After 100 days and no coherent economic policy from the Tinubu administration, maybe it is to time for us to turn our attention to the Nigerian Governors Forum as we search for a Chinese solution to our woes

Ayo Akinfe

[1] I am sure that like me, the rest of you do not know where the Tinubu administration stands on economic policy. Is it a Keynesian interventionist government or one that believes in laissez-faire free market economics?

[2] If I were an investor looking at the Nigerian market, I would like to know policy direction before committing myself. How I wish I was in India to hear how Wale Edun would respond to all these questions

[3] While we are waiting from answers from Abuja, maybe focusing on the states might be the way forward . To be fair, our federating units did strive to be economically independent during the First Republic. It was Major General Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi’s Unification Decree 34 of 1966 that stripped the federating units of their authority and vested almighty powers in the federal government

[4] Since then, we have just dug ourselves deeper into this oil dependency hole. Just to give you an example. In 1959, the federal prime minister Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa unveiled a budget of £50m but Obafemi Awolowo, the premier of the Western Region unveiled a budget of £55m. Can you imagine a Nigerian state governor coming up with a budget greater than the federal government today?

[5] Well, as fanciful as this might sound, it is something that should happen. If say Bayelsa State has a thriving shipbuilding, boatmaking, submarine construction and maritime industry, it would generate a lot more than the paltry $28bn that is the federal government’s 2020 budget projection

[6] Likewise, if Kogi State had leveraged its unique position as the location of the confluence of the rivers Niger and Benue and established thriving tourist, power generation, maritime transport, manufacturing, etc industries based on it having Ajaokuta within its domain, it would generate more money than oil brings in

[7] As we all know, airports like Heathrow, Cairo, Dubai, Amsterdam and Addis Ababa have built themselves into economic powerhouses using their locations as regional hubs. Calabar is the gateway to central, east and southern Africa and were successive Cross River State governments alive to this, by now, the Calabar Airport would have been a regional aviation hub and a massive cash cow, generating something like $10bn a year

[8] I can go on and on. If we take each of Nigeria’s 36 states, you will find that every one is sitting on an in hidden gold mine that just needs to be tapped into. However, the oil doom destroyed our ability to think, dulled our capacity to be innovative, ruined our initiative and demolished the building blocks laid by people like Obafemi Awolowo

[9] I am certain that we will bounce back from this stronger. You just need to see how much China has generated from the kung fu industry since 1931 to appreciate the fact that necessity is the mother of invention. In 1931, the Japanese invaded China, capturing Manchuria, imposing a ruthless colonial oppressive regime on them. This imperial control prevented the Chinese from carrying any weapons, so to defend themselves, local people had to learn martial arts. Just look at how much Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan alone generated for the sector between them since then

[10] China has never looked back since the Japanese invasion. It was used as the catalyst for industrial growth. Fighting back against Japan ultimately led to the 1949 revolution and since then, China has just been on the up and up. I see the collapse in global oil prices as Nigeria’s Manchuria Moment. May petroleum never ever sell for more than $10 a barrel again. This will force us to come up with our own kung fu economic initiatives