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Voice of Nigerians

Crisis in Nigeria and Way Forward

In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. We must forever conduct our struggle...

Written by Nigerian Image · 8 min read >
Crisis in Nigeria

In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence”.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The above statement was made by Martin Luther King Jr. to let us know that it is our duty to seek to get what is rightfully ours in a peaceful way not giving occasion for anyone to question our attitude and actions in the process of achieving this right.

Crisis therefore is a time and moment of great danger or confusion when problems must be solved or hard and important decisions taken or made to bring solution(s) to such problems. These can be personal, cooperate or national problems. The important issue here is that irrespective of the type of problem or who is involved, it is solution that is needed. Some crisis need immediate solution or things get out of hand while solution for some may not be so urgent. Here, time management will come in to give priority to which one is most urgent and important. Crisis is of different types and peculiar crisis will need peculiar approach to get it solved. These different types of crisis are as follows:

  1. Economic
  2. Financial
  3. Identity or personality
  4. Confidence and
  5. Political.

There is what we call crisis management which various tools and approaches would be employed to bring in temporary or permanent solutions to issue in question.

An athlete, who looks back or stops half-way in   competition cannot win a medal, likewise as a person or nation that stop considering solutions to problems will never come out of the woods. When we know crisis that we have, that is a problem half-solved. This means that we have to know our problems before we can look for solutions. This makes a lot of sense in real life situations.

Some people think the problems of Nigeria are irredeemable and too hopeless to be salvaged. That is not true. There is no situation that is great to make such crisis insurmountable. All it needs is understanding what the problem is; get the right set of people with appropriate tools and determination to change the situation.

No country is immune to the entire above mentioned crisis. The only difference is readiness and the willpower to take the bull by the horn. Nigeria as a country has come through terrible times, name calling, stagnation, ups and downs and even spits and slaps in the face, all because of unpatriotic and reckless lifestyle of her people. She has experienced the entire mentioned crisis and may still be experiencing some of them if not all. It is worthwhile for us to address the crisis one by one as follows:

Political Crisis

Politically, Nigeria has gone through so much right from the time we had Nigerian Biafran war, a civil war declared by Odumegwu Ojukwu, of blessed memory. The crisis started in 1966 with full-blown war in 1967 which lasted till 1970. This was as a result of mistrust and inordinate ambition of young military men championing the course of divide and rule. Nigeria, till this day has not come out of this as mistrust and rejection of a leader who is not from my tribe or geo-political region is still held sway.

There have been series of military take-overs through which these regimes had institutionalized corruption in Nigeria. Corruption has become a way of life in the country and crisis so deep in the fabric of the nation. 1993 saw another U-turn in the political life of this country where world acclaimed free and fair election was annulled. It became a stigma to the political progress of this country, so great that the country was back to square one. The ruling of Abacha made image of Nigeria worse, that aspiring Nigerian youth could not be accepted in some global career development opportunities.

Even though we have been practicing democracy consistently since 1999, mistrust and tribal wrangling is still the order of the day. The polity is boiling and these indicate that personal interest is more important than Nigeria. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed once and for all if the country must make progress in the right direction.

Economic Crisis

Nigeria after 53 years of independence has no formidable industrial base, still very much dependent on importation of goods, raw materials and spare parts to sustain her ailing industries. Because of corruption we cannot attract investors into the country.  Potential investors question on why they should invest in Nigeria taking into consideration electric power situation, political instability, raw materials situation, business registration procedures and attitude of government people. It is claimed that every step an investors make that money has to exchange hands. It is costly to do business in Nigeria because you pay extra money in all your business transactions. Any country that has economic crisis should be able to find solution to it because persistent adverse situation will generate corresponding adverse effect. Unemployment rate will rise, poverty, outbreak, cost of living will rise etc. This is a crisis that should attract immediate requisite and long term response.

Financial Crisis

This is a situation where the financial system has collapsed; when banks will not be able to meet its obligations as at when due e.g., inability to pay customers their deposits on demand or meet obligations to other creditors on demand. This situation occurred in Nigeria in the late 1990’s where many banks went distress closing with customers deposits trapped in the system. Once this happens confidence will be lost in the banking system and people will be scared about taking their money to the bank. In Nigeria this is why NDIC (Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission) was established to shield bank customers from losing all their money in case of distress. There are so much reform in the financial sector, and banks are expected to have up to 100 billion share capital, paid up. Crisis in the financial system will make investors lose interest in the economy as well as increase rate in inter-bank lending.

Confidence Crisis

Confidence crisis is a situation where people or countries that used to have confidence in you before will be careful in having anything to do with you. Nigeria as a country has suffered from this before and may be even now there are still some traces of confidence crisis that Nigeria is suffering as a result of corruption perception index survey on Nigeria by Transparency International which Nigeria is still placed in bad light in this year’s report.  Individuals in Nigeria have passed through this dilemma as a result of corruption, 419 activities and Boko Haram insurgency.

Identity Crisis

When a nation is regarded as corrupt, people and nations will be scary about doing business with her citizens. With the passport of that country, there will be careful checking of such a citizen whose identity is questioned at the airport exit to that country. Nigerians presently, are suffering from identity in various nations of the world.  Suspected Boko Haram members suffer this crisis too as people are trying to be careful.

The New Partnership for African Development, (NEPAD) holds that there are certain unmistakable traits that constitute strength for Nigeria. The country is generally regarded as the political giant of Africa and influential force on the global scene. It is a leading force in the cultural, economic, social and financial affairs of Africa especially in West Africa. Nigeria and Nigerians showcase the best of Africa e.g. pride in African values, originality, spirituality, enterprise and belief in the supremacy of kinship and brotherhood. Nigerian culture is emulated and adopted in several African countries. Its strength can again be seen in its abundant natural resources e.g., it is the largest producer of oil and gas in Africa and the seventh largest in the world with reserves of about 36.2 billion barrels with possibility of rise to about 40 billion barrels in the near future. Nigeria is blessed with arable land and pleasant climate all year round suitable for agriculture. Our population today is estimated to be in the region of 160 million people composed of a large pool of trained manpower capable of governing well and managing the economy efficiently. Nigeria arguably has the highest policy formulation and analytic capacity in Africa. The potential of Nigerian population within and outside the country firmly place Nigeria in the path of being a world superpower. Nigeria stands in the forefront of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance agenda. Nigeria is well known as a perennial propagator of African interests and problems in the global stage. It is a consistent contributor to peace keeping efforts around the world.

As seen in the crisis that Nigeria has undergone it has its own challenges derivable from its political and administrative history and weakness of her institutions and regulatory mechanisms. Its greatest problem is how to transform and manage its enormous wealth from oil and gas to achieve socio-economic development. It regrettably contends with the paradox of being the largest oil producer in Africa and a home to the world’s third largest concentration of poor people. The challenge is to reverse this and other socio-economic indices for Nigeria. Corruption as already mentioned as the primary cause of poverty in Nigeria is enormous. Corruption in its political and economic dimensions continually holds back Nigeria’s development. Its over-reliance on oil and the consequent dependence of states and local governments on allocation of revenue from the center is also another set-back on development. Ineffective implementation of policies and laws, as well as policies reversal in Nigeria also poses serious problems to governance.

In 2006 Transparency International in their corruption perception index (CPI) ranked Nigeria more corrupt than 37 out of 45 African countries surveyed and ranked globally 142 out of 164 countries in the CPI.

Corruption is the Root of all Crises

Corruption is the root of all crisis, be it political, financial, economic, identity or confidence. The story about good governance, everybody knows, it is no longer news. Corruption is no longer news, it is an endemic disease spanning over a period of 50 years. The mere fact that a child who was 4 years during Nigeria’s independence (in 1960), and is now 57 years (by 2013), when electricity light comes on, he still shouts “UP NEPA” means no change has taken place for that period of time, in the sector.

Power sector of the economy is what it is because of corruption. Imagine a country that is talking about industrialization leaving its power sector decayed without adding value to the infrastructure for years, how is it possible to industrialize?  This has been the case in our power sector where no significant addition has been made since existing stations were built for over 40 years now. Billions of naira has gone in to resuscitate the sector but no remarkable improvement to power output. Corruption has made power sector to be what it is. There is crisis in the sector and we should not pretend that all is well.

Frustration in this sector remains constant. This is a very unfortunate situation. For a child to shout “UP NEPA” after 53years of a country’s independence and some people argue that we are not mature, and that even America, which is over 200 years old, Canada and China, which have existed for over 100 years each, all went through this same experience. This argument, though not completely false, should not dispute the fact that these people had good beginnings, and advanced in the right direction with the right manner, governed by individuals who had the interest of their people at heart and the people themselves were willing to adjust as well. If we are so blessed with the government that can rectify these issues, why not join hands together to guarantee its success? If we do, it will be better for us. We should shun corruption; it weakens the system. Corruption is not traits. It is weakness and that is why people fall a prey to this monster.

Chief Godswill Akpabio, then, Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, in his reaction for a very peaceful society advocated that Nigeria should be like Akwa Ibom. He commented;

“The only way this country can see peace is for every Nigerian, Christian or Moslem to turn to God Almighty. In two years from today Nigeria will be hundred years. Nigerians must focus on things that unite us and not on things that divide us. Nigerians must learn to love one another; Nigerians must learn to believe in Nigeria.”

Godswill Akpabio

Attitude of Some Nigerians must Change

This is the Time!

Nigeria is like a country one wants to take to a destination where everybody would be happy, relaxed, functional and satisfied, but the people instead of being calm, relaxed, and watchful to follow the rules, to enable them have access to the point of commencing a successful journey, rather become tensed up, causing a lot of trouble, confusion and complains, hence distorting the progress of the journey. Everybody is just shouting but nobody seeks to keep to the rules of doing things right to move the country forward. Television programmes showcase intellectuals and business leaders as holders of magic wands which are not applied in actual practice to bring a change to this country. They only succeed to waste time and resources yielding no economic value to the listeners and the country.

Our problem is corruption which reflects weakness in our national character. Our solution is living above this weakness which will enable us to hold tenaciously to integrity, credibility, transparency and accountability in responsibilities we are given to do for the good of the society and larger Nigeria. Everybody has to be involved. It is not just the government alone because we are the government. We have to change our attitude. We can live above these crises.

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