1.1 Background to the Study
Any society that aims to make progress must have a government that runs its affairs. However, citizens would perceive government as a burden when its recurrent expenditure is repeatedly higher than its capital expenditure, which should positively affect the economy, most importantly in the areas of employment generation, infrastructural provisions, investment and other activities that bring growth. This is the challenge that stares Nigeria in the face. It is now incontrovertible that the cost of running a democratic government is high in the country. This is aptly demonstrated in this year 2012 budget. While N2.472 trillion was proposed for recurrent expenditure, that is a figure prompted 72 per cent of the expenditure profile, N1.32 trillion, representing 28 per cent, was proposed for capital projects. Nigeria currently needs development like other nations of the world. The dream of development for the improvement in the living standard of the people seems to be fading away. This could be due to the inability of the various past governments (both military and democratic governments) to efficiently make use of the available scarce resources to achieve their desired goals of development in the society.
Economic and political experts in Nigeria are at the loggerhead and extremely perplexed and arguing that the development could be detrimental to the economic prospects of the nation. They have also reasoned that this is capable of worsening the already bad situation, especially as the country battles real hard to exit its first economic recession since the last 25 years. However, they are of the opinion that such innovation should not be seen as the end of the road, but a clarion call to everyone for urgent diversification of the economy with a view to averting the looming danger of loss of crude oil revenue in the nearest future. While many are still being soaked in the mountain of agitations for restructuring of the country, insisting that restructuring remains the only panacea to the nationality problem facing the nation. Others have simply admonished the political leadership to be more pragmatic in its diversification efforts, and to seek to refrain from shadow-boxing and above all formulate economic policies that will revamp and leapfrog the nation’s ailing economy.
Nigeria has in the recent past been inundated with calls for political restructuring by interest groups across its geopolitical zones. A move described by many as uncalled for, and recently jettisoned by the federal lawmakers in the ongoing fourth amendment of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The National Assembly of Nigeria has been seriously criticised by those in support of restructuring for their actions, saying that the legislatures have failed Nigerians in their sole responsibility when it matters the most. They maintained that restructuring would enable the country to create fewer and more viable federating units for rapid economic growth and development, whilst those who are averse to restructuring have hailed the legislatures for refusing to grant the agitators what they said was an immodest request. Yet, there is another group this is of the view that what the country needs at the moment is not political restructuring, but economic restructuring. In their own opinions, restructuring will lead to economic diversification, leading to multiple streams of revenue and even break loose the jinx of mono-cultural identity of the country.
It is high time Nigeria’s leaders acknowledged that Nigeria’s economy must be re-positioned by reducing its reliance on oil and increasing consumption of goods produced by other countries. There has never been any nation that prospered with a single source of income, especially when that source is riddled by the highest proportion of corruption imaginable. China’s prospered because it killed corruption, diversified her economy and vigorously increased consumption by establishing and promoting the country’s manufacturing sector. Nigeria’s leaders must understand that maintaining growth and stability in the country requires both sustainable economic and radical political changes. Our economic policy adjustments must focus on eradicating poverty, shifting the country from a consumer oriented society to a producer oriented one, tackling unemployment through creating more job opportunities and establishing a sound educational model.
Looking closely, Nigeria’s political environment is one of the most expensive in the world. The leadership of Nigeria is less than 5% of the population of the country, yet they live in the kind of luxury that exists only in the imagination of 90% of the entire population, all in the name of politics. The irony of this is that they lavish the country’s wealth without having anything to account for year after year. If Nigeria really wants to re-position and re-balance her economy, China’s example must be important because it has shown clearly that it can be done, it also shows that modernization does not mean westernization. China embraced modernization but their management was completely Chinese, they showed that developing countries need to learn from developed ones but they do not have to abandon their cultures and traditions in the process, except the ones that are inimical to modernization. We have to look up to China and copy their best methods. We have to harness their ideas and technologies and build the kind of society that we need, we also need not sacrifice our values and traditions on the altar of modernization.
We must act with the urgency of now to correct the ills in our society so that we can re-balance our economy before it collapses. China understands that development depends on good governance, and good governance is that single ingredient that has been missing for a long time in Nigeria. Good governance is the change that can unlock Nigeria’s potentials to the world of immense possibilities and it is a responsibility that can only be met by Nigerians in Nigeria, not the Chinese in Nigeria. This study will therefore provide more explanation solutions about restructuring and its effects on the economic growth in the nation.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is undoubtedly a nation that is in need of development just like most other nations of the world. The dream of development for the improvement in the living standard of the people seems to be fading away. This could be ascribed to the inability of the various governments in the past to effectively utilize the available scarce resources to accomplish the desired goals of development in the society. When political institutions have considerable bias powers in the allocation or redistribution of resources relative to market institutions, unduly considerable efforts are expended on capturing political power. The dissipation of financial, physical and intellectual energies in capturing governance of the state leaves very little for creating appropriate conditions for cultivating a developmental state.
Economic and developmental processes in Nigeria has been crawling over the years and this has prompted Nigerians to call for restructuring as the only option to move us out of the unwanted situation we find ourselves in the country and to bring about good development in all sectors of the country. This prompted the researcher to work on the topic; restructuring, a panacea for rapid economic development of Nigeria.
1.3 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
1. What are the past restructuring attempts in Nigeria’s development efforts?
2. What are the problems of Nigeria’s development that necessitated the quest for restructuring?
3. To what extent can we justify the call for restructuring the Nigerian system to enhance development?
4. What are the strategies for restructuring the Nigerian federation to enhance development?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this study focused on restructuring as a Panacea for Nigeria’s development. The specific objectives include:
1. To trace the past restructuring attempts in Nigeria’s development efforts.
2. To examine the problems of Nigeria’s development that necessitated the quest for restructuring.
3. To analyze the justification for restructuring the Nigerian system to enhance development.
4. To determine the strategies for restructuring the Nigerian federation to enhance development.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will benefit the government by opening their eyes more on the rate of unemployment, level of corruption and the persistent problem of violence and crime in the country, including how these have affected the development and quality of life of the people. This will also benefit the masses by showing them the benefits of restructuring and it will ensure peace and harmony all the states of the federation.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study investigated restructuring as a panacea for rapid economic development of Nigeria and therefore only limited to the government officials and some scholars in the areas of economics, social sciences, accounting, public administration and business administration. This was because those are the sets of people that the researcher perceived to really understand the topic.