Pardon, Nigeria’s national strategic Interest?

The title of this piece is crucial as to whether Nigeria, my beloved country, has what is considered a national strategic interest. Several years after independence from Britain, the Nigerian authority is yet to prioritise the country’s national strategic interests. How can the entire nation see the need to front a
Nigerian national strategic interest?
Unfortunately, the panic, dislocation and gloomy climate of fear in the country are attributed directly to the government’s lack of commitment for a national strategic interest in sectors such as education, energy, health, infrastructure, security, workers’ welfare, agriculture, amongothers.
Consequently, unofficial groups, whether recognised or not, at
the corridors of power – the ruling elite,
dictate and initiative directions on state policies to the government,
thereby compounding the problems. It is on record that this group of
Nigerians own and control several sectors of the economy including banks, oil and gas, media, institutions of higher learning as well as foundations that
sponsor civil society and non-governmental organisations.
The nation is certainly under pressure to not have a national strategic interest, especially with the grip on its soul by both forces of internal sabotage and their external collaborators. In retrospect, there were development plans before 1960 and after independence, with schemes of colonial interest.
However, the military government of General Yakubu Gowon (August 2, 1966- July 29, 1975) in 1974, announced a
third five-year National Development Plan, a dream of Nigeria’s
transformation into paradise, to be implemented from 1975 – 1780. But today, 49 years after, Nigeria remains a misery on earth.
General Olusegun Obasanjo, another military head of state (February 13, 1976 – October 1, 1979) proclaimed economic and agricultural revolution for food self-sufficiency. Today, 42 years after, we know better.
Then came Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the first civilian president of Nigeria (1979 –
1983). Allegations of corruption and embezzlement of public funds dogged the administration causing the military to oust them out them.
General Muhammadu Buhari and Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon military junta
came with the policy of discipline. They ruled with a deep sense of moulding
responsible citizens but messed it up with their high-handedness and poor human rights records. Their reign ended in 1985.
General Ibrahim Babangida (August 27, 1985 – August 27, 1993) introduced Structural Adjustment Programme
(SAP), which left Nigerians impoverished, national assets devalued
and mass sack of workers. 
General Sani Abacha (November 17, 1993 – June 8, 1988). He saw a vision for Nigeria, Vision 2010. According to the
vision, 2020 was to be the year of developmental pinnacle for
Nigeria. We are now in 2021, even when the same vision 2020
was repackaged by fourth republic politicians as vision 20-2020,
nothing has changed.
Obasanjo returned in 1999 as civilian president. Promises of better days for Nigerians were coloured with ineptitude of his administration.
Musa Yar’Adua took over from Obasanjo in 2007, and confessed that
the election that brought him to power was fraudulent. Thus, he initiated the process of election reform leading to the Electoral Act 2010. Yar’Adua administration’s seven-point agenda was
laudable. However death cut him short, giving space for Goodluck Jonathan to complete his remaining two years.

Jonathan won the 2011 presidential election. Initiated the Transformation Agenda – a jamboree and funfair. The agenda was riddled with corruption; money was thrown at every problem without result. Terrorism and insurgency gained momentum.
Then appeared the change of mantra of the Buhari administration. Insecurity from terrorism and insurgency graduated to banditry and
kidnapping for ransom. Fundamentally, nothing has changed for the
better. Food prices keep surging high, government is ineffective and corrupt. That is why it is forging a Nigerian national strategic interest. Put the blame on the door steps of politicians and
people in government alone. What more can we say of this administration? It’s
not far from the same tale of the more you look the less you see. 
From a sociological perspective, the Nigerian society is also guilty. Our moral standard has deteriorated abysmally. The way forward is a clarion call to all
Nigerians to be analytical and engage the government. What actually is our nation’s strategic interest?

Olamilekan, a political economist and development researcher, writes from Abuja via [email protected]