By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The World Bank’s diagnostic survey of Nigeria’s prospects for economic growth published in 2016, has recommended a shift from dependence on oil to a new urban based model of economic growth, as the best shot Nigeria has at addressing its development challenges.
Bauchi State Commissioner of Lands & Survey, Professor Adamu Ahmed made the submission while fielding questions from our correspondent in respect to President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day Speech where he referred to Nigeria’s population of 45 million in 1960 and an urban size of seven million, compared to over 200 million in 2020, 0n Monday October 5.
He said that for this to happen, National Urban Development Policy, strengthening of urban planning institutions, implementation of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law, and reform should be focal.
“In Nigeria, prominent roles have been played by major cities particularly Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Aba in the political and economic landscape of Nigeria.
“My recommendations for this to happen, are preparation and aggressive implementation of a National Urban Development Policy, strengthening of urban planning institutions, implementation of the Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law, and reform of the governance space for effective management of cities,” he said.
He added that it should also include prioritizing cities in national economic planning, and a marshal plan at strengthening the productive capacities of Nigeria’s core urban industrial cluster zones of Lagos-Ota- Ibadan, Aba-Onitsha-Port Harcourt, and the Kano-Kaduna-Jos industrial triangle, and a new economic vision for the Federal Capital City, Abuja.
“President’s Anniversary speech is instructive in reminding us that Nigeria’s development trajectory has close association with the country’s urbanisation history; implying a time for critical conversation by all tiers of government and the citizens on the challenges and opportunities of urbanisation in Nigeria’s development.
“The President has referred to Nigeria’s population of 45 million in 1960 and an urban size of seven million, compared to over 200 million, a little bit over half of which currently is urban based. Nigeria’s population has doubled every 20 years and is projected to reach half a billion by 2050,” he pointed out.
Professor Ahmed noted that historically, social movements, politics and economic development the world over, have been shaped by cities, including currently accounting for over 70% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the World Bank.
“Being melting pots of culture, cities are a bedrock of innovation, and therefore an important medium for shaping social value systems, which today also is at the heart of our other development challenges,” he stresed.