Just lately, a columnist, not personally known to this correspondent, penned a piece. It was titled “How Ambode Underdeveloped Lagos (I).” https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2019/06/08/how-ambode-underdeveloped-lagos-i/
The gentleman, Yemi Adebowale, was right on point. But it would have served best if he broadened his list of the indicted. Actually, that was how he started before he brought the focus heavily on Lagos and Ambode.
Our point is that Nigerian presidents, governors, etc, are agents of underdevelopment. And this is the norm in Nigeria. It is nothing peculiar to Lagos State or Ambode, inasmuch as both are in justice indicted.
The import of seeing the failure of governance beyond Lagos and Ambode is that we are led to admit it is a systems failure. And if it is then, to solve the problem of Lagos and Ambode, we need to tweak the entire system, not the Lagos sub-system.
If this attitude is taken, then the point of how much Lagos receives or doesn’t from taxes and other revenues becomes a moot point. Development is not driven by money. In fact, development may be described as the movement from scarcity of assets, including money, to its abundance. Development is least of all generated by money. All around the world, there is too much money looking out for fecund ideas. If you got the right ideas, the right tranche of money will seek you or your state out.
In other words, the question should not be: why is Lagos underdeveloped despite trillions poured into her governance? The question should be: why is Nigeria underdeveloped?
And if we sought answers, as honestly as we can, we did discover the worm is in our hearts. Nigeria’s systemic failures have nothing to do with leadership, with characters like Ambode or his Iberiberism counterpart in Owerri, etc. Players like Ambode and the Iberiberism man are just opportunistic rashes on the skein of governance in Nigeria. The matter is simple, folks like Ambode and the Iberiberism man see an opportunity and they turn it into a political heists. They are not particularly evil people. They are just like the rest of us. Perhaps, none of us would have done really better. Yes, some of us could be marginally, repeat marginally, better than an Ambode. However, let it be known that no Nigerian politician as things are can be a developmental agent.
Immediately we get this, we are then half way to resolving the Nigerian conundrum. So, what is Nigeria’s problem as is? It is a problem of how Nigeria is configured. But how Nigeria is configured is a consequence of our ignorance.
It may shock many to believe that Nigerians are a largely ignorant bunch. But that is what the data suggests. Take the issue of the Nigerian Constitution, for instance. The received wisdom is that the Nigerian Constitution is a near clone of the American parent. But in truth it is no such thing. In fact, the Nigerian Constitution has no relationship in real terms with the American equivalent. What happened was that the crafters of our Constitution were largely ignorant men.
And if you started with the “basis constitution” or basis forgery, as was fixed by Chief Rotimi Williams and his hirers, it is clear Mr. Williams had no understanding of American constitutional history. We have treated this matter in more detailed form in our new book: The University Media Complex As Nigeria’s Foremost Amusement Center. And to help make things self-evident, we have un-gated a key excerpt.
Interestingly, the new excerpt explains in American historical terms why United Arab Emirates/UAE/Dubai is working, while Nigeria is not. It all boils down to our ignorance. It is a frightful charge to make, but the data, the historical facts, support the thesis. Nigeria is a playground of the ignorant in power. And this is both at the faculty and state houses levels.
For interested readers, the link is: https://africanomics.org/an-african-mind-rereads-aspects-of-american-constitutionalism/. Happy reading. Shalom.