THE CONS OF THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY
Nigeria boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with Gross Domestic Product growth rates above 6% every year since 2003. Home to more than 170 million people, it is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populated country in the world. The United Nations has projected its population could rise into the top three by 2050, potentially overtaking the United States.
Unfortunately, Nigeria also has a tragic history of conflicts and power struggles, being a country that consists of more than 500 different ethnic groups. Since gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria has had eight military governments, numerous civilian governments and experienced a 30-month civil war.
Nigeria boasts of itself as a democratic government – a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Therefore human resources must play a huge role in the success or failure of any nation built on the opinions or decisions of its masses. In Nigeria, most of the problems facing the economy are a reflection of the poor quality of human development and management because education, which is important for the economic health of a nation, has been neglected for decades. (Dike, 2010; 2002) Part of the problems facing Nigeria is that its educational institutions are not designed for the modern economy. They lack the tools to produce good quality graduates to manage the affairs of the nation. Majority of our graduates go through the higher institutions without acquiring the skills that drive human productivity. Increase in productivity would enlarge the nation’s economic standing and reduce poverty and crime. No nation would make any meaningful socio-economic and political stride without viable educational institutions. In the World Bank’s 2010 report on ‘Doing Business in Nigeria 2010 – Through Difficult Times’, it noted that about 90 percent of Nigerian businesses that operate in the informal sector lack access to credit (Dike, 2010). Also, in its 2008 Review of World Development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ranked Nigeria 157 out of 177 in Human Development Index; it was also among the ‘Least Livable Nations’.
Bad governance is also among the major causes of the problems facing the nation as it is threatening to undermine the nation’s democratization process. The masses are not allowed equal economic opportunity and freedom to participate in the political process. As Sen (1999) noted, ’Freedoms are not only the primary ends of development, they are also among its primary means.’ Therefore development in all its types requires the removal of major sources of suppression. Another problem therefore with Nigeria is that the system lacks checks and balances to control the dictator tendencies in government and to hold political actors accountable for their acts. The politicians do not practice ethical politics and their actions do not add values to the system. Lack of ethical politics and values and politics of hate and destruction contribute to the economic and political hiccups in the society.
Although corruption is a global problem, Nigeria appears to suffer the most from it because our leaders dwell in corruption and create their policies around it. Nigerians believe that we have a culture of corruption, so new and young leaders cannot help it but continue in the corrupt ways of their predecessors. This thinking is wrong. Over the years, Nigeria has earned huge sums of money from crude oil, which has gone down the sinkhole created by corruption. The San Francisco Chronicle in 2007 described Nigeria as a rich nation floating on oil wealth “but almost none of it flows to the people.” Some top public officials in our country are very rich because they harbor the mentality that public money belongs to no one. National dailies are stocked with news of how public officials are acquiring million-dollar homes (within and outside Nigeria) and stockpiling stolen public...
References: Dike, V. E. (2002), ’The State of Education in Nigeria and the Health of the Nation’. NESG
Economic Indicators, Vol.8 No. 1
Lickona, T.(1992), Educating for Character: How Our Schools can Teach Respect and
Responsibility. New York: Bantman Books.
Sen A. (1999), Development as Freedom, New York: Anchor Books, pp.36-37.
United Nations Development Programme; Human Development Report (2000). Human Rights
and Human Development, New York, 2000.
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