Academic journal article Journal of Third World Studies

Beyond Resource Endowment: The State and the Challenges of National Security in Nigeria, 1999 to 2014

Academic journal article Journal of Third World Studies

Beyond Resource Endowment: The State and the Challenges of National Security in Nigeria, 1999 to 2014

Article excerpt


Resource endowment ought to be source of blessing and a platform for sustainable national development. This scenario has been true of resource rich countries. Generally, the disposition of states to the utilization of available resources can be responsible for the possibility or otherwise of achieving national development that will inevitably lead to the guaranteeing of national security. This justifies the assertion that the state plays a key role in the management of the national economy. Critical to this assertion is the notion of the centrality of the state by virtue of the resources available at her disposal to enforce rules and compel obedience. The state is at the centre of mobilization, allocation and utilization of resources for the common good of the people. The state does that to ensure maximum satisfaction and eliminate stress and strain in the society.

The situation of some resource rich countries presents an antithetical situation where the supposed blessing has been turned to curse. The transformative capacity of resource availability has gradually given way for its destructive role. The existence of natural resources in developing countries (Nigeria inclusive) has been seen and become a source of conflict and, therefore, a threat to national security. (1) The 'resource curse' theory developed by Professor Jeffery Sachs seeks to 'explain the seeming inability of resource rich states in Africa and Latin America to industrialise and prosper like their counterparts in South-East Asia'. (2)

The argument is that as authoritarian regimes (including civilian ones) deploy instruments of state at their whims and hijack state resources, the citizens become 'powerless spectators unable to drive economic development or participate effectively in the political arena. Poverty, corruption in high places, and religious and ethnic violence are usually the result'. (3) All these add up to become a threat to national security. (4) This does not mean that authoritarian regimes have not achieved development in history. History has made it clear that, state intervention and/or involvement is not in doubt. As Evans rightly asserted, "all three (referring to Brazil, India and South Korea) are countries where state involvement in industrial transformation is undeniable." (5) The argument according to Evans is that the more important question to ask is "what kind" of state involvement rather than "how much". (6) The experiences of the Asian Tigers such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong; and other countries where authoritarian leaders laid the foundation for development present a contrary scenario from sub-Saharan Africa, where authoritarian regimes have not been able to set the stage for development, rather, resources of the state have been diverted by authoritarian leaders for selfish personal gains.

This makes the need to go beyond resource endowment integral as a means of making maximum benefits from resource availability. An appraisal of the roles of the state with respect to the harnessing, distribution, allocation, and utilization is essential for the purpose of interrogating the rational behind the spiraling cases of national insecurity.


The State

The relationship between the state and the society is central to the understanding of the economy. The interdependence and interaction between the state and the society is necessary to the appreciation of human history. For instance "though some ... states wield formidable military might, they are frequently unable to collect taxes, conduct a census or implement the most basic of policies at the local level." (7) That brings in the need for a coherent, organized and strong society to facilitate the effective management of the institutions of the state. The dependability of both the state and the society is justified by Peter Evans when he asserted that, without the state, markets, the other master institution of modern society, cannot function. …

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