By Prince Pieray Odor
In an August publication in Foreignpolicy.com authored by Robert Rotberg and John Campbell, a former US ambassador in Nigeria, the authors characterised Nigeria as a ‘fully failed state’. The opening statements of that devil’s advocacy are: ‘‘Nigeria has long teetered on the precipice of failure. But now, unable to keep its citizens safe and secure, Nigeria has become a fully failed state of critical geopolitical concern’’. This declaration is fallacious and intended to instigate Nigerians into violence against the federal government. Campbell who in his book titled Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, (2013) urged President Obama to provide “grants to those actively working to create a democratic culture” otherwise Nigerians will ‘‘distance themselves from the (US) government” intended the same end.
I present first an empirical refutation of their assertion: If the brake of a car or truck fails, it will crash into any stationary or moving object, including another vehicle, and will ‘‘die’’, and its occupant/s will die. If the heart of a person fails, the person will die. Their assertion is that Nigeria is a ‘fully failed state’ but Nigeria is still alive, not dead. Proofs: It is still the pillar supporting other African countries or the blood giving life to them. At the recently concluded COP 26, focus was on using Nigeria to make other African governments carry out the actions that the US, China and other culprits of climate change do not want to carry out. The World Bank, the IMF and others have assessed Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa.
Moreover, American entrepreneurs and others from Europe and Asia have assessed Nigeria as fertile and promising for investment consequent on which a scramble for Nigeria for investment has been on and is increasing in voracity. Some of them are using the IMF, World Bank and WTO to achieve the changes that will best achieve their economic nationalism by recommending ‘‘reform’’, a term that has worse consequences than the consequences of SAP and is intended as a strategy for further deforming the economic structure of Nigeria and usurping control over the economy. On security which they cited, it is noted that more Americans are killed with guns every day in the US than the number of Nigerians killed by Boko Haram and others every month. Visit https://www.bradyunited.org/key-statistics to confirm this. Therefore, the US is a fully failed state.
Having defended my characterisation of their claim, I now deal with the matter that deserves our interest, time, and discuss: Why governance has been failing in Nigeria. The first is that the first government did not rebuild Nigeria damaged by the British government at colonisation by articulating and institutionalising national interests, leadership and national developmental values, and commitment to competition with western governments of the world through nationalism. Moreover, no government since ‘‘independence’’ has institutionalised these indispensable tools for economic development and super power status.
Limiting myself to economic consideration in this piece, the second reason is the deliberate and strategic actions in Nigeria by the WB, IMF, WTO and UNDP, intended to achieve the ‘firm containment’ of Nigeria’s economy ‘less blatantly’, consistent with the globalisation aim of their establishment by the government of the USA which finances them to do that.
The third is that Nigerians who matter are what Americans call ‘‘revolving door”. These are Nigerians put in government as ministers by the IMF, WB, WTO, Paris Club, others, Nigerians recommended by them to the government as consultants, and Nigerians who have business partnerships with them. I shall discuss this group after I have revealed the fourth reason why governance has been failing in Nigeria. This is the fact that Nigerians always blame their government for the economic situation of the country while they should blame the UN organisations, Paris Club and others, and end their actions.
Back to the ‘revolving doors’, these people support the IMF and WB when they recommend loan and currency devaluation to the government, based on one solution fits all, ‘‘conditionalities’’, and Lamborghinian development model—thanks to Joseph Stiglitz and Olufemi Saibu. As Professor Saibu very rightly noted in his published inaugural lecture titled Rethinking the Development Process in Nigeria: A Choice Between Lamborghini and Ajagbe ejo (pgs 13, 14), ‘‘Many of the assumptions upon which these (IMF and WB) economic models and policies are designed are usually not in tandem with the reality and social setting of the user’s/owner’s (Nigerians’) environment … Basic parameters are not developed from the real local information and reality and, even when they do, they are from micro sample observations … extremely inadequate to capture the inherent complexity in the user’s environment’’. These fail and, as Saibu also rightly noted, “the developers—IMF and WB—blame .…the users (government) for the failure … rather than the inadequacy of the policy model’’; and Nigerians do NOT act against them. On electricity subsidies:
In July 1986, General Babangida accepted Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) recommended by the IMF-WB. The consequence: ‘‘Inflation … assumed a doomsday scenario … (from 5,4% in 1986 to 40,9% in 1989) threatening to destroy the very fabric of Nigerian society” (file:///C:/Users/User/AppData/Local/Temp/jsda007001003.pdf) Nigerians reacted against Babangida and NOT against the IMF and WB. The deformation and agonies it brought upon Nigerians still exist. On January 1, 2012, President Jonathan increased fuel price because Christine Lagarde, the former head of the IMF, instructed it. Nigerians went into the street for five days against President Jonathan and NOT the IMF.
As was published by the Premium Times online, Nov.21, 2021, ‘‘The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised President Buhari to completely remove fuel and electricity subsidies in early 2022’, and carry out “reforms in fiscal, exchange rate, trade …”. From the guardian.ng online, Nov. 24, 2021, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced that the federal government will begin total removal of fuel subsidy next year while paying ‘N5,000 to 40 million Nigerians monthly’’. We will have another imposition of Lamborghinian economic reform by the IMF beginning January 1, 2022 if Nigerians fail to react massively, resolutely and zealously against the globalist authoritarianism, dictatorship and devastating order by the IMF. Enough of this! Resilience or permissiveness is increasing poverty and deaths in Nigeria!
President Buhari needs overwhelming support to have courage to reject it! Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, should lead the opposition against the IMF to convince Nigerians that she is not a revolving door, is loyal to Nigerians and to President Buhari.
Odor writes from Lagos