The Lessons from 1970s – And What Nigeria Needs To Do Now

The Lessons from 1970s – And What Nigeria Needs To Do Now

How do you get Northeast Nigeria back on the path of growth? How do you overcome the paralysis which is affecting that region?  Despite Nigeria budgeting and spending about N10.02tn over six years on security ($25 billion using the average exchange rate over the period), according to BudgIT data, we have continued to scale insecurity.

So, what can the nation do as a nation? I personally think the insecurity has no military solution: to win this internal war, a heavy dose of economic war has to be fought. Sure, there are religious components but even those could be adjusted economically.

I have been studying how Southeast Nigeria came out of the ruins of war to the position it is now. There was a plan and every village formed a development union to stimulate models to advance education, healthcare services, etc.  Nigeria needs to examine what happened in Southeast Nigeria during that journey.

That “onye aghala nwanne ya” [do not leave your brethren behind] goes beyond business. What happened was that communities pooled resources to build schools and people came together to build shops, buy equipment, etc, and by following that playbook, they advanced faster.

It is based on this that I continue to say that it is wasteful to give 100,000 women each $100 and expect that money to advance their economic status over time. However, if you use that money, you can provide better community-systems which could improve their lives indirectly. For instance, you can use that money to provide solar-powered 24/7 electricity to help market women extend their perishable goods. For each of those women, that electricity will help them over time than each getting $100.

Nigeria had a framework which worked; I am hoping we revisit it now that we are looking for pathways for growth in the nation.


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