Vol. XX, Issue 1 (Winter 2013): Nigeria's Nollywood; Nigeria at 50

 

BOARD:

Gloria Emeagwali
Chief Editor
emeagwali@ccsu.edu

Walton Brown-Foster
Copy Editor
brownw@ccsu.edu

Haines Brown
Adviser
brownh@hartford-hwp.com

ISSN  1526-7822

REGIONAL EDITORS:

Olayemi Akinwumi
(Nigeria)

Ayele Bekerie
(Ethiopia)

Paulus Gerdes
(Mozambique)

Alfred Zack-Williams
(Sierra Leone)

Gumbo Mishack

(South Africa)

 

TECHNICAL ADVISOR:

Jennifer Nicoletti
Academic Technology, CCSU
caputojen@ccsu.edu

For more information on AfricaUpdate
Contact:
Prof. Gloria Emeagwali
CCSU History Dept.
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, CT 06050
Tel: 860-832-2815
emeagwali@ccsu.edu







 

Table of Contents 

 Editorial

      In this issue of Africa Update we focus on Nigeria. Osakue Omoera provides an interesting perspective on the Benin video - film. He points out that as many as four hundred movies have been made in the Benin language and that this trend should be encouraged in the interest of ‘glocalization.’  He argues that ‘ there is a need for film scholars, film critics and theorists, among other stakeholders in the academic and professional circles,’ to give Benin films support for the film culture to grow, as  Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa film cultures, the dominant ones in Nollywood, have done in the past two decades. Osakue  ushers us into the world of Benin videography in the last segment of the paper, leaving us with a clear understanding of how the industry evolved, and the significance of films such as Ikioya (1988), Ewemade (1989), Ehizomwanogie (1990)  and Erhi lfueko (Ifueko’s Father).

     We have also included in this issue, Adeleke Ademola’s insightful discourse on the diverse plans and slogans that the Nigerian political elite have deployed over the last few decades with respect to development planning. Vision 20-2020 as well as earlier development slogans and acronyms such as ‘ Operation Feed the Nation’, VODEP, NAPEP, NEEDS, SEEDS and others,  are identified and discussed  by       Dr. Ademola. His argument is that the government must abandon these slogans and provide activist,  visionary leadership instead of vision documents,  for Nigeria to move forward and take its place among the developed countries.

     We express our gratitude to the two authors for  providing us with profound perspectives on  aspects of Nigerian contemporary history. The phenomenal development  of  Nollywood , Nigeria’s Film Industry, demonstrates clearly that  positive growth can take place in spite of the constraints and negativities of a corrupt  political elite, but the hope is that enlightened leadership will eventually emerge, to harness to its fullest, Nigeria’s vast and valuable human and natural resources.

Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Chief Editor

Nollywood Unbound- Benin Language Video- Film as Paradigm

Osakue Stevenson Omoera
Department of Theatre and  Media  Arts,
Ambrose Alli University,
Expoma, Nigeria

 Introduction

In the first ever academic foray into the Benin video-film culture, Omoera (Benin Visual Literature…234), provided a filmographical corpus of over 200 Benin language films, but today, close to 400 Benin movies have been made. This is a considerable output which ought to be given attention as a redoubtable corpus of indigenous film production, yet the Benin language film is very much neglected, with little or no attention being granted it in the academic as well as other learned arenas. Hence, the significance of a study of this nature which is aimed at asserting the Benin video-film as being  a part of the vibrant and viable Nollywood film culture-  besides that of Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo/English. Aside from the known film schools or acknowledged Nigerian film cultures of Yoruba, Igbo/English and Hausa (Zajc 67; Ekwuazi Perspectives on the Nigerian…4; Ogunsuyi African Theatre Aesthetics…25; Idachaba 17), there are massive cultural productions in Nupe, Ebira, Afemai, Tiv, Efik, Idoma, Ibibio, Itsekiri, Ijaw, and Benin subsections of indigenous language films in Nigeria. These forms of media productions appear to have raised the ante of the ‘glocalising order’ in Nollywood because of the increasingly diverse and powerful cultural and linguistic energies they throw up. Onuzulike (233) seems to have made this point when he affirms that, in many ways, video-film itself stands for an example of technology that can be used for cultural explorations and representations mostly for the individuals or groups who cannot afford celluloid.

In fact, for over two decades now, Nollywood has experienced a tremendous mutation and growth in both the professional and academic arenas. This is likely to continue for a number of reasons. First, there are now many indigenous language film production sites across the country, apart from the dominant ones. Second, a considerable number of academic journals, books, conferences, professorial chairs and academic centres have been/are being dedicated to Nollywood Studies in and outside Nigeria. The efforts of the Centre for Nollywood Studies, Pan African University, Lagos-Nigeria; Film International, an esteemed journal based in London; Post Colonial Text, a Canada-based humanistic journal of international clout; Ijota: Ibadan Journal of Theatre Arts, a highly rated University of Ibadan- based specialized journal of international standing, all deserve commendation in this respect. It is from the foregoing perspective that this study argues that Nollywood is unbound; that is, it has gone beyond the 1980s and 1990s geographical and linguistic categorizations and interpretations,  to include a lot more in a ‘glocalising order’, which, at present, appears not to be receiving attention from film critics, film scholars and film theorists.

 Nollywood Films and the Glocalising Order

As a concept, glocalization relatively recently crept into film as a form of media production in Africa. Glocalization is a word that was invented in order to stress that the globalization of a product (for instance, film as a cultural and edutainment product) is more likely to succeed when the product or service is adapted specifically to each locality or culture it is marketed in. The term combines the word globalization with localization – an earlier term for globalization in terms of product preparedness for international marketing is internationalization. The expression first appeared in the late 1980s in articles by Japanese economists in the Harvard Business Review. According to Roland Robertson,
who is credited with popularizing the term, glocalization describes the tempering effects of local conditions on global pressures. He specifically argues that glocalization “means the simultaneity – the co-presence – of both universalizing and particularizing tendencies” (12). For instance, the increasing presence of Nollywood films worldwide is an example of globalization, while the variegated outlook of Nollywood movies as expressed in Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo/English, Benin, among other ethno-linguistic lines with different language tropes, customs, artefacts,
distributive channels, deployment of technologies, exhibition agencies, market mixes in an attempt to appeal to local audiences in parts of Nigeria, Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and elsewhere are an example of glocalization. Glocalization serves as a means of combining the idea of globalization with that of local considerations. Thus, initially developing an understanding of globalization offers a great deal of assistance in beginning to understand the function and meaning of glocalization.

Globalization serves as a means of combining the idea of globalization with that of local considerations. Thus, initially developing an understanding of globalization offers a great deal of assistance in beginning to understand the function and meaning of globalization. Philip Hong and In Han Song (658) explain that:

          Globalization corresponds to the integration of local markets into

        world capitalism. Manifested by global changes in structures of the

        economy, globalization entails a restructuring of the world economy

        and a spatial reorganization of production and consumption processes

        across political states.

 Relying on Beck’s interpretation of glocalization as “internalised globalization,” Roudometof further develops the foregoing definition primarily by solidifying its roles within and relationship to transnationalism and cosmopolitanism. Roudometof argues the essential nature of clearly defining these terms to more fully understand glocalization, with which they are interrelated (113). In a larger context, Roudometof explains that the emerging reality of social life under the conditions of glocalization provides the preconditions necessary for transnational social spaces, and that this process of glocalization may lead ultimately to a cosmopolitan society (118). Agreeing with Roudometof but with a specific reference to the Nigerian film, Okome (Nollywood: Spectatorship…3) asserts that:

         While the wholesale adoption of video technology by practitioners in

         Nollywood has been an unqualified local success, it is the spirit to defy

         the economic malaise of the cinema industry in Nigeria that led to the

         adoption of this ‘new’ technology. What this success signifies is the will

         to overcome the problems occasioned by economic and political hiccups

         in the 1980s with the slump in the local currency. Perhaps even more

         important is the desire expressed by video filmmakers to keep local stories

         in the narrative programme of this local visual culture. By appropriating

         the terms of video technology the way that Nollywood has done… this

         local cinema has demonstrated to its audience and to the cinema world

         at large (transnationalisn) that it has not despaired of making some kind

         of sense out of its own hieroglyphics. In the same vein, it has invested

         in its playful narratives of the social and cultural life (cosmopolitanism)

         of the Nigerian post-colony a nuanced essence of parody… (words in

         parenthesis mine).

 Again, while stressing that cosmopolitanism and transnationalism are, without a doubt, unique concepts, Roudometof presents the insight that the two conditions often have a very close correlation to one another, a source of confusion repeatedly uncovered during many attempts to describe interconnected global processes. However, based on his extensive research, Roudometof (130) offers an understanding of transnationalism as the connectivity and motion of everything from immigrants to the practices of capitalism, religion, or activism across state borders.

 Indeed, one could consider globalization an economic form of transnationalism, as the social movement described by transnationalism entails a reduction in the significance of boundaries to all forms of activity globally, from political to cultural or economic processes. While the relationship is not linear or automatic, many forms of transnationalism may nevertheless serve as indicators of developing cosmopolitanism within a state (Roudometof 131). Yet again, cosmopolitanism, which to Roudometof (130), signals a pre-existing blending of global and local considerations in real life through glocalization, can be conceptualized as a moral and ethical standpoint or quality of openness manifested in people’s attitudes and orientations toward others. As Roudometof notes, cosmopolitans (for instance, Lagosians in Nigeria) living in a transnational world are known to adopt a more open, encompassing attitude toward peoples and regions distinct from their own (131).

Thus, as boundaries fade in importance due to transnational motion, the integration of global and local forces defined by glocalization make transnational social spaces, in which those people and processes that have crossed borders interact, a reality. Ultimately, this process of glocalization may provide societal encouragement for the more culturally open mindset of cosmopolitanism. The foregoing interesting and intersecting scenarios seem to be unfolding with the emergence of Nollywood in the transnational film ecologies of Nigeria, continental Africa, African Diaspora and indeed the Western world. For instance, the multiple award- winning Benin language/Nollywood filmmaker, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen’s Adesuwa, which premiered in the Odeon Cinema in the United Kingdom in 2012; the world tour of The Figurine, which was made by Kunle Afolayan; the exhibition of Tunde Kelani’s Thunderbolt in different festivals and cinemas in African and indeed across the world, among many other Nollywood movies,  indicate the transnational potentialities of Nollywood films in an increasing glocalising world. And, it is important that Nigerian film scholars and researchers begin to interrogate aspects of these extended readings of the Nigerian film with a view to deepening global as well as local understanding of the highly diversified nature of Nollywood for the socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-political imports and even impacts it has made and is still making.

Theoretically and practically, therefore, the aesthetic and economic possibilities of an emergent glocalising order in Nollywood are yet to be fully explored and exploited by development agents in both the academic and professional circles of the cultural and entertainment industries in Nigeria. According to Eregare and Afolabi (145) the cultural and entertainment industries are the vehicles for social and cultural relations. These industries are responsible for the ‘manufacturing’ of meanings whether they are news, drama, music, and films. Glocalising the meanings and symbols produced from these industries through effective and pragmatic platforms  such as the one Nollywood provides,  can benefit those interested in discussing or exploring the phenomena of translocal cultures;  global linkages and transnational networks that impact and shape identities; cultural heritages and relationships among and between Nigerians and other Africans and the people of African descent and other peoples worldwide. However, this discourse is more interested in how the Benin video-film, by virtue of the Benin weltanschauug, can be distinguished and become accepted as a viable aspect of Nollywood, and the need for film scholars, film critics and theorists, among other stakeholders in the academic and professional circles, to give the required support for the film culture to realise its fullest potentialities in a glocalising Nollywood. Before delving into this, it may be profiting for this discourse to briefly reflect on the dominant Nollywood cultures in relation to some of the new ones, which the Benin film emblematises.

 Dominant Nollywood Film Cultures

 Nollywood is arguably the most diversified film ecology on the continent of Africa with distinct production points of releases and the exploration of diverse subject matters. Haynes and Okome (106) observe that:

 Nowhere else in Africa has a domestic market been captured so successfully. The video films are produced on a number of distinct bases, and have a variety of forms, styles, and themes, as well as a language of expression. Taken together, they give us something like an image of the Nigerian nation – not necessarily in the sense of delivering a full, accurate and analytical description of social reality, but in the sense of reflecting the productive forces of the nation, economic and cultural.

             In an attempt to examine these ‘productive forces’, Ogunsuyi (The Aesthetics of Traditional…32; African Theatre Aesthetics…21) contends that three popular approaches to the epistemology of films earlier agreed upon by Yearwood (65) and Ekwuazi (Film in Nigeria 133), could be applied to a purposeful reading of the traditional African theatre films in Nigeria. According to Ekwuazi in Ogunsuyi (African Theatre Aesthetics…21):

 The first of these approaches is the iconic criterion. This is said to assert the identity and meaning of the film image… The second is the indexical criterion. It asserts the socio cultural background of the film maker and applies this as an index to conceptualising the film. The third and the last is the intentional criterion. This is where the very basis of evaluating the film is based on the intention per se of the filmmaker.

            These approaches are referential because they serve aesthetic inquiries. It is germane to note, too that these approaches direct our attention to contemporary studies associated with conceptual instruments of linguistic and semiotic science traceable to post-modernist culture. Exploring the foregoing along with the economic practice within society that clearly discerns the place of film, Ogunsuyi posits that there are three schools of film in Nigeria. These are: The Yoruba School of Film, The Hausa School of Film and The Igbo School of Film (Ogunsuyi The Aesthetics of Traditional…36-53; African Theatre Aesthetics…25-35). Idachaba (17) and Zajc (67) agree with this classification of the existing schools of film in Nigeria.

          As earlier noted these identified schools have received and continue to receive scholarly attention from many disciplinary backgrounds, nationally and internationally. Larkin (232), Johnson (203), Ekwuazi  (The Hausa Video-film… 66) and Adamu (77) agree that Hausa video-films have close engagements with the styles of love present in Indian films as well as certain preachments which emphasise the Islamic worldview. Ekwuazi (The Igbo Video-film…147), Ugor (76) and Enem (29-30) affirm that there is an undeniable thread which runs through the Igbo video-film: the inherent drive for individual success which has made the Igbo personality to be seen as a victim of egotism and crass materialism. The Yoruba video-film, on the other hand, is to a great extent influenced by the animated cosmos of the Yoruba people. Life to the Yoruba mind is cyclical, involving the worlds of the living, the dead and the unborn. Therefore the Yoruba film is steeped in mysticism, reincarnation and rites (Ogundele 100; Asobele-Timothy 4; Eghagha 73). This, perhaps, explains why Okome argues that the Nigerian video-film has an unchallengeable presence, which has called attention to itself from the world on its own terms (Nollywood: Africa…6).

         Furthermore, some other critical inquirers into the Hausa video-film include Mohammed Bala (1992), Yusuf Adamu (2004), Mathias Krings (2004), Hyginus Ekwuazi (1997), and Abdalla Adamu (2007; 2009; 2010; 2011). For the Igbo video-film, some of those who have inquired into its nature also include Anyanwu Boniface (1995), Hyginus Ekwuazi (1997), Nwachukwu-Agada (1997), Chukwuma Okoye (2007), Nnamdi Malife (2008) and Stefan Sereda (2010). Again, Onokoome Okome (1991;1993), Hyginus Ekwuazi (1994), Durotoye Adeleke (1995; 2005; 2007; 2009), Wole Ogundele (1997), Afolabi Adesanya (1997), Obododimma Oha (2002), Daniel Seiffert (2004), Olufadekemi Adagbada (2005; 2008), Adewale Rafiu (2007) and Saheed Aderinto (2012) are some of the Nigerian film scholars and critics who have done incisive scholarly studies in the area of the Yoruba video-film. Issuing from the foregoing, it is no surprise to observe that Nollywood, for a very long time, was structured along the lines, defined in colonial times, with three main regions: the Northern with Kano, South-eastern with Onitsha and South-western with Lagos. This is why it is part of the burden of this study to dispel this notion by arguing that a considerable amount of filmmaking activities is taking place among other micro-national film cultures in Nollywood which remains generally underexplored and under-theorized and yet can be demonstrated  to be representationally consequential in terms of production output, audience reception, opportunities for contending views and voices as well as the cultural display of difference.

       This, perhaps, best explains why new frontiers, beyond the generally known Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba Nigerian video movies have emerged in the cultural firmament of the country. In fact, some film scholars, film producers and film aficionados are now working on various film projects that explore their cultural and ethnic affiliations. For instance, Mabel Evwierhioma is working on Urhobo video-films (Mabel Evwierhioma in an interview with this researcher in 2008). Prolens Movies Limited has produced Ukpebuluku (2009), an Urhobo film. Supreme Movies Limited has produced another Urhobo video-film, Urhieuvwe (2010). Steve Amedu is already producing films in Esan language (Steve Amedu in an interview in 2008). Tony Boye produced Inaghomi (2008), an Itsekiri video-film; Alex Eyengho also made Oma tsen-tsen and Suaro La in Itsekiri language. Uncle City has produced Igbabo-Eva (2009), Ifiogbodon Se Eraman (2010), Emo Isagbo (2010), Okpor-Ogie (2010), among others, in Afemai language. Emem Isong premiered an Ibibio language movie, Mfina Ibagha in 2006; and many others have been produced in other Nigerian languages such as Fulfulde, Kanuri, Tiv, Efik, Ijaw and, of course, Benin, which is the fulcrum of discussion in this study.

 Benin Videography: Early Beginnings, Production Sites and Audiences

 Historically speaking, Ozin Oziengbe, aka, Erhietio Sole Sole, a man widely believed to be the doyen of Benin video drama (in an interview with this researcher in 2009) was of the contention that the Benins have produced video dramas long before the commonly acknowledged ones. To buttress his point, he cited video works such as Ikioya (1988), Ewemade (1989), Ehizomwanogie (1990) and others which he made in technical collaboration with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Benin Centre. His position appears to enjoy the support of Ogunsuyi (African Theatre Aesthetics…66) who also remarks that as at 1987, he had produced Erhi lfueko (Ifueko’s Father), a folk drama for the screen at the NTA, Benin Centre. However, Baba Cliff Igbinovia, a prolific Benin moviemaker and actor ( in an interview with this researcher in 2009), pointed out that the first commonly acknowledged Benin video drama appeared in 1992 with the Uyiedo Theatre Troupe’s Udefiagbon. Although Udefiagbon treats a contemporary social issue of child abandonment, Peddie Okao ( in an interview with this researcher in 2009) noted that it is Evbakoe, subtitled in English as Reap what you Sow which was released by Soul 2 Soul Nigeria Limited in 1998 many people regard as the first video drama of Benin language expression. Regardless of when, where and how video-filmmaking in Benin commenced, Ibagere ( in an interview with this researcher in 2011) observed that Benin video-films numerically rank fourth, after Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba film cultures and yet have not been granted academic attention like others.

         Benin is the present day capital of Edo State in South-Southern Nigeria. The term Benin is vested with several meanings and connotations, the earliest of which date back to between 900 - 1200 AD, when it started enjoying the status of a kingdom ruled by the Ogisos (Egharevba 1). Benin is also interchangeably used with the term, Edo (Agheyisi 39; Omoregie 10-11; Lawal-Osula 2). Aside from being a geographical entity, Benin is also used to describe the people and the language spoken in this area. With the current geopolitical arrangement, the Benin speaking people are mainly found in the southern part of Edo State (Edo south), which comprises of seven (7) local government areas (LGAs), namely, Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Orhiomwon, Uhunmwonde, Ovia South-West and Ovia North-East. The inhabitants of these LGAs are, for the most part, native speakers of the Benin language and the primary market target of all the Benin video-film producers/videographers who shoot Benin movies. Benin filmmakers operate from two distinctive points, Benin and Lagos, with several production sites. While Lancewealth Images Nigeria Limited is a clear Benin film producer from the Lagos end, Prolens Movies Nigeria Limited, Pictures Communications Nigerian Limited, Osagie mega Plaza Nigeria Limited, Triple ‘O’ Resources Nigeria Limited, 99 Entertainment Nigeria Limited, to mention a few, constitute and animate the creative and productive mitochondrion of film making at the Benin end.

         The non-native residents of the Benin speaking areas as well as the general viewing public, including audiences in other parts of Nigeria, Africa, the Diaspora and the Western world, constitute the other markets for the Benin language film. Perhaps, this speaks to the potentialities of the Benin video-film in a glocalisng Nollywood which are largely untapped at the moment. Some of the outstanding names in the Benin video culture are Johnbull Eghianruwa  (Sir Love), Eunice Omoregie (Queen of Benin movies),  Omo-Osagie Uteteneghiabe (the unmistakable voice of Benin movies), Loveth OKH Azugbene (Emama no kasedo/Ovbesa kpooo), Osagie Legemah, Osaretin Igbinomwanhia (Akpaka 99),  Prince Ayomi-Young Emiko, Onions Edionwe, Osarodion Enogieru, Monday Osagie, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, Davidson Esekeigbe, Baba Cliff Igbinovia, Osasuyi West, Ogbeide (Ukeke), Andrew Osawaru, Wendy Imasuen, Omodele Uwagboe, who have featured as either as actors/actresses or producers/ directors in movies such as Ikoka (2003), Ikuemitin (2007), Emotan (2003), Ekuase (2004), Agbawu (2007), Yasin (2008), Olidara (2008), Ebuwa (2009), Ovbimwen Osemwen (2011), Okpaniya (2006), Okagbe N’ogbeti (2011), Adesuwa (2012), among many other great Benin films. Omoera in a bid to draw attention to the Benin subsection of Nollywood, asserts that most of these films are often linked with the Benin Oba or royalty, but they generally explore mundane and contemporary issues as well as matters from previous epochs, using Benin language, proverbs, folklores, costumes, artefacts, songs, adages, among other icono-cultural paraphernalia as distinctive means of communication, which are steadily carving a niche for Benin movies in the pantheon of indigenous films in Nigeria (A Taxonomic Analysis…52; An Assessment of the Economics…forthcoming). Having briefly looked at aspects of the history, production and audiences of the Benin film, this study elects to examine the Benin worldview in the Benin video-film as a way of concretising what really makes the Benin film ‘tick’ in a glocalising Nollywood.

 The Benin Worldview: An Infrastructural Base for the Benin Video Culture

Generally, worldview denotes a comprehensive and usually personal conception or view of humanity, the world or life. In relation to African arts and worldview, Trowell (19) argues that:

                        In reality the essentials of art study are more fundamental

                       and necessitate a thorough understanding of man’s nature,

                       physical and spiritual; of his modes of expression, visual and

                       otherwise; of his reactions to surrounding; of his relationships

                       with the world, in each and all of its various aspects; and of

                       the progress of all these factors through time.

 Trowell’s profound assertion still holds true today about traditional African arts, their practitioners and the society where they live in. The traditional Benin society is steeped in customary observances which allow for the devolution of authority from the Oba down to the ordinary citizen. Ezra (3) asserts that the Benin Oba is the central figure in the kingdom, combining vast spiritual powers that result from his divine ancestry with enormous political clout.

     According to the Edo Arts and Cultural Heritage Institute (EACHI), Benin is one of the oldest traditional kingdoms in West Africa, which still exist today (EACHI par 6). Much of what is known about Benin today is its rich arts and crafts that adorn many European and other museums around the world. During the colonial era Europeans looted a lot of the sacred and popular arts of the Benin people (Osahon 48), and efforts to retrieve some of these art works continue till today (Igbinovia 13).  As this is going on, another popular art form is emerging. This is the Benin video-film, a performance art that is purveyed to large audiences, both Benin speaking and non-Benin speaking through the use of videographic gadgets such as cameras, video compact disks, digital video disks, among other modern media technologies.

          Omoregie (in an interview with this researcher in 2009) remarked that it appears that the rich history, artistic and cultural heritage of the Benin are now being transmitted through the agency of the video-film as a form of modern media production and, of course, this is what impels this study’s investigation of the Benin speaking audience’s reception of the Benin video-film. Ezra (3-4); Erhahon (123)  opine that almost all the folklores, popular beliefs, customs, stories, music, dance, legends, festivals, oral history, proverbs, aphorisms, sculpture, weaving, sports and games, among others, of the Benin people are either derived from the Benin royalty or associated with it in one way or the other. Hence, the Benins have popular songs such as the ‘Eguae ruese’ folksong which goes, thus:

  Text in Benin                                               English Translation           

Kponmweoba me                                        Thank the Oba for me

Kponmwen ekhimwen oba me                     Thank his chiefs for me

 Iwina ne eguae ye vbe Edo oyemwen          The work the palace is doing in Benin pleases me 

Chorus

Eeee Eguae ruese                                        Thanks go to the palace for everything

 The above and many more traditional components of the Benin worldview appear to have found their way into the Benin video art (Omoregie in an interview with this researcher in 2009). At any rate, the traditional observances within the Benin culture space may be categorized into cultural, socio-religious and economic bases.

Culturally, Igbe (The Okaegbee…59) points out that the male folk are generally regarded as the head because the traditional Benin home or community is built round patrilineal or patriarchal ‘edifices’ such as the ‘Omodion’ (eldest son) inheriting the estate of a deceased person. Traditionally, a man who has many wives is said to have many ‘urho’ or ‘doors’. That is, if he has three wives, he has three ‘urho’ or ‘doors’ (Eweka1; Ehiemua 3). The traditional Benin sees the number of ‘doors’ in a man’s house as an indicator of whether he is a man of substance or not in society. Thus, any Benin man who is unable to cater for his family is lowly regarded and belongs to the low-brows or dregs of society. The women are traditionally expected to bear children, see to the needs of their husbands and generally hold forth at the home front/home management. Hence, in their kinship and lineage organization there is a marked patrilineal bias and emphasis upon primogeniture (Eweka 1-2). 

     A critical look at Adaze (2003), a video drama produced by Ama Films shows this patrilineal bias of the Benin society, where women tend to be deprecated and relegated to the background in the decision making process in family affairs. Ukata (The Images(s) of Women …1; Conflicting Framings…65) has roundly condemned this seeming unfair representation of women in the Nigerian society as well as Nollywood films. She contends that Nollywood videos such as I was Wrong (2004), More than a Woman 1 and 2 (2005), Omata Women (2003), Glamour Girls (1997), among others, typified women in very outrageous ways that tried to feed on the stereotypes of women in Nigeria and by extension African societies. To her, it seemed as though women have nothing good to contribute to the society other than destroying moral values.                          

     On the socio-religious plinth, Izevbigie (78); Obanor (1); Ebohon (20); Lawal-Osula (7) assert that the traditional Benin person leads a sedentary lifestyle and believes in the existence of a supreme God/being (Osanobua) who he/she worships and communicates with through intermediaries such as the ancestors, Ehi (guardian angel) and other smaller deities such as Olokun, Ogun, among others. Obanor (20) further posits that the average Benin man believes in reincarnation and that a man/woman reincarnates fourteen times to complete a full circle of his/her existence. Substantiating Obanor’s view, Ebohon (Cultural Heritage …7; Ebohon and his Centre...20) argues that, to the Benin mind, calamity or evil can be avoided or averted through appropriate propitiation rites/performance of certain rites in the ancestral shrines such as Aro-Era (Father’s shrine), Aro-Iye (Mother’s Shrine),  Aro-Osun (Osun’s shrine), Aro-Ogun (Ogun’s shrine), among others. Perhaps, it is such a belief that informs the ‘Ugieewere’ ceremony which provides every Benin man or woman the opportunity of warding off evil from the land and supplicating for good fortune yearly (Omoruyi 12-13; Osemwengie-Ero 4).

        On the economic front, the Benin people are very industrious people who specialize in bronze-making, farming, coral bead-making and general merchandising. Osawaru and Eghafona (82) contend that the present day bronze casters in Igun quarters of Benin City are reminders of the high sense of craftsmanship and industry of the Benin in the days of yore. Technologically, Osagie (64-65) states that the early Benin local technology developed in about ten base areas, including metal, wood, ivory, bone, shell, fibre, leather, clay, mud and stone. However, there seems to be a gradual but consistent shift from this pristine Benin worldview to the one which is constantly being assailed from many angles. This trend is perhaps due to the advent of time, modernity, urbanization, foreign religion, globalization, foreign languages and other contemporary challenges.

         This discourse will reflect on some more values that the Benin people hold dearly using the postulation of Ekwunife (70) as espoused in his ‘Quinquagram of Igbo traditional religious values’ before examining some of the contemporary challenges in the Benin man’s or woman’s view of life. Although Ekwunife uses the Igbo traditional society as a reference point, the issues canvassed are illustrative of the values that are central to the worldview of traditional Africans, including the Benin people. Ekwunife (70) identifies five pillars on which many of the traditional African values are built by drawing on the Latin, quinqua meaning five. Putting quinqua in perspective, Ekwunife contends that “Life, Offspring, Wealth, Peace and Love” are the cardinal values around which other traditional African values cluster (72). Scruton (483) had earlier noted that the term value is often applied to all those objects thought to be, worthy of human pursuit, say on moral, aesthetic or religious ground. This position dovetails with Shorter’s (111-112) observation that:

 value is the worth which we ascribe to choice – choice

of an object, an opinion, a course of action, a relationship,

a role, an experience. In a choice one alternative is preferred

to the other (or another) and a worth is conferred upon it…

Values are expressed as a repeated and consistent leitmotiv

In any number of contexts, through any number of images or

 symbols. They become a regularity or pattern in the thought

of people or culture…

 The point being made is that there can be no value if man has not got the potentialities of choosing from many alternatives. These alternatives may be objectively good or bad, moral or immoral, just or unjust, praiseworthy or blameworthy. When a person is faced with these alternatives, he/she evaluates them making choices which may later on be discovered to be either detrimental or beneficial to his/her general welfare and that of the society where he/she lives. It is in this context that this discourse further exfoliates itself by looking at the Benin worldview vis--vis the five cardinal traditional African values as put forward by Ekwunife.

       Life as a supreme value: For the traditional Benin of south-southern Nigeria, life is the supreme gift of God to man. It is meant to be cherished and preserved at all costs. It is a supreme value (Igbe Okaegbee 54; Obazee 50). No other human value should be preferred to this supreme value. It is sacred and belongs to God. It is given to man on trust. Hence, no Benin toys with his/her life or with another person’s life. Emovon (28) affirms that the Benins express this sentiment on the supreme value of human life in their prayers, sacrifice and offerings, songs and music, dances, video arts, names given to children, proverbs, pithy sayings, betrothals and marriage ceremonies, myths and folklores in their social and political interactions, in their economic ventures and organization.

        Igbe (Izomo…53) further states that the value of human life as a supreme gift from God is commonly expressed among the Benins in the names given to their children such as Osayande (God owns the day), Orobosa (everything is in God’s hands), Osayaentin (God owns the might of life), among others. Other names and maxims expressive of this sentiment are Agbondimwin (life is deep), Agbonze (life is of great value) and N’agbonrhienrhien ze iro dan (the person who is enjoying life does not harbour evil thoughts). If, therefore, as scholars like Awolalu and Dopamu (28-29), Ikenga-Metuh (250),  Ekwunife (74), to mention a few, rightly point out that African names are not mere labels but pregnant with meanings, it is because these names not only express personalities but also rich African values. For the Benin, the greatest human value is life. Perhaps, this thought is better captured in the Benin folk saying/song which reads:

Text in Benin                                                 English Translation

Ede agbon mwen                                           My life

Rhie obosa  ne akpama                                 Is in the able hands of God

Afianma gie fiannmwen                                 Fear is far from me

Udu gie khuemwen                                       My heart will never fail me

Rhunwunda tegha muso vbe nerho                Because I must realise my dreams

Vbe agbon nerhie                                         In this life.

          Offspring: Second in the hierarchy of quinquagramatic value for the Benin is offspring. Osayande and Abolagba (3) state that the Benin people place very high premium on biological fruitfulness. This, in the view of Igbe (Izomo…53), is reflected in such names as Omorowa (a child is the house), Omosede (a child is of greater worth than wealth), Omorose (a child is beautiful), Omorotiomwan (a child is one’s family or lineage), Omoruikhuomwan (a child is one’s inheritor), Omorunomwan (a child performs one’s transitional rites) and so on. Indeed, having many offspring usually from polygamous marriages are greatly valued in Benin culture, not only to supply the needed manpower for economic purposes, but more, to continue the cherished ancestral lineage (Erhahon 151). Mere (93) substantiates the point being made when he observes that:

                       Traditionally children are highly valued. They have to

                       continue the ancestral line in order to retain the family’s

                       ownership of whatever property that belongs to it. The

                       reality of family extinction cannot be ducked where

                       children are not forthcoming. Such a situation is socially

                       abominable.      

 It is therefore no surprise that the average Benin parent believes that having children wards off the anxiety of growing old and the fear of loss of property to undeserving fellows. This is consistent with Obazee’s (43) argument that the high premium the Benin people place on the human offspring impels them to go to great lengths in ensuring continuity of family lineages. One of such socio-cultural mechanisms, according to Omoregie, in an interview with this researcher in 2009, is the levirate system of remarrying within a particular family as a result of the death of person’s spouse. This practice which is still prevalent today makes room for bereaved widows to get children on behalf of their dead husbands or require a man to marry his brother’s widow for procreation purposes.

     Wealth: The meaning of wealth in Benin custom is better described than defined in the strict sense of the word. Wealth in the traditional Benin thought system and practice does not necessarily mean abundance of material goods as modern Africans may conceive it; nor does it exclude some measures of affluence. Agheyisi (39) posits that wealth for the traditional Benin person is a comprehensive term. It includes in its purview: some landed properties, numerous children, relations and dependants, human skills and other endowments of nature through which a man or woman can make a living. Indeed, one may say that for the Benin person, there are two major ways of acquiring wealth, namely by ascription or inheritance and by achievement or through one’s skills and labour. With respect to the former, the Benin would say Efe-Erha (wealth of the father) or Efe-Iye (wealth of the mother) while they call the latter Efe-Obomwan (wealth of one’s hand or labour) which is further amplified in the inimitable Benin proverb, “A ma mie eson a i mie uwa” meaning “one does not experience prosperity or wealth without labour” (Erhahon 2).

      Love: Fourth in the pecking order of Benin traditional values is love. Love and peace are interrelated. However, for explicatory reasons, we will treat them separately. ‘Awe-emwen-omwan’ which can be literally explained as “good neighbourliness among human beings” is perhaps, the best word in Benin to describe love. To the Benin mind however, Erhahon (68) opines that, it is a dynamic quality of man expressible in multiple human actions whose principal functions are to promote, cement and enhance human interactions under three vital aspects – ontological, socio-political and religious/spiritual.

      Omoregie (in an interview with this researcher in 2009) argued that if love (awe-emwen-omwan) exists between two people or communities they will strive to uphold or support one another. Everyone will endeavour to conform to family and social etiquette of not breaking known taboos of both the land divinity and other popular divinities of the community or of the ancestors such as suicide, incest, adultery, stealing, to mention a few. Husbands will support their wives and vice versa, children will respect their elders and vice versa and leaders at the family, clan or community will lead responsibly if love is shared among them.

      The opposite could spell doom for the individual, clan or community. For instance, for a husband to kick his wife at the belly during pregnancy for any reason whatsoever is a serious offence against ‘awe-emwen-omwan’ (love). The reason is obvious. In doing so, the man is, as it were, manifesting his hatred for the sanctity of human life (the wife and the child in her womb) and by extension hatred for the society in need of continuity and perpetuity. He is equally offending the ancestors of the family, the clan and community and ultimately against God the author of human life and morality. In a sense, all moral offences in the traditional Benin society are offences against love (awe-emwen-omwan). This is probably why love in Benin thinking expresses itself in concrete actions which are meant to promote social ties, communal bonds and religio-cultural advancement (Omoregie in an interview with this researcher in 2009).

      Peace: Like ‘awe-emwen-omwan’ (love), the idea of peace (ofunmwengbe) is not apprehended in abstract terms in the traditional Benin society.  Rather, it is viewed in terms of social relation, social justice and religious interactions. ‘Ofunmwengbe’ (peace) as the traditional Benin perceive it is to be gauged in terms of social relationship: Family relationship, clan relationship, village relationship or community relationship. Borrowing from Buddha’s “Noble eight-fold path” (Parrinder 78), one may say that the Benin social relationship which engenders peace is characterized by three of these paths. These are: “Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.” ‘Right speech’ in Benin cultural context implies the choices and expressions of words that cement social relationship always. A common Benin maxim to this effect is ‘Ota ne khuerhe o mua ekhoe rhie oto’ meaning ‘It is a pleasant speech that puts the mind at rest’. And, of course, it is the mind at rest that can contribute to the peace of the home and community.

      With regard to ‘right action’ in social relationship, the Benin custom expects all strata of its citizens to be acquainted with the social norms and taboos of each sub-cultural area and observe them meticulously. Through the process of socialization children and youths are inducted into these various norms and taboos of society either in their various families or by acquaintance with age grades, peer groups or through instructions by accredited leaders of society. For example, at the action level, children and youths are expected to greet their elders and relinquish their seats for them in a gathering. Failure to observe this will earn sharp reprimands either from parents, guardians and responsible elders. Hence, the Benins place a high premium on the notion of ‘Ima omo emwin’, which means ‘a child must be taught something to live by’ (Erhahon 19).

        Besides, every Benin clan/lineage has its lineage greeting and people/youths from each clan are expected to greet others/elders in the morning using their clan salutation/greeting. This gives everyone in the traditional Benin society an instant mark of identity in terms of the family he/she belongs to (Egharevba 79). Hence, the Oba lineage greets with ‘Lamogun’, Iyase of Benin family greets with ‘Lavbieze’, Ezomo clan salutes with ‘Lagiesan’, Oliha lineage greets with ‘Laogele’, Ero family salutes with ‘Lamosun’, among many other morning family greetings. Incidentally, Benin Kingdom is reputed to be the only place where such lineage salutation is practiced in Africa.

       At the level of ‘right livelihood’, every member of the Benin society is expected to be trained in one skill or the other to be useful to his/her immediate family, extended family and society at large and have a meaning for living. It is such thinking that informed the Oba’s setting up of different guilds where youths can learn various arts and crafts in addition to the usual farming skills. Dark (5) observes that a strong tradition in Benin is that bronze casting was learned during the time of Oba Oguola. By this arrangement, every youth in the traditional Benin society grew up knowing that the society will make allowance for his/her training and subsequent employment. This also helps in maintaining fairness and social justice in the land.

As an all embracing phenomenon, peace (ofunmwengbe) encompasses in its purview the ideas of social relation, social justice and religious interactions. It is the ‘fruit’ of ‘awe-emwen-omwan’ (love), the end term value in the hierarchy of quinquagramatic values of traditional African culture as postulated by Ekwunife. In any case, the Benin Oba has consistently been emblematised in all Benin art forms, whether old or new, including the Benin video-film. Ezra (4) affirms that art forms such as sculpture, bronze casting, carving, among others, as practiced in Beninland constitute royal art which has the Oba as its centre piece.

          Some Implications

       Undoubtedly, the media presents a vital sphere where glocalization is made evident. A powerful means of making connections on an international scale, the media is nonetheless a tool also capable of having an impact on a more local stage. Hampton (1112) offers a meaningful example of this reality through his study of Internet use by local communities of urban underclass citizens. Developing a naturalistic experiment that examined use of the Internet for communication at the neighbourhood level, Hampton was able to identify the role of the media in encouraging local social cohesion and community engagement. Examining a topic of interest in which studies are presently quite limited, Hampton (1131) was able to determine that connection across distance may not be the only affordance of Internet-based communication. Rather, according to his studies, when a critical mass of individuals within a shared local environment adopts the Internet for communication, they cultivate an increased awareness that this tool affords communication locally as much as it does across distant space. In this light, use of the Internet for communication at the local level offers a strong example of the phenomenon of glocalization.

      Drawing on the foregoing, this discourse holds that the Benin worldview as a firm infrastructural base for the Benin video-film is capable vitalising greater video works, beyond the heights that Ikoka and Adesuwa have reached, thereby boosting the presence of the Benin video-film in a glocalising Nollywood. To fully aggregate the gains of the Benin worldview which teems with great stories, folklores, artefacts and icons and images of universal appeal, this study proposes a small but dialectically relevant paradigm which it tags, ‘homefrontism’. As a concept, it calls for a more painstaking aesthetic inward-looking attitude of Benin filmmakers into their social cultural milieu in making video-films. It posits that a conscious scouring up of iconic cultural resources such as proverbs, myths, folklore, heroic exploits, Benin Obaship rites, pithy adages, among other linguistic tropes, which are in abundance and currently largely untapped, can widen the entertainment and cultural germaneness of Benin films in Nollywood and beyond. For instance, if culturally germane stories are given aesthetic twists and depths via videographic nuances, among other digital-enabled processes, the created contents are likely to stand the Benin film out as embodying unique communicative figurations amidst other mediatised cultures. Apart from the fact that the foregoing proposition enjoys a considerable support from a sampled audience of Benin speakers (Omoera Audience Reception…131), its intellectual resourcefulness is underscored by Okezie’s (204) assertion that:

             The languages and customs of Africa define and identify the

            people at their local settings. They guide their behaviour and

            determine the outcome of their efforts. It means that without

            their languages and customs, the continent has no identification

            and thus cannot be defined, cannot think, nor act constructively

           and independently, which are necessary elements for development.

           Therefore, the Benin video-film practitioners, scholars, critics, enthusiasts, theorists, among other types of audience, should embrace and possibly adopt the rather deconstructive dialectics of ‘homefrontism’ to theoretically benchmark the output of the teeming Benin video culture in a glocalising Nollywood. 

     A diachronic review of the different forms of artistic/media production in Beninland would show that landmarks, myths and folklores linked with the Oba have been a major source/repertoire from which indigenous artistes – dramatists, novelists, poets, bards, musicians, dancers, among others, have continued to draw inspiration from. For instance, a careful examination of the creative works (stage plays, poems, carvings, sculptures, music, etc)  of O.S.B. Omoregie, High Priest Osemwingie Ebohon, Ambassador Osayomore Joseph, Sir Victor Uwaifo, Akaba Man, Chief Arala Osula, Evbinma Ogie, among other Benin performing artistes attest to this fact. The Benin video-film being a cultural and edutainment product of the latest technologies available and accessible to the Benin people appears to have become the trendiest audio-visual purveyor that aggregates the advantages and essences of other art forms/forms of media productions it met in order to assert itself, gain credibility and acceptance of the Benin populace and indeed other micro and macro national populations. The foregoing development has a theoretical mooring in media studies. McLuhan (65) asserts that when a new medium supplants older forms, it borrows the nuances, paraphernalia and other materials from the older forms to gain credibility and acceptance from the people (users). Indeed, this is what the video-film as a form of media production has done to other art forms in the Benin culture area, with a view to asserting itself in a glocalising Nollywood.

     Furthermore, we have earlier noted that change which is occasioned by a number of factors such as urbanization, globalization, foreign religion, modernity, technology, foreign language, among others, seems to have swept through the Benin culture area in the last few decades leaving in its tracks weighty changes that are worth reflecting on in relation to the Benin worldview. This is probably the point Masagbor and Idemudia made in their allusion to Benin City when they observe that:

                          … there is ongoing writing and rewriting. The physical

                        transformation particularly with the current beautification

                       and modernization of the city, the realignment of roads and

                       so on, there is reflexivity in the palimpsest. This has its

                      heartaches and hurt as well as the benign…(17)  

  In a manner of speaking, a majority of the Benin people, especially the youths are now ‘itinerant’ persons.  From the erstwhile sedentary way of living the Benin people now travel around the world seeking the Golden Fleece. There is nothing wrong with this as it were but, there is this negative colouration to the effect that hundreds of thousands of Benin girls engage in ‘igbiragia’ literally meaning prostitution and other indecent acts in many European cities in Spain, Italy and Germany and even in the Americas (Ehiemua 1). This trend has given Benin land a negative image at home and abroad.

      Besides, in a bid to travel abroad the boys now sell their fathers’ houses. This act has brought hardship on both the male youths and their parents. A local artiste, Don Ziggy (2010) agonizingly laments over this negative development in his musical video, ‘Libya Story’. Many of these boys die in the deserts of Libya while attempting to illegally cross to Spain or other European nations. A number of their parents also die of heart-attack when they suddenly realise their boys have sold their houses under their nose. Another video work entitled Amaekpavbeowa vividly explores the precariousness of Benin youths travelling abroad. Again, Mamudu (83) in Blind Search aptly captures the sorry Benin scenario: Landlords (parents) are under siege from adventurous sons and the only handy remedy is to inscribe on building walls: ‘This house is not for sale’. Even this precautionary measure has been beaten time and again by the collusion of desperate sons, hard-nosed estate agents and money bags who believe they can buy anything or anybody with money. Perhaps, it is this kind of problem that made Odunsi (27) to lament, though in a slightly different context, that:

                        The varieties of pleasurable display that life offers are

                        contrasted with ejections of its dynamic complexity so

                       that a lifetime is punctuated here and there, now and then,

                       with various problems. Like logical constants and music

                       refrains problems have become a regular pattern of human

                        life, constitutive, as it were, of our ‘conditio humana’ as far

                        as we remain wayfarers. They are there in the private and

                         family lives, in the social, economic, political and religious

                        lives as well.

 The Benin video-film has emerged as a viable variant of Nollywood owing to a large Benin speaking audience and a considerable output of video works. Indeed, the mediating role of the video-film as a form of media production has, to a large extent, helped in rejuvenating the people’s interest in some of the traditional beliefs, pristine ethos, and cherished mores of the Benins in the face of raging globalization. This is more so that the Benin Oba, as a personage, as an institution, and as an essence, appears to be the epicentre of many of the Benin language movies. Borrowing the words of Oha (64), the Benin video films as:

              Visual media are thus to be considered central in

               the project of cultural re-orientation and education

                in Africa, given the ways they assist in constructing

               and reshaping perceptions of the link between the

               present and the past.

  As a popular art, the Benin video-film should be used to revive the interest of Benin speakers and other Nigerians/non-Nigerians, especially the youths in the seemingly dying Benin language. It should be used to propagate the socio-cultural practices of the Benin, which are capable of standing the people and their culture out in an increasingly glocalised Nigerian (African) society. Development agents such as community based organizations (CBOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and even governmental organizations (GOs) in the Benin area and in the Diaspora should make conscious efforts to see that the Benin language film is allotted a channel on the DSTV’s African Magic bouquet, a mileage that the dominant Nollywood film cultures enjoy at the moment. Such a proactive step will further authenticate the unbound character of Nollywood and expand the visibility Benin videos currently have in a glocalised Nigerian film environment. In order to improve the audience-ship of the Benin video-film, the filmmakers should take advantage of the current development in film production by making cartoons. Making animated movies of Benin orientation will aid Benin videographers to buy into the children’s niche market where cartoons are an irresistible attraction.

      The multiplier effects of reframing the Benin language film along the above artistic and economic lines can well redound to the development of human and material resources in the Benin video subsection of Nollywood and indeed the larger Nigerian society. However, this is against the current grain of thought as many a Benin youth is jobless, lacks marketable skills, hapless, violence and crime-prone. This damning trend needs to be redressed urgently. In this regard, Omoera (Bridging the Gap…forthcoming) notes that:

       There is so much talk about youth empowerment and development
without commensurate action to actually provide templates for the
 youths to unlock their creative abilities. For this reason, the level of
unemployment among the Benin youth remains considerable. A majority of youths in the area under study do not have the financial means to acquire formal education; they lack marketable skills and are chronically poor. Furthermore, there are few socioeconomic structures to support or empower the youth to fend for themselves and this contributes to the underdevelopment of Benin and indeed Nigeria. In view of the situation on ground in the Benin locality, where a large number of the youths do not have any form of formal education or marketable skill and do not hope to have any in the near future due to their social-economic handicaps, it can be argued that hands-on education in the various crafts or enterprises in filmmaking will be a good starting point.

Conclusion

 As Nollywood  grows unbounded, the need for frontiers such as the Benin, Ebira, Fulfulde, Ijaw, Urhobo, among other indigenous language movies to be studied and considered as both a reflection of and an influence on cultural issues, is becoming more crucial in order to better understand and navigate an increasingly glocalised Nigerian film ecology. It is hoped that this study will further vitalise academic interest in the Benin video-film by film scholars, critics and theorists within and outside Nollywood.

 *EMAIL: omoera@yahoo.com , osakue.omoera@aauekpoma.edu.org
MOBILE: +234 8035714679
 

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 "Nigeria at 50: Slogans, Visions and Mismanagement

 Dr. Ademola Adeleke
Associate Professor of Diplomacy and Strategy
Department of History and Strategic Studies
University of Lagos

Introduction

The pursuit of socio-economic and technological development is a universal imperative in all societies and for all countries. Development induces prosperity and enhances the well-being of the citizens; it offers society a means to eliminate poverty and sustain the social contract that binds the state with the citizenry.[i] Like other societies in the world, Nigerians expected that the indigenous leadership that inherited power at independence in 1960 would transform their country into a developed nation—“wealthy, industrialized, technologically advanced, militarily powerful, [and] politically stable”[ii]—within the shortest possible time.

In consonance with the aspirations of their people, leaders come to power (or are expected to) with a vision about their country and its place among the committee of states. They visualise their country’s future in their mind’s eye. The vision signifies and determines the direction they wish to take the country. It guides their policy formulation, determines the strategy of implementation, and serves as the benchmark for success assessment.

At independence in 1960, Nigerian leaders inherited a resource-endowed country with a relatively large population offering many opportunities for projects designed to exploit its economies of scale. Nigerian leaders have chosen to formulate vision statements and documents, along with catch-phrase slogans of development, which serve as smokescreens for elite corruption and appropriation of the national patrimony. The result has been a society caught in the vortex of underdevelopment in spite of the huge income it makes annually from its petroleum resources. Nigeria has become a classic study of countries caught in the “paradox of plenty,” a phenomenon which describes the co-existence of immense natural resources and extreme poverty.

Nigeria celebrated its Golden Jubilee as an independent country in 2010 with pomp and pageantry and used the opportunity to launch what the government has characterized as the Vision 20:2020, a blueprint for accelerated development that seeks to transform the country from its current state of underdevelopment to one of the twenty most advanced countries in the world by 2020.

Using various economic indices, the article measures Nigeria’s performance against some of the states it seeks to supplant in 2020. It analyzes the visioning and sloganeering strategy employed by Nigerian leaders since independence and demonstrates that these have deepened underdevelopment, pauperised the citizenry and shattered their aspirations and hope for social and economic development. The article concludes that Nigerian leaders would do well to replace the strategy of visioning and sloganeering with the formulation of practical programmes and policies that would engender genuine development.

The literature on development and nation building is vast. The following are a representative sample. Alejandro Portes, “On the Sociology of National Development: Theories and Issues,” The American Journal of Sociology, 82, 1, (Jul., 1976), 55-85; David Simon, “Development Reconsidered: New Directions in Development Thinking,” Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, Vol. 79, No. 4, Current Development Thinking (1997), 183-201; Michael Graff, “Financial Development and Economic Growth in Corporatist and Liberal Market Economies,” Emerging Markets Finance & Trade, 39, 2, (Mar. - Apr., 2003), 47-69; Jeffrey Henderson, Peter Dicken, Martin Hess, Neil Coe, Henry Wai-Chung Yeung, “Global Production Networks and the Analysis of Economic Development,” Review of International Political Economy, 9, 3, (Aug., 2002), 436-464; William Easterly, “Reliving the 1950s: The Big Push, Poverty Traps, and Takeoffs in Economic Development,” Journal of Economic Growth, 11, 4, (Dec., 2006), 289-318.

Portes, “On the Sociology of National Development,” 55.

Nigeria and Vision 20:2020

In 2009, forty-nine years after independence, the government of late President Umaru Yar’Adua embarked on the process of producing a Vision 20:2020 strategy document that sought to transform Nigeria into one of the 20 most advanced economies in the world by the year 2020. The government expects that “by 2020 Nigeria will be one of the 20 largest economies in the world able to consolidate its leadership role in Africa and establish itself as a significant player in the global economic and political arena.”[i] The blueprint projects that by 2020 Nigeria would be “among the Top 20 [sic] economies in the world with a minimum GDP of $900 billion and a per capita income of no less than $4000 per annum.”

To achieve this objective “the Nigerian economy must grow at an average of 13.8% during the time horizon, driven by the agricultural and industrial sectors over the medium term while a transition to a service-based economy is envisaged from 2018.”[ii] Almost magically, the government expects to transform the country, within a decade, from one of the least developed countries in the world to one of the most advanced economies. Since the Vision 20:2020 blueprint seeks to place Nigeria among the twenty advanced economies in the world, it is pertinent at this point to measure the country’s current performance against the countries in that group, particularly Taiwan, which currently occupies the twentieth position.

Since the emergence of globalization as the central paradigm of the international economic system, the division of countries into ideological categories like First World, Second World, or Third World has been abandoned in favour of groupings based on levels of economic development. The first group to be constituted into a global economic policymaking forum was the Group of 7 or G7, which brought together the most economically advanced capitalist countries of the West, namely, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy. At the end of the Cold War, the G7 became G8 with the inclusion of Russia.

The beginning of the new millennium witnessed the emergence of new economic power centres outside the geopolitical orbit of the G8. The G8 countries, and indeed the international community, had to acknowledge this new reality, particularly when the financial crisis that devastated the global economy in the first decade of the twenty-first century revealed the resilience and organic strength of the emerging economies. The financial crisis demonstrated that the traditional western powers were no longer at the hub of the global economy and that the nexus of economic activity was shifting towards the geopolitical east.

In recognition of this reality, the G-8 was expanded to the G-20 to reflect power symmetries in the international economic and financial order. The G20 brings together the most advanced economies and emerging-market countries, although in reality, it excludes a few countries that by all indices ought to be members of the group.[iii] In fact, the G-20 was preceded by the G-22, which met in Washington D.C. in April and October 1998. A larger group, the G-33, met in March and April 1999 before the process was institutionalised with the establishment of the G-20 in 1999.

G-20 countries form two economic clusters: the Highly Developed Economies, HDEs, such as the United States, and the Advanced Emerging Economies, AEEs. This second order cluster includes the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), which according to Goldman Sachs, had 23.3 per cent of world GDP on a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) basis at the end of 2000.[iv]

In another review of the global economy in 2005, Goldman Sachs classified Nigeria among the Next Eleven (N-11) countries. As the next set of large population countries after the BRICs, Goldman Sachs described the N-11 “as a group of potentially large, fast-growing markets [that] could be an important source of growth and opportunity.”[v] The classification is undoubtedly true, except that Nigeria has remained largely at the level of “potential” since independence, unable or unwilling to transform the dream of potential into actuality.

Based on current indices, Nigeria is classified in the cluster of countries called the Secondary Emerging Economies, characterised by very low Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicators. The objective of the government’s Vision 20:2020 agenda is to place Nigeria within the cluster of Advance Emerging Economies by 2020.

The gap between Nigeria’s current level of development and the level anticipated by the Vision 20:2020 agenda is so wide that bridging it will be a herculean task. It will require tremendous national effort and political will. Various indicators reveal this gap. Table 1 measures Nigeria’s GDP in 2010 against that of the BRICs, South Africa, Canada and Taiwan. China recently overtook Japan as the third largest economy in the world, behind the European Union and the United States, based on 2010 GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) figures. India is ranked fifth behind Japan while Russia and Brazil are ranked seventh and eighth respectively. Taiwan is ranked 20th, with a GDP (PPP) of $823.6bn in 2010. Nigeria, with a GDP (PPP) estimated at US$369.8bn is currently ranked 32. If the objective of Vision 20:2020 were to be attained, Nigeria would have to take a quantum leap from its current rank to displace Taiwan to the 20th position in 2020. To match the 20th largest economy Nigeria would have to triple its GDP in the next eleven years. This is however based on the assumption that Taiwan’s GDP and that of the other countries remain at current figures, which is patently unrealistic.

Worse, as much as 70 per cent of Nigeria’s labour force is currently engaged in agriculture, which also contributes as much as 31.9 per cent of GDP. For Taiwan, which Nigeria seeks to displace with its Vision 20:2020 programme, agriculture contributes only 1.4 per cent of GDP, while only 5.2 per cent of its labour force is engaged in that sector. On the other hand, the service sector contributes 67.5 per cent of Taiwan’s GDP and employs 58.8 per cent of the labour force. This is the trend in developed economies. Table 2 shows that the more advanced an economy the higher the contribution of the service sector to the GDP and the smaller the percentage of its labour force engaged in agriculture. The fact that the reverse is the case for Nigeria demonstrates the gulf between current realities and the expectations of the country’s visionaries.  

Other indices reinforce the enormity of the task Nigeria has to overcome to overtake Taiwan or indeed any of the BRIC countries. Although population is an index of power, for Nigeria it remains a burden, with as much as 70 per cent of the country’s 152,217,341 citizens (July 2010 estimate) living below the poverty line in 2007. In comparison, only 1.08 per cent of Taiwan’s 23,024,956 people were living below the poverty line in 2008. Taiwan has a GDP Per Capita of $35,800 compared to Nigeria’s paltry $2,400 (2010).

The figures for electricity production in Table 3 also demonstrate the wide gulf between the BRICs, Canada, Taiwan, Nigeria and its African competitor, South Africa. Whereas Taiwan’s production, in kilowatt-hours, is ranked eighteenth in the world, Nigeria’s is ranked 69, just a step above North Korea. In fact, Nigeria’s electricity production is 9.2 per cent of that of Taiwan, even though its population is almost seven times larger. The Nigerian figure pales into insignificance when compared to the BRICs and the HDEs. For instance, it is just 4.9 per cent of Brazil’s production figure, 2.1 per cent of Russia’s, 3.0 per cent of India’s, 0.6 per cent of China’s, 3.5 per cent of Canada’s and 0.3 per cent of that of the United States. Even in Africa, it is only 9.1 per cent of South Africa’s. If economic development is directly related to energy consumption, how can Nigeria displace Taiwan in just eleven years given the appalling disparity in electricity production? How can it play in the same league with the BRICs in 2020?

Nigeria Vision 2020, (2009) < http://nv2020.org/ (Accessed on 22 June 2009).

Nigeria Vision 20:2020, Economic Transformation Blueprint, December 2009, 9.

The G20 was established in 1999 in response to the Asian Financial Crisis. It is made up of the European Union and 19 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

Goldman Sachs Economic Research Group, Building Better Global Economic BRICs, Global Economic Paper No. 66, 30 Nov 2001, 1-16. The BRIC countries were so named by Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs Economic Research Group, Global Economics Paper, Issue No. 153, 28 March 2007, 1-24 < http://www2.goldmansachs.com/ideas/global-economic-outlook/gcc-dream-pdf.pdf> (Accessed on 14 August, 2009).

The 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International, ranks Nigeria 134 among 178 countries.[i] The figures for the preceding six years, shown in Table 4, reveal the extent to which corruption has permeated the system and the abysmal failure of the government’s anti-corruption campaign. They do not foster any hope that corruption, which is a great impediment to economic development and the attainment of the goals of Vision 20:2020, would decline over time. The CPI gap between Nigeria and Taiwan, shown in Table 4 follows a similar pattern with the electricity production gap shown in Table 3.

Transparency International, Corruption Perception Index 2010. http://www.transparency.org/ policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results  (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

Other indicators tell a similar story. For instance, the infant mortality rate in Nigeria is 91.54 deaths per 1000 live births while that of Taiwan is 5.18 deaths per 1000 live births. The corresponding rates for the BRIC countries are Brazil 21.78; Russia 10.08; India 47.57, and China 16.06. The figures are much lower still for the HDE countries such as the United States 6.06; Canada 4.92, and the European Union 5.61.[i] These figures demonstrate the wide gulf between Nigeria and the countries it seeks to compete with by 2020. The indicators also demonstrate clearly that it will take a quantum leap for Nigeria to bridge the gap that separates it from the HDE and AEE countries.  

Fifty Years of Visioning and Sloganeering for Underdevelopment

Unfortunately, there is little in Nigeria’s post-independence history that gives any hope or optimism that Vision 20:2020 is realistic and attainable. The military intervened in politics in January 1966, and subsequently took the country through a civil war that lasted from June 1967 to January 1970. As it happened, the post-civil war period coincided with a period of oil boom that literally inundated the country’s treasury with petrol-dollars. According to some estimates using 1970 as benchmark, Nigeria made over US$350 billion from oil revenue between 1971 and 2005.[ii] The military administration of General Yakubu Gowon (1966 to 1975) was apparently so overwhelmed with the resources at its disposal that its Central Bank Governor is reported to have “declared publicly that money was not Nigeria’s problem but how to spend it.”[iii] The government appropriated the revenue, not to accelerate socio-economic and technological development, but to induce a “dramatic escalation in the incidence of corruption and unlawful enrichment.”[iv]

Table 5 provides a graphic illustration of the disparity between national income and development. Over the last thirty years, the country has been overwhelmingly dependent on oil resources. Oil has provided the bulk of the nation’s revenue; it has also served as the main export commodity. The country has received huge income from the export of crude oil but has done little to add value to the product. It has therefore remained a net importer of petroleum products. Worse, it has refused to deploy its oil revenue to develop the agricultural, manufacturing, industrial and service sectors to meet domestic consumption or to boost its export trade. Consequently, the non-oil segment of the balance of trade (Table 4) has remained perpetually in the negative, revealing a country that has enjoyed significant growth in income without any commensurate or meaningful economic, social and technological development.

The thirty-year trajectory of depreciation of the Naira shown in Table 5 is also very revealing. From 0.7 to the US dollar in 1970 the Nigerian currency depreciated to 118.5 Naira to the dollar in 2008. By March 2011, it had declined further to 156 Naira to the dollar. The Exchange Rate figures, viewed in concert with the Balance of Trade figures, reveal the sad tale of a country that paid scant regard to the development of the real sector of the national economy, which consequently suffered tremendous neglect, leading to the pauperisation of the citizenry. As the figures in Table 5 reveal, the more revenue the country made from oil, the more its currency depreciated, the more the productive sector withered, the more the social infrastructure collapsed, and the poorer the citizens became, until fifty years after independence, almost seventy per cent of the population now lives on less than a dollar a day. A country that makes the bulk of its revenue from crude oil is also a net importer of petroleum products, importing well over eighty per cent of refined fuel to meet local demand.[v]

The World Factbook 2010, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ index.html (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

Sanusi Gbenga Peter, “The Impart of Oil Export Earnings on Nigeria’s External Debt,” USAEE-IAEE WP 10-038, February 2010, 1.http://ssrn.com/abstract=1548197 (Accessed on 16 Aug., 2010).

S. O. Osoba, “Corruption in Nigeria: Historical Perspectives,” Review of African Political Economy, 23, 69 (Sept 1996), 376.

Ibid.

The figure of 80 per cent was given by the Nigerian Minister of Finance,  Olusegun Aganga1. See “Federal Govt [sic] to remove fuel subsidy by next year,” The Nation (Lagos), 4 Sept. 2010, 4.

Table 5
Nigeria: Revenue and Balance of Trade, 1970 to 2008

With the onset of the oil boom in the 1970s and the proclamation by the Gowon regime that money was no longer the country’s problem but how to spend it, the government abandoned any pretence at implementing existing national development plans or formulating new ones. Awash with petrol-dollars, the Federal Government began behaving like Santa Claus, dispensing the national largesse to those it favoured, while the masses became progressively pauperised. Vision documents and catch phrase sloganeering provided convenient smokescreens for elite aggrandisement and buccaneering capital accumulation.

The agricultural sector in particular attracted numerous slogans and catch phrases supposedly designed to increase production and ensure food security for the country. Under the Second National Development Plan, 1970 to 1974, the federal government introduced the National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP) and the River Basin Development Authority Programme (RBDA). The Third Plan, which ran from 1975 to 1980, saw the introduction of several other agricultural programmes: Operation Feed the Nation (OFN); Rural Integrated Agricultural Development Programme (ADP); Green Revolution Programme (GR); Agro Service Centre Programme (ASC); National Seed Service (NSS); National and State Food Production Companies.[i] These programmes were conceived and implemented largely by the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo.

With the restoration of democracy in 1999, General Obasanjo, now retired, emerged as the civilian President. As he had done in his first coming as head of state, President Obasanjo announced a new set of programmes to increase the share of agriculture to the country’s GDP. His government subsequently produced a blueprint for the implementation of the so-called “Presidential Initiatives on Cassava, Rice, VODEP, and Tree Crops.” The blueprint outlined and created separate initiatives, namely, the Presidential Initiative on Cassava Production and Export, the Presidential Initiative on Rice Production and Export, the Presidential Initiative on VODEP (Vegetable Oil Development Programme), the Presidential Initiative on Rubber, and the Presidential Initiative on Tropical Fruits. A host of other agencies also came on stream in the agricultural sector, including the National Cocoa Development Programme, and the Committee on Cotton Production in Nigeria. To fund all these agencies and programmes the National Assembly passed a bill establishing the National Agricultural Development Fund in 2009. All these were in addition to the various State Agricultural Development Programmes in the country’s thirty-six states.

In spite of these programmes, the threat of hunger and poverty remains a permanent feature of the country’s social landscape.The country has continued to rely on food imports. According to the Governor of the Nigerian Central Bank, Mr Lamido Sanusi, the country spent N155bn (US$1bn) on rice importation alone in 2010.[ii] Since the 1970s, the trajectory of food imports has been on the increase as evident in Table 6.

The author’s claim that the agricultural programmes were little more than conduits for corruption and primordial accumulation is substantiated by the grim editorial of The Nation newspaper on General Obasanjo’s response to the Central Bank’s Governor’s comments:

As a military ruler, Obasanjo’s efforts to boost agriculture were distinguished more by sloganeering than by real achievement. His “Operation Feed the Nation” (OFN) programme did little to reverse the already-visible penchant for imported rice, chicken and other food products sweeping the country at the time. In his civilian incarnation, Obasanjo’s approach to food challenges was marked by a similar preference for style over substance. There were several agricultural initiatives launched during his eight years in power, but they lacked proper coordination, adequate funding and genuine commitment to the attainment of set goals.… It is a measure of the ultimate failure of the former president’s agricultural policy that many of the crucial agriculture-related ministries such as the ministry of agriculture and water resources were widely perceived as virtual drainpipes for the corrupt enrichment of a chosen few.[iii]

See Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Nigeria’s Agriculture and Food Security Challenges. http://www.fao.org/tc/tca/work05/Nigeriappt.pdf (Assessed on 10 March 2010); L. M. Olayiwola and O. A. Adeleye, “Rural Infrastructural Development in Nigeria: Between 1960 and 1990: Problems and Challenges,” Journal of Social Science 11, 2, (2005), 91-96; J. V. Waterworth, “Green Revolution Methodology in Nigeria,” Experimental Agriculture 16, (1980),1-12; Segun Famoriyo and Rafique M. Raza, 1982.The Green Revolution in Nigeria: Prospects for Agricultural Development, Food Policy, Elsevier, 7, 1, (February 1982), 27-38. The Green Revolution was known officially as the National Accelerated Food Production Project.

Lamido Sanusi, “Mobilising Capital for Transformation of Northern Nigeria,” Lead paper presented at the Northern Nigeria Economic Summit organised by the Northern Political Summit Group, Kaduna, March 2011. The paper was widely reported in the Nigerian media. See for instance, “The North and Lamido Sanusi’s home truth,” The Punch (Lagos), 25 March 2011, 15.

 “Belated Regrets: Ex-President Obasanjo’s rice advice is inappropriate.” Editorial, The Nation (Lagos), 4 April 2011, 19.

Source: Central Bank of Nigeria, Statistical Bulletin, Golden Jubilee Edition, December 2008.

The Obasanjo administration applied the same presidential initiative approach to the provision of clean water to Nigerians. In 2000, it approved a National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy, and in 2003, the President launched with fanfare the “Presidential Water Initiative (PWI): Water for people, Water for life”. As usual, PWI had laudable objectives including providing 100 per cent water and sanitation access in state capitals by 2007, 75 per cent access in other urban and semi-urban areas, and 66 per cent access in rural areas. All Nigerians were expected to have access to safe and reliable water supply by 2011.[i]

Successful attainment of the goals of PWI would have balked the trend in catch phrase sloganeering that had become the hallmark of governmental policy formulation and implementation strategy since the onset of the oil boom in the country. Not unexpectedly, this was once again not the case. According to the American State Department’s 2010 Report to Congress on the Water for the Poor Act (Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005), about 82.8 per cent of Nigerians do not have access to piped water.[ii] Yet, the government had promised “water for all by 2011.” The current situation virtually makes it impossible to attain the country’s water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

Outside the agricultural sector, government has formulated various other slogans which have caught the popular imagination, but which in the end have served little purpose in advancing the social and economic wellbeing of the people. The Second National Development Plan identified education as the fulcrum of development and sought to use it for the attainment of five major objectives, namely, “a free and democratic society; a just and egalitarian society; a united, strong, and self-reliant nation; a great and dynamic economy; a land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens.”[iii]

The pursuit of these objectives provided the impetus for the introduction of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme, which was launched with fanfare by General Obasanjo in September 1976. Following the adoption of the 1990 Jomtien (Thailand) Declaration on Education for all by 2000, Nigerian leaders began to promote the slogan, “Education for all by 2000.” Upon his return to power in 1999, President Obasanjo re-incarnated the UPE programme, dressed it in a new garb, and labelled it the Universal Basic Education, UBE, to distinguish the new from the old. Ten years into the implementation of the UBE programme, literacy rate among Nigerians fifteen years old and over remains at 68 per cent. The corresponding figure for Taiwan, which Nigeria seeks to displace in 2020, is 96.1 per cent. Nigeria spends only 0.9 per cent of its GDP on education and is ranked 183 in a global ranking of 186 countries. Yet, it seeks to play in the same league as countries such as Brazil, which spends 5.2 per cent of its GDP on education. [iv] 

Other programmes which have had maximum resonance as slogans but which have done nothing else to advance their stated objectives include the Vision 2010, a blueprint for national development prepared by the military regime of General Sanni Abacha. The government of President Obasanjo introduced the National Poverty Eradication Programme NAPEP, the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), and its corollary, the State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, SEEDS. With nothing to show for all these programmes, the successor government of President Yar’Adua found it necessary to create the Vision 20:2020 document, clearly the most ambitious yet of the visioning and sloganeering that have become the hallmark of development efforts in Nigeria.

The poverty and vacuousness of fifty years of visioning and sloganeering in Nigeria is demonstrated by the fact that over the last three years the country has been on a downward slide on the Failed State Index (FSI) produced by The Fund for Peace. The index uses the word “failed” to describe those states that no longer serve their people. In 2008, Nigeria was ranked nineteenth on the index, with Somalia in the first position. Nigeria retrogressed to the fifteenth position and closer to Somalia in 2009. Ranked fourteenth in 2010, Nigeria inched closer to Somalia on the FSI.[v]

See Federal Republic of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, National Water Sanitation Policy, First Edition January 2000, November 2005, <http://www.wsssrp.org/ document/Fourth%20draft%20Water%20Sanitation%20Policy%20November%202004.pdf> (Accessed 9 September 2010); WaterAid, Nigeria: National Water Sector Assessment, July 2006 <http://www.wateraid.org/documents/plugin_documents/nigeria_snapshot.pdf  > (Accessed on 9 September 2010).

Department of State, Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, Report to congress, June 2010 < http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/146141.pdf > (Accessed 9 September 2010).

Marg Csapo, “Universal Primary Education in Nigeria: Its Problems and Implications,”  African Studies Review, XXVI, 1, March 1983,  91-2.

The World Factbook 2010, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ index.html (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

The Fund for Peace, The Failed States Index 2010, http://www.fundforpeace.org/ web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=466&Itemid=917 (Accessed on 25 March 2011).

Conclusion

For Nigeria to play in the same league of countries outlined in its Vision 20:2020 document the ruling elite must realise that visionary leadership, not vision documents and slogans, provides the key to unlocking the process of nation building. The leadership must have a vision of the future it desires for the nation and citizenry. However, actualising that vision; translating what is essentially a mental image into reality is a function of the competence and commitment of the leadership; on the leadership’s ability to conceptualize and implement its programmes; and on its ability to weave through the nation’s political process. This is what the leaders of the Highly Developed Economies, the Advanced Emerging Economies, and the BRIC countries have done. It is what the ruling elite in Nigeria and the Next Eleven (N-11) countries will have to do to join the league of advanced economies.

Endnotes

The literature on development and nation building is vast. The following are a representative sample. Alejandro Portes, “On the Sociology of National Development: Theories and Issues,” The American Journal of Sociology, 82, 1, (Jul., 1976), 55-85; David Simon, “Development Reconsidered: New Directions in Development Thinking,” Geografiska Annaler. Series B, Human Geography, Vol. 79, No. 4, Current Development Thinking (1997), 183-201; Michael Graff, “Financial Development and Economic Growth in Corporatist and Liberal Market Economies,” Emerging Markets Finance & Trade, 39, 2, (Mar. - Apr., 2003), 47-69; Jeffrey Henderson, Peter Dicken, Martin Hess, Neil Coe, Henry Wai-Chung Yeung, “Global Production Networks and the Analysis of Economic Development,” Review of International Political Economy, 9, 3, (Aug., 2002), 436-464; William Easterly, “Reliving the 1950s: The Big Push, Poverty Traps, and Takeoffs in Economic Development,” Journal of Economic Growth, 11, 4, (Dec., 2006), 289-318.

Portes, “On the Sociology of National Development,” 55.

Nigeria Vision 2020, (2009) < http://nv2020.org/ (Accessed on 22 June 2009).

Nigeria Vision 20:2020, Economic Transformation Blueprint, December 2009, 9.

The G20 was established in 1999 in response to the Asian Financial Crisis. It is made up of the European Union and 19 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

Goldman Sachs Economic Research Group, Building Better Global Economic BRICs, Global Economic Paper No. 66, 30 Nov 2001, 1-16. The BRIC countries were so named by Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs Economic Research Group, Global Economics Paper, Issue No. 153, 28 March 2007, 1-24 < http://www2.goldmansachs.com/ideas/global-economic-outlook/gcc-dream-pdf.pdf> (Accessed on 14 August, 2009).

The World Factbook 2010. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

The World Factbook 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ index.html (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

The World Factbook 2010, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ index.html (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

Transparency International, Corruption Perception Index 2010. http://www.transparency.org/ policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results  (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

Transparency International, Corruption Perception Index 2010. http://www.transparencyorg/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/results  (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2008/cpi2008/cpi_2008table

http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2007/cpi2007/cpi_2007_table

http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2006/cpi_2006/cpi_table

http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2005/cpi_2005#cpi

http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2004

The World Factbook 2010, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ index.html (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

Sanusi Gbenga Peter, “The Impart of Oil Export Earnings on Nigeria’s External Debt,” USAEE-IAEE WP 10-038, February 2010, 1.http://ssrn.com/abstract=1548197 (Accessed on 16 Aug., 2010).

S. O. Osoba, “Corruption in Nigeria: Historical Perspectives,” Review of African Political Economy, 23, 69 (Sept 1996), 376.

Ibid.

The figure of 80 per cent was given by the Nigerian Minister of Finance,  Olusegun Aganga1. See “Federal Govt [sic] to remove fuel subsidy by next year,” The Nation (Lagos), 4 Sept. 2010, 4.

See Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Nigeria’s Agriculture and Food Security Challenges. http://www.fao.org/tc/tca/work05/Nigeriappt.pdf (Assessed on 10 March 2010); L. M. Olayiwola and O. A. Adeleye, “Rural Infrastructural Development in Nigeria: Between 1960 and 1990: Problems and Challenges,” Journal of Social Science 11, 2, (2005), 91-96; J. V. Waterworth, “Green Revolution Methodology in Nigeria,” Experimental Agriculture 16, (1980),1-12; Segun Famoriyo and Rafique M. Raza, 1982.The Green Revolution in Nigeria: Prospects for Agricultural Development, Food Policy, Elsevier, 7, 1, (February 1982), 27-38. The Green Revolution was known officially as the National Accelerated Food Production Project.

Lamido Sanusi, “Mobilising Capital for Transformation of Northern Nigeria,” Lead paper presented at the Northern Nigeria Economic Summit organised by the Northern Political Summit Group, Kaduna, March 2011. The paper was widely reported in the Nigerian media. See for instance, “The North and Lamido Sanusi’s home truth,” The Punch (Lagos), 25 March 2011, 15.

 “Belated Regrets: Ex-President Obasanjo’s rice advice is inappropriate.” Editorial, The Nation (Lagos), 4 April 2011, 19.

See Federal Republic of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, National Water Sanitation Policy, First Edition January 2000, November 2005, <http://www.wsssrp.org/ document/Fourth%20draft%20Water%20Sanitation%20Policy%20November%202004.pdf> (Accessed 9 September 2010); WaterAid, Nigeria: National Water Sector Assessment, July 2006 <http://www.wateraid.org/documents/plugin_documents/nigeria_snapshot.pdf  > (Accessed on 9 September 2010).

Department of State, Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, Report to congress, June 2010 < http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/146141.pdf > (Accessed 9 September 2010).

Marg Csapo, “Universal Primary Education in Nigeria: Its Problems and Implications,”  African Studies Review, XXVI, 1, March 1983,  91-2.

The World Factbook 2010, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ index.html (Accessed on 7 March 2011).

The Fund for Peace, The Failed States Index 2010, http://www.fundforpeace.org/ web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=466&Itemid=917 (Accessed on 25 March 2011).



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