National Insecurity: Bane of Economic Growth and Development in Nigeria. Part 2

One more obvious effect of insecurity in Plateau state is loss of businesses and reduction in industry.

In the infamous twin bomb blast of 20 May, 2014 where many lives were lost [3] one major thing was also lost in Jos, the capital of Plateau state: the singular shopping mall in the state. The shopping mall has never been restored as of the time of this writing and may probably will not be restored for a long time but will stand as an evidence of what happened under the rule of terror. There are many private and less prominent inglorious monuments to religious intolerance, tribal wars and terrorist attacks scattered around the state.

As Plateau state is being focused on, it must never be mistaken as a case in isolation but as a sample of what is going wrong with Nigeria in terms of security and insecurity as a whole. Readers and observers should take what has been observed so far and adapt it to Bauchi, adapt it to Yobe and probably imaginatively multiply its effect in Borno and Adamawa and it will not be difficult to believe that as of April 2015, there are probably more than 1,538,982 internally displaced persons in Nigeria.[4]

The import of this figure from Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (iDMC) is that Nigeria has about one million or more farmers who have long stopped farming to feed themselves or the nation, about one million or more petty traders or business owners, the category of people who have been observed to be the driver of economic development in any nation. This figure also means that we have one million or more individuals who used to be financially independent and financially productive who are now financially dependent and financially unproductive.

 

An Experiment Called Israel

Photocredit: www.goisrael.com

Photocredit: www.goisrael.com

Prior to her formation as a Jewish state in 1948 and afterwards Israel has been in the news for many reasons; for the good, and for the bad. Almost every time, the Nehemiah account is been revisited.

When Israel was formed, it was more or less describable as several people going on pilgrimage, except that in this case the Jews who are the pilgrims were staying, settling and occupying.

It was as if someone was directing the script as was written by Nehemiah and Ezra, (Ezra Chapter 1) and that director must have believed in the success of the play.

The population in the country of David grew gradually on immigration till it reached the current population of over 7 million.

With the population growth is economic growth which started out with agriculture which employs both traditional and modern agricultural methods.

Economic growth stopped been driven majorly by agriculture especially after the crops have become enough to feed the growing population and also to yield financial returns through export.[5]

Israel has moved from only agriculture to agrotechnology and while that continues, the nation had grown to be what authors Dan Senor and Saul Singer called Start-up Nation. According to these people they put the secret as chutzpah and hidden beneath this are Israeli “government policies on immigration, research and development and military service” [6]

This is where a keen look was taken at the book of Nehemiah where the secret of 21st century Israel’s growth and development can easily be observed historically.

“But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel. So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire.” (Nehemiah 2:10 – 13)

From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built... (Nehemiah 4:16 – 18) (Bold words are for emphasis)

From the biblical passage quoted, the following words and phrases can be interpreted for each of the three government policies Senor and Singer stated as the deep secrets of Israel’s growth and development: “So I went to Jerusalem” talks about the immigration, the diversity of which was presented in details in the book of Ezra.

Seek”, “I told no one” and “inspected” speak of the various attributes of Research and Development; a lot of searching, secrecy and quality control.

Finally the last and the most interesting part; the quotation from Nehemiah chapter 4:16 – 18. “…And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built…”

This part if adapted to the present reality can be read as “each of the agent of growth and development consults with their military training experience while they develop”.

This is the script the 21st century Israelis acted and are acting that has been the explanation for their excellent technology advancement.

The question is can the same script lead to growth and development in Nigeria also?

 

 Military Training: Hope for Growth and Development

Unlike Nigeria, Israel has always been in conflict but despite the tension that surrounds the state, they are still advancing on several fronts. Considering the Nehemiah account, even though there was tension, there was no immediate battle yet Nehemiah’s order to his men is that “each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other”. This invariably points to the fact that the best time to be prepared for battle is not when there is a full blown war but rather from when a territory is established or latest by when there is a perceived threat to the security of the nation.

Lack of growth and development because of national insecurity, depending on how it is explained, has been shown by Israel to be non sequitur.

This means that Nigeria may not be permitted to excuse lack of growth and development to national insecurity; Israel is thriving not because of an absolute national security but despite it.

In various circles, the root of Nigeria’s economic crisis has been alluded to bad leadership and in others as corruption which can be said to be an offshoot of both bad leadership and bad followership.

Ordinarily, these issues about bad leadership and followership are minimal in the military, and a high sense of discipline is ingrained by military training.

Military training may not be a popular option but it is a known fact that the military is one of the best human institutions that produces the finest of leaders.

Babies may be enrolled in the military, but they do not graduate as such; they come out as men. It takes men to build a nation. One of the banes of the Nigerian society is that it has seen too much babies lead. “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning!” Ecclesiastes 10:16

 

National Youth Service Corps: The way forward

Nigeria already has the tool in place that will drive her growth and development, it is only been underutilized.

If the NYSC scheme can be utilized to serve two main purposes: agriculture and military training, it will become more effective as a tool to both harmonize the nation but also to drive the growth of the country.

NYSC: For Agriculture

If corps members who are not fit for intensive military training are drafted into farming and into developing value chain for agriculture in each of the communities, it will lead to a more creative way of doing agriculture.

This conscription to agriculture should be pursued in such a way that no matter the course of study, each corps member can and should be encouraged to add a unique value to the agricultural process currently available in their host communities.

The method of remuneration for participating in the agriculture sector should include a percentage of the harvest where possible and where impossible, the usual allowance is paid.

NYSC: For Military Training

This part of the scheme should encourage intensive military training which will be the foundation of the two proposed aspects only that the category that may not continue due to reasons such as fitness and others by which military men are selected or weeded out.

 

Conclusion

Nehemiah once built a massive wall with crude materials, mostly salvaged and with few men. It was the men who worked with one hand as it were, but their hands have been disciplined. It was not their number that gets the work done, it must have been their alertness and exposure to several skills totally unrelated to the assignment of wall building.

The only way to get that alertness and discipline can only be by military training and by chutzpah which Nigerians have in abundance.

Military training is beyond the physical health exercises that are done in orientation camp, it includes such training that make men out of children. It is those men who can “each labour on the work with one hand and hold his weapon with the other” and also be one “of the builders (who) have their sword strapped at their side while they build…”

 

 

References

  1. Romm, Joseph J. (1993).Defining national security: the nonmilitary aspects. Pew Project on America’s Task in a Changed World (Pew Project Series). Council on Foreign Relations. p. 122. ISBN978-0-87609-135-7
  2. http://saharareporters.com/videos/centenary-amalgamation-nigeria-must-re-invent-its-name-flag-anthem-and-all-prof-akin-oyebode
  3. The Punch Nigeria Vol 38, No 20, 666. 21 May 2014. ISSN 00312666. Pgs 1,2 & 7.
  4. www.internal-displacement.org/sub-saharan-africa/nigeria/figures-analysis
  5. CSD16/17 National Report Israel, Agriculture
  6. http://startupnationbook.com/about/
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By | 2017-06-23T03:45:49+00:00 January 7th, 2016|Uncategorized|

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