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The 2o year old male Abdul is from Lagos State in Nigeria and schools at the University of Lagos. According to him, Nigeria remains an undeveloped country with clearly more than half of its population living below poverty line. It is also plagued by myriads of problems which continue to undermine its potentials.
Read his FAB essay below
Nigeria marked its 53rd independence anniversary on October 1, 2013. A casual glance at the nation’s 53 years journey shows both betrayal of expectations of greatness and the irony of the nation. Despite the abundance of human and material resources, Nigeria remains an undeveloped country with clearly more than half of its population living below poverty line. It is also plagued by myriads of problems which continue to undermine its potentials.
Against this background, this essay examines the major problems embattling the nation at 53 whilst proffering lasting and workable solutions to those problems. This paper posits that the problems of the nation are multifaceted and any solution must be holistic and durable for it to yield maximum benefit. It is argued that hopes of development and greatness are not lost provided the nation steers its ship back on the right track.
Falowo (2013) said, ‘it is only the full understanding of the root causes of the problem we face today as a nation that will afford us the chances of discerning what solutions are possible, which can work and which cannot’. The problems besetting Nigeria today are many but the most critical ones are highlighted below.
The basic problem crippling the progress of the nation is failure of leadership (Achebe: 1984) Related to this is the problem of bad followership. Another core problem facing the nation is insecurity – insecurity of lives and property. Disunity also hinders Nigeria’s progress. There is also no doubt whatsoever that corruption is a major impediment to the nation’s success.
Other problems include poverty, unemployment, criminality, ethnic distrust, politicised judiciary, electoral fraud, religious tension, lack of basic amenities of life, epileptic power supply, poor infrastructure, pathetic education system, political crisis, commercialisation of public or government office, resource allocation, failed institutions (political, educational, economic etc), environmental degradation, spread of drastic disease, chronic frustration of citizens, collapse of national ideals and social values, a culture of impunity, widespread celebration of mediocrity, indiscipline and irresponsibility.
The first solution is social transformation and value reorientation. We must work towards establishing a society where people are judged not by their family background, ethnic or religious affiliation, but by merit and character and a society where people imbibe ideals of fairness, justice and honesty.
Secondly, we must ensure enthronement of Good leadership. According to Bola Tinubu (2013), “There is urgent need for a new generation of leaders that would clear the cobwebs of decadence and political scavengers. This new generation of leaders must take our dear country to its manifest destiny”.
Also, government must ensure provision of basic amenities of life such as food, clothing, water, road, power, education and employment. It must also ensure improvement in the standard of living.
Other recommendations include an independent and honest press, independent judiciary, strict enforcement of laws, accountability in public office, and policies implementation. Finally, we must uproot the tree of disunity and sow the seeds of unity
At 53, Nigeria is far from its destiny. There is an overwhelming disparity between expectation and reality. Rectifying the anomalies is a joint task incumbent on all stakeholders not just the government. Therefore, all hands must be on deck!