Editorial:Economic Nationalism to the Rescue?
Nigeria has entered a phase it never attempted in coordinated manner since independence in 1960.The promotion of economic nationalism as a tool of national governance has emerged forcefully,ruling all facets of national life.
The concept of globalisation,free trade and open border which formed the foundation of neo- liberalism is under intense attacks as nationalists kicked against its damaging effects.The idea that free trade impoverishes emerging economies like Nigeria gains strong attraction especially at a time the United States of America is openly abandoning the major planks of neo-liberalism. Even when the Nigerian leadership has not articulated recent policies as nationalism,there is no doubt that the import and character of national proclamations point towards a review of blind adoption and acceptance of globalised free trade.
At this point in international affairs,developing home industry as a foundation for national development is a strong instrument.A country with huge population originally has a market to satisfy to entrench and strengthen national economy. Nigeria has for long opened herself to open border which over the years has destroyed its already weak industrial base and enhanced the boldness of other nations to transform her into a dumping ground for all industrial materials.The nation under the guise of the appellation ,”giant of Africa” even enabled the process of internal economic disintegration.
Elite in the country actively profited from such unregulated openness ,leading to damaging exploitation and looting of national treasury. What Benin republic and other Nigerian neighbours have done in the last few decades amounts to government sponsored economic sabotage aided by dastardly unpatriotic elements within the federation.A coordinated response involving a raid on internal saboteurs and hostile neighbours is therefore a nationalistic response to a virus that has destroyed the economic fabric of the nation.
Nigeria was before now exactly at pre-Donald Trump America when the world took the God’s own country for a directionless Father Christmas of sort. What USA was to the world was what Nigeria was to Africa until recent nationalistic policies. Without harsh response to curtail the drift,there is no way Nigeria can get out of the wood.
We however urged the Nigerian government to properly articulate the policies designed to counter the decade long negative impact of the open border syndrome.The new policy line must be properly handled to counter misinterpretation.The implementation must also be deployed with due considerations for multilateral factors and agreements. It is also important to directly continuously engage neighbours on the new sheriff in town and his desire to end decades of externally imposed and internally supported sabotage and ruination of Nigeria.
In the emerging world,free trade is rightly endangered because it presently favours only the industrially advanced.A re-negotiation of the World Trade Agreement(WTO) is therefore a must before more countries of the world take their destinies into their own hand.
For now,the Nigerian government has only been forced to toe the path of economic nationalism .Her neighbours and the corrupt politico-economic elite are to blame.