What Happens When A Sleeping Economic Giant Wakes Up?

Once upon a time, there was a country that couldn’t feed its population, over a billion people. This country’s inhabitants were ingenious, waiting for the freedom to exhibit their creativity.

But they couldn’t express themselves because of the type of government as well as the economic system they embraced. That country was China; the government and economic system were communist.

In communism people don’t own businesses or properties, the government owns everything while the people share the created wealth according to their needs. This system discourages competition and lowers morale.

Somehow communist China decided to change the system. They embraced capitalism while retaining their communist party. Now, Chinese people can own businesses, properties, etc. 

They have unleashed their creativity from manufacturing to technology, the reason being that they have been given the freedom to express themselves.

The result of this market economy is that the Chinese economy is only second to the United States of America, which has been practicing capitalism all its existence. That’s what happens when a sleeping economic giant wakes up.

Likewise, there’s a sleeping economic giant in Africa. This country was rich when China couldn’t feed its population. Today China is feeding and subsiding this country. 

 The inhabitants of this country are resourceful but cannot express themselves. They are constrained by the type of government as well as the economic system they embraced. This country is Nigeria, and the government is a unitary system masked as federalism.

In federalism, the federating units contribute to the central government. But in Nigeria, the central government gives monthly subventions (allocation) to the so-called federating units. This type of system weakens resourcefulness since the federating units rely solely on the central government for funding.

Besides, in the unitary system, the central government is supreme. The system creates strong rulers instead of strong institutions. 

The strong rulers are not held accountable for their actions and so, all sorts of corruption (nepotism in particular) become the order of the day. The strong ruler uses economic partiality to punish any part of the country that refuses to massage his ego.

For instance, other parts of Nigeria want to maintain the unitary system of government, but the Igbo people of southeast Nigeria believe in the market economy because it is the only system that can promote their ingenuity. 

And so, they are marginalized economically by successive central governments of Nigeria to whip them into line with others.

In fact, the more they work hard to limit the creativity of Igbo people, the more Nigeria will record lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP). China recognized that creativity grows GDP, and thus, they liberalized their economy – a market economy.

And so, in the just held (23/02/2019) Nigeria presidential election, Nigerians were faced with a choice between two divergent presidential candidates – President Buhari (incumbent) and Atiku Abubakar.

Atiku presented his economic blueprint based on a market economy, including privatizing government-held assets, and most especially NNPC (national oil company), which is the home of corruption. 

On the other hand, President Buhari presented nothing. Rather he said that he will continue to fight corruption, grow the economy, and improve security.

It is evident that the 3 points noted above have deteriorated since he assumed office in 2015, and this time he didn’t say how he will alleviate those problems.

In the end, the people rejected (rigged out) Atiku Abubakar, who sees the whole of Nigeria as a marketplace, for President Buhari who sees the whole of Nigeria as a cattle grazing route.

As we continue to wait for the sleeping African economic giant to wake up, I wonder when that would be?