Nigeria And Her Challenges – By Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-Kol

July 5, 2021
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Nigeria is a country that is blessed with abundant material and human resources. It is a multi-cultural and multi-religious nation with over two hundred population and a vast land full of natural resources. However, the resources, instead of becoming a blessing, have turned to be the factors responsible for the underdevelopment of the state. Some of the underdevelopment issues include: colonialism and dependency, political instability, corruption, nepotism and favouritism. Others are insecurity, gender inequality, poor governmental policies, overpopulation and unproductivity as well as environmental degradation.

 Despite gaining the independence in 1960, Nigeria is still depending on western world for its basic needs including debt collection, security, system of governance, crude oil refinery, and technological advancement among others. The over dependency on crude oil and on these countries have rendered Nigeria unproductive (To be discussed later).Another factor is political instability. It is exactly 22 years Nigeria is practicing uninterrupted democratic system of government. However, politics in Nigeria which is seen as a do or die affair, is being characterized by political intolerance, vote buying, thuggery, imposition of candidates, unnecessary decamping and election rigging. Others are interest, election cancellations and violence, fake promises, and promotion of hatred, corruption, poor working relationship among executive, legislature and judiciary. Some examples are biased primary elections, Local government elections which ruling parties in the states win all the seats. 

Furthermore, corruption has always been at the centre when it comes to the issue of underdevelopment of Nigeria. Trillions of naira meant for the development of the nation and its citizens were diverted by few elites who have access to nation’s coffers. If the looted monies were used as intended, Nigeria would have grown far better.The next issue militating against the development of Nigeria is nepotism and favouritism. According to Dailytrust publication in April, 2021, former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, had said that the tradition of favouritism in leadership positions among families, friends, acquaintances rather than ability and capability to deliver is responsible for Nigeria’s backwardness. The former President’s assertion is cogent, because nepotism and favouritism have paralyzed ministries, agencies, boards and parastatals. Those who lack theoretical and practical knowledge of a particular field are given an opportunity to work instead of skilled ones. 

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The other most disturbing issue in the country is ‘’Insecurity’’. Like corruption, insecurity affects all the institutions in the country. People are always afraid of not to be assaulted, maimed, kidnapped, bombarded, killed or get their valuables destroyed. The insecurity ranges from Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast; armed banditry in the Northwest, IPOB in the south, farmer-herder clashes and kidnappings in most parts of the country. Nigeria is also divided across religion and ethnicity thereby leading to conflicts that claim thousands of lives most especially in multi-cultural states like Plateau, Adamawa, and Taraba. The fears of these issues make investors skeptical about building industries in the country. The insecurity also affects educational sector in general and girl child education in specific. For instance, school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, and Dapchi. Bandits have also kidnapped students of secondary and tertiary institutions in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger. This monster has consumed trillions of naira and no tangible solution proffered so far.

On gender discrimination, in the United States of America, women are given opportunity to rise to the level of becoming Vice President (Kamala Harris). But in Nigeria, the reserve is the case. All the main positions are being dominated by men thereby marginalizing the women.  For example, out of the 469 members of the Red and Green chambers, only 19 are women with Senate having seven and House of Representatives having 12. Lagos state that had been allocating the seat of the deputy Governor to female for decades now has a male one. Out of the 42 ministerial list released in 2019, only seven were women. Not only in politics but women are being sidelined in almost all the facets of life endevour. This has made it possible for the rights of women to be abused like raping, sex for grades, child labour, and marital abuse among others.

On the other hand, Nigeria can be seen as a country that has well planned policies on paper but finds it difficult to execute, monitor and evaluate them for the development of its citizens. Even policies that pass paper level sometimes get diverted due to corruption and change of government.  Moreover, overpopulation and unproductivity also impedes Nigeria’s development. China is the most populous country in the world with over 1.4 billion people as of July, 2021 while Nigeria is the most populous African nation with over two hundred million citizens in 2021. This means that the population of Nigeria is below 15% that of China. Where then Nigeria got it wrong? The answer is that Nigeria, unlike China, is overpopulated with larger percentage of unproductive and unskilled people. This makes poverty, unemployment and illiteracy to accumulate thereby leading to the suffering of the people and insecurity as an idle mind is said to be the devil’s workshop.

Nevertheless, Nigeria could be described as a country that was environmentally rich with arable land and a conducive atmosphere. However, the attitudes and behaviours of Nigerians towards their environments have changed the narrative. The factors that cause environmental degradation are pollution, deforestation, urbanisation, and desertification among others. The problems, however, range from region to region depending on the commercial activities, level of poverty, agricultural, or industrial activities.The fact is that pollution from industries, machines, engines, motorcycles, tricycles, and cars, natural gas flaring, oil theft, and spillage as well as pipeline leakages and vandalisation are dangerous to man, environment, plants, and animals. Deforestation is also alarming. It is a process whereby trees are being fallen or burnt for several purposes without replanting to replace the fallen ones. Urbanization also degrades environment. It is caused primarily by high population growth rate and rural to urban migration. Urbanisation comes with city slums and serious environmental consequences. It causes flood through an inadequate storm drain, dumping of refuse in drainages, and construction of houses on waterways among others.

I, therefore, call on Mr. President to extend his ‘best language’ to the other areas too for the development of the country. It is impressing that the president is doing the needful to put Nigeria part of track. We look forward for a holistic development.

Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol from Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano.

bilyaminugambokonkol20@gmail.com

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