy is the precursor of the most debilitating social problems facing the country: insecurity, spiralling violence and crime rate.
The year 2020 demands that concrete and long-term steps be taken to create an economy that can carry the needs of the continent’s most populous entity. Unfortunately, we do not seem to be moving in the right direction.
Not only did the government of President Muhammadu Buhari spend over two years to create its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, in 2018, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led Economic Team has already been disbanded, and the new Presidential Economic Advisory Team has not indicated which way we will go next.
Apart from a sudden closure of the land borders, Buhari unilaterally announced a rather queer policy that is already increasing Nigeria’s already over-bloated population: the Visa on Arrival policy “for all Africans”.
The New Year, and the entire new decade, can only end well for Nigeria if something much more creative and devoid of political sentiment and hidden agenda is done to put our economy on a sustainable and implementable path.
Apart from the economy, we expect President Buhari to restore our contracting democracy and civil liberties.
He must also respect the Federal Character provisions of our Constitution and eschew nepotism.
We wish our readers a more fulfilling year 2020.