1.1 Background to the study

The Transformation Agenda of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was yet another policy package in relation to the 7-Point Agenda of his immediate predecessor, late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua. It is a 5-year development plan, 2011-2015, which also coincides with the life time of his term in office. It arises from the need to re-position the country’s drive to development in the critical spheres of the economy hinged on the rule of Law, where equality, peace and justice shall reign (Businessday, 2012). As observed by Itah (2012), the transformation Agenda of Goodluck Jonathan was a policy package that proposes to reposition the economy by addressing issues of poverty, unemployment, insecurity and most particularly, the diversification of the entire economy from total dependence on oil to a significant reliance on non-oil driven economy.

The policy that was initiated by Jonathan was tagged “Transformation Agenda” which would run from 2011 to 2015. The agenda is based on policies, programs and projects that will transform Nigeria to an economic powerhouse in the world. In order to actualize the set objectives of the transformation Agenda, President Jonathan assembled 28-man Economic Management Team to drive the policy for five-year period. The economic management team is chaired by the President and, it includes the Vice President who serves as the Vice Chairman. The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala serves as the coordinator of the team. The President said while inaugurating the economic team that “as a government we have made substantial gains in our objective of accelerating the pace of the economic development in our country over a short period oftime; I believe that with the economic management team in place, and with the commitment of its members, we will be a vantage position to achieve a lot more.” Furthermore, he charged the members of the team to “combine their individual strengths to generate ideas and initiatives in line with our goal of transforming every sector of Nigerian life and society, particularly the economy.”

Furthermore, the Minster posits that the Transformation Agenda focuses on good governance vis-a-vis the protection of lives and property, rule of law, anti-corruption crusade and public reform. He continued by saying the policy will make the provision of infra-structural development and the promotion of human development which will be running alongside with the Millennium Development Goals (Gyong 2012). In order to actualize all these, “effort will be made to fast track constitutional and electoral reforms to provide the necessary legal framework for the policy packages; overcome security challenges, create an enabling environment for private sector participation; encourage coordination and collaboration of policies, and not competition, among sectors, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government” (National Planning Commission (2011) as cited by (Gyong 2012).

Years into the policy, it is sad to say Nigeria is the third country in the world with extremely poor people according to the World Bank report in 2014. The rebasing of the economy by the National Bureau of Statistics that made the Nigerian economy to be the largest economy in Africa has been condemned by the cross-section of Nigerians. This is because Nigeria being an African largest economy did not translate to the well-being of the masses in Nigeria. Poverty, inequality, insecurity and unemployment continue to spiral despite the transformation agenda, which prompted this study to evaluate the impact and the challenges of the transformation agenda.

1.2 Statement of the research problem

  1. Findings have shown that policies and programmes of government have not received desired attention in historical research. It is in connection that this study thus addresses the problem of lack of interest in the trends of societal development as regards to policies and programmes.
  2. Though some scholars have discovered the advantages of recording societal trends as regards programmes and policies and have therefore engaged themselves in research. In most cases data collected from the effort are not verified, loosely prepared and bound to have paucity.
  3. This tendency has beclouded the recognition of notable contributions of various administrations in Nigeria.
  4. This mentality has equally been responsible for the lack of continuity in government programmes and the absence of a common link and bond of unity which extensive research and the documentation of notable contributions from various administrations could have provided us.

Specifically, this study is focused on the development strategies in Nigeria with an in-depth analysis of the Transformation Agenda of the Jonathan administration