Nigerian economic order: A titanic injustice

(By Obi Ebuka Onochie)
 

The dawn of a new era in our democracy from 1999 brought many policies, which have brought to a greater extent hardship to the Nigerian citizens. Capitalism where a few are buying up all government-owned firms is nothing but “cabalism” of the highest order. Some of the bought-over companies are either closed down or turned into warehouses or are kept unproductive just to take it further away from the “wrong” (masses) hand. Nigerians showed their unusual character of oneness in January of 2012 when the President gave them a strange New Year’s gift of petroleum price hike but it didn’t take long before the Nigerian factor broke their solidarity.

THE great 19th century Jewish-German philosopher, economist and revolutionary Karl Marx believed that capitalism was radically unstable and a popular revolution would occur and bring a communist system into being that would be more productive and far more humane. I personally do not believe this any more, I believe that capitalism offers everyone the benefits that in Marx’s time were enjoyed only by the bourgeoisie, the settled middle class that owned capital and had a reasonable level of security and freedom in their lives.

Over one century after Marx’s communist manifesto, the world has seen the best of both communism and capitalism but none has been able to solve problems plaguing human race. Some have tried without remarkable success the mixture of both with the hope of milking the benefits the two can offer. Capitalism has some obvious advantages over communism and vice versa and the mixture of both fosters confusion and incoherent policies. Nigeria dabbled into mixed economy mainly in the 80s but now wants to go capitalist full blast, but the route has been hugely crooked.

Capitalism has been described as a process of creative destruction and the trouble is that among the things that have been destroyed in the process is the way of life on which capitalism in the past depended. Take Nigeria for a narrative example where in the past, pyramids were built with groundnut in the North; barrels were filled with red oil in the East while sacks of cocoa were churned out in the West. Once upon a time, there was massive governmental interest in agriculture, which provided a strong base for industrial growth and employment. They are no more and things have taken a chaotic and unguided direction socially, economically and ultimately politically. Nigeria’s capitalism has no proper economic and policy foundation, which is why the chaos in our society persists unabated with so much policies coming and going with different Administrations.

The richest African is a Nigerian, the richest African woman also a Nigerian and many Nigerians have found their way to Forbes rich list. Our country is reported to have over 200 privately owned ostentatious jets, with fabulous yachts on the increase as well. Oil wells are distributed among this same very few who do not stop at that but take close to half of total budget through oil subsidy fund which hardly reflects at the pump stations. Government-owned institutions and companies are sold to them at unsettling prices; they collaborate with their puppets in government to turn the policies of government in their favour and they make sure that the masses are repressively held down, putting their world against the masses.’

The dawn of a new era in our democracy from 1999 brought many policies, which have brought to a greater extent hardship to the Nigerian citizens. Capitalism where a few are buying up all government-owned firms is nothing but “cabalism” of the highest order. Some of the bought-over companies are either closed down or turned into warehouses or are kept unproductive just to take it further away from the “wrong” (masses) hand. Nigerians showed their unusual character of oneness in January of 2012 when the President gave them a strange New Year’s gift of petroleum price hike but it didn’t take long before the Nigerian factor broke their solidarity.

Nigeria’s economic environment is structured in a way that it will always favour the rich and disfavour the poor. Somebody whose grand father was poor and growing up under a poor father is likely to be poor and most likely train his children in deprivation and this is what the opponents of capitalism call the hallmark of capitalism. In some other capitalist economies as India and Brazil, over 90 per cent of total millionaires every year are first time millionaires while ours create billionaires out of millionaires and trillionaires out of billionaires and hardly new millionaires. We are currently not at war but we are definitely in a state of war created by a biased economic order and unwillingness of the ruling class to tackle corruption and harmonise policies for the benefit of the masses.

Good education is priced away from the affordability of the majority and mass education is more or less destroying the system than creating it. Percentage of unemployment in Nigeria cannot be ascertained and there is no social economic security for the unemployed, elderly or even the disabled. The horrendous insecurity situation which the government denied being fueled by poverty of all kinds but attributed the cause to political motivations is one problem too many. Different groups of the likes of Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), the Odua’s People’s Congress (OPC), Boko Haram, the Militants of Niger Delta, Egbesu Boys, etc are not seeking for identity; they are products of hash, unbalanced and partitioned economic order.

Report from the United Nations shows that, about one in four Nigerians is currently unemployed and that Nigeria has one of the worst youth unemployment rates in sub-Saharan Africa at 37.7 per cent. These damning verdicts are contained in a 291-page publication called ‘The African Economic Outlook 2012’ jointly published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA; the United Nations Development Population, UNDP; the African Development Bank Group; and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development. With these near truth statistics, there can’t be a worse motivating factor for crime and violence. The upsurge in crime wave is not an unanticipated development as the security agencies claim but a well-tailored event by the actions and inactions of the past and present Administrations.

Victims of this unjust economic arrangement are asking questions in various unconventional and inhumane ways of bombing, kidnapping, robbery, terrorism and intimidation. A majority does not know where the problem lies hence the call for disintegration. If our economy is well organised to accommodate the majority and reward hard work, it will downplay and possibly eliminate sectional and religious identification and politicking, which is eating the nation up.

• Onochie is a political analyst in Port-Harcourt.

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

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