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The keyword in the next government’s economic agenda must be – dynamic. It must be bold, it must be transparent, demonstrable enough to be believable to give hope to a traumatized population. It must inspire hope that has been conspicuously absent even despite the election in a people that cannot see a future for themselves and their children.

These are some of the challenges confronting the next government – intractable

and complex; as a whole it is the economy, in parts it’s the absence of security, the

state of public infrastructure, unemployment, productivity, the failure of the

education system, concentration of power at the Centre, cost of governance and

lack of trust and transparency in public institutions. Due to decades of endemic

neglect, painful collapse of the hinges of public institutions and in effect the state,

these challenges are urgent and existential.

The next government must deal with the long running debate of national security

architecture. Each state must be responsible for the internal security of their state

with each having a police supervisory board made up of appointed citizens with

term limit. This arrangement does not preclude the necessity of a federal security

agency that would work to support the state police if and when necessary.

Furthermore, apart from the low level crimes committed by individuals and

criminals routinely expected to be dealt with by the police there are two hot spots

within the Nigeria federation that are major security concern that have been going

on for years – in the North East and the South East. The former could end as soon

as the military are able to defeat the bandit perpetrating it. In the other hand, the

situation in the South East is a deliberate concerted effort by certain groups within

and outside the country to undermine the integrity of the country that is being

done through civil disobedience, criminal destruction of public property, killing,

kidnapping and banditry. The next government must find a solution to this as it

directly affects the image of the country and economic well being of the innocent

citizens in the area. The presidential candidate of the Labour Party Mr. Peter Obi

with the almost total mandate of the people of the region could be uniquely useful here with the understanding that practical devolution of some of the power

currently monopolized in Abuja could be a catalyst for resolving long standing

grievances here for the benefit of the entirety.

Campaign for devolution of power across the federation has been a staple of

politicians since 1963 with the Constitution allowing limited authority for the unit

states to make decisions that could positively affect the lives of their citizens. This

must change in a manner that will allow clusters of states acting with the primary

objective of economic integration in a region operate an economic community with

economic cooperation that could facilitate joint investments in public

infrastructure like roads, rails and more sustainable management of the

environment. It’s for example understandable why the federal government should

construct a east west road (Lagos – Calabar) but it’s less clear a road between Akure

in Ondo State and Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State as in so many similar places should be a

federal assignment.

The next government must confront the issue of education in Nigeria and

demonstrate it is aware of the IMPORTANCE of education from the primary school

level to the university. There must be an enforced national standard to ensure the

school system is able to produce the workforce needed for economic growth and

productivity. Until recently, it was my belief the disproportionate inability of the

northern part of the country to contribute to the graduate working population was

a religious issue until I got to know what the United Arab Emirates have

accomplished in technological breakthrough and scientific research. This is despite

their more strict sharia interpretation of Islam. What is happening in the Northern

part of the country is a crime. There is no reason not to enforce a national standard

and urgently consider adopting either the South Korean or German Educational

system that could help transform our educational and technological advancement

within a very short time.

Power has been the bane of the Nigerian state for as long as memory would serve

and continue to be a scourge to businesses, life itself and way of of life. In recent

past there was the failed effort to privatize what till then was one of the few

avenues government could ameliorate the cost of living of the people. The process has been an unmitigated disaster. The next government should terminate the

existing arrangement and reconstitute the national power distribution authority

NEPA. It should specifically invite technical partnership from the Scandinavian

countries or South Korea. It should through a special purpose vehicle arrange for

Issuance of bond to raise the capital it would require to build a state of the art

power generation and distribution company that could then be sold to the public

at a later date.

The next government must also deal with the issue of transparency and

accountability in government. The culture of the government as a legalized criminal

enterprise must stop. This in turn leads to the issue of cost of governance. Does the

country actually need a bicameral legislatures and is there really a need for full time

law makers? In the face of ever dwindling resources the secrecy surrounding the

salaries, constituency allocations and benefits of members of legislatures at both

the states and national level is an affront to decency. The next government must

see this as a priority by bringing transparency to government while tackling these

related issues.

There is unfortunately a paucity of reliable data to sufficiently analyze the state of

the Nigeria economy except for the currency the Naira which mirrors the

rampaging menace of inflation over many years through successive government

economic somersaults. However, a population of a quarter of a billion people offer

the new government the enormous market that with good planning and

monitoring necessary for sustained economic stability could transform the fortune

of this country.

With all that is wrong with the Nigeria economy the realization of absence of

stability at the Centre of the country’s monetary system is sad to say the least as

exposed by the recent calamitous attempt to introduce new Naira notes. The

episode is of an organization without responsible management structure. For a long

time, I have always felt a necessity for engagement of some of the world’s retired,

renowned expatriate experts as in-house specialists in some of our critical

institutions to help with procedures, professionalism, ethics – the Central Bank of

Nigeria, the Supreme Court, the Nigeria Police Headquarters are prime candidates. These distinguished individuals would be observers offering opinions on due

process, ethical issues for a period of up to ten years as the case may be until they

are needed no more and we are able to run the ship.

The administration of the Central Bank of Nigeria as a matter of urgency must be

revamped to meet the challenges of the time. Over the last few decades it has

demonstrated absolute incompetence on issues of micro economic decisions and

contributed in no small measure to the state of the country today. A collegiate

executive board with voting power needs to be introduced with term limit with

more transparency decision making process. This is a clear way to improve the

regulatory environment in order to increase the level of foreign investment in the


Finally, the next government must embrace a Nigerian Blue as a vehicle for

comprehensive solutions to issues of unemployment, infrastructural development

sustainability of the environment, renewable energy and sufficiency.

Unfortunately, the outgoing administration made a rather late entry into the

conversation with the constitution of the Expanded Partnership Committee on Blue

Economy in Nigeria under the Chairmanship of the Vice President early last year

that would now need to be reinvigorated by the next government. A Nigerian Blue

Economy is projected by experts to exponentially quadruple the GDP in the

medium term four fold from the current 407 billion dollar to 1.5 trillion USD.

From construction of new ports along the Atlantic Ocean coastline, shipping,

ship building, modern fishing, aquaculture, Oyster farming, ocean mining,

biotechnology, and coastal tourism. A Nigeria Blue Economy would generate

millions of employment, create new entrepreneurs and provide the platform for

an integrated transportation infrastructure from the coast inward. And would

be funded with special purpose vehicle only the incorporation of a Nigerian Blue

Economy can permit.

Soji Adeleye


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Chief Executive Officer, Alfe City Institution

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