By Jide Ajani, Kingsley Omonobi, Henry Umoru, Chris Ochayi, Luka Binniyat & Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA—AFTER several months of speculations, former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, yesterday, formally declared his
intention to contest the 2011 presidential election.
Babangida, who anchored his interest on the abysmal lack of governance in the country, said that Nigeria as a nation was in a crisis.
He said he would pursue a macroeconomic framework that would, among others, attract investment, promote stability and sustain high non-inflationary growth.
The former military leader who is vying for the presidency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also promised to use Nigeria’s wealth of natural resources to diversify the nation’s economy
that would, at the end of the day, help reduce the country’s over
dependence on oil and gas.
He said: “Today, Nigeria stands at the threshold of history. As we celebrate 50 years of independence, the country faces a pressing urgency for accelerated development to actualize the tremendous
expectation that our enormous endowments evoke. It is equally
distressing that we have not succeeded in remarkably harnessing the
enormous human and natural resources to provide the foundation for a
productive and caring nation such that we now stand in grave danger of
“Today, the reality of our present circumstance is that our country is in a crisis. We cry over the economy; and we agonise over the state of our educational system as well as over organized crime. Our
infrastructure has collapsed and we continue to live with epileptic
supply of electricity. We bicker over the never-ending issue of subsidy.
Challenges of the society
“Two decades ago, the central challenge of the Nigerian society and economy that we grappled with, was the big, inefficient State that had a stranglehold on the society, occupied the commanding heights of the
economy; and behaved like a general business enterprise, producing and
selling myriads of commodities running airlines; managing commercial
banks and owning cement factories.
Naturally, it ended up as a colossal failure in this regard, since it neither had the bottom-line sense of a business enterprise nor the residual claimant motivation to ensure
proper and efficient management of the societal resources under its
“Today, however, Nigeria faces a qualitatively different challenges. The reality in our country is that of an abysmal lack of governance. The State has virtually become overwhelmed by multi-dimensional crisis
constraining its ability to minister to the needs of the “For me, the
response to such issues defines governance. Our challenge today is to
come together and make Nigeria work better. We should awaken ourselves
to challenges of building a productive economy and a caring society.
There is no option open to this nation than to create an economic framework that prioritises job creation, entrepreneurship, productive engagement of our teeming population. I am making a solemn undertaking
to devote the four years that would be available to me, if elected
president, to create the foundation for creating that economic
“The first requirement of attaining the above is to ensure that the economy grows at such a rate as to
absorb the productive labour continuously being generated in the country. In particular, with the growing rate of urbanization in the country and with growing
mechanization of the country’s agricultural sector, we must find
placements for the surplus labour that is bound to be released.
The key sectors of manufacturing and services that will, therefore, be given importance in this regard, is the programme of boosting small and medium scaled enterprises to improve not just their service
delivery and wealth creating potentials, but the capacity to engage the
labour of millions of Nigerians.
Potential for job creation
“A previously neglected sector in terms of potential for job creation is so called informal sector that
currently houses the productive endeavours of millions of Nigerians. Steps will be taken to formalize the informal sector by integrating it to the mainstream,
structured economy. Other sectors that would also have very significant
impact on job creation include a revitalized solid minerals sector, the
emerging information and communication technology industry, the tourism
sector including hotels and the budding Nigerian film industry.
“Nigeria has the material resources, the intellectual endowment, the capacity and the pressing need to attain the above objectives. The ingredients necessary for the achievement of these noble goals are
competent leadership, social orderliness.
We would then draw up and resolutely implement a bold innovative National Reconstruction Plan which ensures the sustained mobilisation of all the people, their resources, imagination and institutions, on an
“The Nigerian economy can and will be driven to secure two-digit, non-inflationary or minimal-inflationary growth rates over a long period at least two decades - as some of Asian economies have
done. Clearly, traditional economic management – planning and budgeting
methods and norms cannot serve, for essentially they ignore the factor
of mobilization, which must be grasped for sustained long-run progress.
There is much work to be done by all Nigerians and much benefit for al
Nigerians, in the attainment of this objective.
“At the same time, the policy of equity in the distribution of the gains would mean increased wealth and improved welfare for all Nigerians, as well as stimulation of the spirit of enterprise, with due
compensation for valid risk-taking, on the basis of justice and
diversity. Growth will be principally measurable in terms of aggregate
output and employment, although other major variables will be of
interest. There is no more debate or doubt the debilitating role of
corrupt practices in governance, public policy design and
implementation, and even in the relationship between the public and
“Indeed, corruption has been established as a fundamental cause in the underdevelopment of our economy and society. We will insist upon and deepen the policies and instruments of transparency and
accountability in governance. The existing institutions such as EFCC
and ICPC will be sustained, strengthened and complemented by other
anti-corruption authorities such that the national and global
constituencies of the Nigerian state shall bear concrete witness to our
efforts in dealing with the phenomenon of corruption.
“From the above, the following specific objectives, among others, would constitute the focus of our economic management policy in a determined effort to re-inaugurate a caring society, a macro-economic
framework that attracts investment, promote economic stability and
sustain high non-inflationary growth; a strong partnership between
public and private sector which is private sector-driven with the
government as the enabler.
“Use Nigeria’s wealth of natural resources to diversify the economy, and thus reduce significantly over dependence on oil and gas; the growth and development of small and medium scale business top provide
wider economic opportunities, employment and poverty alleviation; a
modern, well-structured, efficient and competitive financial; and
banking system that caters for the long term needs of the economy.
“Transform our urban and rural communities as well as the waterways into centres of production, and thus generate employment opportunities for our people; human development programmes through massive investment
in education, health and housing; restore and sustain our family values
and morals as the basis for as caring society; collaborate with the
states, local governments, the legislature and judiciary to sustain
democracy and federalism as the definitive character of the Nigerian
state and as the framework for achieving our objectives of economic
productivity and a caring society.”
Well,IBB has the right to aspire to come back as the president of our Great Country. His reasons as spelt out in his declaration speech are not convincing enough! He talked about corruption,infrastructural decay, electricity,etc, and I beg to confirm that all these negative issues were not better either during his first tenure. Infact, corruption was legalised by him as he particularly amassed outrageous wealth! I think Nigerians are too matured and intelligent to be decieved by propounded theories that can not be actualised! However, we are all watching closely to see how events will unfold!Above all, he never believed in democracy,as evidenced by June 12 annulment. Others laboured for us to have it,so he can not enjoy it's gains.
God Bless Nigeria and Nigerians.