Great Nigeria and Its Origin
Just about 106 years since amalgamation; 60 years of independence and 20 years of unbroken democratic rule, our great nation, Nigeria is on the path of glory. Nigeria is a great and prosperous land for all.
October 1, is significant in the history of our great country, Nigeria. This day in 1960, our great nation received the mantle to work out her salvation. This day, Nigeria gained admission into the United Nations Organization where sovereignty is a criterion for membership. This was also the day Nigeria sent a clear message to the whole world that the giant of Africa has emerged.
However, the struggle for independence did not come on a platter of gold. Our nationalists fought tirelessly to berth the independent Nigeria we now have. A look into history reveals that Nigeria, before the coming of the colonial rule, never existed. 1861 saw the annexation of Lagos; by 1900 it was officially made a crowned colony and that was the beginning of colonial rule. By 1914, the Governor-General, Lord Fredrick Lugard amalgamated the Northern and Southern Protectorates to become one Nigeria. The purpose was clearly for administrative convenience. In 1922, the Clifford Constitution introduced in Nigeria, helped the struggle for self-government as Nigerians craved to participate in matters concerning them. This constitution gave way to the Richard Constitution of 1946. This was known to have introduced regionalism into the polity, which boosted the demand for self-government. In a desperate move to quench the burning desire in Nigerians for self-government, the MacPherson constitution of 1951 was introduced, even when the constitution gave Nigerians a chance to be involved in their own affairs, this did not make Nigerians look back in yearning for independence.
The Littleton constitution of 1954 did little to douse the agitation for self-government. In the heat of this tension, a constitutional conference was held in London, in 1953. This conference was largely unsuccessful. One major reason was that Nigerian delegates could not all agree on a date for independence until Chief Anthony Enahoro moved a motion in the house that self-government should be practiced in 1956. The Northern delegates who came to the Lagos conference said, self-government should be as soon as practicable. The phrase “as soon as practicable” was viewed by the Southerners as a ploy by Northern Nigerians to delay Nigeria’s independence. The Southern delegates staged a walkout and told the waiting crowd outside that the North was not ready for independence. This infuriated the crowd and the northern delegates were booed and stoned. Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, who wanted to get the support of the North in quest for self- government, led a delegation to Kano to appeal to the North in 1953. The Northern youths who were not happy at the treatment retaliated and the Kano riot broke out.
In 1957 another conference was held in London; again this conference was partially successful and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe blamed Nigerians for not getting a definite date for independence. Too many issues were bothering the nation at that time, and that granting Nigeria self-government would definitely have been ill-timed. The London conference of 1958 which was held between September 29, and October 27, was a huge success. The conference accepted and agreed that October 1, should be Independence Day for Nigeria.
It is imperative to state here that in the heat of the struggle for independence, Southern Nigeria was granted self-government in 1957 and two years later, Northern Nigeria was granted self-government in 1959. What this meant was that the regions had already been enjoying miniature self-government. October 1, 1960 ushered in the lowering of the British Union Jack and the hosting of Nigerian flag, the “Green-White-Green” announcing the admission of Nigeria into the club of political independent nations.
The Face of the Modern Nigeria
Nigeria is the single largest geographical unit in West Africa. It occupies a land area of 932,768 square kilometers situated between longitude 3o and 15o East, and latitude 4o and 14o North. The country is bounded on the West by the Republic of Benin, on the East by the Cameroon Republics and on the South by a vast coastline of the Atlantic Ocean measuring about 800km known as Gulf of Guinea.
It lies entirely within the tropics with the main vegetation zones being the rain forest and Savannah reflecting the amount of rainfall on its spatial distribution. In the south it can further be divided into mangrove forest at the coast and evergreen rain forest, Savannah in the north consisting of mainly of grasses.
There are two major seasons – the wet and the dry season (April – October and November – March respectively).
The population of Nigeria is an important factor in policy analysis and planning. However, the 1991 population census has been adopted officially for planning purposes. By 1998, Nigeria’s population based on the 1991 census was projected at 108.2million using an annual growth rate of 2.83%. The last census which put Nigeria at 140million people and today estimated at 162million people with annual birth rate of 6million people.
Genders composition of 50% of the 2003 census is males – Average life expectancy is put at 52years.
Nigeria Gross Domestic Product (at 1984 factor cost) was estimated N113.0 billion in 1998 as against N54billion in 1970. The composition of GDP by economic activity showed that the economy is agrarian in structure with agriculture accounting for 64.1 and 47.6% of GDP in 1960 and 1970 respectively. Since advent in petroleum in the mid 1970’s, the relative share of agriculture declined accounting for about 40.4% in 1996 and 1998 respectively.
Today, our GDP per capital is US $2000 with Nigeria performing poorly on several global industrial indicators which global competitiveness indicator ranking shows that 1 = best and 183 = worst and Nigeria overall ranking is 127.
Nigeria’s institutional structure reflects mainly colonial link of the nation to Britain. Education, health, social institutions were modeled after the British system and were designed to supplant rather than improve upon traditional system. A review of educational system shows the dominance of the generalist – primary and secondary education with less emphasis a vocational and other training which impacts skills.
Physical and Natural Resources in Nigeria
Nigeria has modern seaports and docks of international repute at Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, and Calabar. In terms of land use, 31.0% of total area can be classified as arable of which 3.0% is permanent crop cultivation, 23.0% meadows, and pastures, 15% is the forest and woodland which 28% is for other uses with negligible percentage for irrigation.
It is endowed with abundant mineral and natural resources. Nigeria is a major oil producer with petroleum production accounting 35% of GDP, over 90% of foreign exchange receipts and 70% of Federal Government revenues. There are vast resources of natural gas and endowed with fertile agricultural land.
Small and medium scale enterprises (SME’s) tend to be rural based while (MSME’s) Micro, Small and medium enterprises produce in urban areas in competition with minimum micro enterprises. MSME’s will drive the Nigeria economy which currently is 17million in number employing over 31million Nigerians accounting of 80% of enterprises and employing 75% of the total work force. Industrial structure by size shows that SME’s constitutes 17.50%, MSME’s and LSE constitute 80.0% and 2.5% respectively.
The Financial System
The financial system is dualistic with some level of informal and formal system financial intermediation activities taking place. The informal financial system is subordinate to the formal financial system and essentially designed to serve social goals, lending and deposit mobilization done on small scale, keeping little or no records with cash transactions dominance.
The formal financial system which now pre-dominates the system include: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Commercial banks, The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Micro Finance Banks, Savings and Loans, Foreign Exchange Bureau, Insurance Companies, Finance Companies, specialized institution and the Stock Exchange.
The industry has experienced great hiccups and upheavals in recent times. Equity capital is as much as N100 billion or above or merge as alternative. E-banking has gathered momentum in the country and a policy of cashless economy is in the offing.
Foreign Trade and Exchange Market
Nigeria’s foreign trade and exchange rate markets are dualistic in structure with the predominance of formal sector over the informal of parallel market sector. It is estimated that the parallel market caters for up to 10% of the foreign exchange needs especially of individuals engaged in overseas travels and cross border trading. The volume of unrecorded trade arising there-from with neighboring countries has been on the increase following the implementation of ECOWAS protocol on free movement.
Generally, foreign trade is dominated by the oil sub-sector accounting for about 77.3% in 1996 and by 2009 money accruable to Nigeria in export has been $75,960m, $7,838m from manufacturing and allied, $2,655m in agriculture totaling $86.454m in all. Major foreign trading partners are USA, Canada, Britain, Germany, Japan, China, India and Brazil etc.
The major sources of government finance are oil, and non-oil revenues. The oil revenue includes proceeds from sales of crude oil, petroleum profit tax, rent, and royalties while the components of non-oil revenue are company income tax, custom and excise duties, value-added tax (VAT) and personal income tax. Since 1970’s oil revenues have been the dominant source of government’s revenue contributing over 70% to Federal collected revenue.
An evaluation of the Nigeria Economy shows very visible evidence of transformation of the economic structure. Modern industrial, educational, health, infrastructural facilities and services exist in most urban and semi-urban cities.
Presently, Nigeria underperforms its regional and global peers on industry contribution to GDP, Export and employment eg.
|Country||% of GDP||% of Export||% of Employment|
| Nigeria |
| 4 |
| 9 |
| 2 |
To boost industry development in Nigeria, the Federal Government anchored by Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment has launched a robust and compelling Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) to increase contributions of industry to the country’s economic development to create competitive advantage for Nigeria.
In 53 years of independence, this nation has worked through difficulties and challenges. Military interventions in Nigerian politics became a recurring ugly incidence to terminate efforts in continuous democratic rule at a time. The most challenging moment for this country came in 1967 when the Nigerian civil war broke out. For three years, the nation was at daggers drawn. Despite this great setback, Nigeria has remained as one nation. From regional structure, Nigeria has grown to 36 states with her capital in Abuja.
Nigeria Role in Africa
The country is a force to reckon with in Africa. Nigeria’s role in Africa has been very significant. Upon independence, Nigeria enunciated Africa as the centerpiece of her foreign policy. Significantly, Liberia, Angola, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Rwanda, and many other African countries have benefited from Nigeria’s standpoint towards Africa
The country is richly endowed with ecological and natural resources, which are of universal recognition. Perhaps, the most amazing aspect of its greatness lies in its multinational state, approximately 250 heterogeneous nationalities. Manifestation of the socio-cultural differences of the people, however contributes to the richness, diversities and harmony of the Nigerian cultures. This mix-grill of people and cultures has made Nigeria’s struggle in the face of all odds over uncountable years to realize itself as truly the Giant of Africa in various fields of endeavours.
As we stand to reposition Nigeria, the labours of our heroes past, shall never be in vain. This nation will rise and live up to the true meaning of its creed. The children yet unborn will forever be grateful for our tomorrow will be brighter than today. The words of our National Anthem will become our guide. Peace, Justice and Unity shall reign in our great nation, despite our background and diversities. Nigeria is our land, our hope, our pride, our destiny and EL DORADO.