Take it or leave it, socio – economic and
Take it or leave it, socio – economic and infrastructural development, will continue to elude Nigeria, if government at all levels and the governed remain in atmosphere of pretence .
Not many Nigerians would agree, but it must be stated that blaming governments alone for the country’s economic woes, decaying infrastructures and all – round stunted growth/ development, is the greatest hypocrisy of the moment.
A breakdown of this brief discourse in various sub heads, would enable us appreciate how everyone contribute to the continuous under -development of the country.
Education: The ruling / political class , will tell the governed / electorates through hyped media contents how much they budget annually for educational development.
They mention a couple of school buildings renovated, but send their children/ wards abroad (mostly Europe and the United States) to acquire quality education ( sometimes from basic school to post graduates levels).
The same ruling / political class, do little or nothing about equipping public schools’ libraries and laboratories. They care less about the quality of teaching and the number of teaching staff. A reasonable number of parents on their part (i.e. the governed) teach their children/ wards , how to cheat during examinations.
Shockingly, some parents begin the cheating game when their children write the first school leaving certificate ( primary six) examination. The bad culture of cheating during examinations, is then imbibed on the children, who develop with the negativity up to tertiary school level. In the long – run, the culture of hard -work, merit and excellence, are thrown to the dust bin, thus promoting cheating and short – cut mentality, which more often than not, reflects in inefficient and low quality workforce/ poor productivity.
Infrastructure: Governments at all levels, allocate less than 30 % of their budgets yearly for infrastructural development and over 70% for recurrent expenditure. More annoying, is the fact that the less than 30 % capital expenditure , is hardly ever expended judiciously.
Construction of the critical infrastructures, are mostly awarded to incompetent contractors for political patronage. Worst still, after those in authority ( governance) award the jobs, the community leaders (a section of the governed) demand some form of compensation/ settlement, before the project (s) take off. The community leaders collect the” compensation/settlement” from the contractors/ companies and turn blind eyes on the projects’ execution, if eventually such projects take off.
The end result is project abandonment or poor execution.
Agriculture: The craze for everything foreign, cuts across government and the governed. Why government at the federal level is preaching patronage of home-grown food and Agro – allied produce, majority of the political class/ elites in government are consuming imported foodstuffs, wearing foreign fabrics and even glorying in them.
Against the wish of the federal government and majority of Nigerians, big local rice farmers (tiny section of the governed) are exploiting fellow Nigerians by astronomically increasing the prices of locally produced rice as a result of the ban of smuggled foreign rice. Majority of farmers live in abject poverty, while the federal and state governments fail to encourage investments in the Agric production chain( Production – processing – packaging – consumption – export). The governed on their part, blame government while they continually satisfy their huge appetite for foreign Agric produce and its allied products.
Ironically, the governed are angry with government over attempts to stop smuggling of imported rice and other Agric produce into the country, a policy government introduced to boost consumption of home – grown rice.
Socio – Economic Development: Organized Labour and civil society groups, want increase in workers’ wages amid a shaky economic outlook,but surprisingly failing to push for reduction in the salaries / allowances of the ruling political class ( guilty of engaging needless and unproductive aides).
Yet, the same Organized Labour and civil society groups, preach reduction in recurrent expenditure. The political/ ruling class, canvass for foreign investments’ inflow, but pilfer public funds and take same to foreign banks or invest the monies outside the country.
Petroleum/ Solid Minerals: While the federal government claims to be working towards revamping the country’s refineries and even promising the take – off of some modular refineries, nothing tangible is on ground to suggests government’s commitment. Interestingly, whenever the federal government talks of privatizing or commercializing the public (government owned) refineries for effective productivity, the governed through Organized Labour, section of the media and civil society groups, would kick against it. Yet the governed fail to ask what’s the essence of paying the workforce of the state owned refineries and maintaining the refineries without corresponding productivity.
Governments, especially at the federal level, has annual budget for solid minerals development, yet the electorates under the auspices of civil society, religious,community, ethnic and community leaders as well as Organized Labour , don’t bother to ask where the funds budgeted for such purpose are channeled to.
The story is the same for all sectors of the country’s economy and until everyone take responsibility for developing the country, from the community level, Nigeria will continue to suffer under- development.