By Olowogboyega Oyebade
Have you come across the book of Aristotle of Stagira titled: “Ethics and Politics”? Are you aware that he was the first philosopher to recognize that man is in three phases… physical, mental and spiritual? Are you aware that there are spiritual dimensions to our being? Do you know that Nigeria is noted for its religiosity? Do you know that we have to join our Governor as he organizes State Prayers on 2nd and 3rd January, 2019 to bring peace, prosperity and development to our State and Nigeria? Do you know that we may support these special prayers with fasting for better spiritual atonement? Do you know that we need prayer for peace for the coming general elections? Do you know that we need prayers to surmount the rising tide of violence in our land? The time to pray collectively is now. The place to pray is here. You want to know more about that? Come along, please.
The year was 1571. Pope Pius V declared general prayer and called for all Europe to pray the Rosary for victory at the Battle of Lepanto involving the Christian belligerents. Do you know that the battle was decisively won and the enemies were humiliated and trounced? Are you aware that the effigies of the trophies from the battle are now enshrined in various Christian churches which attribute the victory to the massive prayers offered by the congregations? Do you know that while some Economists were attributing the fall of communism in the Revolutions of 1989 in the Soviet Russia to market forces and socio-economic conditions, many religionists attributed it to massive prayers against the system? Are you aware that we need prayers now as those who presided over the death of the commanding heights of our country’s economy are the ones ‘ artikulating’ our miseries and boasting to preside over our collective burial? Do you know that those who claim not to believe in God find a place in their reflexes to harbour a feeling for prayers to God? Yes!
We remember Bertrand Russell. He was a 20th-century, philosopher. He wrote a book titled: “Why I am Not a Christian.” He argued frantically in the book that religion and science have always been at war, “claiming for themselves the same territory, ideas and allegiances”. Russell in this thesis argued and concluded that the war had been decisively won by science. The same instinct developed in Nietzche when he wrote his own thesis titled: “ God is dead”. ”. Despite this academic gymnastics, the words of the same Bertrand Russell when he was 22 years old readily come to mind. He declared: “For although I had long ceased to believe in the efficacy of prayer, I was so lonely and so in need of some supporter such as the Christian God, that I took to saying prayers again when I ceased to believe in their efficacy.”
Prayer is an intercession directed towards God. On 2nd January, 2019, the leaders of Islam and Christianity will lead the State Prayers organized by Mr Gboyega Oyetola, the Governor of our State while the leaders of the traditional faith will lead the State prayers on 3rd January, 2019. Do you know that 2019 is crucial to our State and country? Do you know that we are going to witness certain development, economic, social and political? Are you aware that all of us are products of the right and wrong decisions taken by our past leaders?
Do you know why our National Anthem offers prayer to our leaders when it says in the second stanza:
“O God of creation,
Direct our noble cause, Direct our leaders right,
Help our youth the truth to know…”
Do you know that we must pray for our leaders to make the right choices at all times? Are you aware that along the line, in our national historical trajectory, we made some wrong choices in our development processes which this administration in the country is trying to correct? Do you want to know? Come along, please.
It was in 1940. The United States of America was having a foreign policy concern on how to ‘save’ the newly independent countries from the ‘Communist influence’ documented in the ‘Communist Manifesto” of Karl Marx. Some social scientists were commissioned to study and devise ways of promoting capitalist economic agenda in the developing world. Their researches generated different concepts of development. But there emerged a consensus that there exists a relationship between development and governance. It concluded that development has a causal relationship with the national economic growth. Hence, the nature of government in power to facilitate the desired economic growth to herald prosperity is key and must be secured at all cost, including prayers.
The words of Justice Fatai Williams cut in:
“No man is good enough or wise enough to be trusted with unlimited power. …The arrogance of power is the worst form of arrogance known to man.”
We remember Walt Rostow. He was an American economic historian. He published a book in 1960 titled: “The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto.” In the book, he propounds linear-stages-of-growth model that defines development as a sequence of stages through which all societies must pass, starting from primitive stage to modernization. Countries that are less endowed in industrialization are regarded as representing lower level of culture while well industrialized countries are regarded as developed and modern. The hidden curriculum in Rostow’s book is to shape the development of these newly-independent countries, including Nigeria, along capitalist orientation.
In line with Rostow’s model, modernization theorists treat under-development as a stage common to all developing countries and a result of weaknesses in the various factors of production—land, labour, and capital and entreprenuership. Hence, theorists emphasized rapid savings and investment as the key to development and argued that international trade in products particularly suited to national factor endowments would enable more efficient resource allocation and greater earnings, and these could be translated into savings and then used to promote development. The newly independent African countries including Nigeria, jumped and embraced the theory. This popular capitalist model sold to us the idea of disseminating technology, knowledge, managerial skills, and entrepreneurship; encouraging capital inflow; stimulating competition; and increasing productivity—foreign trade, together with foreign investment and aid for developing countries as the engine of growth. And like the Pro-Consul in the Bible, we believed.
By 1960, the process of decolonization became rapid, particularly in Africa. The wave of independence passed through Egypt on 28th February, 1922 from Britain. Libya got it on 24th December; 1951 fromItaly. Sudan got it on 1st January; 1956 . Tunisia got it on 20thMarch; 1956 from France. Ghana got its independence on 6 March 1957. Guinea got it on 2nd October; 1958 from France. Togo got it on 27th April; 1960 and opened flood-gate of independence to most other countries in Africa. Alas! Contrary to the expectation of modernization theories that envisaged that once developing societies came into contact with western European and North American societies, they would be impelled toward modernization and, eventually, would achieve the economic, political, and social features characteristic of the nations of western Europe and the United States, the trajectory of development of the newly independent African countries did not reflect this expectation. Their pitiable conditions reflected stagnation, underdevelopment and mass poverty. By the 1960s it was apparent that the Third World including the oil-rich Nigeria, was not passing through a stage of underdevelopment as envisioned by modernization theory, but remaining underdeveloped. Trust the colonisers! A counter-claim was advanced. What is it? It was canvassed that developing countries are structurally different from the advanced countries and so will have to develop along different lines.Sikena!
That was how the ‘Structuralist’ thesis developed by intellectuals from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru brought together by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America came to the scene to interprete the world order to us again and to choose for us the path to follow.
The thesis came with the untenable excuses to support the exploitation of these countries under colonial dispensation by coming up with the idea that former colonies and non-industrialized nations were structurally different from industrialized countries and, therefore, needed different recipes for modernization. The new ‘Structuralist Model’ identified that colonization restructured former colonies’ economies so that they specialized in producing raw materials, cash crops, and foodstuff for export at low prices to the colonizers’ home countries, thus impoverished former colonies and reversed their march to modernization and civilization.
The model argued that colonization had separated the international economy into a centre, consisting of the industrialized countries, and a periphery, which included all the rest of the countries around the world outside of the socialist camp. It argued succinct that because the prices of manufactured goods bought by the periphery were rising faster than those of raw materials, cash crops, and foodstuffs sold by the periphery to the centre, the international trade system and the world economic order ensured the persistence of an unbalanced process of development. It discovered that international market relations occur in a framework of uneven relations between developed and underdeveloped countries and work to reinforce and reproduce these relations in all facets contrary to the expectations of the modernization theory. This scenario of aesthetic disequilibrium created the ‘Dependency Theory’.
‘Dependency theory’ rejects the limited national focus of modernization theory and emphasizes the importance of understanding the complexity of imperialism and its role in shaping postcolonial states. Its main tenet is that the periphery of the international economy is being economically exploited by the centre. Dependency theorists argued that colonialism recast economies in the Third World in a highly specialized export-producing mold, creating fundamental and interrelated structural distortions that have continued to thwart development. Once this reshaping was accomplished, market forces worked to perpetuate the relationship of dominance and exploitation between centre and periphery, leading to mass poverty and instability in the developing countries, Nigeria inclusive. We embrace this process. We embraced this quagmire!
In 1970, Development Science came again and rebranded the ‘World Systems’ theory. This theory treats the entire world as a single capitalist world economy based on an international division of labour. We have the core consisting of Western Europe (England, France, Holland) and America, a periphery consisting of core regions in economic such as Greece, Portugal and Spain) or peripheries attempting to improve their relative position in the world economy such as France and Italy. The existing division of labour in these countries determined their relationship to each other as well as their type of labour conditions and political system. The core is noted for strong central governments and extensive bureaucracies while the periphery which lacked strong central governments but did not benefit from international trade to the same extent as the core.
This was the idea that led to the evolution of ‘Import-substitution Industrialization’ model (ISI). The ISI strategy was to produce internally manufactured goods for the national market instead of importing them from industrialized countries. Its long-run objective was to first achieve greater domestic industrial diversification and then to export previously protected manufactured goods as economies of scale and low labour costs make domestic costs more competitive in the world market. This strategy was pursued by Nigeria, Argentina, Chile Brazil and Pakistan in the 1970s and part of 80s. This strategy to development failed because of the smallness of the domestic market and the hidden manipulations of trans-national corporations and their hidden local collaborators. It was discovered that the ‘Import Substitution Strategy’ created further colonization, domination, and dependency.
Another Development Theory was given birth to. It was popularly called ‘Export-oriented’ strategy. It was conceived to be a way out of dependency. The strategy favoured the growth of manufacturing production aimed at world markets and the development of a particular comparative advantage as a basis for success in world trade. The strategy favoured lower wages and levels of domestic consumption to foster competitiveness in world markets, as well as to provide better conditions for foreign investment and foreign financing of domestic investment. Alas! Between 1980 and 1990, many countries that pursued this strategy including Nigeria, ended up with huge foreign debts. This led to poverty, instability and acute decrease in economic growth. We were encouraged to experiment with devaluation of our currency. We were forced to do counter-trading. This was the era that aborted democracy. The Babangidas of this world came. The Abacha of this world infested, like a plague, our land. This was the theory that propelled us to export crude oil, cocoa and other resources without creating any value-chain. This was the theory that started our steel complexes using Russian technology when our politics was pro- Britain and the United States.
By 1980s and 90s, a development theory arose. It was popularly refered to as the “ Neo-classical Counter-revolution’ or Neo-Liberalism. It came at a time countries when developed countries were abandoning social democracy and Keynesian economic policies in vogue as the post-World War II trading regime. The world moved and supported market-oriented interventions by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and efforts to forge a unified global market regulated only by institutions reflecting the interests of transnational capital. This theory sees development as the outcome not of strategic state action but of the action of market forces.
This Neo-Liberal tendency claimed that failure to develop by developing nations is primarily the result of too much government intervention and regulation of the economy. Neoclassical theory emphasizes the beneficial role of free markets, open economies, and the privatization of inefficient public enterprises. Its recommended strategy for development is to free markets from state control and regulation, so that capital, goods, and services can have total freedom of movement and there can be greater openness to international trade.It brought to us Structural Adjustment Programmes and all other miseries. The absorption of this theory led Nigeria to sell the Machine Tools and the Nigeria Steel Rolling Mills in Osogbo and several other commanding heights of the economy. The Machine Tools and the Steel Rolling Mills Osogbo were providing employment for thousands of able-bodied youths and professionals in the State of Osun and Nigeria.
Incidentally, they were sold to merchants that were just on ego-trips who are not in a hurry to put them to use. This was the theory that taught us to import rice from Thailand and India rather than planting it here. We were taught how to establish breweries rather that creating value-chains for our solid minerals. We were taught how to import tooth-pick and toilet papers and how to consume foreign products conspicuously. Yet, the developed world sold to Abacha toxic petroleum problem to kill as many people as possible in our country. This was the era when human rights took a sudden flight. Dele Giwa did not survive the era. Ken Saro Wiwa did not live to tell the story. The grave of Kashimawo Abiola lies a few kilometers to us here. Can you now see why we need prayers?
Following this Development process, the ‘Good Governance’ Theory or ‘Institutionalism’ came. This perspective is that development outcomes depend on institutions such as property rights, price and market structures, money and financial institutions, firms and industrial organizations, and relationships between government and markets. This theory canvasses that good governance is to ensure the existence of these institutions and their proper role and functioning. It supports ‘Neo-Liberal’ tendencies of free market from state control and regulation; reducing government expenditures for social services like education and health care; maintaining roads, bridges, the water supply, and so forth; and selling state-owned enterprises, goods, and services (including banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, and hospitals) to private investors. This theory came up with the soundness of policy prescriptions for the developing world with the experiments in the four “Asian tigers”: South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, countries that succeeded using export-led industrialization strategy adopted in the 1970s. They failed woefully to point out that all these Asian Tigers, except Hong Kong, performed their miracles under the worst institutions of authoritarian regimes. Yet, the world campaigns against authoritarianism.
The ‘Critical Perspectives’ came in to attempt to change the narratives. These theorists came up to draw attention to the ethnocentric basis of what constitutes development and the potential limitations inherent within this development, the tension between universal theories and a diverse developing world, the treatment of gender in conventional development theory, and the political content of economic development strategies as pursued by national governments, encouraged by international institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and concealed behind the notion of aid. The proponents of this theory see development to include a social development and human security dimension. Afterall our Constitution says: “The security and welfare of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of government.” That led to the establishment of the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP). This theory sees development as human development, which includes the capacity of people to lead long and healthy lives, acquire knowledge, and have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living.
This theory assists to clarify the inadequacy of theories that focus on whole nations or societies and that use macro-economic factors to explain differences in development conditions and to measure development in terms of national growth when individuals cannot be provided with basic things of life. The theory assists us to see development as human development and emphasizes the importance of the state. It assigns the state a major role in protecting and advancing sustainable human well-being and argues the need for implementation of socially oriented state policies of social protection which neo-liberalism proscribes. These social policies include access of all people to human resource investments, productive assets, credit facilities, information flows, and physical infrastructure and protect the legitimate interests of producers, consumers, workers, and vulnerable groups in society.
President Buhari, Mr Gboyega Oyetola and the entire APC political family are now implementing the ‘Critical Perspective’ theory to liberate the masses of this country from the misadventure of the past to ‘Neo-Liberalism’ that made us through our inept leaders to sell the commanding heights of our economy to themselves and a few other cronies, thus sentencing the entire country to penury and unemployment. The APC led government is bailing us out of economic cannibalism of the recent past. Our past leaders forced us to ride on the back of a live tiger. It was a ride of death. Today, the condition of service of our military men are better. The condition of service of the Police is better. The masses are enjoy social protection through loans and the vulnerable ones are enjoying cash transfer for the first time in our history. This is why we must pray for this continuity of good things.
Do you know that it is through Mr Gboyega Oyetola and President Buhari that we can have back our Machine Tools and Steel Rolling Mills? Do you know that it is through their mandates that we can have social protection? Do you know that it is through them we can have more gainful employment? Do you know that we must work hard and pray to get the full House of Assembly for the APC to make the administration of Mr Gboyega Oyetola crisis-free? Do you know that we have a duty to vote all our National Assembly members for the APC to prevent the humiliation of President Buhari and his pro-people policies? Do you know that we need Dr Ajibola Basiru, Hon. Famurewa and Engineer Oriolowo at the Senate? Do you know we need all the APC candidates to the Houses of Representatives and Assembly to bail us out? Do you know that Professor Osinbajo is our own son? We must coast home with victory in February. We need prayers, please. If you want to know more about it, come along.
Do you know that there are 84.27 million Nigerians that registered to vote in the February 2019 elections? Do you know that a group (Coalition for Nigeria (CN) is alleging that an opposition candidate is allegedly partnering with Russia to rig presidential election? Do you know that we need potent cyber-security to douse the claim? Do you know that the US/Russia Election interference impasse is still on? Do you know that we have to urge INEC to take strong measures against the alleged move while also calling on the federal government to take diplomatic steps to ensure that Russia does not interfere in the election? Do you know that on 30th October, 2018 INEC too warned the United States, Britain and Russia against interfering In 2019 Poll?
Hurray! President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his desire to deliver a free and far credible poll in 2019. Our country needs to build on the success of its historic 2015 elections. Come February 2019, Nigerians will go to the polls to elect the country’s next president, parliament and state governors.
Our elections have historically been tense. Campaigns are underway. We are hereby campaigning against violence. In 2015, Nigerians voted to defeat a sitting president—for the first time in the country’s history—in order to better their fortunes. Yet, there was no violence. We must allow the dove of peace to guide the conduct of the coming elections. The 2019 elections will come to mark 20 years after the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.
These elections will be the first to include Nigerians born since 1999. These are Nigerians who did not witness Military dictatorship in Nigeria. These people expect us to show them that we prefer democracy. We must sustain their enthusiasm. Our elections must be credible. Greater transparency would help and give people confidence the process is being well administered. We want to thank the United States and Britain for upping its pre-election diplomacy, and clearly convey that it expects Nigeria’s political parties to act responsibly. It is key for all of us, INEC and security services to manage the process in a way that ensures electoral integrity and instills confidence in citizens that their votes will count. We must join Mr Gboyega Oyetola to pray for peace in our State and Nigeria. Let us pray! The prayer of the Italian Saint Francis of Assisi ( 1182 – 1226) resonates:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.