This article had been written in 2005, but it did not get published because it was thought to be too critical and not necessary at that time when Nigeria/ the world was in a boom (Unprecedented High Oil Price), some did not realise that the bubble in sight would soon burst. I have therefore released it from my archives due to the current economic situation, the country finds itself, with the hope that the stakeholders within our polity could derive some lessons and adapt in other to help heal our Nation, Nigeria.
‘A few years ago, the writer had on an NTA Maiduguri programme titled ‘Your Rights’, with Babakura Abba, expressed an opinion to Policy Makers on the effect of implementing anti-people policies and attempting to force the bitter pill down the throats of the people, because it could lead to frustration and increase in suffering (attendant).
In the view of the writer, on the International level, issues such as Political Development and effect/ result of various policies as carried out by other nations of the world, should serve as lessons to the Nigerian Government on how to thread, in formulating their own policies.
It was at the interview, that the writer brought to light, that countries such as Brazil and Argentina had already, tried and tested, majority of our Economic Policies (Privatization, Free Market Economy, Devaluation of your country’s currency and Deregulation etc, which could be said to be advise from Foreign Institutions) and they found to their utter dismay, that such advise leads to nothing but impoverishment, sadness, crash of the economy, drastic reduction in the standard of living, creations of oligarchs (a new class of super-rich predatory elements, as it was in Russia), to the detriment of majority (over 90%) of the citizens of the country. In summation, the policies failed woefully in these countries.
This led the countries in South America, to vote out their Governments (whom they held responsible for implementing such policies that had a negative effect on them).
The citizens removed the right-wing capitalist-oriented Governments and totally went in the opposite direction by replacing the Governments with socialist and welfare parties i.e. leftist-oriented parties. This could be said to have happened across the South American States/ Countries.
On psycho-analysis of the citizens of these nation-states, it could be said that something fundamental and devastating affected the psychology/psyche of inhabitants of these countries, that they totally rejected any form of elitist, capitalist and conservative ideology. By their estimation, the representatives of these ideologies (the elites) had failed them, so they went in search of something totally different, in protest.
This brings me to my main topic, ‘Boomerang effect’ and ‘Domino effect’.
What is a Boomerang? A Boomerang, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is a flat V-shaped hardwood missile, used especially by Australian Aboriginals, that is able to return to its thrower. A second definition is a plan that recoils back its originator (back to sender/ back fired).
A Boomerang effect, in terms of policy formation relates to the effects/ result of Government (organisations as well) policies/ action, spiralling back to affect/ haunt the government that put it in place. It could affect the Government either positively or negatively. Positively by applause, positive commentary and re-election, while negatively by harsh criticisms, protests and removal from office (as was carried out in South America).
In terms of the Domino effect, what is a Domino? Domino is a game that is played with 28 small oblong/ rectangular pieces marked with 0-6 pips in each half of the piece.
The Domino effect/ theory is one whereby, one event precipitates others, in causal sequence.
A Domino effect, on the other hand, highlights the negative, more than the positive. This is a situation whereby on the occurrence of a fundamental event of monumental proportions in one country (for instance a change in government like voting out of a ruling party and its leaders), the trend set by the first country spirals to other similar disgruntled countries. The pattern if carefully managed, might remain/ be confined to the geographical part of the world it started.
Though if Leaders of the various nations of the World, do not grab the lesson to be learnt from the misfortune of others, the Domino effect could spiral across Continents and Oceans. This could be said to be the situation today, whereby the effect of the South-American experience could be said to have crossed the Atlantic, from South America to Europe, as can be seen from the experience of Spain and France (whose people have changed their Government/ Political leanings, to leftist parties i.e. socialist and welfare oriented), this coming, barely two months, after the advice by the writer.
What are the issues that make for events like the Boomerang and Domino effects on International Politics?
They include uncaring and insensitive leaders, leaders who believe too much in their personal power and thereby discount the fact that a greater authority is in control, since it is said that the voice of the people is the voice of God, people power could be said to be the greatest power in the world we live in. Examples abound throughout history, for instance, the fall of the Roman Empire, the French Revolution, Russian Revolution, the Philippines during the Marcos era, Iran during the fall of the Shah (which brought in the Ayatollah). This could be said to be responsible for the proliferation of Democracy as the foremost system of governance in operation in the world today.
It is in recognition of this fact that Politicians play to the gallery (by doing and saying whatever the people want, in other to gain acceptability), by putting on deceitful/ false appearances and actions.
The main issue for us in Nigeria should be how to avoid the Boomerang and Domino effects. This can be done by adapting the Bolivian experience.
Bolivia is a country in South America, bordering Brazil. The country can be said to be a third-world developing nation, with a high rate of illiteracy and unemployment.
Bolivia is the world’s third largest grower of coca, a plant that has traditional and legal uses among the Indians of Bolivia, but is also used to make cocaine. Bolivia also has South America’s second largest Natural Gas Reserves.
The country operates a Presidential system of Government of a Five year term. The Country possesses an elite class that is so into domination of the nation, that in the last five presidential elections since 1985, congress (the equivalent of the National Assembly) has passed over, the first place winners of National Election, twice (i.e. Abiola style).
The last election of the country, which took place towards the end of 2005, brought a new dimension to the country’s political history. The 2005 election, whose winner starts a five year term on January 22nd, 2006, as Bolivia’s fourth President since August 2002, has former President Jorge ‘Tuto’ Quiroga ( who is backed by Bolivia’s business elite) going up against Evo Morales, a socialist candidate (who is a coca farmer, in the cocha bamba area of Bolivia).
The result of the election was that Evo Morales won and as an Aymara Indian, Morales is seen as a symbol of hope, for many of Bolivia’s long down-trodden Indians, a majority in the country of 8.5 million people.
On psycho-analysis, this could be said to be a total rejection of the elite social strata/ class (those who are supposed to be standard bearers/ show good example and standard), due to their arrogance and domination while in charge of the administration of the country. The People could be said to have totally flipped (American lexicon), because shouts of “Evo, Evo” have taken over Cochabamba, where Morales built his party ‘Movement towards Socialism’ known as MAS, in Spanish, for short.
Such a change affects the fabrique of the society, to the extent, that even the losers realise it, such that the opponent Quiroga congratulated Don (Mr.) Evo Morales, for his electoral victory/ result.
Quiroga said “I congratulate the candidates of MAS. They undertook a good electoral campaign and now is the moment to set aside our differences and look to the future with peace, tranquillity and harmony, among all Bolivians”.
In other to avoid such a situation in our country, Our Leaders should learn from second-hand experiences of other countries like ours (which predominantly inhabit the continents of South American, Asia and Africa) and assist us (the people of Nigeria), in alleviating our problems (social, political and economic), by implementing policies that are beneficial to the country and its citizens.
It has always being the belief of the writer that a combination of capitalist and socialist policies, in one mixture (socio-capitalist system), will get us to our Eldorado. A strict application of any single ideology will always fail. We should learn from the actions of other countries.
For instance, even at the height of the cold war, when the super powers of the West and East were supposedly fighting for supremacy/ applying their ideologies strictly, the western powers of the U.S.A and the United Kingdom still gave social security (money, dole in the U.K and in kind, in form of free and subsidized amenities) to its citizens, every week. Yet leaders of developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America, do not feel that their citizens are deserving of such social security treatment (This is a typical situation of the poor countries, getting poorer, by not getting help, at all), where is the fairness??
Governments should always grade/ assess their actions, by the domino and boomerang effects of the actions.
The Bolivian experience is a good one to learn from even if all it teaches is magnanimity, fairness, sports manly camaraderie, spirit of give and take, acceptance of the voice of God (especially, if the voice of the people, is the voice of God), the spirit of amelioration, amenability and the spirit of making amends.
In conclusion, it can be said that “A word is enough for the wise”, may wisdom be our portion in Nigeria. Amen.
27th Dec., 2005
P.S: In light of the current situation in the world today, where terms such as ‘global meltdown’, ‘Recession’, ‘Bailouts’ and ‘Collapse of Financial Economies/ Banks and Stock Exchanges’ have taken over our Modern 2009 lexicon, where we are inundated with these terms everyday in the media, it makes the writer think that if World leaders in the last 8 years had applied policies along the mixed economy style of a socio- capitalist approach that would have made them better able to manage any downturn in their economies and if developing nations had not just followed totally and completely the economic policies of other nations, like Privatization, Free Market Economy, Devaluation of your country’s currency and Deregulation etc, without looking inwards at their particular peculiarities of their indigenous economy. If developing nations had better regulated economies (which is now the norm in various countries), especially with Western Countries at present Nationalising their economies by buying into large corporations with the aim of better monitoring and regulating of the economy. These are measures for a troubled economy.
Question: When has the Developing Countries Economies not been in trouble? Answer: They have always been in trouble. Therefore Nationalisation or Commercialisation (Not Privatisation) should always be part of their economic strategy, until they become a developed economy and better able to hands off.
The Motto for a developing economy like ours should be ‘Protect your economy’, and protect means to regulate with an eagle eye.
Developing Economies, like Nigeria, should hold on tight to the words of their best and tested Economists like Prof Sam Aluko, and jettison the likes of our follow/ follow Economists, who just follow hook, line and sinker the dictates of some Organisations, who don’t bid us well.
A word is enough for the wise.