Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BRIC and Nigeria

Not too long ago, an event of global monumental proportions took place. Only a few, who understood it's import took note. Brazil, Russia,India, and China, formed an international coalition that redrew the parameters of where power now resides in geopolitics. 

These countries have certain key factors in common; they have large populations, their economies are growing faster than the world average, they are the factories of the world, they generate more than half of the world's electricity, they enjoy political stability, and education is not paid lip service  in these countries. 

These countries have just established the successor to the Non-Aligned Movement. And Nigeria is not a member. They will be bigger, and more influential, than the G20 within the next ten years!

Why were we not invited to join? 

Is it because we do not have the population? We do! Is it because we do not have an economy outpacing the rest of the world? Factories have been closing down, and relocating to Ghana, and South Africa. Is it because we do not generate sufficient electricity? How good is our Power Holding Company of Nigeria? Is it because we have been unable to conduct manifestly credible elections in the last ten years?Is it because our education sector is not growing? Remember the calamitous mass failure in the last NECO exams?

What are the benefits of belonging to the BRIC alliance?One Word:leverage! They have pooled their resources to exert a greater influence than any of them could have done, individually.

Is there a benefit in belonging to an association like that? (I love asking stupid questions)

The Yorubas have a proverb, that the child who knows how to wash his hands, will eat with the elders. Are our hands clean? I suspect that they must have considered us at one point in the planning stage, and dismissed us as mere vuvuzellas! 
All we do is make a lot of discordant noise, and irritate the rest of the world by our refusal to come of age, and act our age!

For a long time, we refused to put our house in order.We thought that the world would adjust to our substandard processes. Because they needed us then, they tolerated us, and we thought we were popular. We were wrong! 

Nigeria ought to have been Africa's representative, one in four black men, is a Nigerian.We disqualified ourselves long ago!

BRIC, as an idea, started peeping through the geopolitical firmament shortly after the last financial crisis ;China, was the linchpin for securing a lot of the money used to bail out ailing nations. Before then China did not get the respect it craved, and deserved.  

One of the consequence of this action, was the increase in her voting rights at the International Monetary fund. Before then, France, a country less than China in population, had more votes at the IMF!

The world has been evolving towards regional, ideological, and economic groupings. The most relevant today, I believe is the economic: it has become the independent variable, around which every other depends!

Today, we are clamoring for a seat at the Security Council, it does not add any tangible value to the lives of the average man on the street. It is just another excuse for over paid civil servants, and politicians to travel, and collect fat allowances, in foreign currency.

While I believe that on the basis of population, and contribution to peace keeping missions over the years, we deserve it, I also feel that, that, in itself, should not be our only claim to the seat.

If we were to objectively evaluate our track record of profligacy, and refusal to embrace, and domesticate, international best practices: we would see that we should not even be allowed to vie for it.

We have lost the opportunity to belong to BRIC for now, maybe if we decide to improve, we may be invited to dine with them one day. 

My fear is that that day may never come. We seem to be oblivious of the fact that the world is now a Global Dining Table, people can see our ugly table manners. A case in point is our decision to spend ten billion naira on our fiftieth anniversary, and the new call by our legislators to double their allowances. 

These are only possible in Nigeria, where power supply is epileptic, and infrastructure non existent, maternal, and infant mortality is higher than Somalia's, polio is still with us, we are still relying on people like Bill Gates to donate towards disease eradication.

Sometimes, I am ashamed to call myself a Nigerian!

We seem to have missed the road to common sense!

May we we find our way back to common sense,
and until we do, 


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