BRICS is the acronym of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa are gaining strength by the year, and their ability to influence global matters is growing, something that Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill predicted when he coined the BRIC acronym 10 years ago (last year, South Africa added the “S” to BRIC).

The BRICS Summit held in New Delhi, India during the month of March, 2012 did not produce any major surprises or sensations, but it did prove conclusively that the strongest nations in the developing world are eager to achieve unity as posited by to Andrei Ilyashenko.

These countries will not in the long term put up with the current world order, based as it is on the dollar as the global currency and use of force without international consensus. But the goals of the BRICS countries should not be misunderstood. Their aim is to protect the interests of developing economies rather than attack the traditional center of power led by the United States.

During the summit, the parties identified new areas of cooperation for study. These include multilateral energy cooperation, a common scientific assessment and long-term strategy for BRICS, dialogue on BRICS youth policy, as well as cooperation on population issues. The summit was also presented with a report on BRICS economies. These are issues that must result in coordinated joint actions in order to protect national interests.

The BRICS leaders also expressed a categorical dissatisfaction with the policy of Western financial institutions. In their opinion, the reform of these institutions is unsatisfactory and ignores the group’s interests. The BRICS leaders decided to develop a project for their own development bank that would mitigate the damage caused to their countries by the West’s financial policy.

An agreement was signed on the system of settlements in national currencies, aimed at gaining ground on and eventually replacing the dollar in settlements between these countries. The BRICS finance ministers were instructed to prepare proposals on the development bank by the next summit. Internal trade within BRICS now stands at $230 billion, but there is every chance that it will soon reach $500 billion.

For the first time in recent history, a powerful financial structure will emerge that serves international trade without the dollar.

It is sad and disheartening that Nigeria, the giant of Africa in not part of emerging economies that are trying to change the world. Whereas, South Africa that Nigeria saved from apartheid is now a force to reckon with in Africa and in the world. Nigerians are no longer respected in most countries of the world because of social vices committed by few.

It is no longer news that Nigeria is not part of the new order because of the fact that the country if grappling with a lot of internal issues viz-a-viz; corruption, poor governance, leadership challenge, security challenge, high cost of governance, misplacement of priorities, decay of infrastructural facilities and what have you.

The aforementioned are hindering development and the good people of the Nigeria are not benefiting from the dividend of democracy. According to the latest standard of living report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), “60.9 percent of Nigerians live on less than $1 a day”. Nigerians are now wallowing in abject poverty, whereas, according to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”. It is a fundamental right and not a privilege. As it were, everybody is now a government for himself or herself. Because you must provide basic necessities of life such as water, light and security just to mention but few for yourself.

Corruption is very high and various reports submitted by different committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate are mind- boggling and very disturbing. For instance the Fuel Subsidy Report was quite revealing, a lot of companies, agencies and individuals were indicted and found culpable. Though the said report in now enmeshed in controversy because of the allegations of corruption and accounting frauds on some highly placed individuals. I hope the report will not be thrown into the dust bin. What of the Pension Scam. Very disturbing as well.

The people are not really feeling the impact of governance; our leaders are not walking their talks. It is more rhetorics and less impact. Only the less privilege are benefiting from governance. We now have scavengers who live and eat on dump sites. You may wish to visit Isolo, Igando and Ojota dump sites all in Lagos to see for yourself. The situation is really getting out of hands. The more revenue we get, the poorer the people become. What is happening to us as a Nation? There is a correlation between leadership and governance. I really dwell on this in the previous edition.

The security situation in the country has taken another dimension especially with the incessant bombings in the North. The Government should as a matter of utmost urgency dialogue with the Boko Haram sect because of the innocent souls that have perished. Am also using this medium to appeal to the Boko Haram sect to let bygone be bygone and let peace reign. Because there cannot be meaningful development economically and otherwise in violent prone areas.
High cost of governance; this is negating developmental projects and making the government in-efficient and not effective in terms of governance. With over 540 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) under the Federal Government. It goes without saying that the salaries and wages will be bogus. The overheads of these MDA can better be imagined than described. Not only that, there will be redundancy and in-epti-tude to work and duties. Yours truly is of the opinion that some of these MDA should be merged and others scrapped. It is as a result of in-efficiency of the MDA’s that made the Federal Government to inaugurate various task forces to look into the activities of some MDA.

Yours truly is appealing to the President to be more focus and concentrate on governance instead of been distracted by 2015 election. We still have a long way to go and the people are yearning for good governance and dividend of democracy. The unemployment is still very high. Graduates are becoming helpless and an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The President should step up efforts and provide un-interrupted power supply, good drinking water, good roads and jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.
Sports are not given priority again. Gone are the days when our sports men and women were known and excelled in world sporting events. The Olympics is around the corner (June 2012 to be precise) but preparation is not in top gear. So what do you expect during the events?

Members of the Nation Assembly should wake up to their oversight functions and enact laws that would impact on the lives of Nigerians.
However, at a time like this, we need attitudinal change as a Nation so that all the social ills in the society will be a thing of the past. Not only that, we need to embrace Attitudinal and Behavioural Change (ABC) Campaign. This will enable us to live peacefully, increase productivity and make our leaders to give us good governance.

Our leaders should emulate BRICS and give Nigerians dividend of democracy and then contribute to the new order so as to be reckoned with in the comity of Nations.
It is well!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!

Is the Managing Consultant/CEO,
LIBRA CONSULTING and based in Lagos.