chapter  7
20 Pages

Back to the Centre

WithDavid Williams

In June 1970, Alhaji Yahaya Gusau, the civilian Federal Commissioner in charge of the Ministry of Economic Development and Reconstruction, told Gen. Gowon of his intention to resign. A Sokoto man, he had been a colleague of Shehu Shagari in education there, and had later become a respected senior civil servant. In Nigeria the annual budget is the main instrument for regulating the economy, although the greatest influence on the economy is the behaviour of external markets for oil. So important is this budget that when Shehu Shagari was Commissioner for Finance only Gen. A major problem suddenly raised for the Ministry of Finance was Gen. Gowon’s unexpected announcement, made in Sokoto in 1974 that Nigeria was to have Universal Primary Education. The Head of State had, apparently, consulted nobody about the cost of this plan, which would be one of the world’s greatest social experiments.