Joseph Babatunde FAGOYINBO
1.1 A Giant
In human term, a giant is a person larger than usual (Figure 1). “Giant” is the English word commonly used for monsters of human appearance but prodigious size and strength. There are also accounts of giants in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. They were:
- The Nephilim (Genesis 6:4-5) who were destroyed in the flood of Noah’s time (Genesis 7:23);
- The Anakites (Numbers 13:28-33);
- The Emites (Deuteronomy 2:10);
- The Amorites (Amos 2:9)
The Rephaites (Joshua 12:4);
- The Magogs led by Gog the chief prince (Ez 38, 39; Rev 20:8); and
- Goliath (1 Sam 17:4), the only giant that was recorded to live among humans, from Gath and with a height of 6 cubits and a span (about 2.9m / 9ft 6in).
Samson, the Hebrew power man, was not said to be a giant but a man of extraordinary strength (Judg. 15:7-13). He was granted supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies. He performed heroic feats such as wrestling a lion, slaying an entire army with only the jawbone of an ass and destroying a pagan temple.
In various Indo-European mythologies, gigantic peoples are featured as primeval creatures associated with chaos and the wild nature, and they are frequently in conflict with the gods.
1.2 A Dwarf
A dwarf is a person of small stature due to medical reasons, usually somebody with an average-sized body but unusually short limbs, or somebody with growth hormone deficiency. Many dwarfs are successful in businesses, acting, science, etc. They marry and produce healthy children, who also contribute to the socio-economic development of their respective communities, nations and the world
1.3 Implications of the Use of Giant as a Qualifying Title
Nigeria probably adopted this title during the Gowon regime because of its ability to deal decisively with the civil war, its huge natural and human resources, coupled with its overwhelming population, and also its efforts in successful intervention in the crises within the African continent which earned it some huge respect by the international community.
Taking a spiritual look at this title it can be deducted that Nigeria’s problems are associated, in part, with the adoption of Giant as qualifying title. In the Holy Bible all giants ended up as failures or were cursed; even Samson that was not described as a giant lost out at the end of his life. In mythology, all giants worked against the gods.
1.4 The Need for a Glorious Title Based on Accomplishments
From independence through to the 1st republic Nigeria had direction with its lean resources: the Western Region (including the Mid-West) pursued education vigorously. Agriculture, health, sports, communication, etc. were not downplayed; the Northern Region also did not downplay education. Greater encouragement was given to those willing to attend schools than it was in the West; the proportion of the population seeking education was limited in the Northern Region, thus the government had to put in greater incentives.
The Ahmadu Bello administration jn Northern Nigeria ran an integrative governance that was not biased against any faith, though some critics claimed that he had an Islamisation Agenda; one of his ministers reported an incidence when Sir Ahmadu Bello wanted to leave a message for one of his Ministers for a short discussion after Sunday Service only for the telephone to be picked by the Minister himself. The Premier was shocked that he, the Minister, was not already in the Church that Sunday morning. The long and short of the story was that the Premier told him, the Minister, where he could get a Holy Bible to buy, attend Church service and come later for their discussion. Sir Ahmadu Bello knew which Church each of his ministers attended, he was aware of their respective times of service, he knew which bookshop would be open and the Minister could get a Holy Bible to buy, and above all, he encouraged his Minister to attend to His God before attending to him. It was also said that the Premier offered to refund the cost. If he had an Islamisation agenda it was not a “be converted or die affair”: he was propagating the religion he knew and believed in.
The Ironsi Military Regime was probably too short to develop a direction. The Gowon era was initially bedeviled with secession. It later had to put the secession into check when there was a pull out by the Eastern Region. The end of secession rolled into the Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction stage. The Gowon Regime should be credited for ending a 30-month civil war without guerrilla warfare as the aftermath. The Regime also commenced the development of National Policies: a few of which were completed before being ousted out. These accomplishments probably led to the adoption of the qualifying title.
Aside from its resources, Nigeria does not qualify for a title by accomplishments.
2.0 NIGERIA TODAY
There is a need to access Nigeria through how international assessors see it; not the way Nigerians observe it internally. International assessments are logical, quantified, scientific, unbiased and reliable.
A look at accepted economic indicators and Nigeria’s rating will assist a good assessment and possibly give governance opportunity to redirect their plans (Table 1). There may be a need to adapt these assessment methods to also give the States self-examination tools. Table 1 presents indices of some socio-economic indicators of development for selected African countries and one country each from Europe/North America, South America, Asia and the Oriental.
The indicators selected are Power Production, Human Development Index, Technological Index, Literacy Rate, and Global Peace Index in relation to the Land Size, Population and Annual Budget of each of the selected countries.
2.1 Power Production
The Transmission Company of Nigeria recently declared that power generation has gone up to 4,286 megawatts, as against the 3,700 megawatts that are being insinuated in the country: considering the huge amount invested in PHCN, this is not an achievement. Nigeria ranks 32 in land area, 9 in population but 70 in power production. Three African countries Algeria, Egypt and South Africa rank 53, 26 and 15 producing 45200, 143500, 268100 x 106 kW-hr/yr respectively as against Nigeria’s 20130 x 106 kW-hr/yr. Nigeria’s population more than triples the population of South Africa. If computed on per capita basis Nigeria will still rank lower than such countries as Namibia and Zambia.
The poor state of energy production has forced such manufacturers as Dunlop, Michelin, etc. out of the country and forced most other manufacturers to close down (Manuaka, 2012).
2.2 Human Development Index
The Human Development Index (HDI) provides an alternative to the common practice of evaluating a country’s progress in development based on per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is a summary measure of human development that is published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, standards of living, and quality of life for countries worldwide. It is a standard means of measuring well-being, especially child welfare.
Table 1: Indices of Development for Selected Countries
It is used to distinguish whether the country is a developed, a developing or an underdeveloped country, and also to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life. The index was developed in 1990 by Pakistani economist and Finance Minister Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel Laureate for Economics, Amartya Sen.
Nigeria is ranked 156 at index 0.459. Nigeria is surpassed by Algeria (96, at 0.698), Angola (148, at 0.486), Egypt (113, at 0.644), Ghana (135, at 0.541), Kenya (143, at 0.509), Namibia (120, at 0.625) and South Africa (123, at 0.619). It falls into the Low Human Development group
2.3 Technology Index
Garcia et al (2006) observed that science and technology are central elements of a dynamic growth process because technical knowledge is a driving force for rising productivity and competitiveness.
Technology index denotes a country’s technological readiness. The index is created with such indicators as companies spending on R&D, the creativity of the country’s scientific community, personal computer and internet penetration rates.
At 2.99 Nigeria ranked 86 globally trailing after Egypt (64, at 3.68), Ghana (77, at 3.21), Kenya (71, at 3.31), Namibia (65, at 3.66), South Africa (39, at 4.33), and Tanzania (82, at 3.12).
2.4 Literacy Rate
Literacy is the ability to read and write one’s own name and further for knowledge and interest, write coherently, and think critically about the written word. The inability to do so is called illiteracy. For statistical purposes, UNESCO defines a literate person as someone who can read and write a short simple statement about his/her life. In recognising its impact on poverty, health, active citizenship and empowerment, the development community recognises the fact that illiteracy is a condition that denies people opportunity.
Literacy encompasses a complex set of abilities to understand and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture for personal and community development. In a technological society, the concept of literacy is expanding to include the media and electronic text, in addition to alphabetic and number systems.
Nigeria ranks 189 globally at 61.3% literacy level. Algeria (177, at 69.9%), Angola (176, at 70.1%), Egypt (174, at 72.0), Ghana (183, at 67.3%), Kenya (142, at 87.4%), Malawi (168, at 74.85), Namibia (138, at 88.8), South Africa (147, at 86.4%), Tanzania (178, at 69.4%) and Zambia (158, at 80.6%) all surpass Nigeria.
Over two-thirds of the world’s 793 million illiterate adults are found in only eight countries, namely Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Among the countries contributing the highest illiterate population. Nigeria also has the highest rate of poverty at 67.98 %.
2.5 Global Peace Index
The Global Peace Index (GPI) is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. The study is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea and is endorsed by individuals such as Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, economist Jeffrey Sachs, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, and former US president Jimmy Carter (GPI, 2010; Vision of Humanity, 2012). Factors examined by the authors include internal factors such as levels of violence and crime within the country and factors in a country’s external relations such as military expenditure, its relations with neighbouring countries and the level of respect for human rights.
Nigeria ranked 146 at 2.801 falling in the rank of the least peaceful countries in the world. Every other African country listed in Table 1 has a higher level of peace. From 2007 to date, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the index, signifying worsening state of the nation in terms of peace and security in the past five years. The latest ranking conflicts with the Nation’s proclamation that Nigeria is safe for investment, despite incessant bomb attacks that had killed and is still killing many people, especially in the North, kidnapping in the East and resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta.
Table 2: Nigeria is one of the 8 Largest Contributors to Global Illiteracy
3.0 WHAT WAS IT BEFORE?
In the curriculum handed over by the colonialists, there were such subjects as Civics that deals with social sciences and the local culture, Geography that deals with the earth sciences and History that tells of stories relating to explorations, navigation, religion propagation and the past relating to the presence of the localities.
In most of the religion-based schools, there were orchards filled with palatable and tempting fruits that no student dared pluck. Those who went through such training are the ones that are being circulated in governance when they should be relaxing in their “armchairs” and giving advice to the younger ones in governance. These are the same people in administration up till the late 1970s when an ex-student could apply for transcript through the Post and Telecommunications Department (P&T) and it would be attended to with despatch, when a Youth Corps Member would apply for refund of his/her caution deposit from his former university and it would be forwarded within a fortnight through the P&T, when an applicant did not need to know the location of a university before the day of his/her enrolment.
Our leaders up to and including Gowon’s regime were patriotic:
- Awolowo, Chief Obafemi: He was an astute businessman before he went to study commerce and eventually law. He was trading in cocoa produce. He practised land law and there were claims that he received his fees mainly through land ceding. He was wealthy for his time and left a substantial estate.
- Azikiwe, Dr. Nnamdi: A well-learned man of repute. He was a journalist and owned a newspaper publishing; which platform he used for his contribution to the struggle for independence. He also probably made some wealth before entering into politics
- .Balewa, Sir Tafawa: He was a teacher turned politician. He left no substantial estate even as the Prime Minister.
- Bello, Sir Ahmadu: He was a teacher turned politician >He was committed to the emancipation of the Northern Region. He was not wealthy and left no substantial estate. There was a story that those who murdered him, in a coup, wanted to show off his loot and thus brought the security safe in his house to the open. On blowing same open the safe was found to contain one shilling and the address of an English friend: if this is not the truth it would be near; considering the status of the estate he left behind;
- Gowon, Dr. Yakubu: Ousted from office as a young man, he subsequently went into exile in the United Kingdom, where he enroled for a degree programme and furthered to acquire a Ph.D. in political science as a student at the University of Warwick. He lived in north London and integrated himself with the English community. He served a term as Churchwarden in the local church. On his return to Nigeria he formed a non-denominational religious group, Nigeria Prays. He is also involved in the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme as well as the HIV Programme with Global Fund of Geneva. Gowon founded his own organisation in 1992 called the Yakubu Gowon Centre. The organisation is said to work on issues in Nigeria such as good governance as well as infectious disease control including HIV/AIDS, guinea worm, and malaria;
- Okpara, Sir Michael: He was a strong advocate of what he called “pragmatic socialism” and believed that agricultural reform was crucial to the ultimate success of Nigeria. He never owned a house of his own while he was in government. His friends and beneficiaries had to build a house for him in his home place after his return from exile.
What really went wrong between then and now? Fagbadebo (2007) reported that the Nigerian state is a victim of high-level corruption causing the retardation of national development and a ceaseless cycle of crisis arising from peoples’ discontent against the government. He further stated that corruption became legitimised, especially during the Babangida and Abacha regimes (1985-1998), with huge revenues, but wasteful spending, and nothing to show in terms of physical developments
4.0 ADDRESSING THE ISSUE
Late Chinua Achebe said that “the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership”. He is of the view that “the major problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal examples which are hallmarks of true leadership”. His claim can be substantiated with the following:
- There was an insurgency that gradually developed into civil war after the failures of several dialogues. The insurgency was put off through what was described as “military action”. The antidote “military action” left no splinters in the form of guerrilla warfare: a feat for Nigeria;
- Towards the end of Babangida Administration, into the short-lived Sonekan’s interim leadership, the banks had lost the confidence of the people. The Abacha regime quickly restored the integrity of the banks; although many of them failed out;
- An erstwhile Minister of Communication declared that telephone was for the “rich”: Obasanjo Regime made telephone available to all and sundry (Fig. 2): breaking the dominance of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL);
- From Babangida regime, all through to the Abacha regime fuel scarcity was the order of the day but Obasanjo was able to put this in check and there was most of the time free flow of fuel:
- The tenure of Namadi Sambo as Executive Governor of Kaduna State brought the trains out to roll again on the tracks: thus, easing transportation along Kafanchan-Kaduna-Zaria and spurring the Nigerian Railway to wake up: this act has resuscitated the Lagos-Kano line;
- Nigerians were made to believe, and are still being told, that there is subsidy on fuel but Abacha made us aware that profit was being made on fuel: the Abacha regime sold PMS for N11.00/litre and a declared N4.00/litre profit was ploughed into the Petroleum [Special] Trust Fund (PTF) that funded the national facilities and infrastructures rehabilitation programme of the regime; Subsequent administrations have resurfaced the subsidy issues and Nigerians have also refused to ask how Abacha was able to gather profits he utilised for infrastructures rehabilitation and where the subsidies of the subsequent regimes surface from; and
- Raji Fasola Administration’s capability to handle the menace of solid waste management in Lagos metropolis.
Table 3: Price Fluctuation of Premium Motor Spirit From 1977-2012
(N1= 100k; N165=US$ approx., by 2013)
4.1 What are the Problems?
To be able to salvage Nigeria there is a need to identify the problems, identify their sources and proffer solutions. Nigeria’s problems are known and are solvable. Every Nigerian believes that it is the other Nigerians that should address and carry out the solutions while he/she is excluded from the solving process.
Every prominent politician has spoken against corruption and advocated integrity but how many of them can boldly claim to be free from gratifications from establishments for the passage of budget drafts (Adeniji, 2012)? The fuel subsidy issue is still fresh in memory (Ajayi, 2012). Also of note is Alamieyeseigha’s pardon (Odebode and Olokor, 2013) notwithstanding that Nigeria as a whole and the judiciary were ridiculed because of the man: is there any justifiable reason for the pardon on a crime committed by the recipient?
Public officers embezzle with impunity: allegedly under covers of higher authorities (Razaq, 2004; Bajulaiye, 2007) while those elected to govern involve themselves in money laundering. Iyaniwura (2013) reported that in 2001 when former President Obasanjo tried to look into the US$12.4 billion that disappeared under IBB’s regime, it was said that all records with the Central Bank of Nigeria that were relating to the scam had disappeared. But in 2005 when the House of Representatives wanted to impeach the President, the records suddenly reappeared.
Every prominent traditional ruler has pleaded with governance on ending corruption but conspicuously and flamboyantly confer traditional titles on corrupt politicians and so-called statesmen and those who have displayed wealth acquired through doubtful means: some get implicated in acts of malpractices (thepost, 2012; Information Nigeria, 2013).
Notable “men of God” mount the pulpits and rostra to preach against corruption and malpractices but many are known to bootlick politicians, wealthy retired military officers and businessmen of doubtful characters for gratifications and sponsorships (Olokor, 2013). The Christ Embassy’s complicity in Sheraton Hotels’ N39m loot is a case in point (Ajaero, 2003).
4.1.2 Divide and Rule Approach
Caulcrick (2013) aptly summed this up thus “The government of Babangida created a relief valve for dissent by allowing dual nationality for Nigerians. That masterly act allows the untouchables in the society to have a window of escape to other lands, instead of confrontations with the government of the day as the effect of SAP began to bite. It would have been the children of influential people who would most likely have been born in the West and not those of the masses. They, most probably, would have been the ones to champion the dissent to the government. With them out of the way, it was a picnic for that government to dish out unpalatable meals to the populace”.
On what basis was the title “giant” adopted? As shown above, the title is spiritually damaging. No sane person ever names his child Cain or Judas. Nigeria ignorantly assumed that the rapidly diminishing and unsustainable oil money, the vast unutilised land, the vast water resources that flow through the land into the Atlantic unused, the uncontrolled solid minerals that are being exploited unofficially and the high poverty-stricken illiterate population are enough qualifying factors for leadership of the continent: the United States of America is able to lead the world because it is resourceful and productive. Europe was able to explore and colonise Africa because it is adventurous and enterprising and such developing countries as India are able to lift up their economies because they are progressively determined.
From the establishment of the Nigerian Civil Service by the British colonial power in 1861 it has undergone several reforms (Ogunrotifa, 2012). Every effort from post-independence era to the contemporary times aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal civil service by successive governments in Nigeria have failed to cause the civil service to deliver efficient service to the people. Ogunrotifa further observed that it suffers from obsolescence, lethargy and a lack of enthusiasm in carrying out government policies. He noted that most of the previous reforms largely failed because of plethora of factors: lack of political will to implement the reforms on the part of the political leadership, politics, sentiments and mediocrity that have undermined and ensured that the recommendations of several committees were never implemented to the letter, government attempt to reform civil service out of the way of its capitalistic foundation without taking a break from the status quo, and conscious attempt at ignoring democratic practice in the management of civil service.
Very often Nigerians blame their woes on the colonialists; however, somebody needs to reveal the documents the British colonialists left behind stating that:
- State Executive Governors should concentrate on money laundering and not service delivery;
- The refineries should be kept inactive to ensure regular importation:
- Natural gas should be flared to ensure that Nigeria does not have too much money;
- Mandates of research institutes should be distorted to ensure non-performance;;
- Extension agencies of the various agricultural establishments should be detonated to allow for food importation;
- Government properties should be sold for a pittance; many beneficiaries sold minute portions of the containing lands to pay for the properties, built houses in their hometowns, bought cars and still had millions in their accounts;
- Productive and honest officers should be rationalised out of service to allow for mediocrity;
- The railway transportation system should be discontinued;
- Funds for establishing and rehabilitating public infrastructures should be embezzled;
- Facilities and infrastructures should not be maintained; etc;
- Civil Service should be made inactive;
- National Assembly should decide their own emoluments; carting millions of naira on a monthly basis while civil servants are pegged at N18,000 monthly
5.0 WAY FORWARD
Presently Nigeria does not need a qualifying title: Nigeria needs an aspiration; an aspiration that is related to the Vision 20 2020. But Nigeria also needs to review that vision based on where it is in relation to the target (Table 4). Nigeria threw away the flying elephant because elephants do not fly.
Nigeria should cease to be a giant because giants do not succeed. Giants do not develop; they die out. Nigerians are interested in titles: Alhaji; Hadjia; JP (Jerusalem Pilgrim); TP (Town Planner); QS (Quantity Surveyor); Surv (Surveyor); Senator (Even after the expiration of term); Hon. (Notwithstanding that he never raised or contributed any meaningful discussion to any bill); Engr (Even when he never entered the walls of a Trade Centre/Technical College); His Excellency (Notwithstanding that no developments are visible in the state attributable to him after his tenure but state revenues laundered into his accounts kept outside the shores of the land. Because Nigerians love to be entitled, they believe the nation also should.
Note: This write up should have been published 2013 but there was an oversight that made it unpushed. Until a reference was to be made to it was it discovered that it was still in a draft form. The conditions of Nigeria have not changed much.
Though economic growth is declared, economic development does not translate into improved wellbeing of the populace. The NASS people cart home millions monthly but states are owing civil servants their basic salaries of approximately N35,000.00/month for upwards of eleven months
Table 4: Economic Indicators of Level of Industrialisation
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World Statistics [sorted by Area][Stats were last updated 07-Dec-2008]
World Statistics [sorted by Area][Stats were last updated 07-Dec-2008a] adjusted for ranking
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