Is it possible that the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria might be on the rebound to pacesetter role in agenda setting mandate of knowledge? This is what some observers are thinking in the light of an impending symposium on “Nigeria and the Neo-Liberal World Order”.
Two popular resource persons are handling two different dimensions of the theme. One is Mallam Ibrahim Muazzam who, for a long time, taught political theory at the Department of Political Science in Bayero University, Kano. The second is Prof Jibrin Ibrahim who has researched and taught comparative politics across Africa and the Scandinavian countries.
Prof Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of ABU, Zaria under whom the seeming rebound is taking place, will be the Chief Host of the occasion while Prof Tanimu Abubakar will be the Chairperson of the event and Prof Abu Ali, the Dean of the university’s Faculty of Arts would be the host.
The Neoliberal World Order is the paradigm by which Nigeria is connected to the global order. Nobody appears to know where neoliberalism is coming from. The closest to it is that it is the form that global capitalism assumed after the oil shocks of the early 1970s. David Harvey, about the most established scholar on it calls it a case of ‘creative destruction’, characterised by what he has called “accumulation by dispossession” especially for ‘Third World’ countries.
There has been a twist in that the IMF and the World Bank that have acted as enforcers of neoliberalism in developing countries have made a u-turn, warning developing countries against neoliberalism. Yet, ministers in many African countries speak of private-public partnership, for instance, in a manner that suggests that they either do not know what they are talking about or they just do not care.
What the two resource persons say at the impending symposium might thus be the beginning of the return of ABU, Zaria to agenda setting scholarship. ABU, Zaria has the legacy of debates such as the causes of the Nigerian economic crisis in the mid-1980s; the responsibility of political and other sciences in Nigeria, amongst others.