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THE NIGERIAN STATE AND DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES IN THE 21ST CENTUARY: A CASE STUDY OF BENIN METROPOLIES

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Nigerians vision 2020 is another way of saying that Nigeria wants to engage in  global competition among leading countries of the world. With vision 20:20:20  Nigeria wants to be one of the first most developed 20 economies in the current  world of globalization. For Nigeria to be seeking to be one of the 20 most developed economics in the world, means Nigeria must not only have the level of development of the twentieth member country in the group, but must also have a national development index that is higher than that of the twentieth member in order to be able to displace it.

Put differently, Nigeria must first of all catch up with the last in the rank in the group of 20 most developed economies in the world, but must also outdo the country in terms of political stability, economic output, good governance, social discipline and commitment to the rule of law (Akinterinwa, 2010:18). At the various meetings of the Nigerian economic summit group (NESG), since it’s inception in 1996, non has had an atmosphere so charged as that of January 2003. the gathering was devoid of the usual banter. It was obvious that the participants were severally disturbed by the precarious state of the economy.

Without much ado, Bunmi Oni, then managing director of Labour, Nigeria and chairman of NESG told the gathering that “We can no longer afford the marginal growth that has characterized our economy over the years we must seek avenues for a leapfrog, but only by correcting the fundamental defects that inhibit growth” (Ogunlowo, 2008:16). Even Olusegun Obasanjo, then president, was not unaware of the gloomy state of the economy. At the children’s day celebration in May 2003, he helplessly admitted that, “we have poverty; indeed intolerable poverty, both in rural and urban areas…”

International observers were not left of the pervasive concern over the state of the economy during the period – and up till now. For instance the global competitive index survey conducted by the World Bank institute in 2004 ranked Nigeria 88th out of 717 most corruption prevalent, malfunctioning and least competitive economies in the world. In the same vein, an investment climate survey opinion conducted by the World Bank concluded that “Nigeria’s infrastructure in terms of quality and quantity, is inferior to that in much of the rest of the world”. And the most hit according to the report, was the utilities sector, especially electricity supply. Six years on, the pictures painted above have not altered meaningfully. In fact in some cases like power supply, rail and road network. The situation has worsened.

This has been the journey of an economy blessed with vast human and mineral resources, and yet the people have been wallowing in poverty in the midst of oil wealth for 50 years. Despite the deluge of revenue from oil, long years of military rule, political instability, corruption anchored by massive looting of public treasury, pauperisation of the citizenry and complete neglect of basic infrastructure has remained the main.

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