of third world are made to see the West, Europe and America as models that they must copy, if you want to develop. Western development models become part and parcel of their thoughts, aspirations and policy focus. Despite this subservience to the west, Africa is no where near development. In a recent pronouncement by president Obasanjo to the world that Nigeria is No.174 among the poorest countries in the world. In other words, Nigeria is one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. Tragically, African leaders, including our decision makers, policy advisers and most members of the Nigerian political and economic elites, including Nasiru el-Rufa’i are (western) mentally programmed. Nigeria has gone far in this. It imported two of the most important ministers in the cabinet from World Bank and United Nations. So also the Governor of the Central Bank.
These are the people el-Rufa’i came out publically to defend. He argued intellectually and logically that is a sacrifice they have made to even come to Nigeria and work. What Nasiru hides away from the public is that the ministers are simply agents here to ensure full compliance to World Bank and USA policy guidelines: this is what underscored the recently launched NEEDS, poverty alleviation and privatisation programmes which are all World Bank IMF decisions. It was not true that el-Rufa’i told the nation during his early days in BPE that privatisation is not World Bank induced policy. Subsequent events have fully belied him.
Moreso, Nigeria is not the first country in Africa to be World Bank subservient. You need to take a trip, not as a tourist, or reforms advocate, but as a researcher to Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia and Asia or South America. These are some of the countries that whole heartedly followed the World Bank induced reforms. More than any other factor, privatisation and other reform packages of the IMF/World Bank are what created the profound economic problems in these countries that aggravated socio-ethnic tensions and political instability which has made the countries, among the worst off in the world. Conflicts and warfare are the primary features of those states. The structural adjustment well engrained by IBB military regime and now consolidated by multi party elections only promote bogus institutions and fake presidential democracy that is meant to support the process of economic restructuring, what Obasanjo calls economic reforms. The clientele relationship between Nigeria (and other poor countries) and the western countries is that of the periphery and the metropolis, the centre. The implementation of the economic reform, what el-Rufa’i and his masters don’t want to reveal, is meant to globalise the macro economic policy under the direct control of the IMF and the world Bank on behalf of powerful financial and political interests (e.g Paris and London Clubs, G8).
The transition of el-Rufa’i from where he has wracked psychological damage on the national psyche to where he is now involved in exerting structural violence on nerve centre of the nation provides an apt microcosm of a global agent at work. The Abuja Master Plan, must triumph. In countries where the welfare of the citizens come first, it calls for policy reversal even when decisions are reached in order to serve people first.
With blind aping of the wests’ anti-people policies all over, with collapsing state apparatus at hand, one is forced to ask, does the Abuja hierarchy really know what it is doing? Do the implementors know the long term implications of their actions? Are their decisions really informed by intelligence, wisdom and public service? So far it appears they are only succeeding in creating more confusion in statecraft and public governance.
It is rightly argued by professor Walter Rodney that ‘African sell-outs are part of the definition of underdevelopment’. For us to develop we must have our initiatives, strategies and model within Africa, informed by our experiences, culture and realities on ground. The west will never bring to us anything that will genuinely make our society function.
They have nothing to do with the people of Africa. This is what professor Fantu Cheru, the Development Consultant to UN concluded in his book: African Renaissance: Road Maps to Challenges of Globalization (2003) and Silent Revolution in Africa: Debt, Development and Democracy (1993). A necessary readings for el-Rufa’i and co.
The western development models is a deceit. According to UNDP reports (1994), 2001, 2003) and World Bank country report (2003) the development models prescribed for Africa have failed to bring development in these societies. Hence as long as we look to the west so long shall we remain poor and poorer. In the Asian continent, countries like Malaysia, Indonensia and South Korea among others have the secret of their development in looking inwardly. (Although there was clear compromise, of both tariff and non tariffs barriers by US and government for direct flow of raw and finish products into US and unrestricted copy of their technologies by the Asian Tigers all in order to contain the spread of communism in those societies). Look at china, it has recorded the fastest growing economy in the world based on its history, culture and peculiarities.
Nigeria needs intellectuals, policy advisers and decision makers who will look inward and indigenously. There is nothing brilliant, intelligent or hard work in being subservient to foreign and hostile interests. Your ability to develop and work on perceptions, initiatives, and strategies out of your people’s problems, values and cultural realities for their emancipation, empowerment and growth is the hallmark of nation building and patriotism.
Muhammad writes from Kaduna Polytechnic.