AS Nigeria prepares for 2023 elections, a call has been made for a “new politics of Development” among the political class for the economic transformation of Nigeria within the framework of the National Development Plan (NDP) which signposts growth and development from 2021–2025.
The Director-General of the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) Ilorin, Comrade Issa Aremu, made the call last Sunday in Ilorin while delivering the 55th Anniversary Lecture of the founding of Ilorin Grammar School (IGS), which was founded in 1967 as a pioneer community secondary school in Ilorin.
The Director-General, who is an old student of the school, observed that the unveiling of the new National Development Plan in December last year by President Muhammadu Buhari, “has commendably returned Nigeria back to the trajectory of Development through comprehensive inclusive national planning”.
NDP, Aremu said, “should form a new partnership for politics and development among all stakeholders in the Nigerian project, adding that “the new plan be legislated upon such that regardless of which party wins next election, the plan should inform policies in the next four years, adding that parties for 2023 elections should draw their manifestoes from the plan.”
The Director-General observed that the strength of the plan is “its ambitious funding targets of N348.1 trillion with government contributing N49.7 trillion and the private sector N298.3 trillion, of pulling 35 million persons out of poverty and the creation of 21 million new full-time jobs by 2025 through economic diversification and investment in infrastructure.
The speaker, who underscored the value of planning for institution and nation-building, urged Nigeria to emulate China which since 1949 had kept faith with 4-5-year development plans. He said Nigeria fared better through four post-independence development plans “before they were abandoned for what he called “debt-servicing Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) under military rule that stopped growth and created mass poverty”.
“It is gratifying that development agenda is back; Nigeria must replace unhelpful corruption discourse with development agenda, through the new 4-year-plan,” Aremu remarked. He said MINILS would be willing to partner with the Federal Ministry of Finance and National Planning to communicate the new plan among organised trade unions and employers of labour in the country.
In a similar vein, Comrade Aremu has commended Governor Abdulsalam Abdulrasaaq of Kwara State for the launch of a 10-year sustainable N4.7 trillion Kwara State development plan (SDP) to run between 2021 and 2030, adding that Kwara’s plan compliments the national plan for poverty eradication.
On education, the Director-General observed that the underlying factors fuelling banditry and violent crimes are “new mass illiteracy” and youth unemployment. He therefore called for emergency measures at all levels to get over ten million children out of school in Nigeria back to learning. He called on all stakeholders to “work in unity to strengthen the quality of education by addressing factors that denied children access to basic education”.