Globalisation And Nigeria’s Economic And Political Future
Quantity Surveying unit, Department of Surveying, Faculty of Engineering,
Ahmadu Bello University,Zaria,Nigeria
Published in Daily Triumph Newspaper, Kano State, Nigeria. February 10th 2003.
However, the dictionary meaning of globalization is the act of making global world wider in scope or application. This meaning seems too neutral indeed too innocent as it falls short of conveying the overtones of the term and real significance of the concept as widely understood in today’s world.
In view of this, the effect of globalization to Nigeria’s economic and political future cannot be grasped rightly unless a comprehensive approval to the concept witnessed world wide was introduced.
POLITICAL CHANGES OF GLOBALISATION
One of the new political conceptualization and theories which emanated in the aftermath of World War I was the theory of “vacuum filling”. This theory was based on the idea that the pullout of Britain from the Middle East, or more precisely the Arab world, after the World War I had created a vacuum which had to be filled by the new power whose intervention had played a decisive role in bringing about the victory of the allies.
It was based on the fact that this nascent power had the right to exercise its sovereignty in not only that region but in other regions of the world. Though not a direct legal sovereignty, it was nonetheless a form of intellectual and cultural sovereignty in both political and economic hegemony.
Therefore, one realizes that in the early nineties, the theory of “vacuum filling” which used to dominate the international arena fifty years ago, has been redesigned in consonance with the requisites of the new world order and the over-riding developments that were witnessed world-wide. This situation tallies with the aspirations of the mighty victor of the Cold War, it is also an indicator that globalization is an updated version of the “vacuum filling”.
Globalisation determines the sovereignty of states by trespassing on their prerogatives, debilitating their national independence and encroaching upon their rights to make their own decisions. It further abolishes the function of the Nation State even though the state may be enjoying full sovereignty in accordance with the provisions of the international law. This type of globalization is what is prevailing today in the world through some international power which though not states, have a direct say in Nigeria’s national politics. Acting through multifarious channels that interconnect our society, these powers capitalize on their informal relations with Non- Governmental circles and or Organization ( NGOs) wielding transnational bodies, such as international organizations and multinational companies and banks such as the I.M.F. and world bank who impose scandalous economic policy measures on our dear country.
EFFICACY OF GLOBALISATION INTO THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY
Some of the essential instruments used by the west to useless our economy are privatization, deregulation and the controversial university autonomy. These are impetuses of sapping our national resources, for the manner and methodology of their implementation does not tally with the economic principles upon which Nigeria was based. This in turn has greater effect on the national savvy. For instance, privatization, even Margaret Thatcher who happened to be the forerunner of the privatization apet project she initiated in 1979, had not closely understood the concept in its absolute term.
She privatized almost all the state’s, owned companies in telecommunications, including telephones and other public properties like electricity and roads. We all applauded her as was the only way to promote competition. But people with the same statue in thinking and conduct as Thatcher, who widely believed that the surrender of some portions of responsibility of public companies and/or a few properties to some private “core investors” with the sole aim of making profit to the investors in question after the company’s turn over-have fall short in their understanding of privatization. For:
1) If any government wants to privatize, it should allow private enterprises to set the ball rolling by enabling them to compete with the governments’ owned companies. Let them come and set their own and let there be competition between the private sectors and the government.
2) Once you translate some of these public sectors like electricity, telecommunications, roads, NEPA-especially in case of Nigeria, whereby the so-called “ INVESTORS” are the people occupying the most lucrative positions in government, you tend to create a multi-dimensional problem, because you have virtually done nothing. What one succeeded at is that the public monopoly have been transformed into private monopoly when you still have one unit? For instance, they are taking of privatized communication but the private communication or organizations are competing with NITEL.
3. If the government wants the private people to be effective they should let them do their own things in their own ways, not to take government property from us because it is a collective duty. This is Western manipulation in absolute term, and it is also one pointer to my earlier assertion that privatization is just an impetus of globalization.
Multinational companies and banks: Contemporary and future effect to Nigeria’s economic and political future.
In this country, the dominant groups of multinationals such as Shell, Mobil ( Producing Nigeria Unlimited), Chevron, Unilever ( NAC) and other institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. The first thing to be made clear is how these multinationals and investors have transformed our political and economic systems.
The term “multinational” as one writer put it “reflects this reutilized acceptance of Western bourgeoisie conventions”. He further argues that to call Shell, Chevron, Unilever, IMF and World Bank ‘multinationals’ is to suggest that they are companies made up of a multiplicity of nationalities.
It is to hide the fact that they are almost owned and controlled by the capitalists and government of Western Europe and world super powers. The term has been made wide spread by the Western media to cover up the vicious and exploitative side to their operations.
These companies operate and tarnish Nigeria’s economic and political systems in collaboration with the social and political nature of the ruling classes; cabal as it may, controlling the state. In this regard, they connive with the government to discourage local and indigenous participation of Nigeria’s companies and financial institutions into the major sectors of production such as oil, and also in the area of businesses such as loan, shareholding and so on. These companies and banks dominate the commanding height of the Nigeria’s economy. They made themselves more profitable and secured by selling 40-50 percent of their shares to Nigerian governments and individuals.
The Nigerian government has secured loans and shares and they have a say on who run the government. The issue is that should these multinationals be agents of development, they would not have tolerated the two charges made against them by the anti-globalisation brigade; that they are giant organizations that crush competition and reduce choice, and that they are instruments of Western imperialism that ride rough- shod over different cultures. When Pankaj Ghemawat, an academic at Harvard Business Schools, point out that globalization does not lead to concentration, as both anti-globalists and M&A obsessed managers imagine, but to its opposite. Ghemawat sighted that “ In the 1950s, American roads were built by three companies ( Ford, Chrysler and General motors), its airwaves by three other companies ( NBC, ABC, and CBS), its telephones by AT & T and most of it technology by IBM”. But the global warriors under the banner of World Trade Organization ( WTO) strike back in their defense that the reason for this is simple “ Giant companies used to be able to rely on the high cost of capital and technology to protect themselves from competition, and on their cosy relations with government around the world, expensively cultivated over the years”.
It is a known fact that we do not need any loans from the multinationals; the network of subservience to Western capitalism which it further entrenches is going to lead us into further debts, further loans and infinitum.
Consequently, globalization must coexist with the traditional, economic, political and financial identities within the framework of Nigeria’s policy measures for the achievement of economic prosperity and world peace, even though mankind can not at this time, disentangle himself from the constraints of globalization in view of its pressing need for keeping abreast with the economic, scientific and technological trends of the new world order but a domestication of a sort should bring a wave of change to our dear country.
Jibo Nura is with Quantity Surveying Unit, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He can also be reached at Jibonura@yahoo.com