DEVELOPMENT ALBATROSS: A HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLANNING EXPERIENCE, 1960 – 2015Abstract:
Many keep asking why Nigeria despite its abounding resources and potentials is yet to develop sustainably. Opinions are varied on the possible reasons, with fingers pointing at the country’s weak and inefficient economic planning model. Planning in Nigeria is essentially ad hoc and short-term, while majority of the plans are hardly implemented. Using historical methodology, the paper analyses Nigeria’s economic planning models since 1960, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each plan and the level of implementation. Findings show that rapidity in the turnover of administrations impacted negatively on economic planning, as each administration strived to introduce new plans, even as the strength and quality of each plan depended on the quality of leadership at the time. The paper further compared Nigeria’s situation with some rapidly developing economies of Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It also found that these countries have relied mainly on long-term economic plans or visions, which are supported by reliable data and demographic statistics. Based on this, the paper recommends that Nigeria should tow this line considering that the long-term model aggregates a country’s development vision with well-defined short and medium-term strategies for implementation. It concludes that given the critical nature of economic planning, it should never be left to the whims and caprices of politicians rather it should be institutionalized and protected with enabling legislation so as to guarantee uninterrupted implementation.