Emeka Anyaoku, the former secretary general of the Commonwealth has identified economic diversification from oil and vigorous industrialization strategies as ways to bringing the nation’s economy back on track.
“Nigeria is currently sleep walking into national disaster but we can only fix our economy by diversifying and making it less dependent on export of crude oil and industrialise the country by embarking on more vigorous policies that support economic development,” said Anyaoku in Lagos on Thursday at the Akintola Williams Foundation (AWF) second annual lecture.
According to him, diversification of Nigeria’s economy entails focusing more vigorously on the development of the agricultural and solid mineral sectors.
Speaking on the theme, “Re-establishing Nigeria’s Leadership Position in the World,” Anyaoku pointed to the need for the government to also restructure its present governance structure by returning to true federalism.
He said that restructuring will enable the country to create one viable federation unit for planning and pursuit of economic development, and encourage the devotion of more powers to the regions to deal with issue of ‘do or die political competition’.
Anyaoku said that restructuring will help to control “the all powerful center, which will help to deal with the tendencies that are responsible for the country’s political instability and its socio-economic ill including the evil of massive corruption.”
He charged all governmental and non-governmental institutions to become more concerned in tackling the factors that are demystifying Nigerian image abroad especially the factors that pushed Nigeria into the lists of the most corrupt countries, and “most worrisome, the list of states with the potentials of becoming a failed state.”
“Nigeria should also pursue its external economic relations especially with the view of driving its export products and importing more foreign direct investment (FDI). With the continue changes in the global circumstances, Nigeria should review its strategic objectives with the aim of raising Nigeria’s international position, influence and strive to be at par with the G20 and BRICS countries of Russia, Brazil, China, India and South Africa,” he said.
“Nigeria should endeavor to reclaim its state and influence in the ECOWAS because the membership is critical to Nigeria for economic and security reasons,” he said.
In his view, Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, chairman of the occasion said that for Nigeria to re-establish and sustain its leadership in Africa and the world, there is need to improve upon the standards and processes for recruitment of leaders be electing people with ability, integrity, commitment, and vision.
“We have got the riches and resources, both material and human. And we have to stop being potential but to realize our potentialities, earn and sustain the position of the leading African nation and join the list of the most important countries in the world,” he added.