THE PARADOX OF RESTRUCTURING IN NIGERIA By Sola Akinbinu

The issue of restructuring has gained so much prominence in Nigeria today, and its been interpreted and re-interpreted from various angles of interest, that it’s becoming difficult to determine what different groups (ethnic, class etc) wants to make out of the clamour.

Others even take it far to secession and other difficult positions, hence the need to look at the topic from the area where it is of utmost benefit to the younger generation and the overall interest of the development of the country.

Our obligation to the country as a younger generation, despite the harsh realities of today can not include the pulling down of what we have going on as strength for the country, rather to sieve some good seeds in the accident of history which brought us together to cultivate a good future for ourselves.

If Nigerians can live happily in foreign lands, living together among ourselves here should not be impossible, we only need to design a more creative structure that can help to bring out the values in our human potentials, and use that as wealth for the country, even as we have good growing population strength, and we should de-emphasize the dependence on crude oil funds, which it’s fragmentation is chief among the forces pulling us apart.

The basis of the agitations of those clamouring for secession and venting other hate speeches is simply a reaction to the inadequate distribution of the nations potential wealth (and not the actual wealth, cos the actual wealth is Intangible Capital, which is yet untapped).

If the older generation sees Crude oil as the wealth of the nation, sit comfortably and contented on it, failed to develop other sectors in the economy as we can see today, the younger generation will have no choice than to resort to “cannibalism” among ourselves fighting over very few juicy political offices if we continue with the way the older generation Nigerians thinks.

On the other side, secession will not solve the problem, it will only sectionalize the same foundational problem, but If we recognize it together and deal with it together, we will stumble forward, correct our errors and triumph together.

Poverty is the real recipe for all manner of social problems, we must address poverty by ensuring that all Nigerians have access to decent food, clothing, housing and education.

This is not difficult if we take a National approach through our population statistics and involve demographic intellectuals and professionals.

We must invest in these welfare provisions else we spend more in fighting terrorisms, kidnapping, economic sabotages, loss of investments and ruined economic potentials in tourism, destruction of the ecosystem etc.

The army of poor people we neglect will continue to work for secessionist because we have abandoned them. Our education in the country can not continue to be nominal where we just pass exams and get certificates, we must redesign it to become a system directed at production of targeted values.

Every graduate must be able to develop an intellectual product, and not this national deception we call “skill acquisition” ( where graduates are told to go learn tailoring, in the 21st century, is that an intellectual product after 4 or 5 years in the University?) “skill acquisition” is an acknowledgment of our failure, if the graduate actually acquired skill in the University, he won’t need to go learn tailoring again.

Wealth of High-income Nations in the 21st century is mostly driven by Intangible Capital, not anymore by Natural Capital or Produced Capital. National Intangible Capital (NIC) consist of four basic dimensions according to model of Edvinson & Malone (1997).

The main NIC are:
(1) Human Capital: Capital and capability of a country population
(2)Market Capital: Global business attractivity of Country
(3)Process Capital: Operational functionality of the nation
(4)Renewal Capital: Capital for knowledge creation, exploitation and innovation.
59 countries were compared in 2014 (bimac nic 2014/ http:/ bimac.fi), Sweden has 5.74% of her GDP from NIC, USA has 73.80% of her GDP from NIC to come 2nd, Finland has 69.43% of her GDP from NIC to come 3rd, Brazil has 19.69% of her GDP from NIC to come 59, Nigeria which is claiming the largest economy in Africa was not found in the list.
Well, a 2006 World bank document titled “WHERE IS THE WEALTH OF THE NATIONS” page 42, table 2.2, Total wealth of bottom-10 countries, 2000, Nigerias Intangible Capital was found to be -71% (minus 71%). With this, it is no more difficult to understand why there is continuous violence and agitations for seccession in Nigeria, Poverty due to fragmentation on Natural Resources or Natural Capital. No amount of persuasion will stem the agitation for seccession and hate speeches if we don’t take steps that can drive us to economic functionality, and address the issue of basic needs for the widest majority of Nigerians. We must let everyone know that our target as a country can only be to develop our National Intangible Capital (which is going to be from Intellectual Resources of the population I.e Human capital, Social capital and Structural capital in the country), but the way to go is to first reverse to the conditions we were as a nation before the military came in 1966 with General Aguiyi Ironsi who abolished the federating regions by Decree 32, suspended Federal and Regional parliaments, took over control of revenue from natural resources and corporate taxes from regional governments, shared national incomes among regions. Meanwhile, as at Independence and up till 1966, the principle of governance I.e Fiscal Federalism was being adhered to (Nuhu Yaqub, 2016). The practice of the principle of derivation did enable each region to embark on competitive development projects that led to the generation of more wealth that in turn conduced to more revenue accruing to the region. This practice did not also prevent them to reap from the remaining 50%  of the revenue with respect to other principles- such as population size, land mass, contribution to natural development etc. that were also in operation then. These sublime features of fiscal federalism were indeed the hallmark of governance in the first republic. It is still the best period we have had in the developmental history of Nigeria, and we need to get back to that, since we are now in a democracy, it was the military that derailed us out of the productive structure. That will form the viable background where we can now pursue  National Intangible Capital from the relative equity guaranteed by that 1963 Constitution.

It is not always out of place that ethnic leaders may want to play some politics to truncate this, because of the immediate loss and gains of “age-long revenue sharing-priviledges” but it is the utmost responsibility of the youths and other followers, whom the weight of the economy rests upon to insist on a new structure (in adherence with contemporary realities) and design checks to ensure transparency, as the issue of corruption has been demonstrating the ability to weaken the nation most substantively. It is when people do not feel that someone sitting idly somewhere, has the capacity to benefit from their mental exertion of energy, even at their expense that they can be comfortable to work in the country and for the progress of the country.

With these, we are sure to be on the way to putting a final end to the calls for seccession and building a stronger Nation that will be among the wealthiest in the world. Thank you.

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