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Economic theories have failed in Nigeria, because they were not adequately contextualized, with respect to the peculiar case of the Nigerian development challenge, of which, what was and is defined as the problem, is not really problem.


In my days as an undergraduate, we were made to believe in our lectures and textbooks, per capita income, is a measure of standard of living. We recycled these thoughts and ideas for four years, and invariably, we were made to use them in our final project work as the only allowed ‘’economically proven fact’’, not bearing in mind the evolving 21st century development thinking for the measure of standard of living. This gave no room for creativity and research, which the supposed educational institutions were originally wired for.

With globalization, comes change at the speed of light, which makes developing nations, live with no other option than to develop at a pace, within a shorter time, compared to the adequate amount of time it took todays first world nations. More so, with it comes an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to resolving challenges and fostering progress, while localizing adequately, principles and theories, despite an ever increasing pressure from the global and domestic economy.

Furthermore, we were taught in school, the theory of private sector led growth, which was among the conditions encapsulated in the structural adjustment program; a program representing a false-paradigm model from the IMF, which was enforced into the hands of an uneducated government, who were made to believe too much state control were the reason for economic downturns of that era. Now history has repeated itself again, currently Nigeria is back at a partial economic downturn, with falling oil prices, at the face of private sector led growth.SO WHAT EXACTLY WAS THE PROBLEM?






  • Too much Dependence on oil, hithero leading to weak and inadequate revenue base, inadequate government spending; as a result, debt overhang,poverty, vulnerability to external shocks, naira devaluation, etc.

PROFERRED SOLUTION: IMF induced SAP program, Diversification plan, removal of fuel subsidies, launching the SURE-P program, and introduction of benchmarked oil prices and the excess crude account,etc.


  • Sap, obviously opened us to more external shocks, and dependency on more false-paradigm models and macroeconomic assistance from IMF.
  • Over two decades now, the diversification plan has still not yielded measurable impact.

Though, more funding of public projects through SURE-P, and setup of more irrelevant agencies like SURE-P/FERMA task force, promoting public nuisance and more oil thefts.

  • A replication of colonial adopted extractive nature of institutions, which continued by creating vicious circles that empowered selfish interest at independence, leading to the extraction and benefits of natural resource to the hands of a few.
  • Extractive institutions empowered coups, for selfish interest, leading to more mismanagement of public funds and natural resource, creation of unrealistic projects and development plans, debt accumulation, damaged foresight for an effective and result oriented diversification plan and poor investment of oil earnings and deficit finance on capital projects and projects with high returns for debt payback.

SUGGESTED RECOMMENDATIONS: Independence was a critical juncture missed to build institutions that fosters shared prosperity and inclusivity, but here comes the 2015 general elections, another juncture, that leaves fate in the hands of Nigerians, to elect credible leaders who;

Will lead selflessly and move our economy to inclusivity, stronger, effective and efficient diversification of productive base and structures that ensure measurable and accountable contribution to growth and development, and in turn reengineer growth for prosperity, through capital investments, social security, and provision of energy and a host of others

 Tribalism and civil war leading to ethnical divergence, emergence of traditional and cultural dogmatic beliefs and values, greatly stirring up inequality, more uneven development and threatening broad-based shared prosperity.


PROFERRED SOLUTION: One major solution in this regard has been the adoption of the Nigerian youth service scheme(NYSC)


Indeed, increased contribution of corp members to community development, but more unfortunate, youth restiveness, corruption, loss of value for graduates and oppression.

  • Push for a value reorientation campaign which ultimately emphasizes nationhood as a prime focus, regardless of tribe.
  • This further provides room for the social capital needed to boost strength in diversity, that is, trust been reengineered into our system.
  • Our graduates should be held with high esteem regardless of our failing educational system, and a chunk of youth restiveness and poor values. The good ones albeit will need a royalty mindset to takeover and deliver the future.

Then, the NYSC will be more productive and contribute better to development

Economies have now become complex systems, making systems interconnected more than ever both within the domestic and across international communities. Due to effects of globalization, the days of one strategy fits it all to resolve already existing and upcoming challenges are over. An attempt to solve the problem without a differential diagnosis of the challenges per locality would make us lose sight of the collection of practical pragmatic home grown solutions to solving our challenge, thereby making us 21st century development slaves to the international community. With the examples above and many more, have been the missing link of most 21st century development economies like Nigeria. Adopting a differential diagnosis to all our challenge, and proffering home grown solutions, which the international community have no idea about, is most imperative to our economic miracle.

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About Author

CRO – Project Change Initiative A 21st Century Leadership, Organizational and Economic Development Strategist For comments, please visit Obele Jesuite on facebook, on twitter, gospel_obele@yahoo.com. For email: or contact 08130070991.

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