2011 Elections Let the Real Debate Begin: The 2011 General Election Will Mark a Watershed in Nigeria's History. It Comes Immediately after Nigeria Bids Farewell to the First 50 Years of Political Independence (and 96 Years of Existence as a Country) and Will Usher in the Set of Leaders That Will Lay the Foundation for the Journey to the Next 50 Years. Professor Chukwuma Soludo Lays out His Hopes and Fears for the Country

By Soludo, Chukwuma | African Business, October 2010 | Go to article overview

2011 Elections Let the Real Debate Begin: The 2011 General Election Will Mark a Watershed in Nigeria's History. It Comes Immediately after Nigeria Bids Farewell to the First 50 Years of Political Independence (and 96 Years of Existence as a Country) and Will Usher in the Set of Leaders That Will Lay the Foundation for the Journey to the Next 50 Years. Professor Chukwuma Soludo Lays out His Hopes and Fears for the Country


Soludo, Chukwuma, African Business


Like every other election all over the world, the 2011 elections in Nigeria should be mainly about the economy. Our first 50 years had a chequered history as we struggled to forge a nation out of the disparate nationalities. The first few years of independence, with the regional economies as the driving force, saw spectacular growth of the economy. With oil came a new political economy based essentially on consumption-distributional politics rather than production.

So far, more than $400bn of oil rents have been spent with modest progress. We seem to be saddled with an oil resource curse and a political economy that emasculates the future. We have gone through a series of development plans, programmes, visions, etc. On paper, some were far-reaching. We have also had the courage to implement some radical reforms. But, without a holistic systemic change and commitment to sustain reforms, we often take three steps forward and four backwards.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It appears that the future is foggy and serious discussions about that future--the new Nigeria in the next 50 years--has not begun. The debate so far is about who would be President and so on, and not about what they will offer. I am afraid that we may again conduct elections without any serious issues being canvassed.

I recall the robust debates relating to the alternative ideologies and manifestos of the five political parties during the 1978/79 elections, I remember specifically listening to Obafemi Awolowo in 1979 explaining how much it would cost to implement free education at all levels and free medical care, and how he would reconstruct public finance to squeeze out the money to implement them.

Not any more! There are no alternative visions, no ideologies and no programmes that offer the voters clear choices about their future. Even my political party, the behemoth PDP, has no clear road map for the country. It has remained a platform to grab power, and I am not sure how many party members can coherently explain what the party stands for. Some of us joined it in the hope of changing it from within, and we have not given up.

I am a strong believer in Nigeria's future and in its destiny to lead the black race. If Nigeria does not make it, sub-Saharan Africa cannot make it. That is why some of us have elected to devote the rest of our lifetimes to work for Nigeria's future.

The challenges are herculean, and the next four years are critical. At current GDP and population growth rates, it will only be in 30 years' time (2040) that Nigeria will attain South Africa's current per capita income. The tragedy is that the country has no implementable plan to steer a different outcome. Under the current political economy, the Vision 2020 will remain what it is--a beautiful dream! Neither the investment levels nor the productivity (given the decaying educational system and poor skills) required to realise Vision 2020 will happen.

For Nigeria to take a shot at 2020, the economy needs to be growing at about 14-15% a year (more than twice the current rates of 6-7%). Even with improved efficiency, this requires annual investment rates of more than 40% of GDP (higher than the total earnings from oil). With the cessation of hostilities in the Niger Delta and the oil price rising to about $79, external reserves ought to be growing. Rather, external reserves are depleting precariously to about $36bn currently. Private capital inflows have largely ceased. The capital market is comatose and capital flight is back with vengeance!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I am deeply worried. As a consequence of deliberate choices made by public sector managers and the constitutional/structural bottlenecks, the economy cannot generate the required investment to secure prosperity for all Recurrent expenditure of the public sector has more than doubled since 2004, leaving very little for investment.

With massive government borrowing during a boom and paradoxically very low levels of public investment, the private sector is stymied into a trap. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

2011 Elections Let the Real Debate Begin: The 2011 General Election Will Mark a Watershed in Nigeria's History. It Comes Immediately after Nigeria Bids Farewell to the First 50 Years of Political Independence (and 96 Years of Existence as a Country) and Will Usher in the Set of Leaders That Will Lay the Foundation for the Journey to the Next 50 Years. Professor Chukwuma Soludo Lays out His Hopes and Fears for the Country
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.