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The incessant development crisis that enveloped the post-colonial Nigerian state amidst externally and internally oriented policy prescriptions coupled with the abundant material and human resources within her territory, has continued to elicit contentions among scholars and policy-makers. With the transition of Nigeria from the military to democratically elected government in 1999, the then President Olusegun Obasanjo through the instrumentality of the IMF sponsored National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (NEEDS) adopted and implemented among other things, the deregulation and trade liberalization reforms, which was touted as a panacea for reconciling the development deficit in the
country. It is in this connection that our study was saddled with the responsibility of interrogating the nexus between the adoption and subsequent implementation of the IMF induced reforms and the persistent development crises in Nigeria in the context of the following questions: 1. Has the adoption of IMF imposed deregulation policy reduced the Human Development Index in Nigeria between 2000 and 2014? 2. Has the implementation of IMF policy of liberalization of trade increased the unemployment rate in Nigeria between 2000 and 2014? The study relied heavily on the documentary method of data collection. However, with the aid of the blended Economic Structuralism and Economic Nationalism
analytic approaches combined with the qualitative descriptive method of data analysis, the study argued that the adoption of deregulation and trade liberalization reforms were implicated in the development crisis in Nigeria which manifested in terms of decline in HDI and increase in unemployment rate. As a corollary of the above, the study recommended for the implementation of two-phased development plan and resort to regional integration development strategy as practical solutions to the persistent  development challenges of Nigeria.


1.1. Background to the Study
Nigeria is situated on the Gulf of Guinea. It is bounded in the North by Niger Republic, in the West by Benin Republic, in the East by Chad and Cameroun. Its coast in the South lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. On the map, standing like a top trapezoidal plaque, inclining as if always ready to fall on the slightest push from its western side, Nigeria stands on the slightest push from its western side. Encased within latitude 4-14 degree N and longitude 3E-15E, and covering a total land area of 923,800 (356,669 sq mi), Nigeria hovers like a menacing giant, over all other coastal countries of the West African sub-region with a hostile stance (Ozor, 2004: 25). In terms of size, Nigeria is the world’s 32nd largest country (after Tanzania) and comparable with Venezuela. With a population of about 174 million inhabitants, it is referred as the most populous in Africa, the seventh most populous country in the world and has one of the largest youth populations in the world (CIA World Factbook: 2014; Holmes: 1987; Library of Congress: 2008).
Nigeria is a home to 36 states with a Federal Capital Territory and further divided into 774 Local Government Areas. As of 2015, Nigeria is the world’s 20th largest economy, worth more than S500 billion and S1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. The country is equally considered to be an emerging market and has been identified as the regional power on the African continent, having been listed as the ‘Next Eleven’ economies set to become among the biggest in the world (World Bank, 2015).
Moreover, Nigeria is one of the countries in Africa blessed with large deposit of natural resources. The country is richly endowed with variety of natural resources like crude oil which accounts for the major source of its revenue. Others are iron ore, zinc, gold, lead, limestone, uranium, salt, tin ore, coal, bitumen, asbestos, tantalite etc, though majority of the aforementioned resources are still in their unexploited state. The country is also blessed with abundant human resources that have made significant input in all areas of life both nationally and internationally. Prior to the discovery of oil, the agricultural sector accounted for about 63% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) though it has declined to an abysmal level due to the discovery of oil which now accounts for about 80% of the GDP. (,
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