Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Friday, February 25, 2005
Nigeria's tragedy.
Many observers in Nigeria believe that the roots of the violence across much of the country are not religious or cultural.

They say the conflicts are created and stoked by politicians both at a local and national level who seek to gain advantage from social division.

It is a cynical view, but one that has strong evidence to support it.

One need look no further than means used to distribute the country's vast oil wealth from the federal government in Abuja to the local level.

It all travels down this path in the form of contracts handed out to political favourites.

Contracts for building roads, schools, and hospitals; for supplying electricity, water and medicines.

In fact, almost all economic activity in the country works on this principle - the awarding of contracts. It makes those with access to the source of power rich, and those who do not have power want it all the more.
So writes the BBC's Dan Isaacs in this article. The bold type was added by me.

I wonder whether Mr Isaacs is aware that what he is saying is an argument for free markets and against a large public sector. I really can't tell.

Imagine a different Nigeria in a happier timeline. One where oil wealth never went to the federal government in Abuja in the first place, and hence where capturing power there was not the ticket to riches. Imagine a Nigeria that had been like that since Independence... "Caught off guard by reporters at the 2005 Kano Computer Entertainment Show, where he had addressed the All-Nigeria Software Developers' Association, President Obasanjo admitted that he had considered offering his resignation after the shock revelation that an official in the Finance Ministry had taken a bribe. "Nigeria's reputation for probity is one of our biggest assets," he said.

In a country where the government is in bed with everybody, once the government is infected soon everybody else will be too.