Politics of Nationalism and 21st Century Economies By Femi Fabiyi


Tribal politics has taken an alarming tone in Nigeria political discourse. Toxic rhetoric among self-declaredregional leaders, often laden with conventional but unconvincing provocative theoriesof structural disruptionshave assumed popularity status. Band-aid prescriptions are been offered for healing today’s unique socio economic challenges in Nigeria. However, potential growth and developmental benefits accessible todeveloping and underdeveloped countries who are embracing more liberal socioeconomic policies–less stringent across border trading policies andmore robust science and technology collaboration in various professional areas of engagement,to promote effectiveness and efficiencies; a key developmental tool in 21st centurymarket systems has made agitation for state or regional secession, in certain circumstances a more redundant and obsolete ritual to driving progress and prosperity, in a society of Nigeria geopolitical structure.

Today’s chronic economic challenges in many parts of the world – developed and underdeveloped countries alike,have triggered colony of nationalistic identities. In 2016, against all odds, political pundits were put to shame in Britain and USA by the army of aggrieved locals whose current economic and financialmisfortunes were framed at other people around them,people who do not look like them. They ignore the fact that their actions or inactions to remain relevant in today’s strongly dynamic and aggressive competitive environment may be responsible for their situation.

Similarly, economic hardship hasweakened the spirit of strong and dedicated Nigerians,and those whose psychic and character suggests sound judgment are struggling to phantom the current state of affairs.

Looking at the different prototype maps of new Nigeriain circulation – Arewa, Oduduwa, Biafra and Niger Delta states to name a few, I wonder when the so called agitators are going to provide a detail pro forma vision that translates these efforts into a better life for the local people. It is important to mention that,many of the so called leaders are disgruntled corrupt politicianswho have had opportunities to influence the trajectory of the country policies and direction, but did nothing. These leader’s current attempt tocarousing innocent citizens into an undefined territory,under the theme of Nationalism, and to funnel the unproven secession agenda, needs careful assessment. Nigerians need to reflect on the after effects of Nationalism propagandasin countries where the slogan wasonce used as political theme.


India is a multi lingual and multi ethnic society, who, just like Nigeria, is facing challenges relating to poverty, corruption, health care, transportation, security and income inequalities. Despite India huge diversities, the country leaders have collectively focused on a more growth and developmental vision, particularly in the private sector area. India Institute of Technology, the world best ranked engineering school(according to CBS 60 minutes – Indians exporting people to America) has seven campuses all over India, creating equal opportunities for all Indians and producing highly qualified engineers, with better job prospects among American corporations. MIT, Harvard and Princeton engineers are considered second in line to IIT graduates. Private India hospitals including Apollo, Fortis Healthcare Limited and SankaraNethralayaare few of India private hospitals that are not only attracting Indian American trained health care providers to return home in the development process, but also open gate-way of foreign earnings through medical services to Western patients.


Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines and Indonesia are few other countries who have responsibly managed their multilingual states, religious differences and ethnic diversities to pursue more valuable and productive socioeconomic agenda. Singapore is ranked the 3rd highest GDP per capita country in the world by United Nations Human Development Index, and Malaysia is claimed to have produced one of the best economic records in Asia the past 5 years according to Wikipedia. Entrepreneurship, education, life quality, healthcare, security, housing development and more importantly, tourism are key areas of investment projects these countries have made tremendous progress.

Leading to 2016 presidential election in America, Republicans centered their core message on Nationalism, campaigning against every fabric of globalization, and even legal immigration. What they declined their constituencies are information about real benefits of 21st century advancement in science and technology that may have eroded opportunities in some of the country’s long standing markets like coal and steel manufacturing. Republicans did a good job portraying globalization as a bad business for American culture, ignoring consumer’seasy access to affordable goods and services. It was easy for Republicans to campaign against high taxes without explaining how they will balance the budget. Obamacare taste sordidlyawful, yet they have no plans for over 20 million people that are currently in the Obamacare insurance market if Obamacare is repealed. And now that the Republicans are in charge of the three tier of America government, they have had more difficulty in governing.

Unfortunately, some of the Nigeria so called agitators has metaphorically likened the faith of Nigeria to Haiti, Sudan or Rwanda in case they are unable to achieve their desired goals.In 1994, the Hutu of Rwanda pursued a politics of division leading to the genocide of over 1 million Tutsi ethnic group (the most vibrant group in Rwanda). Today, Rwanda has remained one and its economy has begun to garner strength, bearing no relationship to the wastage of over 1 million lives and properties in 1994. Rwanda economy is strengthening because the country has gone back to the basics, exportation of agricultural products and promoting tourism. South Sudan fought a deadly war for years until it gained independence in 2011. Since after independence, South Sudan has not seen peace. After Chechnya Independence in 1991, they have fought two wars thereafter. Restructuring in Chechnya has been hampered with infighting and incessant conflicts. Ukraine underestimated the importance of Crimea identity to Russia heritage in the course of their independence agitation. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Ukraine since independence because of greed and corruption among the elites.

One of the troubling issues to an average Nigerian is the unending recession. Sometimes, market correction is required to address overly inflated sectors of an economy, which often result in stiff business activities, and consequently a period of recession. This period is often referred to as a correcting recessions. It is triggered by either demand or supply shock. In simple term,recession occurs when consumer and investment spending drops consecutively in at least two business cycle quarters. Nigeria market however is undergoing a period of chronic recession, a situation where economic activities falls drastically under a faulty socioeconomic fundamentals that also lack adequate economic infrastructures.

Nigeria will be better off where the private and public sectors (government) including the so called secession leaders put a show of concerted efforts towards the reengineering of the country’s priorities.

The core problem with Nigeria economy lies in its 19th century socioeconomic policies (budgetary indiscipline andlack of provision for infrastructures),corruption, coupled with an extremely harsh investment environment. During the Obama presidency, returns on fixed income vehicles were so low that many American asset managers terminated their Guaranteed Cost Investment contracts and hedged for a better return in the emerging markets. Few fund managers and angel investorsgambled for Nigeria market opportunities, lurking for a potential double digit returns. The investment risk seems to peak in 2013/2014 financial periods when foreign investors began to suspect the efficiency of Nigeria market systems. The near collapse manufacturing industry, incessant kidnapping and inability of the government to address the power problem, and a host of other issues heightened the socioeconomic uncertainties. By the end of 2015, over 2.2 trillion naira have been mopped out of the Nigeria financial systems. The corporate cash flight out of Nigeria system did not slow down through 2016 fiscal period, apparently putting enormous pressure on naira valuation.

The foreign investment divestures in Nigeria economy between 2015 and 2016created an efficiency vacuum that was strong enough to wreck any fragile economy like Nigeria. The so called secession agitatorscan do a better justice for their people by opting for a more realistic and productive agenda, than the idea of splitting Nigeria into pieces. They should champion a forum, collaborating with private and public investors, Nigerians in diaspora, local people and government officials where possible, and outline a comparative advantage productivity scheme where each region’s capability in rebuilding process is effectively and efficiently managed. (Argentina did exactly this when their economy was in turmoil between 2001 and 2005).

Let the Arewa leaders reign over the sponsors of Boko Haram and enjoin their elites to channel resources towards a more productive agenda. Replace the guns and cutlasses with tractors and trailers for agricultural projects. Peanuts, cow, carrots and onions are traded in the international markets today. Arewa leaders should persuade their elites to invest in wind and solar energies, and challenge their kids to develop skills required to survive in 21st century. The Biafra leaders should mop up the guns on their streets, and encourage their elites to invest in science and technology that will put Aba products on the international map. They should replace the guns on the streets with books, pens and classrooms. They should collaborate with their sons and daughters abroad and establish a state of the art Nigerian Institute of Technology in Nnewi. The Niger Delta people and their leaders should dump their guns and revitalize their beautiful tropics and make Port Harcourtand Cross Rivers State the darling of a tourist places. Third world countries like Ecuador, Kenya, Tunisia, Cuba, Bahamas and so many others rely heavily on tourism. Let their elites work with their citizens abroad to establish an International Maritime Institute – this endeavor puts them on the world map faster than carrying guns. The Yoruba people and their leaders should reduce their ‘OWAMBES’ and work with their local governments officials to fix their tertiary roads. Let them team up with their brothers and sisters abroad in building hospitals and schools that are as equipped as their places of worship. They should put together their think-tanks and explore solar and wind energies.

The prognosis of a better Nigeria is more obvious by keeping the country together,than risking the creation of dysfunctional neighbors. The politicians are our common enemies. We are better off fighting them with our brains than getting dirty in the gutter. It is time we come together and harness the free sun and wind. We should come together and cultivate the arable land and make food plentiful. Let us clean our environments and make it attractive to our foreign friends and families. We should condemn bad habits and play active roles to secure lives and properties. Just like Tekno sang in ‘RARA – let us think about the little things and leave the big things for now’


Femi Fabiyi is a Financial Professional based in Connecticut, USA