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Independence Special

Nigeria, Corruption And The Law: The Development Conundrum




Sofiri Joab-Peterside


The objective of this piece is to probe the sad role of the corruption in ongoing economic crisis, and what can be done to rescue the Nigerian state from the capture of the governing elite. Focus on the Nigerian economy derives from considerable interest has been shown by people from all walks of life in the socio-economic development of the country, both in the advanced and developing countries. As a matter of fact, politicians and statesmen, administrators, civil servants, international organizations, foundations, social and research scientists have shown such increasing concerns that are now cumulating in a supposed commitment to solving the problems of lack of development.

I use the occasion of the country’s celebration of fifty-five years of political independence to share with you my reflections on the problem as I have formulated it in preceding paragraphs. My point of departure is twofold. First, we need to revisit the concept of the state with emphasis on the state in Nigeria and the extent to which it exists for the public good. Secondly the role of the state as an instrument of appropriation and accumulation and how these interpose with other sociological variables to impoverish the citizens whose interest the governing elite ought to defend and pursue as a sacred duty. Little is realized that the crisis of lack of development is intricately and /or inextricably intertwined with the nature of the state and the role of the governing and business elites who have captured it and patterned themselves into specific ways of life against the interest of majority of the citizens.

It is my contention that the profligacy and corruption in government combine to eventually rob the country of the necessary development it should have witnessed in the last sixteen years. Put differently, the nature of the state as a mechanism of private accumulation punctuated by perennial instability and apostle of neo-liberalism lurks the germs of success or the viruses of failure of the Nigerian economy. Against the points of my departure, let me outline my reflections on the subject matter.

Nigeria is a classic case of paradox of riches. As a country, it is wealthy in natural and human resources as some of her citizens are counted among the richest persons in the world; sadly its economy is underdeveloped and majority of the population wallow in abject poverty and misery The average Nigerian lives on less than one dollar a day, most of our roads are in deplorable conditions, just as the public hospitals themselves are “dead” and the higher education sector practically broken by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU) strikes over the Federal government’s unfulfilled agreement, while the culture of impunity has become an integral part of the norm of political appointees. The adoption of neo-liberalism as a development paradigm by the political leadership brought to the fore a constellation of ideas and forces promoting economic growth- based development strategies. Spearheaded by a variety of institutional sources – including the World Bank, international organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and governments, this inarticulate approach to development dominate contemporary development policy and is being increasingly employed in the current government’s “rescue mission”.

The impacts and implications of the government reform programme raise a number of important questions regarding governance and development. On the one hand, an unlikely convergence between neo-liberalism and people oriented development in terms of service delivery and empowerment of the most marginalized social groups. On the other hand, a body of scholarship highlights key transformative potentials of neo-liberalism with inflation rate moving in the right direction. Critics raise particularly serious concerns regarding the critical disconnect between growth and development as epitomized by rising misery index, poverty, unemployment, and lending rate and exploitative labour processes. Primary production and export of crude oil continue to define the economy, while level of moral depravity and political degeneracy among public officers is worsening on a daily basis.

What is the explanation for this apparent inability of government’s development strategies to contain the nagging problems of underdevelopment since 1999? What can be done to reverse the prevailing condition? I argue that the nature of the state located at the conjuncture of intra-elite dynamics and wider political and economic forces offer a more sophisticated understanding of the possibilities of transformation, corruption of power, executive impunity; and the failure of law in regulating the accumulative propensities of the governing elite.  It is difficult to explain the persistent diversion of state resources by politicians and private sector officials for personal purposes outside the general framework of perceiving state and corporate powers as the means for appropriation and accumulation.  For majority of the governing elite, power is conceived as a prebend.

A prebendal system is one in which the legal/ rational and other societal norms of authority merge, producing a hybrid that cannot be conveniently subsumed under any specific heading. The point being made is that there are specific legal rules guiding the purview of offices, however, personal loyalties and communal identities, the private appropriation of the means of administration, and the transformation of offices and their administrative purposes into a direct or indirect economic resources, have equal weight in determining the nature and exercise of public power. The existence of a prebendalized state, and the easy adaptation of traditional patron- client relationships to the pursuit of modern material goods, means that prebendalism and clientilism-are mutually reinforcing. Prebendalism is encouraged by the existence of patronage system in which an individual/individuals of higher-socio economic status(patron) uses his or their influence and resources to provide protection or benefits or both, for a person of lower status(client) who for his/their part, reciprocate(s) by offering general support and assistance, including personal services.

The return of democratic rule in 1999 revitalizes and promotes clientelistics networks because of its vast array of political appointments( legislative, and executive) and private staff positions to be filled is a veritable boom to prebendal politics. Opportunities for access to the state are multiplied as political appointees and their

clients enjoy new leverages to procure preferential treatments. Although social commentators and scholars have sought to distinguish clientelism from prebendalism, the two constitute complementary aspects of a general phenomenon. Clientelism defines the nature of individual and group relationships within the wider socio-political sphere, while prebendalism is primarily a function of the competition for, and appropriation of, offices of the state. Prebendalism therefore is the treatment of state power as a congeries of offices which can be competed for, appropriated and then deployed for the benefit of positional incumbents and their support groups.  How the nature of the Nigerian state and associated social forces led to this process will become clearer.

One of the key issues associated with underdevelopment of Nigeria by 2002 was corruption as an overwhelming majority of Nigerian companies were continuing to pay bribes to secure the services they needed. Virtually, all indices of governance are in the negative. Peace has become elusive, unemployment is increasing, hunger and poverty has become pervasive, while insecurity has enveloped the economic and political terrain due to greed, inordinate ambition of leaders and winner-takes all approach to governance. Corruption was institutionalized as the foundation of governance to the extent that institutions of society easily decayed to unprecedented proportions as opportunities were privatized by the powerful.

Power became nothing but a means of accumulation and subversion as productive initiatives were abandoned for purely administrative and transactional activities. The process of conducting government business degenerated to such an extent that Public service Rules, Financial Regulations and Ethic and Norms of the Service were jettisoned either due to sheer ignorance or to further primitive capitalist accumulation. Consequently all elements that enhance efficiency, reliability and continuity of the system were tempered with resulting in major and severe setbacks for the conduct of government business.

The country’s situation was so bad that in 2008 a Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum ranked Nigeria’s economy as the 99th in the World among 133 countries assessed by the forum. The Forum also ranked Nigeria in terms of security, corruption, wasteful expenditures by government, infrastructure availability, health and primary education where it was placed the 117th, 122nd, 127th, and 132nd position among 133 nations. A 2009 World Bank and the International Finance Corporation report ranked Nigeria 125th among 183 economies in the world in terms of the general regulatory ease of doing business. These rakings is an affirmation that Nigeria is a country wracked by poverty, insecurity, corruption and general despondency.

Government reasoned that part of the problem emanates from lack of discipline. It is against this backdrop that privatization was conceived as the key to reinvigorating public enterprises that had fallen due to poor management. Government’s intention is for these enterprises to benefit from private-sector discipline. Privatization is a neo-liberal policy fashion of the 1980s and 1990s. Under this policy, monopoly utilities were deregulated and subjected to competition. Purported aim of the process is to ensure that government enterprises operate on commercial basis or subject to fair competition .The attraction of privatization to government is profit making, as asset sales led to huge injection of cash into its treasury. In many instances, Nigerians were skeptical about the acclaimed benefits of privatization.

An important component of the privatization programme was the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2005 into 18 separate units for the generation and transmission of electricity across the country due to the organization’s consistent failure to provide enough power to meet demand, despite consuming more than US$6 billion in state subsidies between 1999 to 2007. The problem is that the issue of provision of power was politicized as politicians took over the responsibilities of technocrats in the sector . Generally, a political contractor who have no expertise whatsoever nor even the intention to perform, simply sells the contract to a third party and pocket the commission running into billions of naira for acting as a conduit of executive fiat.

Leadership in Nigeria in both the public and private sectors at a time lost public trust because personal and corporate integrity in leadership is low. In the private sector, there were glaring cases of betrayal of public trust by Chief Executives of business organizations who falsify records and produce accounting reports that do not reflect the true health of their organizations, making the gullible public invest in their organizations, only for those shares to become worthless in the shortest possible time.  The banking industry was a classic example as the sector’s regulatory supervision was too weak. In fact, the collapse of some of the new entrants led to severe loss of confidence in the system.

Despite government’s effort to enthrone transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector, corruption in this vital sector of the nation’s economy subsists. This disturbing information about the corruptibility of the oil sector was brought to the fore by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Industry (NLNG)/Halliburton bribe scandal. The security situation and level of corruption is alarming. The nation’s current security landscape contains potential threats such as sectarian violence, civil crises, communal clashes, cultism, killings and robberies, vandalism, proliferation of light weapons and small arms, and terrorism. Kidnappings, hitherto restricted to the Niger Delta, have spread to other parts of the country, just as more cases of assassination have joined the long list of unresolved cases in the country.

Government in 2000 established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to address the economic problems of the oil rich Niger Delta region. The sad paradox is that the Commission rather than extricate the inhabitants of the region from the stranglehold of poverty turned into a patronage agency to benefit the rapacious governing elite through reckless award of projects and flagrant breach of the Public Procurement Act 2007. While unrest in the Delta has sharply declined since the 2009 amnesty deal, there is now the incredible growth of oil theft and illegal refining of petroleum products in the region in spite of the clamp down on the illicit trade by Nigeria’s security forces. It is estimated that some 150,000 barrels of oil are stolen from facilities every day. This is huge amount and the effects of this industrial scale theft are devastating for both the people and the environment. Oil theft industry is almost becoming the biggest economy in the region contributing to employment and income generation in communities. The rouge industry is a monopoly business with established command and control structure comprising the ex-militants and segments of state security force established for protection and security of oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta.

Corruption has grown enormously in variety, magnitude and brazenness because it has been extravagantly fuelled by budgetary abuse and political patronage. Consequently, public and private sectors funds were channeled to political allies, business surrogates, personal or family friends either in the guise of contracts to execute public works of one kind or another. Proceedings of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy revealed a high degree of manipulation and sharp practices officially engineered by top government functionaries and corporate executives. It is estimated that over fifty percent of nearly N3 trillion paid out as subsidy to fuel importers and marketers in 2011 was fraudulent.

Corruption is a national malaise that has crippled national progress repeatedly confirmed by Nigeria’s ranking in international corruption perception survey. There is also agreement among scholars and social commentators that addressing the cankerworm of corruption is key to realizing government development goals and collective welfare of citizens. Little wonder all post independence regimes denounced corruption and over the years enacted plethora of laws as well as put in place institutions to deal with this problem. It is important to emphasize that political corruption more than any other type has a crippling effect on the democratization process and the democratic state because it erodes the sanctity of the votes and the quality of elections, and consequently governance.

In consonance with its economic reform framework, Government’s strategy for fighting corruption is drawn from market approaches rooted in neo-liberal economic theories which perceive corruption as a product of excessive state intervention and rent seeking behavior. The neo-institutionists on the other hand, sees corruption as driving from the weakness or failure of governance and state institutions which yield to the argument that institutions need to be strengthened. There was therefore an urgent call for Reforms and enthronement of Due Process in the Nigerian public sector. Consequently, the Public Procurement Act 2007 otherwise known as Due Process was enacted. Due Process implies that government activities can be carried out openly, economically and transparently without favouritism and corruptible tendencies. The essence of Due Process is to ensure that rules and procedures for procurement are made in such a way as to be implementable and enforceable. Some state governments domesticated the Public Procurement Act.

The establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) demonstrates government’s commitment in curtailing endemic corruption which taints Nigeria’s business environment. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act was enacted in 2000 after so much public debate and disagreement between the Executive and the National Assembly. The Commission’s mandate empowers it to effectively adopt a 3-pronged approach in fighting corruption namely, to educate against, prevent, investigate and prosecute cases of corruption in the Public sector and to a limited extent in the Private Sector.

ICPC enjoys some latitude in prosecuting cases of corruption as it could, in the absence of directive of the Attorney-General of the Federation proceed based on the provision that every prosecution for an offence under the Act or any other law prohibiting bribery and corruption will be deemed to be performed with the consent of the Attorney-General. ICPC secured only 2 convictions of minor individuals out of 27 in the first 3 years highlighting poor investigation skills. By April 2005 the Commission had in its employment 32 investigators and 17 prosecutors out of 271 workers; and another 45 out of 152 employees in October of the same year.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was established in 2003 in response to the obvious gaps in the Act establishing the ICPC; notably exclusion from investigating offences committed before the passage of the Act and omission of financial crimes. The Commission was specifically charged with the responsibility of conducting investigations into crimes of a financial and economic nature; money laundering, counterfeiting, 419, capital and market fraud, cyber crimes, credit card frauds, contract fraud, terrorism and terrorism financing. The powers of EFCC also includes identifying, monitoring, freezing and confiscating proceeds from financial crimes in addition to coordination role with all institutions charged with fighting corruption including the police, Ministry of Justice, Customs, Immigration, Prisons, Central Bank of Nigeria and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA). The EFCC Act was amended in 2004 to provide for the establishment of a Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit within the EFCC.

National Assembly when it made moves to investigate then Senate President and Speaker whose vendetta in amending the Commission’s Act was reversed by the Court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) despite criticism of high handedness and human rights violations, proved to be more effective compared to the ICPC because it was better funded, politically protected and with more skilled manpower. For example, by June 2006, it had received 5, 400 petitions, investigated 2, 103 and prosecuted 550. The Commission was estimated to have recovered over US$40 billion at the time Ribadu left as its chairman. In some instances funds were paid back to the public treasury from state officials and convicted persons in the private sector.

With regard to management of revenues from the oil and gas sector of the economy, Nigeria signed on to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and established the Nigerian subset known as Nigeria Extractive Industries transparency Initiative (NEITI) with the mandate of ensuring transparency and accountability and eliminating corrupt practices in payment and receipts within the extractive sector.  The Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR) was established as part of government’s anti-corruption intervention in Nigeria. TUGAR was established to address the need to generate coordinated country-specific data as a basis for isolating and addressing issues of corruption and governance, while also facilitating coordination, synergy and strategic linkages among anti-corruption and oversight agencies (TUGAR).

Similarly, the Public Complaint Commission (PCC) conceptualized and established as the ombudsman with the mandate to investigate and redress complaints of citizens relating to administrative injustice and anomalies against government or private entities, while office of the Auditor-General of the Federation and States are established by the Constitution to audit public accounts and present periodic reports to the National Assembly. Despite these embedding ant-corruption measures pursued in context of a comprehensive Economic Reform programme, bribery of public officials, intentional abuse of office for the purpose of obtaining an undue advantage, illicit enrichment by officials of the state and private sectors, embezzlement, misappropriation, and other diversions subsist.  These underscore the fact that generally, broad-based progress in the fight against corruption became slow.

Although there have been more determined efforts by the governing elite to provide so-called people oriented or inclusive development models and strategies to advance the development of the country, such attempts have failed to satisfy three main requirements  namely, theoretical adequacy, empirical validity and policy effectiveness. The consistent irreconcilability between previous and contemporary development approaches heavily drawn from variants of growth models and superficial structural frameworks, and the incontrovertible reality of state managed underdevelopment in present-day Nigeria, apart from accentuating the Nigerian crisis, has added impetus to the continued quest for an alternative national development orientation which must take into account the current development impasse in the country. Few examples why an alternative and authentic development strategy is unavoidably called for will suffice.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that N51.50 trillion accrued to the state as proceeds from oil in the last thirty one years, a stark contrast to the poverty that pervades Nigeria. The Bureau further captured the grimy situation of the country in its survey in which it noted that about one hundred million Nigerians live below $2 per day. The report also showed that poverty was worse in the North West and North East geo-political zones while the South West and South East zones recorded the lowest poverty rates in the country. The impressive performance of the two zones notwithstanding, the report indicated that the number of Nigerians living in poverty has been on the increase since 1980, yet the economy has been recording impressive Gross Domestic Product (GDP)..

Poverty in Nigeria is not necessarily a consequence of the global economic crisis that was triggered off in 2008, but to a large extent rooted in corruption, greed and poor governance at all sectors and levels (public and private), in what the leaders have done or failed to do especially, in the application, deployment and management of the vast human and material resources available to the nation. The N255 million bulletproof cars scandal accentuated the high-level impunity, corruption and propensity of politicians and other public officers to squander the nation’s riches. This transaction viewed largely by Nigerians as an abuse of office by the Minister threw the aviation community in particular and the country into confusion. Revelations at the House Representatives hearing in Abuja had it that the approved 2013 budget was inflated.

One of the audits of the country’s oil and gas sector by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) showed that after over five decades of commercial oil production, the country lacks capacity to measure the quantum of crude oil it produces. Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has no system for measuring production other than through monitoring terminal receipts. Consequently, the amount of oil produced at the well-head is not known. Poor management of the oil industry nurtured all manner of mafia groups who shortchange the nation. Although government made effort to reform the oil industry, it does appear that all the leakages were not been blocked. Accusations of fraudulent allocations of oil blocks and misappropriation of huge sums of money continue to trail some of those at the highest levels of government and the national oil company-NNPC.

Although the country’s airports are being refurbished, the poor state of the aviation industry has been linked to poor leadership, unbridled corruption as well as poor financing and management of the sector. Consequently in the past two decades, nearly 1, 000 people have been killed in plane crashes in Nigeria. Most of the deaths were between 2006 when after a series of deadly crashes Nigeria passed new legislation and improved its air record, yet crashes continue. On June 3, 2012, Dana Airlines Flight 9J 992 carrying 153 passengers onboard crashed at a residential area of Iju-Ishaga, Lagos killing all the people onboard. Similarly on October 3, 2013, Associated Airlines plane crashed at Lagos airport, killing 15 out of 20 persons onboard. Granted that plan crash can occur in any part of the world, but the amount of plane crash incidents in Nigeria compared to other parts of the world calls for concern.

The foregoing underscore the fact that poor economic management; rising poverty level; decline of effectiveness of institutions; and infrastructural decay are the outcome of  the nature of the state and its development engineering policies.

As a consequence of years of failed dreams, shattered expectations and betrayed hope, majority of Nigerians have lost hope in their political leaders. The bewildered electorate believes that elected representatives and other political office holders are acting for themselves and in their own selfish interests. In fact, for many citizens, the politicians are not statesmen. What is required is a proper diagnosis of the problems and challenges confronting the Nigerian economy with a view to arriving at an appropriate development framework. The concept of inclusive growth bandied about by managers of the economy failed fundamentally to reduce the rate of unemployment in the long run.

It is pertinent to note that Government had no doubt created both strong and weak institutions to tackle corruption and promote good governance. To a great extent, there are institutional disconnect between the citizens and government. There is thus the need to prevent these institutions from being turned into oversized patrimonial and predatory organs. For example, in politics, a strong electoral institution, free and fair participatory democracy should ensure that politicians who have acted only in their self-interest are voted out at elections. The judicial and law enforcement institutions should also ensure that those who commit crime or steal public funds are caught, prosecuted and punished as deterrent against corruption. In the private sector, the regulatory institutions should conscientiously ensure that the corporations are governed well for the greater good of the shareholders who owned the companies and the larger society.

For the anti-corruption agencies to discharge their duties honestly and faithfully as intended by the laws establishing them there is an urgent need to address the seven sins that undermined their effectiveness. These sins are Economic “sins” or lack of resources; Political “sins” or absence of political will; Legal “sins” or lack of inefficient legal system or framework or structural dependence; Organizational “sins” or Leadership weakness such as poor administrative style; Governance “sins” or lack of effective complimentary institutions such as the police and the judiciary; Performance “sins” or level of efficiency; and Public confidence “sins” or lack of public trust and confidence.

Nigeria must invest in the knowledge production industry. Thus it is essential for funds to be provided to encourage the development of knowledge and marketing of ideas. In truth, the private sector cannot optimally support this process, hence the urgent need for government to provided the much need fund. This also calls for a fundamental link between universities, research institutes/centres and the market as a means of bridging the divide between the town and gown, between the intellectual world and the world of commerce and industry.

The country’s political leadership must take interest in diversification of the economy away from heavy reliance on oil and gas as chief sources of public revenue. Although I advocate strong state intervention in the economy it is pertinent to state the need for government enterprises to operate according to the principles inherent in commercial and efficient business enterprises best practice as a safeguard against corrupt practices.

Nigeria is not beyond change, but can only change if the citizenry discover leaders with the will, capacity and vision to turn the country around. Such visionary leaders are rare to come by, but it is the duty of the citizens to create the enabling environment for their emergence. The process of transformation either in an organization, or a nation, requires transformational leadership- that unique set of change agents united in vision, purposefulness of mission and, sustained by such shared values as motivation and morality that progressively elevate one another and the followership to higher levels.


Dr. Sofiri Joab-Peterside earned PhD in Sociology from the University of Port Harcourt with specialization in Sociology of Development and currently a Senior lecturer with the Department of Sociology, University of Port Harcourt, Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Advanced Social Science (CASS), Port Harcourt and Assistant Director Claude Ake School of Government, University of Port Harcourt. He became first Luce foundation Fellow (Fall 2005) on Green Governance and Green Peace at University of California, Berkeley, United State of America.  Dr. Sofiri Joab-Peterside has solid grounding in development theory and methodology of the social sciences, which he has brought to bear, with remarkable insights, on relationship between democracy, ethnicity, federalism and intergovernmental relations in Nigeria. He has extended the scope of his earlier focus on the dynamics and contradictions of development politics and processes in the Niger Delta to a more comparative canvas, covering resource rich countries like Brazil and Indonesia, as a member of cross national, multidisciplinary team of scholars, working on a project “Green Governance and Green Peace”.

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Independence Special

Nigeria’s Economy: More Pains, Less Gains



There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria has come of age, having attained political independence for six decades. In spite of its numerous challenges ranging from socio-economic to infrastructural deficit, insecurity and endemic corruption, Nigeria remains Africa’s big brother and and an important member of the world body – the United Nations.
Beside being the largest economy in Africa and the 27th in the world in terms of nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Nigeria has the 6th largest gas reserves and the 8th largest crude oil reserves in the world. It is rich in commercial quantities with about 37 types of solid mineral and has a population of over 200 million people. In addition, the debt-to-GDP ratio is 16.075 percent as of 2019.
Yet, the Nigerian economy has grossly underperformed in comparison to its enormous resource endowment and its peer nations. In the 1970s, the emerging Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, China, India and Indonesia were far behind Nigeria in terms of GDP per capital. Today, these countries have transformed their economies and are not only miles ahead of Nigeria, but are also major players in the global economy.
In April last year, Nigeria was rated the poverty capital of the world, with 91.51 million people living in extreme poverty. Only recently too, Nigeria’s Country Director of Oxfam International, Constant Tchona, revealed in Abuja that 94.48 million Nigerians live below N684 per day, meaning they are living below poverty level. This also means that 25 percent of the world’s extremely poor will be living in Nigeria by 2030. In this circumstance, it is difficult for the country to meet the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.
This is not a good testimonial for a country that prides itself as the giant of Africa and the 27th largest economy in the world.
How Nigeria came about this ugly narrative has remained a disturbing paradox of a nation.
In the closing days of Nigeria’s independence, things seemed to be well arranged for a new country to take off. The lands and rivers were in their pristine state – virgin, lush and sumptuous, to guarantee a rich harvest for the farming and fishing population which then constituted 80 percent of the native population. The weather was generally good and the people were energetic and hardworking.
We have gold in Ilesha, cocoa in the South-West, palm oil in the East and groundnut pyramid in Jos, which sustained the economy and earned the country good revenue as a net exporter of agricultural produce. As a bonus, the nation found oil in Oloibiri, in the present-day Bayelsa State, which made the story sweeter and the future rosier.
Initially, the agricultural sector, driven by the demand for food and cash crops production was the centre of the growth process, contributing 54.7% to the GDP during the 1960s. The second decade of independence saw the emergence of the oil industry as the main driver of growth.
As the nation began to produce oil in commercial quantity, Nigeria abandoned its agrarian economy and embraced an economy driven by oil. Oil thus became the mainstay of the nation’s economy. Since then, government expenditure has become dependent on oil revenues, more or less dictating the pace of the economic growth.  Paradoxically, the oil boom turns out to be the bane of the country’s development till date.
Since independence, economic policies have not been in short supply. Successive governments have, since 1960, pursued the goal of structural changes without much success. There was the First National Development Plan between 1962 and 1968, the Second Development Plan (1970-1974), the Third Development Plan (1975-1980) and the Fourth National Development Plan (1981-1985).
We also had Operation Feed the Nation during General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military regime, Green Revolution under President Sheu Shagari, Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) under President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) under President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well Nigeria’s Vision 2010 and Vision 2020. All these plans and programmes  are geared towards breathing life into the nation’s economy, by reducing dependence on oil, diversifying the economy, generating employment, and creating a globally competitive and stable economy.
The purpose of the NEEDS, for instance, was to raise the country’s standard of living through a variety of reforms, including macroeconomic stability, deregulation, liberalization, privatization, transparency and accountability.
It was also intended to create seven million new jobs, diversify the economy, boost non-energy exports, increase industrial capacity utilization, and improve agricultural productivity. The initiative was meant to be replicated at the state level known as the State Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS). But the programme, like many others before and after it, didn’t succeed much due to various factors ranging from insincerity on the part of its drivers, policy inconsistency and somersaults and lack of continuation by successive governments.
However, the transformation in telecommunications sector stands out as the most successful reform in 60 years. Many sectors of the economy have leveraged on this transformation to make significant progress in the use of information and technology in the service sector of the economy. This has enhanced service delivery although it is prone to impairment by frauds and corruption. Sadly, the corruptive activities of fraudsters in the banking industry have made the telecoms transformation unsatisfactory. Moreover, the poor quality of service, the high cost of doing business and multiple taxation, unrest and banditry are sources of concern to investors.
Generally, the major factors accounting for the relative decline of the country’s economic fortunes in spite of these lofty policies, are easily identifiable as political instability, lack of focused and visionary leadership, economic mismanagement and corruption. Weak infrastructure and weak institutions also pose threat to the nation’s economy, just as power supply remains a major burden on businesses.
Prolonged period of military rule stifled economic and social progress, particularly in the three decades of 1970s to 1990s. However, since 1999, the country has returned to the path of civil democratic governance and has sustained uninterrupted democratic rule for a period of 21 years. But have things changed? Maybe; maybe not.
No doubt, economic growth has risen substantially over the last decade, with annual average of 7.4%. But the growth has not been inclusive, broad-based  and transformational. This implies that economic growth in Nigeria has not resulted in the desired structural changes that would make manufacturing the engine room of development and induce poverty alleviation.
Even though economic statistics shows that the non oil and gas sector accounts for 90.9 percent of the GDP while oil and gas accounts for 9.1 percent, the paradox is that the oil sector accounts for over 50 percent of the nation’s revenue more than 80 percent of its foreign exchange earnings. This reflects the imbalance in the economy since independence and also underscores the declining productivity in oil and gas for the past 60 years.
The lack of political will to restructure the oil and gas sector remains a major drawback to Nigeria’s economic growth and prosperity. It is this lack of reform, restructuring and planning that is the bane of the nation’s economic backwardness so far. It makes the Nigerian economy vulnerable to external shocks owing to its weakness in economic inclusion.
Although oil revenues contribute two-thirds of state revenues, oil only contributes about 9.1% to the GDP. This means that oil remains a small part of the country’s overall economy.
The fall in oil prices since 2015 has further weakened Nigeria’s economic base. The country experienced economic recession for the part of 2016 and 2017. The period witnessed serious devaluation of the Naira with high inflation throwing ordinary Nigerians off-balance and the private sector groaning in excruciating pain.
One sector Nigeria has failed to develop maximally over the years is agriculture.
Nigeria ranks sixth worldwide and first in Africa in farm output. The sector accounts for about 18% of GDP and almost one-third of employment.
However, the largely subsistence agricultural sector has not kept up with Nigeria’s rapid population growth. The sector suffers from extremely low productivity, reflecting reliance on antiquated methods, thus making Nigeria, once a large net exporter of food, to now import some of its food products.
However, the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, through prioritisation of local agricultural production and ban on importation of foreign food items, is making efforts towards making the country food sufficient again. Mechanization is now gradually leading to a resurgence in manufacturing and exporting of food products, and the move towards food sufficiency.
Other sectors which could have helped the nation’s economy such as tourism and mining suffer from the country’s poor electricity, roads and potable water.
For instance, the mining of minerals in Nigeria accounts for only 0.3% of its GDP, due to the influence of its vast oil resources. The domestic mining industry is underdeveloped, leading to Nigeria having to import minerals that it could produce domestically, such as salt or iron ore.
It will be recalled that organized mining began in 1903 when the Mineral Survey of the Northern Protectorates was created by the British colonial government. A year later, the Mineral Survey of the Southern Protectorates was founded. By the 1940s, Nigeria was a major producer of tin , columbite, and coal .
Iron and steel sector in particular, received priority attention in the 1980s. For instance, iron and steel industry was established in the nation’s bold march towards industrialisation. It will be recalled that about one billion Naira at that time was allocated to this sector in the Third National Development Plan.
Considering the increasing demand for steel, the availability of iron ore and coal in the country and the importance of steel industry to rapid industrialisation, the Federal Government established iron ore and steel plant in the country. A steel authority was also created which gave birth to three organisation – the National Steel Council, the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited and the Associated Ores Mining Company Limited. In addition, the Delta Steel Company was established in Aladja, Warri, Delta State. Contracts were also signed for the establishment of three rolling mills at Osogbo, Jos and Katsina.
The concentration on oil resources, however, hurt the mineral extraction industries, as both government and industry began to focus on oil resources. The Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s did not help matters either as many expatriate mining experts left the country.
The Nigerian economy further suffers from an ongoing supply crisis in the power sector. Despite Nigeria’s oil and gas potentials, power supply difficulties are frequently experienced by residents.
Private sector-led economic growth remains stymied by epileptic power supply leading to the high cost of doing business in Nigeria. This is in addition to the need to duplicate essential infrastructure, the lack of effective due process, and non-transparent economic decision making, especially in government contracting.
In all of these, the ordinary Nigerian bears the brunt of economic hardship. For example, the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which was N87 in the run-up to the 2015 general elections has increased to N160 despite the fall in oil price. The Federal Government attributed this steady increase since June this year to removal of fuel subsidy.
In the same vein, electricity tariff has jumped up by 100 percent, despite epileptic power supply in the country. Just four days ago, a nationwide strike called by the organised labour in protest against the increase in electricity tariff was averted due to the suspension of the new tariff by the Federal Government.
In all, Nigeria’s recent economic indicator showed that its GDP in real terms declined by 6.10% (year-on-year) in Q2 2020, thereby ending the three-year trend of low but positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession.
This is according to the second quarter (Q2) GDP report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
According to the numbers contained in the GDP report, the performance recorded in Q2 2020 represents a drop of 8.22% points when compared to Q2 2019 (2.12%), and 7.97% points decline when compared to Q1 2020 (1.87%). Apparently, the significant drop reflects the negative impacts of the disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic and crash in oil price on the Nigerian economy.
The latest GDP number somewhat surpassed both the IMF and World bank forecast for year 2020, which implies the nation’s economy may witness yet the biggest contraction in four decade. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) disclosed in its June outlook that the Nigerian economy would witness a deeper contraction of 5.4% as against the 3.4% it projected in April 2020.
According to the NBS, the 6.10% decline in GDP was largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity during the quarter, which resulted from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic. The non-oil segment of the economy such as manufacturing, transport and trade were the worst hit even though the vital oil sector was also badly affected by the pandemic.
The recent labour statistics report released showed that unemployment rate in Nigeria rose to 27.1% at the end of Q2 2020, as the impact of Covid-19 pandemic is significantly being felt across critical sectors. While Nigeria has embarked on gradual easing of lockdown since Q2 2020 with a N2.3 trillion stimulus intervention, economic activities are yet to fully peak, indicating a muted outlook in the remaining quarter of the year.
Although economic activity, especially in the area of trade and services, seems to be gaining some momentum as restrictions are loosened, sentiment is still relatively downbeat and the recovery is likely to remain constrained going forward as the lingering effects of the health crisis continue to take their toll.
However, amidst high unemployment, mounting price pressures, tighter Forex liquidity and a subdued global economy that cloud the future outlook, economic experts are optimistic that the economy is expected to bounce back to growth, next year, even though it will remain modest. They project GDP to grow 2.3% by 2021, which is unchanged from last month’s estimate.
How this prediction will translate into economic fortunes for ordinary Nigerian, however, remains a puzzle only time will unravel.
Nigeria has a bold vision of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2030. This is very achievable by virtue of its size, its vast oil wealth and human resources. But this goal can only be achieved if Nigeria makes the transition to a new economy based on knowledge, productivity, and innovation that will enable it to be competitive in a 21st century context.
According to the World Bank, there are common factors that are associated with successful development. No country has attained development outside these common denominators. These are:
Good governance: Good governance is perhaps the most important factor in development. Without good governance, every other thing is in disarray. Good governance in both public and private sectors creates an environment where contracts are enforced and markets can operate efficiently. It ensures that basic infrastructures are provided, with adequate health, education and security.
Economic growth: This has to do with poverty reduction. Experience has shown that countries that have reduced poverty substantially and in a sustained manner are the ones that grow fastest.
Vibrant private sector: It has been established that private firms, including small and medium-sized businesses play a critical role in generating employment, particularly for the youth and the poor. This is where the contribution of the micro-finance banks is needed.
Empowerment: The citizenry must be empowered to contribute to development. Accordingly, every person should be able to enjoy essential public services such as good health, education and safe water. These are critical social services that should be provided equitably.
Ownership: A nation’s development agenda must be homegrown. The country must start from the grassroots to transform the economy.
Knowledge development: Knowledge has always been central to development. The era when natural resources dominated trade has given way to an era in which knowledge resources are paramount. This has positioned countries like the US, Republic of Korea, China, and India in a better stead.
To achieve Vision 2030, Nigeria needs to move beyond the stop-start development patterns of an oil-based economy to create a stable and prosperous base for a 21st century society built on knowledge. How much is Nigeria ready for this transformation?  Only time will tell.



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Independence Special

We Have Our Indivisibility To Celebrate -Wonwu



As Nigeria clocks 60 years of existence as a sovereign nation today, the unity and security of the country appear to be the leading concern among the plethora of issues inundating the Federal Government and the generality of the citizenry. While the view of the central administration is expressed in its chosen theme, ‘Together At 60’ for the year-long celebration, individual citizens and groups at all levels have also been speaking their minds on the momentous occasion.
In this interview with our Deputy Political Editor, Opaka Dokubo, an accomplished entrepreneur, industrialist and politician, the governorship flag bearer of the Labour Party in Rivers State in the 2019 general elections, Chief Isaac Wonwu shares his thoughts.
What are your thoughts about the fact that Nigeria is 60 years old as a nation?
Well, I must congratulate this country for attaining 60 years as an independent nation and I must congratulate all of us as Nigerians, particularly, for being steadfast over time and remaining united (and) peaceful, as one nation.
I must salute the founding fathers of this independence. I must also salute the heroes of this country; our military, those that man our healthcare-the resilience of Nigerians, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nigerians, that despite the challenges of our time, have remained with wide smiles, the Nigerians that even in the process of the hard times are resolved to move on as compared to many countries that have been enmeshed in processes of protest, demonstration, violence and other measures of expressing their frustrations in the face of the bad economy. I must commend us. Nigerians have passed through hard times and it is making us to be much better and prepared for the future.
It is my belief that the younger generation will learn lessons from our ease processes to do better for the development of this country.
How does the theme of the celebration that borders on togetherness come across to you?
Well, the unity in diversity of this country, the multi- ethnic nationalities, reality in this country is a great concern to all of us and I think that the primary objective of every leader is how to keep the country united. And for whatever economic challenges there are, the security of lives and property in the country is key. I think that the unity of Nigerians is very very important and we must celebrate the indivisibility of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
What is your assessment of the country vis-a-vis the recent warning by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that Nigeria was becoming a failed state?
We’ve actually done well in terms of unity as a country. We’ve done well in managing our diversity; we’ve done so well in being a continuous Nigeria.
No nation, no organization exists without challenges and with our population and multi-ethnic nationalities, with our diverse interests, we are bound to have some friction.
In management, with out such challenges, it means you don’t have people who can proffer solutions. It is only when you have problems that you can identify people with capacity to trouble- shoot.
I must say that the country has been doing well despite the deficit in infrastructure or mismanagement that we have actually suffered which is as a result of what I call indiscipline, and most people call it corruption.
I think that our administrators in the past should have devised ways to re- orientate our people to be able to appreciate the importance of discipline, most importantly, in our law enforcement and various agencies of government. The system has actually created more strong individuals rather than building strong institutions and our institutions are weak because our laws are weak, our Constitution is weak.
I quite agree with those who have shared their thoughts about Nigeria as a nation but in my view, any house without a strong, solid foundation is bound to vibrate. What we are suffering today is the vibration as a result of weak institutions and agencies of government. But as soon as that is straightened out, we will remain strong.
What do you think about the proposition for Nigeria to return to a parliamentary system of government?
Yes, our laws are weak, our institutions and agencies of government are weak as well but a major problem has also been that the individuals themselves who are operating the system have not been able to obey our laws, they have not been able to have regard for the agencies of government. The law enforcement agencies are also weak and Nigerians generally have been lawless. The lawlessness has brought in a level of impunity and we have grown to a very high level of impunity that has resulted to violence and what you call corruption is characterised with a high degree of non-challance and indiscipline. And until we strengthen our institutions, we may not be able to get it right.
How do we go about strengthening the institutions in your view?
The military will have to live up to its responsibilities; the judiciary must rise above board; the law enforcement agencies must rise up to their game; the civil servant must also rise up to his expectation; over politicization of institutions must stop; the politics must be limited to the political parties; and there must be a time to say the politics is over. As soon as we are able to do this and the judiciary stands firm, I’m sure Nigerians will have respect for the rule of law.
What do you think about the clamour for political power to be rotated to the South-East come 2023?
I am of a different school of thought. I subscribe to democracy, I accept democracy and I want to practise democracy and if Nigerians are to practice democracy, we must allow the democratic process to uphold itself.
I condemn the view of anybody that thinks that power must shift because power shift will more or less weaken the system, democracy must take its course and democracy must be about the will of the people and if we allow the will of the people to prevail, we may not actually mind who becomes the president. What should concern you and I is the dividends of democracy, the provision of basic amenities, the infrastructure, the education, the healthcare.
With 60 years gone, where do you see Nigeria in the next 40 years?
Unfortunately, the nation has not talked about building for tomorrow, we have only built for today and until we begin to come up with a clear vision that will be able to sustain the next generation, we’ve not actually grown. When I was growing up, I heard about Vision 2020. I was actually wondering whether I would live up to the year 2020. Here I am in the year 2020 (and ) first I was hit by the pandemic and I thank God for surviving it. But in terms of socio-economic amenities, in terms of infrastructural development, we have not done enough. So, we’re believing that the next leadership will be able to get the track right in investing in basic infrastructure that will bring the country to a pride of place among the comity of nations. The world is actually on a fast track. The world has become an environment where countries are competing vigorously and I think Nigeria also need to key in.
As a state within the region that sustains the country, would you say that Rivers State has had a fair deal within the 60 years of Nigeria’s independence?
It depends on what you call a fair deal in this country called Nigeria for a state or the Niger Delta region but I think that with the resources we have; with the infrastructure we have on the ground, even if a lot more money was given, I’m not sure we would have actually done much more than we have done. More money has been looted than has been invested into the development of the state, so even if you had pumped more money, they would have looted more. We have seen more people dabble into politics just to loot funds and what has continued to unite us as a people today is our ability to compromise in corruption.
And until this in-disciplinary act is minimized, we may not be able to justify our level of development going by the amount of resources we’ve got.
If you look at the history of the amount of money being looted in this country, you may be surprised that one Nigerian civil servant is stealing about a billion naira a day and you begin to wounder how much time he puts into service. So, we continue to hear about more billions of naira being looted and thousands being ulitised for projects. If you look at what we have on ground in the Niger Delta, it can not justify the amount of money that has come into the region. Only a few persons have carted away the resources as palliatives for themselves while the vast majority of the people are wallowing in abject poverty and dying. We have not done well if out of 10 million people only few have had something.

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Independence Special

Finding A Place For Rule Of Law



The idea of the rule of law dates back to the ancient time. As early as 2000 B.C, the famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle averred that rule of law was better than rule of man.
Nonetheless, the rule of law is a somewhat nebulous concept. It is one of the most overused and misused concepts, the meaning of which is believed to change from place to place. It means different things to different people.
Interestingly, both the democrat and the dictator all claim abiding loyalty to the rule of law in spite of their misapplication of the concept. What then is the rule of law? Rule of law means the supremacy of the law. It is a preference for the spirit and content of the law instead of the whims and caprices of the ruler. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, rule of law is a mechanism, process, institution or norm that supports the equality of all citizens before the law and secures a none arbitrary use of power
In the 19th century, Prof. A.V Dicey, a constitutional scholar and lawyer, wrote the twin pillars of the British constitution in his classic work, Introduction to The Study of Law of Constitution; the twin pillars are the rule of law and parliamentary sovereignty.
It was he who first attempted to reduce the concept to a definite legal meaning in his lecture on English law at the University of Oxford in 1885.
Dicey’s concept of the rule of law states that no man is punishable in body or goods except for definite breach of the law and no man is above the law, the term rule of law means paramountcy of the law above government. It excludes arbitrary powers.
Though, the rule of law appears not to have a consistent meaning, the concept suggests an overriding supremacy of the law over the whims and caprices of man. Hence, there is a preference for governance through the laid down laws and regulations to that of whims and caprices of the ruler.
Under the rule of law, arbitrary powers are excluded; powers must be exercised in accordance with the law.
Again, the rule of law requires that all acts must be in accordance with the law to be valid;(b) that government activities be conducted within a framework of defined rules and regulations (c) that disputes involving the legality of government actions must be decided by courts independent of government; (d) there should be no undue privileges and discrimination to the society and (e) that no one should suffer punishment outside and authority of the law.
Where the rule of law applies, the fundamental rights of individual are expected to be guaranteed. Fundamental rights, according to natural law theorists, are the species of rights which are believed to inhere in every human person hence they are regarded as inalienable and immutable. Nobody can be denied of such rights. The fundamental rights stand above the ordinary laws of the land.
However, many citizens of Nigeria are dissatisfied with the lack of application of the rule of law.
The say present and past governments have either ignored, neglected or failed to apply the rule of law. They say the situation has left the citizens at the mercy of their leaders.
Executive recklessness has been a major setback in the nation’s democracy yet still, those who run foul of the law believe that foul is fair and fair is foul.
There is a tendency to rejoice that our fundamental rights are entrenched in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, but a tale of woes belie our day-today lives.
However, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, which came into power on May 29, 2015 has been accused of large scale human rights abuses and lack of respect for the rule of law.
A Port Harcourt based lawyer and human rights crusader Mr. Chijoke Agi, who spoke with The Tide in Port Harcourt on Monday, said the present administration had no respect for the rule of law.
According to him, “the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) in 2018 through a method unknown to law is not only an affront to the rule of law but an utter disregard for the judiciary which is an arm of government. The removal of CJN Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari is the height of disrespect for the rule of law.”
The legal practitioner opined that trial of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki over corruption charges was bereft of the rule of law as security agents continued to detain him in spite of the fact that he had been granted bail by a court of competent jurisdiction. He noted that President Buhari violated court orders with impunity. This, according to him goes, against the grain.
Mr. Agi opined that the use of soldiers during the 2019 elections in spite of the Electoral Act was a blatant disrespect for the rule of law.
He pointed out that many lives were lost in Rivers State because of the use of soldiers instead of unarmed policemen as prescribed by the Electoral Act.
The legal practitioner noted that more lives had been lost within the five years of Buhari’s administration than those of his predecessors, yet nothing has been done to stem the tide.
Mr. Agi said that Amnesty International had rated the present government very low on human rights.
He said despite the much touted independence of the judiciary as granted by the present administration nothing seemed to have changed. “the judges are still doing the biddings of their appointees. It will be recalled that Amnesty international had this to say about Nigeria on 31 May, 2019,” the human rights violation such as extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and other ill- treatments, enforced disappearance, violence against women and girls, restrictions on the rights to the freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, mass forced evictions, environmental pollution and lack of accountability for human rights violation and buses.”
Another lawyer, Mr. Endurance Akpelu who spoke with The Tide in Port Harcourt on Monday said the rule of law had become a moonshine to the present administration. According to him, “with the crisis in the North East, the issue of rule of law is a foolish talk. Most importantly, the primary function of government is to maintain law and order and when there is a breakdown of law and order, the rule of law cannot subsist.
He said the insurgency in the Northeast, the killing of Christians in the north and the unchecked violence perpetrated by herders were all indicative of the state of the nation.
Mr. Akpelu said President Buhari was yet to purge himself of his despotic mentality.
According to him, “President Buhari exercises wide discretionary powers sometimes arising from the use of unchecked executive orders. The main plank of civilized democracy is the strict adherence to the rule of law.
This is because when wide discretionary powers are exercised it becomes difficult to differentiate between discretion and arbitrariness. There is a very thin line between the two, that is why Nigeria must adhere strictly to the rule of law instead of self-help.”
The human right lawyer expressed regret that a Nigerian journalist, Omoyele Sowore could be re-arrested by the Department of State Services in a court in Abuja.
Mr. Akpelu also cited the detention of the leader ofIslamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim el-Zakzaky and his wife and former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki as cases in point.
It will be recalled that at the aftermath of the DSS’s invasion of Abuja court room and its re-arrest of Sowore, the Punch newspaper announced that it would prefix President Muhammadu Buhari with his military rank, ‘Major General’ and refer to his administration as ‘regime’ “until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”
The Port Harcourt lawyer, however remarked that all hopes were lost not in terms of correcting the wrongs of yesteryear as country turns 60.
He expressed hope that the country would be great if she maintained strict adherence to the rule of law and punished violators.
Also speaking, a Port Harcourt-based political scientist, Mr. Isaiah Dioku, noted that for the country to move forward there must be strict adherence to the rule of law.
Mr. Dioku pointed out that to promote the rule of law there must be a successful political culture. “In Nigeria today, there is literately a poor political culture. The ballot is nothing to write home about and our political office holders are not accountable to the people instead act as overlords,” he stated.
“It is interesting that the present administration is fighting corruption but there must be a sincerity of purpose on the part of the crusaders. A discriminatory fight against corruption will not remedy the national malaise. A genuine fight against corruption will certainly promote the rule of law. Besides, those who breach the rule of law should be punished,” Mr. Dioku stated.
He expressed regrets that despite yawning gap in the nation’s democracy, some state governors were squaring up to muzzle the media and ban the right to protest through the manipulation of state houses of assembly.
Dioku explains that the separation of powers is one of the niceties of the rule of law and points out that when the executive and legislature are fused anarchy thrives.
The political scientist, said though there must be good working relationship between the two; not fusion of powers.
He warned that the legislature should not allow itself to be used to pass oppressive laws which would occasion rule by law instead of rule of law. He says rule by law simply means rule by any law no matter how untoward that law may be, which is laid down by the authority of legislature of that nation or state. He says in rule by law, “one is not concerned about what the law is or what its purpose is, on the other hand, the rule of law connotes rule of law which is based on certain principles of law.”
Mr. Dioku said at 60, Nigeria had come of age to do things right. He said several decades of military rule and its command hierarchy had affected the psyche of Nigerians. “We don’t have true federalism but a unitary government.
There is only little devolution of powers. So much power is concentrated at centre. This cannot promote the rule of law. Every month all states of the federation gather at Abuja to share oil revenue accruing from the Niger Delta region. What other regions of the federation contribute is not known and never shared,”
He also remarked the Land Use Act is one of obnoxious laws extant laws and noted that the laws on Exclusive Economic Zone and Contiguous Zone were intended to divest revenue from riparian states in favour of landlocked regions.
The political scientist advised the Federal to repeal obnoxious in order to promote the rule of law in the Nigerian nation-state.


By: Chidi Enyie

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