No country becomes a global power by the willing benevolence of another power or powers.
If America had waited on the British and other European powers to benevolently grant Independence to it, the country would still be made up of colonies of various European powers today. Similarly if the Jews had left it to the whims of European powers there would not be a state of Israel today. Jews will still be in ghettoes in Europe like the gypsies, stateless wanderers persecuted and perhaps near extinction now. And if the Germans had not taken on France, Austria, Russia and other European powers, they would still be tucked in several neighbouring states. The Chinese would not be the global power of today but the scattered vassals of Japan, Korea, Britain, Russia, and Mongolia. And if the British had not taken on and defeated the mighty Spanish Armada in 1588, Britain would have become a colony of Spain, France and Scandinavian countries.
What gave these countries and peoples the zeal and impetus to fight their way to greatness was the belief in their essence and mission to the world.
As the preeminent African country, Nigeria’s essence and mission is not just to 200 million Nigerians but to Africans and peoples of African descent all over the world. Nigeria itself is intrinsically a country made up of about ten countries. It is not just the largest collection of Africans in one place in the world, it is the most diverse environmentally, culturally and resourceful African country.
Nigeria has the potential and capacity within it to generate its own orbit of developmental momentum in all fields of endeavour and to carry along with it the whole of Africa and Africans in diaspora. In other words, Nigeria exists not just for the people within the geographical entity of the country, but those in Africa and peoples of African descent in Europe, the Americas and elsewhere in the world.
Let us not be deceived. The global powers of the world in their analytical projections of Nigeria, know this for a fact. It is a closely guarded strategic secret which they would neither encourage nor help Nigeria actualise. They thus regard with trepidation the day this black African behemoth wakes up to this reality and pursue it just as they did theirs. You thought China is a nightmare to some people in the world? A Nigeria rising to be a global power in its own right will be the mother of all nightmares. It will upturn all the pseudo-scientific myths of racial superiority of some so-called ‘’Master races’ that had been behind their continued justification for the denigration and subjugation of the black man in the world from which they have been profiting economically, culturally and politically to date. A Nigeria as global player on its own momentum will cause global seismic economic, cultural, racial and political changes of ‘’Big Bang’’ proportions that will forever alter the world as we know it today.
But this is an imperative which leaves Nigeria with its composition, endowment and manifest destiny no other choice but to pursue. It is in effect Nigeria’s essence and mission just as it was correspondingly the same with all the other major global powers of today in their trajectory of development.
The Economic paradigm of the grand design
A new economic paradigm should form the kernel of Nigeria’s grand design.
At present Nigeria’s economy is structured around the export of crude oil, one of the hundreds of minerals that Nigeria is abundantly endowed with. But from our experience of its operations it is hardly the stuff on which to build a new economic paradigm. The bulk of the revenue is skimmed by so-called foreign technical operators and most of what eventually comes to the coffers of Nigeria goes out of the country through capital flight in a variety of ways, leaving little for actual development.
Nigeria is thus left in a perpetual circle of irredeemable debts which forces us to always seek the assistance of International lending agencies.
It is a scandalous shame for a country of Nigeria’s resource endowment to be corralled into this pattern of economic relations.
The total value of Nigeria’s economic assets in terms of land and water resources, mineral deposits, human, tourist and cultural resources cannot be quantifiable in any currency and by whatever economic measurement. Nigeria’s natural economic space and sphere extend to the whole of Africa and Africans in diaspora.
So why would a country with such unquantifiable economic endowment and space allow itself to be convinced into believing that the value of its resources can be measured in terms of a so-called International currency for which it has to grovel before lending agencies? Especially as that currency itself is of dubious economic value?
Oh yes the United States Dollar on which we denominate our foreign earnings and which we hanker after is a currency not backed by the gold reserves of the country of its origin as is required in economic relations. Since 1971 when the gold peg of the dollar was removed during the administration of Richard Nixon, the greenback has been left to float meaning that those who trade on it run a high risk in the event of its drop in value. This measure came up as the US economy began to lose its competitive edge against other countries and which required the US to sell its gold reserve to shore up its currency the dollar. Because the US was loathe losing its gold reserve in the process, the measure came into force.
As it is today the dollar as a reserve currency is backed not by the time honoured economic safety belt of gold reserve as required. Rather, the US Treasury just prints the dollar and floats it unsecured without any gold backing and with its massive intimidating military and intelligence services, compels countries to trade in it for the benefit of the US economy. In other words, the US hoists up an arbitrary seignorage of the dollar and compels the world to finance its deficits. That is why many countries with an eye to the future are currently varying their future economic projections and options.
To tie our economic fortunes fully to the dollar as we are currently doing is to deny ourselves the necessary latitude to manoeuvre should the compelling need arise for us to take independent economic decisions as the US becomes less and less of a competitive economic power globally.
Going by various projections Nigeria’s population is expected to hit 450 million by 2050 making it the third largest country in the world after China and India. It is further projected that between now and then major shifts in the global economic and political architecture will take place. What pro-active steps then are we taking to ensure Nigeria remains a relevant economic player in the world within that context?
That is why the relevance of a new economic paradigm away from the current one comes in. Many countries around the world are beginning to vary their economic options using a combination of economic and political means.
In the context of the grand design Nigeria should widen the scope of its economic options and engagements with the world leveraging on its unique strengths and advantages.
(To be continued)