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Nation building through economic activity: What should we do differently?

Nigeria, unity, Vision

The Federal Government of Nigeria and the African Development Bank expressed concern over the youth unemployment figures in Nigeria (23.63% of young people are currently unemployed and 16.6% are underemployment), given the projection made by the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige that the unemployment rate could be as high as 33.5% in 2020. Every administration in Nigeria has created social intervention programmes to eradicate poverty and tackle persistent unemployment, yet Nigeria was recently christened the “poverty capital” of the world. Demographic explosion, coupled with infrastructural deficits and many other issues linked to the mismanagement of our scarce resources, have prevented real development and inclusive growth. The question is: what should we do differently?

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Politics, policy

Public focus is on 2023 politics rather than pro-poor policy making

Our fundamental problem in Nigeria isn’t the quality of our elections; our problem lies at the heart of our understanding of democracy: we have no institutionalised forms of welfare or true commitment to equality and social justice. When will we see that beyond APC or PDP our problem is the extreme form of capitalism we practise which legitimises prioritising the comforts, needs and financial opportunities of the rich at the expense of everyone else in society? In America, income inequality is frequently a topic of discussion. Conversely, in Nigeria, the media and public opinion are obsessed with electoral politics, reducing our understanding of political affairs to the competition for power involving various individuals running for office; but we rarely discuss the structural issues which impede development no matter which persons or parties are in power. Doing so runs counter to the interests of some very highly placed people.

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