(1) They did it by adopting a simple formula of gathering the best brains around them. They had a National Economic Council (NEC) which Gowon chaired and Awolowo served as its vice chairman
(2) Other members of the NEC included Joseph Tarka, Anthony Enahoro, Aminu Kano, Abubakar Waziri, etc. They formulated economic policy and Gowon took it to the Supreme Military Council to be rubber-stamped
(3) State governors were given the freedom to run their states as they deemed fit. For instance, it was during this era that Mobolaji Johnson expanded health centres across Lagos State
(4) They built the National Theatre, Iganmu
(5) They built the National Stadium in Surulere
(6) They organised Festac 77
(7) They built Tin Can Island port
(8) They built the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
(9) They built the 10-lane Ikorodu Road
(10) They built Nitel Tower, which was then the tallest building in Africa
Now, can we replicate such economic growth and infrastructural development today? I think we can but not through any central structure.
Today, Nigeria is too complex to have a strong centre, so the initiative must come from the states. If every state cabinet is structured like Gowon’s NEC with a mandate to growth the GDP by 25% every year, carry out annual infrastructural development projects worth at least $5bn and only borrow your fund revenue-generating projects, we will get there.
No law in Nigeria prevents a state government from having a bigger budget than the federal government. In 1959 for instance, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa had a budget of £50m, while Premier Obafemi Awolowo had an annual budget of £55m.
I want to see this replicated in Nigeria today. Obviously, the only state that can do this for now is Lagos, so please dazzle us Governor Sanwoolu.
Can you just imagine what would happen to Nigeria if everyone of our 36 states recorded a 25% growth in GDP? If they sustained that annually for 10 years, we would become an industrial giant.