On October 1, 1960, Nigeria was almost at par with India, Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, Singapore and a few others that now appear far ahead. It is sad that as at today, Nigeria is nowhere compared to these countries. They have made a giant stride in economic and social development while Nigeria has a matter of fact regressed.
Nigeria’s GDP as of today stands at about US $500 billions while per capital income is US $2. 049. The average life -expectancy is 53 years while human development index (HDI) is 0.532 (157th out of 198 Countries ). Contrast Nigeria position with that of tiny Singapore with a population of 5.6 Million. They have a GDP of US $ 372 billion and a per capital income of US$ 65, 627 and a very high (HDI) of 0.932 ( 9th position out of 198 Countries) Singapore has an average life expectancy of 84.8 years. Its physical infrastructure is world-class while that of Nigeria is relatively primitive.
In 2018, Nigeria overtook India as the world capital of poverty. India poor are now about 70 Million out of a population of 1.3 billion (about 18 per cent of the population) while Nigeria accounts a poor staggering number of 87 million, representing 45 per cent of the total population of 200 million. There is no magic about these development outcomes. The emerging economic power invests inhumanity, skills infrastructure and agriculture. They built an eco-system that allowed their people to flourish in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
Corruption exists in all countries, but countries such as Indonesia ensured that the money stayed at home. Tyrants in Indonesia invested in their people and ploughed back their stolen wealth into the economy. That makes sense a little compared to Nigerians elite and politicians who have milked the National treasury dry with the bulk of the money stolen squirrelled abroad. They simply had no mind to build an inner-directed and inner- propelled developmental state that could bring hope to the teeming millions of Nigerian most especially the youth population who are jobless.
The Nigerian godfathers and self-appointed king-makers have also ensured that politics remains a prohibitively expensive business which can only be accessed by the rich. To run for the presidency you would need a minimum of Ten billion Naira and getting such money, you might have to dine with the political gladiators for finance. The price is huge, as you become forever beholden to them, opening up the treasury and NNPC for them to loot.
It is obvious that the king-makers and godfathers do have their brains just underneath their foot because they do prefer low-grade people who they believe are more malleable. They revote against a leader who has his brain in the right hemisphere and makes it difficult for him swimming in a political pool of change.
Nigeria has never had a first-rate leader. The very best has been mediocre who knows nothing about governance and there is no willingness to learn rather they have passion looting. The most outstanding leader who was denied the high magistracy was the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo and today history will not forget him for what Nigeria might have become, fallowed to preside over this great country. The society cannot grow above the level and mentality of its leader and that is what Nigeria has become in recent times.
As Nigeria clocks 59, the questions asked by progressive minds is who will fix Nigeria? It is not a far-fetched answer as Nigeria will be fixed by a collective effort of all her citizens. A nation is great not by its size alone but by cohesion, the stamina, the discipline of its people and quality of their leaders. Not only that, a righteous, enlightened, God-fearing and competent leader is a necessity to brace up institutional mechanism and collective learning of progressive citizens.