Nigeria @60: A rough journey still rough
Nigeria has come a long way from 1st,October 1960 and now 1st of October,2020 the country is now 60 years and don’t seem to have changed from back then when it was younger.
With hunger,poverty,insecurity,corruption and many others still present in our society today we can all agree that Nigeria has not improved one bit.
The Niger Delta’s challenges of oil production and pollution are not the challenges of the Middle Belt, with its herderfarmer clashes. So what do the experts think? In The Africa Report’s 24 September digital event with vice-president Yemi Osinbajo – with an audience of CEOs, diplomats, analysts and concerned citizens – we offered three scenarios for Nigeria’s trajectory: perilous, stumbling about in the middle, or on the right track.
Our audience of more than 600 participants in 79 countries – 250 logging in from Nigeria – split into rough thirds. Just 22% argued the country is on the right track, while 33% said the journey is perilous.
Let’s take the happy pill first. No one denies the difficult history of the country, including a civil war from 1967 to 1970 that entrenched an ethno-nationalist split between north, west and south. This led to a period of northern-dominated military rule, culminating in the grotesque corruption and violence of dictator Sani Abacha in the 1990s. What came after, however, was a flowering of democracy and livelihoods. The fightback included historical figures such as the Ransome-Kuti family and Chief MKO Abiola.
President Olusegun Obasanjo’s first post-military democratic government turned a page: debt write offs, the telecoms liberalisation, banking-sector consolidation and the birth of a class of entrepreneurs supported by a ‘backward integration programme’, which gave local players protection from global market forces in exchange for shifting from importing sugar and cement to producing it.
Yes, progress has been a jagged line, particularly in policy. The reformist Petroleum Industry Bill has been stuck for a decade, pushing oil production down nearly each year since 2010. But there have been some leaps forward. The Local Content Act of 2010 led to the growth of a serious domestic oil industry – Seplat and Oando are just two of a crop of indigenous energy companies, something that other African oil producers cannot match.