Things will eventually look up in Nigeria, maybe tomorrow or the day after that. But know that it will come someday. Our better day will come eventually.
Taking a peek into history, the name Nigeria was coined by Miss Flora Shaw from the Niger River. Nigeria was colonised by Britain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Nigeria became a sovereign state on the 1st of October 1960 and became a republic three years later. However 53 years of our own self rule has been characterised with both military and civilian rule.
After all these years, we can all agree on one point, namely; that our dear country is still struggling. Many a cartoonist has captured this scenario in apt imagery of a giant with the lower limbs of a toddler. We have been asking why, and for the days to come, I foresee a lot more “whys” popping up. After all, our philosophy brothers say, the question is more important than the answers!
I have added my own voice to the whys, but I just did not stop there. I have found fifty-three reasons why we have not arrived at the “model-state” level in our democracy. The list is not exhaustive, but I find these contents very disturbing. I shall only throw more lights on a few, the rest is food for thought.
Now to the 53 reasons why Nigeria is not there yet:
2. Religious crisis
5. Prebendalism Patron - clientelism.
6. Devaluation of our currency
7. Years of Martial Rule
8. Failed democracy
9. Examination malpractice
10. Ignorance of our fundamental rights
11. Party politics
12. Educational problem
13. Misappropriation of public fund
15. Security problem
16. Poor road network
17. High rate of unemployment
18. Power failure
20. Poor Health policy
21. Money oriented ministers of God
23. Inadequate disposition of information
24. Failure to get and respect public opinion
25. High cost of running the government
26. Poor transport service
27. Inadequate adaptation of Science and Technology
28. Election malpractice
29. Over-dependence on government
30. Infrastructural decay
31. Lack of
innovation over reliance on foreign products.
32. Misplaced priorities
33. Lack of management skills at the top
34. Ethnic differences
35. Over-dependence on crude oil
36. Division of the state
37. Administrative incompetence
38. Unequal allocation of revenue to states
39. Food scarcity
40. Women trafficking
41. Inappropriate taxation
43. High rate of illiteracy
44. Witchcraft and black powers
45. Emigration of Nigeria's best brains to other countries
47. Child labour
48. Incessant industrial action strikes.
49. Punctuality problem
50. Judicial independence
52. Patriotism problem
53. Less prayers
To elucidate briefly on these reasons, it is pertinent to
note that some of the setbacks inter-relate. You may jolly well forgive me for
that for some of the problems needed to be specifically mentioned.
The foundation of the Nation's problem is corruption; it is
an abuse of position of trust in order to gain an undue advantage or willing to
act dishonestly in return for money. Corruption has ravaged the whole system,
it’s a global issue but its rate in Nigeria is unexplainable, is one thing for
a state to be filled with corruption but willing to work towards perfection but
it’s another thing altogether for a state to have corruption as a tradition.
Some of the fore listed setbacks flow directly from corruption.
The government has in no small measure failed to meet its
primary responsibility which entails provision of basic amenities such as
electricity, good roads, education, health facilities, security, food, shelter
to mention but a few. More policies are needed in this direction.
Religious problems has also weakened our development
strength, religious groups that ought to be role models to the society seems to
have lost focus. It is disheartening that our religious groups are responsible
for the unrest that has taken thousands of lives in the country, instead of
them to be preachers of peace. Our churches are now money-oriented places and
pastors are now owners of private jets, expensive schools that are beyond the
reach of the common man.
The rate of unemployment in the country is about 23.9%, the
high level of unemployment has led to so many anti social activities including
terrorism, kidnapping, fraud, cultism. It is written that an idle mind is the
devils workshop. Nigeria has failed in practising true democracy, according to
Abraham Lincoln democracy is the government of the people, by the people and
for the people. The sovereignty of every nation resides on the people but in
Nigeria it is on the ruling class, with recurrent election malpractice, party
politics, prebendalism (godfatherism). Thus jeopardising the doctrine of sallus
populus est suprema lex (the welfare of the people is the supreme law).
Other pertinent issues include independence of the
judiciary, where the third arm of government is not independently free to make
court decisions because they are appointed by the executive arm and ratified by
the legislative arm.
Furthermore, high cost of running the government, Nigerian
law makers are the highest earners in the world with about 240 million naira
per annum in the upper champers and 204 million naira in the lower chambers.
The president with large cabinet and even the first lady who has no
constitutional recognition gets paid heavily.
Now to the problem arising from the citizens, Firstly
ignorance of our fundamental rights embodied in the constitution (chapter 4
sections 33-46). A vast majority of the people are not conversant with their
constitutional rights and the few that are aware of these rights still shy away
from taking legal action when they are infringed upon.
Secondly over dependence on the government for everything,
even those within our capabilities because of the mentality that everything
should be handled by the government.
Thirdly, lack of innovative ideas which leads to over
reliance on foreign products has been the bane of the Nigerian government. It’s
my favourite cliché that ''there is nothing wrong in Nigeria that cannot be
corrected with something right in Nigeria.''
Nigeria is 53 today. Take a pause and ask yourself this
question, is Nigeria a failed nation at 53 or is it that we the leadership that
has failed? This question should be answered in the negative. As a growing
nation, it will be reasonable to observe that the country is not yet at the
stage of comatose on the grounds that government compositions are still at
least functioning. Furthermore, the leadership of the nation is not completely
a failure, they are doing their best but just maybe their best is not good
enough for the day.
To have a better Nigeria we all dream about, corruption
should be eradicated or reduced to its lowest, running cost of the government
should be slashed down by 50%, equal attention should be given to other sectors
of the economy, most importantly enhancement of human resources, Nigerians
should also possess the right mindset towards its growth, that of good and not
of evil and finally prayers for the nation should be offered continually.
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