Blessed with sizeable arable land that is unmatched by Europe; celestially endowed with numerous natural resources that are evenly and regionally distributed in her territorial belts—surpasses North American continent; propitiously graced with a favourable climatic condition that befriends seasonal agriculture production; uncommon to Middle-East, even, her teeming youth population is a conviction to Nigeria’s heavenly sealed greatness. Regrettably, despite her abundance, she’s far behind in the comity of developed countries. Captain for countries with the highest number of poor people; crown prince to the throne as the most terrorised country in the world. Enough of these unenviable accolades in backwardness!
Changing our narrative is pertinent. Starting with a home-grown 50-Year National Development Plan with a positive attitude. Like other development plans that Nigeria had in the past such as National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy, Vision 20:2020, 7-Point Agenda, Economy Recovery and Growth Plan, etc. No interesting results were achieved despite the robustness of these blueprints. This treatise shall ride on the shortfalls of these previous plans to arrive at a stronghold of a new blueprint—Vision 2050, pushing for the enlisting of membership of Nigeria to the elite club of developed countries.
Harnessing the country’s huge population into the development plan is a prerequisite to attaining Vision 2050. Anything short of this will amount to failure. Former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, remarked at the 25th Nigeria Economy Summit in 2019 that Nigeria is yet to tap into the potential of her humongous population as the right policies to exploit it are still lacking. Thereby rendering an invaluable asset, projected to be 400 million by 2050, into a roguish liability. During a visit to Nigeria in 2018, American billionaire and philanthropist, Bill Gates, stated that the country’s economic plans cannot address the specific needs of Nigerians. He said the Nigerian Government’s ERGP prioritises physical capital over human capital. The most essential decision Nigerian leaders can make, according to Gates is to “maximise the country’s greatest resource, which is its people.” Leaving this unaddressed is an obituary pronouncement of the plan before its take-off.
Vision 2050 should not be one-sided. It should have the buy-in of Nigerians. Carrying citizens along in its execution will guarantee unreserved support from the people. Unveiling one of the failures of Vision 20:2020, Frank Tie-Tie, a human rights lawyer said, “there was a serious disconnect between the visionaries and the citizens. Also, the corporate citizens did not buy into it, the political class did not believe in it because they did not develop it, it’s more of a technical document and they don’t even understand it.” Gaining people’s acceptance into the plan will forestall us from falling into the same pit that swallows Vision 20:2020 and by getting this box ticked, we are one step to achieving it.
The integral harmonisation of this blueprint with other l plans, both at the national and international level, is highly important in attaining this plan come 2050. The situation of a new coming into power with a fresh plan, overriding the long-term plan of Vision-2050 must be prevented by all causes. Each successive must wean itself off the addiction of being known for a new plan. By now, lessons should have been learned from the disjointed implementation of Vision 20:2020 which ran simultaneously with other plans at the time. Priority was wrongly misplaced; the focus was shifted away from the erstwhile Vision to the in power plan. Then, there was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s NEEDS program; UN’s MDGs; Umar Musa Yar’adua’s 7-Point Agenda; Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda; retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s ERGP, etc. All were executed disjointedly by different hands despite having similar objectives.
Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it, if you can’t understand it, you can’t control it, if you can’t control it, you can’t improve it, said, James Harrington. Taking lead from the admonishment of James, It is important to put in place an evaluation process that will review the implementation progress of the blueprint or in the best form appoint an agency or ministry saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the plan execution process. With this rightfully put in place, we will successfully guard ourselves against distraction and derailment.
Getting Nigeria catapulted into the league of developed countries is a function of transformational leadership. Having good leadership at the forefront is instrumental in recording success. Revolutionarily, infrastructure is the foundation of economic development. Bridging the country gap in infrastructures should be the s topmost priority in achieving Vision 2050. A true diversification of the economy from oil to the manufacturing/industrial or agricultural sector cannot see the limelight without improving the energy, and transportation sector. More so, the plan must ensure the induction of the private sector through Public-Private Partnership. They should be allowed to key into the plan without reservation. Vision 2050 was an All Progressives Congress agenda, it should be made to resonate with each successive
Dauda Taoheed, a member of KECTIL and UPG sustainable leader class of 2022, writes from Ibadan