By *Oba Emelie Okika*

The need for National Development has always been a paramount concern of scholars, political stakeholders and statesmen alike. Every stakeholder has profered one idea or the other as a model to championing growth and development.
Extensive discourse have littered the platform on what constitutes the best policy for National Development. Nevertheless, much of these for the sake of politics have been streamlined to various ideologies which were over the years propagated by political parties.
The course of National Development has seen many nations and states through varying degrees of challenges from slavery to annexation, colonialism and even wars in some cases.
Africa has also had its fair share of these challenges in the course of trying to build viable nation-states. The historical fact of Colonialism became a major factor in the shaping of today's character and fate of the African States.
This has been the belief of both Radical and Liberal African Scholars that Europe is the main source of Africa's underdevelopment which according to them, could be traced to Colonialism. 
While the Radical Scholarship placed more emphasis of Africa's underdevelopment on what they termed the changing of the Traditional African Mentality to Colonial Mentality, the more Liberal ones attributed the present quagmire to Post Colonial Ethnicity which in their understanding was a creation of colonial rule.
Whether it is change in mentality by the Radicals or ethnicity by the Liberals, the fact remains that after colonialism or what we might call independent African States the fate of Africa rested on Africans.
The history of African States since independence in replete with numerous conflicts of varying degrees ranging from  maladministration, inter ethnic divides, abuse of administration of Justice and the rule of law, redtapism, undue favouritism, quota system, corruption, and even wars.
Nigeria has also got a fair share of these post colonial cankerworm ranging from the First Republic Western Regional Crisis, January 15 Coup de etat, June 15th counter coup, 1966/67 pogrom, the civil war, ethnic killings, religious conflicts, Sharia law crisis, regional militias, Boko Haram, and currently the herdsmen menace.
A critical look at all these problems could easily tell one that prominent emphasis of national development in Africa and Nigeria in particular is based on propagation of political powers as against the propagation of economic power.
Most Nigerians are seeking for how to acquire state power and become influential and in most cases does not have any corresponding program or plans of good governance which is usually based on economic projections. To that extent, most political office holders use such misinformed opportunity to abuse power and public trust by stealing public funds for private purposes instead of using public funds for public purposes.
CONFLICT OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN NIGERIA AND THE NEED FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT: What was discussed above is quite synonymous with Nigeria while statesmen and scholars alike have been battling to profer solutions to these problems and move the nation forward.
It will be pertinent at this point to inform us of my standpoint on this issue of national development. Even though I am of the Liberal Scholarship who believes that the African problem of national development and Nigeria in particular is post colonial ethnicity, I am a Neo-liberal who believes on a Paradigm Shift from the traditional liberals.
While emphasis of the traditional liberal is Political, in other words, the reason why every ethnic group wants to be properly represented in government. I shift as a Neo-Liberal by laying emphasis on ECONOMICS.
In other words, instead of individuals identifying with the traditional ethnic groups for political power, they should identify with social groups (political party or association) that have clear and organized Economic Plans and Programs for the country.
Economic policies must be the driving force of our political considerations as against Political policies which has driven us to ethnic considerations and its related crisis in the polity.
Even though conflict is prevalent with most African States, the case of Nigeria is very pathetic. While government in other African countries try to protect the citizens from incessant conflicts, it becomes very pathetic in Nigeria where citizens believe that government does little or nothing to protect their lives and environment and to them, the government in most cases induce the situation to achieve selfish goals.
We cannot achieve the goal of National Development in the absence of National Integration which must be driven by Economic Considerations. The Neo-Liberal orientation where I belong to has two scholarships in Nigeria, those who clamour for *Restructuring* and those who clamour for *Zero Remunrated Public Office.*
Even though restructuring of our polity is not bad as its main considerations is economically driven, I am of the later opinion which clamours for Zero Remunrated Public Office. National Integration to me should not be based on ethnic considerations but on social affiliations. People who have same social ideology should come together to sell their ideology to the people for national development.
I am of the opinion that to achieve National Development through National Integration, Political Office Holders must stop receiving salaries and allowances. The legislature must stop receiving the notorious Constituency Allowances which in most cases are not used for the people and even those who make efforts to do something, just do that at their own discretion and then solicit for praises and thanksgiving from the constituents as a benevolent saviour.
I clamour for what I called *Public Driven Representation*. A situation where the legislature discusses with his constituents on programs and projects synonymous with them and then present same to be incorporated into the budget/fiscal policy while same project and programs must be executed through the people themselves. This will encourage budget participation by the people and activate transparency in the system.
*On the issue of the present National Crisis in Nigeria:* The current national crisis in Nigeria is pathetic and uncalled for. None of us is exornorated from it as we have contributed in one way or the other towards its escalation. I also believe that lesser public funds in the hands of political office holders will go a long way in reducing these senseless killings and conflicts as nobody will be sensible enough to sponsor conflicts with his private fund.
I enjoin the government at all levels to take proactive measures to arrest this dangerous monster eating away the fabrics of our socio-economic existence as human life is sacrosanct. I believe we can do it. Let us join hands together to build a viable and peaceful nation for our children.
*Oba Emelie Okika*