Tribal or ethnic disharmony is perhaps the single most prohibiting factor for economic growth and development in most developing countries. Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was president of Sri Lanka had unequivocally stressed the need for unity among communities and religious harmony as vital factors for the development of his country. Let me quote him â€śDivisions among us will strengthen various hostile forces seeking to deny us our freedom. When all communities rise in unity, the forces hostile to the country will be weakened and freedom further strengthenedâ€ť Even so, sometimes it can be hard to determine causality or sequence. Does national unity bring faster economic development or does faster economic development produce more national unity. To attempt to address this type of question, certain elements must be laid out. How educated are the average citizens? Are there adequate road and rail infrastructure that connect the masses? Do the various communities produce tradable goods and services based on their natural or acquired endowments? Nations that cannot produce goods and services to trade internally will fall victim to external economic forces that can undermine their national unity. Such nations will also fall victim to compensatory political rivalry among its people. One more thing, and very importantly, a country like Nigeria should never be afraid of decentralization or real federalism or what some people call devolution of powers. Decentralization is not disunity. I insist that decentralization is perhaps the single most important factor for achieving national unity in Nigeria. Forcing a unitary system in Nigeria will not work, because it limits liberties and economic freedom. People unite better when their level of economic freedom is high. For that matter, I would be surprised if there is any Nigerian that wants the nation to breakup when it is working and making progress. Some of the most stable and successful nations in the world today are big in population and diverse in many other ways. The United States of America, the most influential nation in the world today is highly economically decentralized and diversified in production, and not my fiat but mostly by forces of the market. And Americans relish their size which offers an extraordinary market place for its citizens. They stay united because they profit from their economic freedom and diversity. Nigeriaâ€™s motto is unity and faith, peace and progress. So there it is. You need unity to achieve progress. What we must do to secure this is first to make sure that the people are educated. I believe President Muhammadu Buhari stressed this correctly upon his return from his medical trip when he said education was critical. The president is right. Let us also add to that, road and rail infrastructure development and we will succeed in assuring unity. And you know what, a faster than typical rate of economic growth and development will follow, almost in locked-up step. I am Magnus Kpakol and that's my view.
Posted: Mar 27th, 2017 @ 07:31:48 AM