* Contrary to the general belief that Nigeria is the giant of Africa, incessant violence and armed conflicts have drastically reduced the influence of Nigeria on the continent.
* Despite its huge resources, the country still suffers from poverty, inequality, unemployment, insecurity, corruption, high fuel and commodity prices, and other political and economic hardships.
* The biggest threats to Nigeria’s stability include bad governance, electoral mal-practices, corruption, economic hardship, inflation, terrorism, kidnapping, and ethnic divisions.
It is one of Africa’s behemoths. A country with vast resources and immense complexities. Boasting the largest economy of all states in Africa, Nigeria has long been considered one of the jewels in the crown of this continent. But, the country’s future and that of its more than 210 million people is looking bleak, which holds only dire consequences for the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).
“Current daily developments in political, economic, environmental, religious and social activities in Nigeria look more like an implosion as the country constantly struggles to pull itself back from the verge of collapse,” explains Prof Victor Ojakorotu, of the School of Government Studies at the North-West University (NWU) in South Africa.
“Indeed, with unending violence and armed conflicts perpetrated by non-state organisations, an exponential increase in fuel prices, a high rate of inflation, low purchasing power among citizens, poor service delivery, blatant corruption televised nationwide by elected political elites, as well as religious intolerance, Nigeria can be classified as a country facing an implosion. Contrary to the general belief that Nigeria is the giant of Africa, incessant violence and armed conflicts have drastically reduced the hegemony and influence of Nigeria within and outside her region, hence its description as one of the most fragile states in Africa,” says Prof Ojakorotu, who specialises in African politics, specifically in Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria has the capacity to play a big-brother role in Africa and it has a strong foreign policy focus on Africa, not only on the ECOWAS region. “With its resources, it can maintain strong control and influence over other African states,” he says Prof Ojakorotu.
However, internal turmoil is not only hampering the growth of this country, but also reducing its continental footprint.
“It is a commonly held fact that all well-meaning Nigerians are worried about the declining state of affairs in their country. This is partly because, despite its huge resources, the country still suffers from poverty, inequality, unemployment, insecurity, corruption, high fuel and commodity prices, and other political and economic hardships. Nigeria is currently a fragile state that lacks the capacity to control violence, provide public services and respect human rights. In other words, citizens’ expectations are hardly met by the Nigerian state and government. More importantly, one should be worried about the trend of lawlessness, insecurity and human rights abuses in Nigeria,” he adds.
“The biggest threats to Nigeria’s stability include bad governance, electoral malpractices, corruption, economic hardship, inflation, terrorism, kidnapping, and ethnic divisions leading to a demand for secession. Given the high cost of food due to the inflation rate associated with the removal of the crude oil subsidy, most Nigerians are now feeling demoralised and alienated from society. This feeling of alienation is compounding the question of commitment to the Nigerian nation or one’s ethnic nationality,” says Prof Ojakorotu.
The giant is stumbling, but how do you prevent its fall?
“In the long run, Nigeria’s political stability lies in its electoral credibility and assurances of the delivery of good governance. However, in the short run, I would advise the Tinubu administration not to follow the lead of the Buhari administration, which overtly implemented a policy of promoting its own ethnic group via political appointments while marginalising other ethnic groups like the Igbos. This present administration must promote a sense of oneness in the country through political appointments at the federal level. I would submit that the Nigerian government and other African governments should begin to make good governance a cardinal pursuit, because many of the developmental challenges Nigeria and every other African nation are facing, like the resurgence of military coups, food insecurity, climate change disruptions, youth restiveness, militancy and insurgencies, are by-products of bad governance.”
Only time will tell if this advice is heeded.