What is wrong with Nigeria?

Nigeria, the giant of Africa, with a population of approximately 200 millions of different diverse and ethnic composition, is facing an existential threat. Evidence abounds that is not well with the country. The country is at war with secessionists, bandits, kidnappers and Boko Haram insurgents. These multi-faceted challenges are increasing in leaps and bounds with the government looking helpless.

While bandits and Boko Haram are having a field day in North-west and north east states, ethnic warrior, Sunday Igboho, is championing Odudua nation and dishing out quit notice to other ethnic groups. In the South-east, another secessionist, Nmandi Kanu, and his Easthern Security Network (ESN) are causing havoc killing police officers and burning down their duty post. Can we say, South-south states are enjoying relative peace due to the amnesty granted to militias by the late Yara’dua administration and maintained by the present government? Even with amnesty, the region is still battling the high cases of cultism and vandalism of oil pipelines. This indicates the country is waging survival war from different fronts. However, the posers are: Why has the country found itself in insecurity? Are there solutions in sight to these challenges?

Nigeria’s problems did not start today. It is a history of disagreements and grievances arising from how the country was birthed, structured and governed. Many Nigerians believe or partly blame the current mess to the amalgamation of the country in 1914 by Fredrick Lord Luggard. The amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates with people of different cultural and religious backgroundS is believed to have bred the current animosity. However, others hold contrary opinions. To them, amalgamation could not have been the main reason for the country’s numerous challenges. They posit that January 15, 1966 coup that lead to the assassination of some prominent Northern political leaders and the counter coup were factors that fueled the present impasse. Besides, the 1967 civil war with its attendant devastated consequences had also promoted agitation for balkanization of the country. No wonder, ever since, there has been an emergence of many groups of separatists pushing or clamouring for new Niger-Delta, Biafra and Odudua nations.

From the economic point of view, about 70 per cent of Nigerians are living below the poverty line. From independence to date, Nigerian government has been implementing various policies and programmes at lifting Nigerians from poverty. Sadly, government policies have failed to yield the desired results as the population of poor Nigerians keeps rising. Also, the global Poverty Clock put Nigeria as the poverty headquarters of the world. It is estimated that more than 80 million Nigerians are living in abject poverty. This shows the country’s resources are being controlled by minorities through corruption with the majority wallowing in despair. Nigeria’s rent economy has continued to widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

For the government to resolve the present challenges of nation building, it needs to look at the problem within the politico-economy perspective. For instance, there is the need for the government to find out why separatists suddenly found their voices? Why did a mere cattle rustling in the North-west transform to banditry and pose great security challenges to the region? Should the government reach out to these criminals and politically resolve their grievances? These are some of the pressing issues that require a quick response. The high rate of poverty in the country might have contributed to insecurity. Government should as a matter of urgency re-evaluate its policies in terms of capacity to improve the lives of Nigerians. There is a need for the government to redirect resources to our rural communities. These are the areas where the majority of Nigerians live in poverty

Ibrahim Mustapha,

Pambegua, Kaduna state


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