CRISIS OF STATE AND CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA (3)
By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN
The importance and role of Pressure Groups in educational development cannot be over-emphasized. Pressure groups make the government more attentive to the needs of the people. This is because as groups with many members sometimes nationally spread, they command more respect than individuals who may be fighting for similar causes. With their national spread, pressure groups play the role of integrating their different interests into a manageable whole while drawing the government’s attention to their needs. For example, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was able to get a special salary and intervention fund to turn around the spate of dilapidation and rot in the higher education system in Nigeria. Furthermore, ASSU has been able to force a national discourse and sensitization on key issues plaguing the public varsities to which the Federal Government is forced to attend to. It is also through the expertise of ASUU and other pressure groups that led to checks and balances of the power of the executive arm of government in the implementation of policies affecting the education sector.
THE CRISIS OF LEADERSHIP
Unless we tie the process of leadership recruitment to performance, the track record of aspirants and their integrity, we will most likely keep going round in circles as a nation. We cannot perpetuate the system of pulling up neophytes into positions of authority only to end up achieving nothing but to line their pockets at the expense of the State.
The other aspect of the crisis of leadership is the process of emergence of leaders. Given the confusion thrown up by certain ambiguous sections of the Electoral Act 2022 on the issue of primary elections, resignation of public officers, prohibition against aspirants partaking in multiple primary elections, etc, the process of electing leaders has continued to experience manipulations by various political interests.
INTERNATIONAL/ LOCAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES
The United Nations and UNESCO have initiated the majority of legal texts and protocols concerning education development and acknowledging the same as an inalienable right since the end of World War II. It started with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the 10th December 1948. Article 26 therein states:
“(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”
The United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO remains a universal agency with a specialized responsibility to promote education around the world for the purpose of attaining sustainable development.
So many functions are attached to UNESCO and quite a number of them are as follows:
a. Ensures all persons have access to basic education – UNESCO in its constitution guarantees the ‘full and equal opportunities for education for all – the unrestricted pursuit of objective truth and free exchange of ideas and knowledge’. Since much of the functions of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization revolved around education, they have been empowered to ensure that, all have access to at least basic education.
b. Integrates educational development concept and programmes – A large number of standard-setting instruments – conventions, declarations, recommendations, frameworks for action and charters – elaborated by UNESCO and the United Nations as well as those developed at regional level, have provided a normative framework for the right to education which member-states are expected to bring into effect through national legislation.
c. Provision of Technical, Financial and Professional Support – UNESCO as a developmental agency makes provision of support for and partnership with government in different member-states of the UN. This support and partnership have been in the area of funding, professional and technical support, and as a result of this support, innovative policies, together with practice and program of education are geared towards making sure that sustainable development is attained.
In pursuing its main objective and policy on free education to all, UNESCO coordinates the implementation of long-term goals for member states, the latest of which is the Education 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria (or in its most common name Nigeria) is therefore a class of State wherein its people upon submitting their individual rights to a legitimate authority above and over the rest of its subjects, have birthed a legitimate authority (the Government) to secure, amongst others, their rights, lives and property. It is not in doubt that the emergence of the geo-political entity called Nigeria (at least as provided in the preamble of the 1999 CFRN) is basically for the promotion of good government and welfare of all persons in Nigeria on the principles of Freedom, Equality and Justice. Despite attaining independence over sixty years ago can it be said to be ‘uhuru’ for the Nigerian state in terms of its existence and obligations to its subjects? Surely the answer cannot be in the affirmative. This then underscores the natural course to periodically if not constantly reflect upon and review the state of things in Nigeria. Hence the lecture on today’s topic “Crisis of State and Challenges of Development in Nigeria” is most welcomed by comrades with the common desire to understand the unique issues and challenges plaguing the Nigerian state, from which one can draw solutions moving forward under another political regime/ administration in Nigeria.
CRISIS OF STATE AND CHALLENGES OF DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
Crisis of State or State-crisis could thus mean a situation in which a government or state is facing a range of serious challenges and problems that threaten its stability and ability to govern effectively. These challenges can include economic, political, social, and security issues, and they often arise as a result of long-standing structural problems or external factors such as conflict or natural disasters. A crisis state is a state under acute stress, where reigning institutions face serious contestation and are potentially unable to manage conflict and shocks. (There is a danger of state collapse). Without a doubt, the lack of development in a State is a clear panacea for State-Crisis. As such, the crisis of state has a significant correlation with challenges of development in the said State. We shall thus be considering a number of fundamental challenges of development in Nigeria as highlighted hereunder.
It is no gainsaying that corruption has been a bane and an obstacle to development in Nigeria. It is a pervasive problem that has hampered progress in all sectors of the economy, including the public sector, private sector, and civil society and even the hallowed temples of religious centres. Corruption takes many forms, including bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, and fraud, and it has become deeply embedded in Nigeria’s political and social fabric. The World Bank conceptualizes corruption as:
“The abuse of public office for private gains. Public office is abused for private gain when officials accept gifts or extort a bribe…Public office can also be abused for personal benefits even if no bribery occurs through patronage and nepotism, the thief of state assets or the diversion of state revenue.”
Corruption leads to the misallocation of resources, as public officials divert funds meant for public projects to personal use. This has resulted in a lack of basic infrastructure such as good roads, schools, and hospitals. The misallocation of resources has also led to a decline in the quality of public services, with public schools and hospitals lacking essential facilities and equipment. For instance, just one Minister of State for Power was reported to have embezzled N22B while the nation reeks in darkness and grid collapses.
Corruption has also contributed to slow economic growth in Nigeria. Foreign investors are reluctant to invest in a corrupt economy, and the negative perception of corruption in Nigeria has discouraged foreign direct investment. The Nigerian economy has also suffered from a lack of diversification, with corruption leading to a concentration of wealth and resources in the hands of a few individuals and groups. Corruption is therefore a by-product of underdevelopment which begets continued systematic poverty in the Federation.
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