Independence: 53 Reasons Why Nigeria Is Not There Yet — by Igbinoba O. Tony

Oct. 1, 2013

NewsRescue- 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 imageries of a giant with the lower limbs of a toddler. We have been asking why, and for the days to come, I forsee 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:
(1) Corruption
(2) Religious crisis
(3) Terrorism
(4) Neo-patrimonialism
(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
(14) Dishonesty
(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
(22) Kidnapping
(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
(42) Fraud
(43) High rate of illiteracy
(44) Witchcraft and black powers
(45) Emigration of Nigeria’s best brains to other countries
(46) Cultism
(47) Child labour
(48) Incessant industrial action (strikes)
(49) Punctuality problem
(50) Judicial independence
(51) Inflation
(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 is now a money oriented place and pastors are now owners of private jets, expensive schools that is 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.

Its 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 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.