I came across “free market” Nigerian bloggers like you via the ECO125 website about 2 years ago. You, Feyi F and others. You do a good job explaining the techinicalities and logic of market economics but you fail woefully in one overachingly important way: you’ve all deliberately elided the REAL UNDERLYING FACTOR why Nigerian government policy has always tended toward socialism, Big Government, subsidies and regulated markets.
It’s the same reason Feyi supported Buhari & APC so vociferously DESPITE all the clear evidence that the man is the very antithesis of free market economics.
The factor you’ve all carefully failed to address is TRIBALISM.
Economic policy all over the world is dictated or at least influenced by TRIBE, culture and politics. The word “socio-economic” exists, the word “political economy” exist, for good reason. In trying to avoid being called TRIBALIST, you’ve all been living in politically correct netherlands. The aversion to TRIBALISM by the African intellectual or educated class is a classic sign of COLONIAL MINDSET. It was taught to Africans as a means of destroying their cultural base.
Anyway, here’s comment I sent to a This Day columnist under an alias. It encapsulates some of my thinking and I’d like to have your thoughts. Bear in mind that the lack of economic freedom in Nigeria FACILITATES corruption and so can be thought of as essentially the same.
First of all let me state my personal belief that Nigerians generally DON’T want any solution to corruption.
The corruption that has overrun Nigerian society is rooted in colonialism. The British theft of the entire Nigerian area and its resources from the various native tribes was an act of corruption. It was successful via the use of MILITARY FORCE and RELIGIOUS CONVERSION. The entire system of things called NIGERIA is based on that act of corruption. What the people of Nigeria have been doing is IMITATING the British act of corruption in the hopes of reaping the same level of rewards that accrued to the British.
I’ve often posed the challenge to Nigerians — HOW did you become a Christian? Why did your father or grandfather convert from their tribal religion to Christianity? The basic reason is this: most converted in order to be able to PARTICIPATE in the British system and thereby reap the REWARDS of British corruption. The same is true for the Muslims in the North though the mechanism is a bit more complicated. Given this basis, we all must know that African Christianity is FAKE, a fraud of convenience. Once you acknowledge or realize this BASIC fact, the solutions to Nigerian and African corruption are very easy.
1. Do away with Islam & Christianity and enshrine that prejudice in LAW. Not in the draconian way you might think, but using the same incentive driven approach that forced our forbears to convert in the first place. For instance, you can’t work for the Federal Government if don’t practice a pre-colonial, tribal religion. Or if you have a non African name. Goodluck Jonathan had no place being the President of an African country.
Think about it. If all government officials are made to take oath of office at their village shrine, we all know there will be much less official corruption. Everyone will deny this as a matter of convenience, but we all know it’s true.
2. It gets easier from the above. Next step — PRIVATIZE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE.
Madam, I will presume you were an adult back when NITEL was a government monopoly that controlled and regulated the telecoms sector. It was rife with corruption. The OFFICIAL price of a phone line back in 1997 was maybe N5,000 yet to actually get one installed you had to pay a bribe of N30,000. I know because I was solicited for that amount when I attempted to get a phone line.
Today there’s no corruption in telecoms. The reason is simple — no government involvement.
I could give so many examples. I left Nigeria in 1988. My father had to pay a N250 bribe to confirm my seat.
I’ve had to pay N150,000 to get a relative admitted to Imo State University. Years ago I paid to get a family friend admitted to an engineering program at UNN. I don’t know why this is news to you that people pay bribes for admission.
None of this happens at private institutions or corporations. Privatize everything, including hospitals, major roads, NIPOST, NTA, sports, the whole lot. And watch an economic miracle unfold and corruption reduced to negligible levels.
3. Restructure Nigeria. This is actually an EXTRA step since privatization and deregulation will drastically reduce corruption, but PRIVATIZATION shouldn’t be forced on any people that don’t want it. So grant every tribe autonomy or if they wish, independence so they can run their lives as they wish. A lot of corruption in public office under the present Unitary structure has to do with COMPETITIVE & EXPLOITATIVE tribal patronage, people just want to use Federal ownership of resources to ROB other tribes and appropriate their wealth just like the British did. There’s no guarantee that Bayelsa or Ogoni will be the richest states just because they have abundant crude oil.
The ultimate solution is to LEAVE THE COUNTRY if you can. I’m glad I did because I know that none of the solutions will be acceptable to most Nigerians even though they know they are what is needed. That’s because Nigerians have embraced and acculturated the colonial corruption that Nigeria was built on.
Good luck to you all.
I hope it makes some sense. I don’t think Nigeria will ever sustain living standards acceptable to the people themselves until the BASIC political structures and cultural imperatives are addressed.
My message to you and your brethren….pay us the compliment of being blunt. We’re not children. You become part of the problem by perpetuating willful ignorance or hypocrisy.