What Happened to Nigeria?


“Nigeria had constant power supply in areas with electricity before the 70s. Naira was stronger than the British Pound & US Dollar by 1976. Nigeria had excess jobs in the 70s. Finland called Nigeria “a future world power.” Gowon said Nigeria’s only problem was how to spend money”.

What happened to Nigeria is similar to what happens to any Nation, or person that is born with a lot of privileges, the proverbial silverspoon. It is difficult for such a person to truly appreciate what he has until it is lost. Secondly, it is also difficult for such a person to work hard to try to achieve something, after all, all he needs is already at his fingertips.

Nigeria, as a young country started off its independence with so much potential, in fact, too much potential. Our economy was stable. We were top in agriculture. Our newly found oil wealth kept us relevant in the comity of nations. So many world leaders saw the potential in us, but sadly we did not see the potential in ourselves.

Our greatest challenge as a country is not Corruption as there is no government parastatal in the world that doesn’t have corrupt politicians. Rather, our greatest challenge is embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, funds which Gen. Yakubu Gowon had wholeheartedly said that we have an excess of. You see, you cannot steal something that isn’t there. Thoughts like what Nigeria would be like if we did not have such a wealthy beginning comes to mind.

In 1763, the British colony enforced new taxes on their colonies located in the West called the 13colonies. The new taxes were met with a lot of resistance from the colonists because they felt the government didn’t have the right to tax them if they didn’t have representation in Parliament and feared that the new laws were just the beginning of even more infringements on their rights.

The colonists believed governments existed to serve and protect the rights and interests of its people, not to serve and protects its own interests. So when the British government began passing laws that seemed to serve its own interests rather than that of its people, it was met with much disapproval in the colonies. This led to a war that lasted for over a year. The British had to give in and grant these colonies their freedom, absolutely certain that these colonies would not be able to survive without the guidance & leadership of the Great British Empire.

This colonies gained their independence on July 4,1776 and formed what is today known as the United States of America.

Today, America is one of the world’s superpowers & The United Kingdom is lagging a bit behind.

The Solution?

In my candid opinion, I don’t believe that a revolution is the solution to Nigeria’s many problems as revolutions are not one size fits all solution to political issues of a nation. Yes, revolution worked for America, but it may not work for Nigeria.

Besides, I do not trust the Nigerian mind is mature enough for a revolution. I’ll explain. America had to revolt the British colony because the British were oppressing them with taxes. The British & the Americans were of distinctly different origins so it was easy for America to gather up favour & support from its own people and pursue the outsiders.

In Nigeria, we’re not currently being colonized by outsiders, but by insiders. Our own brothers & sisters that we voted into power hoping they would usher in a better standard of living for us & our children. It would be difficult to revolt against them because of our ties. Furthermore, because of this same ties, a psychological connection has been established such that the way we all respond to certain situations has become similar. The average Nigerian, if voted into power, would embezzle. Even though he/she had wholeheartedly castigated corruption & corrupt officials before being elected. A revolution is not what we need as this would just lead us to walking around in circles.

Rather, imagine a Nigeria where all our many gifts and resources have become resonably depleted, and the members of senate do not go home with hundreds of millions of naira annually. Imagine a Nigeria where people actually vie for political posts solely to serve and not to alleviate their families from poverty, because they know that even when they win the election, there would be nothing to steal. 

The solution to Nigeria’s problems, funny as it may sound, is if Nigeria became poor again.

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