I had spent the most part of this morning reading through comments (and counter comments) on our economic matters, updating my knowledge of macroeconomic matters as well as listening to various political, financial and economic players come up with multifarious views of our present situation and how to move ahead from here.
Even for a young man as myself, trained as an Agricultural Economist for just 3 (or should I say 2 and half) years of my life, what I’ve learnt thus far is mind blowing. But that’s not all. It’s mind boggling too.
Driving straight to the fundamentals, I totally agree that we need to diversify our economy. And to do so we need capital investments in sectors with economic potentials in the short, medium and long term and that the returns from our investments must accrue in proportionate dimensions to their longevity. Using the words of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala “ we must work towards early successes and appreciate them”. Nothing breeds confidence in a long daunting task than the joy of early success. But we also have to be wary else early success will translate into stagnation via the medium of false security and impudence.
I saw a video on Facebook, shared by my good friend, Aanuoluwapo Isabella Olalere (Bless you dearie!) on Mrs. Kemi Adeosun’s expository lecture on cost-pull inflation, it’s structural dynamics and current effects on our economy. It’s truly a brilliant piece. If you wanna see the video too, look up Aanu and view her wall. Oh, and befriend her while you’re at it…. She’s an amazing soul and you’d be glad you’re friends with her (LOL). Most of her (Mrs. Adeosun’s) point I agree with. But if you had listened to her predecessor (Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala) you’d know that most of her write-ups and talks too made economic sense (at least on paper). But our Finance Minister has got to know that the Nigerian Problem is first a Political Problem before anything else (anything secular, I mean). So it’s not mostly the Nigerian populace that need the lecture (don’t get me wrong, we need it too) but the persons occupying our political terrain.
About a year back I listened to Mr. Nasir El-Rufai’s (Now Governor of Kaduna) speech at Chatham House. He said categorically that the mistake made by erstwhile President, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo’s Economic Management Team was that it “ failed to understand that politics trumps everything in Nigeria”. Well, the Nigeria he spoke about then hasn’t changed, not even now. So all our highly intelligent, progressive minded and technocratic (Mrs. Adeosun included) shouldn’t neglect this fact.
So I’m of the opinion that we have to follow a Simultaneous Advancement Approach to our crisis. There’s really no time to allow for one aspect of our national polity (these aspects, in my own words, being Politics; Economics; Society; Ethnicity; and Religion) to come before the other in the solution chain. I believe that the basic unit of a nation is the family and that of the family is an individual. At no point in the life of an individual will he/she not have to contend with all the above-listed aspects at once. So deriving from the law of transitivity, we see that the problem of a nation is actually that of an individual, although on a grand scale and whatever solutions a progressively rational individual adopts to propel (him/her)self towards a better end must of necessity be that which a progressively rational nation adopts- an hypothesis. With this in mind, I’m well inclined to conclude that how we fix our individual problems within the complex of spiritual (God’s), natural (Earth’s), moral (Humanity’s) and societal (Contractual) laws might very well be how to solve our nation’s problem.
Also we have to learn to agree on the fundamentals. Christ said “ a house divided against itself CAN NEVER stand” (Mark 3:25). I see division everywhere. This doesn’t make sense. Even in very apparent contexts, we still disagree. That’s reckless. Even in an individual there’s has got to be an agreement within one’s constituent elements to get things done. So let’s begin to agree more and dissent less. That you’ve got freedom to speak doesn’t necessarily mean you MUST talk at all times, even on matters you have practically no knowledge of. That’s folly. And the primary cure for folly is learning to keep one’s mouth closed and listening more (Prov 1:23) and then separating oneself to seek and intermeddle with wisdom (Prov 18:1). So when someone says something you don’t understand fully but disagree with, please suppress the impulse to SPEAK. Rather let your disagreement propel you to sit down and read more on it. Now if after all you’ve read you still disagree, put forward your argument within rational and humane bounds (Boy! I love Philosophy for this). And even if you still do not agree, pursue your own ideology. There’s a saying in my native tongue “oju orun t’eye fo lai fara karan” meaning “ the sky is wide enough for all kinds of birds to take flight in without bumping into one the other”.
Also understand and agree with this TRUTH; that you CAN have all things but there are things you WON’T have. There are so many constraints militating against us having everything we want. And our time here on earth is just too short to allow us successfully manipulate all constraints impeding our drive to acquire all that we desire. So let’s live and let others live too. Someone (I think Socrates) said “Imitation is the highest form of respect”. So it’s really great to imitate but nothing beats originality. There’s a reason God created you the way He did. And this applies to the nation as a whole. Look through the procession of the Isreali nation along historical lines. They have seen more civilisations than all nations of the earth combined. But they have always made it a point to preserve their national heritage. This conscious effort stems from the pervasive belief in the understanding that that’s what God demands of them.
God is the Lord of the whole Earth. Do the computation and understand what you may but let’s be wise to adopt the methodology of Nehemiah in rebuilding our walls. Let’s all have the mind to work. That’s gonna make things easier for your immediate neighbour. Do your part. Gradually the walls will be rebuilt. Don’t just sit there and expound economic and political theories you don’t understand. Do what you can. Please I beg of you, be busy; working, studying and moving forward. Let the “Tobiases and Sanbalaths” continue to mock and scorn. Only God can take care of such folks. And if it’s through you God seeks to deal with them, please don’t falter. He is your strength.
In the early days of Obasanjo’s administration we girded our loins and got to work. And our works paid off. We were blessed abundantly. But along the line our prosperity blinded us and we stopped working. That’s what happened. We stopped working! Now we can start, not all over again but “from where we are” (using P. Demola Adigun’s words). Let us work hard, fast and smart. God is with us and we will definitely make it again.
God be with us all. Amen.