According to an economist the idea of development is a situation whereby there is an increase in a nations GNP and GDP, leading to an increase in growth .but to a sociologist this is a surface definition as development or rather a country is regarded as developed when such increase is affecting the living condition of its people even to the smallest group in the society. Where we don’t only calculate numbers and figures and structures but can see the positive change of things in the life of the people, both the rich, average and poor. Then such a society would be regarded as developed. For example the living conditions of the USA.
Nigeria the most populated country in Africa filled with its endowed natural resources, and according to the “united nations statistics Nigeria is the 8th most populous county in the world with a population of 2.3%” (UN 2011).but the country still suffers the decay of underdevelopment due to certain avoidable factors that stand as unavoidable. What actually is underdevelopment? W.A Lewis 1963 says that a country may be “underdeveloped in the sense that its technology is backward when compared with that of other countries or in the sense that its institutions are relatively unfavorable to investment, or in the sense that capital resources per head are low when compared with western Europe or in the sense that output per head is low or in the sense that it has valuable natural resources that has not yet begun use” (extracted by opafola 1996).
Agreeing to what Lewis has said so well underdevelopment can be explored from another dimension which in a way he seemed to have ignored, it is a situation whereby the quality of life of the majority of its people is low. The causes or factors of Nigeria’s underdevelopment can be divided into 2 which are both external and internal. “External includes slavery, colonialism, neo- colonialism and the worldwide recession” (Rodney 1972), with which in my opinion is a fact for our underdevelopment the foundation. Also the internal factors include bribery and corruption, poor leadership, bad patriotism from citizens etc. which actually is avoidable.
FACTORS AFFECTING NIGERIA’S UNDERDEVELOPMENT
1. Bribery and Corruption
This is the greatest factor that has put Nigeria where it is today, the issue of “corruption” this is an internal factor. According to the Longman dictionary of contemporary English new edition “corruption is define as dishonest, illegal or immoral behavior, especially from someone with power”. In Africa as a whole research has seen it that most African leaders are corrupt in nature, leading to their backwardness in development of their economy. Taking a cue from the late Attah Williams of Ghana, he executed all the corrupt leaders in Ghana for the stability of the country, and from recent news Ghana has taking a new turn in its development process (silver bird news 23rd august 2012). The issue of corruption is Nigeria’s biggest challenge that is eating into our economic growth leading to money laundering and looting of public funds meant for the improving living condition of citizens.
Corruption now is found in every facets of the Nigerian system especially the political aspect has leaders steal for selfish gain. The transparency international corruption index 2011 ranked Nigeria 143th of 183 counties in the world that is developed, also on the scale of 10 (very clean) to 0 (highly corrupt) Nigeria scored 2.4%, between 2010 and 2011 Nigeria’s position declined from 9 places scoring 2.4% from a possible 10 showing the greatest sign that efforts at correcting corruption had been very inadequate in the last year” (business day, Wednesday September 6 2011).
This shows the height of corruption in our country, taking the story of the former governor James ibori of delta state who was jailed for 16 years for money laundering in April 2012 by the American judiciary after being discharged by a Nigerian court due to bribe for a case he was still found guilty. Nigeria’s problem is this menace and until there is a stop to it I wonder where we are heading to. 2.Neo-colonialism or imperialism
This is an external factor of Nigeria’s underdevelopment; it is the highest form of exploitation from the British countries to their colonies after independence. Nigeria has contributed to its economic backwardness, as it “promotes the maintenance of foreign domination and enhances neo-colonialism and the flowering of subjugationism” (onimode, 1981). Imperialism has always been an exploitative phenomenon, which was the initial motive for colonization. Nigeria has been seen as a dumping ground for most British counties, making it difficult for us to produce our own goods.
Also the fact that we are primary producers with fewer technicalities to produce our raw materials into finished products makes it a means of imperialism as we export our goods at the rate determined by the British colonies and still import back at a higher cost. For example the crude oil, Nigeria is the largest country with the crude oil but the poorest in economic state due lack of technicality in transforming crude oil into petrol which led to the issue of sucidy removal in January 1st 2012, even after which things haven’t changed as fuel scarcity hits most part of the country e.g. Abuja, Lagos etc. as at 19th September 2012.
According to john c. Maxwell “leadership is about influence” and niyi adesonya sees it “as not just influence but also inspiration”. The idea of Nigeria’s leadership is just based on selfish gain of eating the “national cake” and leaving the main aim of governance. Research has seen it that Africa is one continent whereby its leaders are older than the country itself and Nigeria is not left out, as most of our past leaders are much older than the country itself. The issue of poor leadership is also a contributing factor whereby due to corruption leaders make laws to favour their actions, as each time a ruler comes in seat we keep on amending the constitution to suite political parties, politicians make empty promise during election campaigns when put office little or nothing is done in such community and citizens keep suffering in squalor and begin to govern themselves providing the necessities for their comfort.
Due to poor leadership the recent issue of flood all over most riverine area would have occurred, this is because a developed country would have been prepared to channel the water released from the Cameroonian dam into another dam. But since Nigerian political elites spend time on unnecessary things like the introduction of the 5000 naira note, citizens are homeless. Poor leadership is a contributing factor of Nigeria’s underdevelopment, as the main issues are not critically tacked to solve other things.
It has led to flamboyant spending of public funds whereby an average senator in the house of representative is paid unnecessary bills like the seating allowance, wardrobe allowance etc. aside the salary they earn, why won’t people kill to seat on political power? Nigeria is one country whereby the president earns more than the president of United States. As they continue to buy properties that they don’t need instead of investing in profitable business.
This is also a causing factor for our underdevelopment from in my opinion, it is obvious that most Nigerians are aware of our backwardness and they don’t try to help matters instead they add to the problem itself. By disobeying or making difficult certain rules meant to help the country, this is because they believe it is another lie to eat from us. From the AIT news in August Hilary Clinton’s last visit to Nigeria in 2012, she told the president to have the will power of taking certain stringent rules and standing firm for example the handiwork of governor Fashola of Lagos state is termed credible as Lagos with its massive population is actually adjusting to change. This is because even as unpatriotic most Lagosians are governor Fashola still took a stand, Nigeria’s problem is also citizen built as persons no what is right and refuse doing it for no reason.
Walter Rodney (1972) “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” Dar-Es Salaam. Tanzania Publishing House. Lewis W.A (1963) “The Theory of Economic Growth” London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. S.O. Opafola (1996) “The Journal of Philosophy and Development” Vol.2, Ogun State University: Hope Publications. Onimode, B (1981) “Imperialism and Nigerian Development” In O. Nnoli Edition. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English New Edition.
Business Day Newspaper Wednesday September 6 (2011), Nigeria and Corruption Index United Nation Statistics 2011.
AIT News august 2012.