At independence on Oct 1, 1960, the various nationalists cum observers that either fought for or simple wished for the autonomy of Nigeria from her erstwhile masters had a lot of conjectures about the future of the country; how great it would be amidst vast natural and human resources and how it would favourably compete with nations of the world. They were so keen on assuming power since that was the only way to set Nigeria as a nation on her foot and that was the easiest way of unseating the heap-master that has hitherto denied the country the ability to fully realize its potentials and take its place in the continent. These nationalists saw bright days ahead where everything would be glorious, shining and perky!

Considering the abundant resources in the country and the amount of „heads‟ available, no way Nigeria after independence could not have survived and risen to be „African-Power‟- at least that was the dream. Whether it was a day-dream or not is a matter to be delved into soon. However, it is pertinent to state the underlying factors for such dream(s). After all,

Nigeria was already a major cocoa exporter, and world‟s largest exporter of palm oil coupled with crude oil- the black gold, that was already discovered in Oloibiri [present day Bayelsa State] in 1956. So how to be great was not the question if not when the greatness will manifest for all to behold.

Though this is not to say that the colonial masters who were to hand over power were comfortable with it, they would have taken the alternative route if there was any. Prior independence, there has been attendant problems in the polity; starting with the forced amalgamation of 1914, ethnic contestations, isolation from control of resources, estrangement from politics, minority agitations, communal clashes, electoral fraud, leap for hegemony, forced labour, divide and rule, expropriation of surplus value and notably exploitation. All of these [and many more] which would soon haunt the „newly born‟ child at infancy were majorly the reasons why different nationalist groups, interest groups and finally political parties sprang up with the sole of aim of displacing „those‟ responsible for our backwardness and alienation.

Well, with independence when the Nigerian will be in charge of Nigeria, all of these issues and anomalies should be reviewed and compromise reached [at least that was the thinking].

Nigerians should be able to sit and discuss „Project-Nigeria‟, reach a consensus among various major ethnic groups on a way to run the country with the minority groups not left out or feeling inferior, find a way to lay to rest manifestations of ethnic chauvinism, tribalism, nepotism, regionalism, electoral wars, political rivalry, revenue allocation and resource distribution problems, succession, economic mismanagement, political instability, and lay the foundation for national cohesion ridden with harmony, cooperation and unity.

Instead of the above what was experienced after independence was a clear departure. The country, barely a decade after Nigeria‟s freedom from the whims and caprices of colonialism was bombarded with a myriad of complications which eventually culminated into coup-d‟état when the military took over political power; followed by a counter coup and eventually civil war! That was how the path to a shattered dream was set wherein dependence on the former colonial masters and her allies became a norm. The performance of the state actors have thus been characterized by selfish interests which plunged the country into a „rentier‟ state branded by externalization, import-substitution, socio-economic and political inequalities, and a disarticulated economy.

As Rodney (1973) puts it, African economies are integrated into the very structure of the developed capitalist economies; and they are integrated in a manner that is unfavourable to Africa and ensures that Africa is dependent on the big capitalist countries. Indeed, structural dependence is one of the characteristics of underdevelopment. Most progressive writers divide the capitalist/imperialist system into two parts. The first is the dominant or metropolitan section and the countries in the second group are often called satellites because they are in the orbit of the metropolitan economies. The same idea is conveyed by simply saying that the underdeveloped countries are dependencies of the metropolitan capitalist economies.

A tenable argument offered for the above by the Nigeria state actors is that the state has been underdeveloped by the colonial masters. They argue that underdevelopment as inflicted by colonialism is responsible for the spate of lack of development presently experienced; that the economy of the state has been tied to that of the European nations in a periphery-center relationship whereby the periphery has come to be an outpost of the center. Thus, development as dreamt by the founding fathers is more of a mirage. Various scholars have written to justify Africa and Nigeria‟s backwardness as a byproduct of underdevelopment. As defensible and logical as this may sound and is, there is still a missing link of what role has been played or not played by Africans and Nigerians [in particular] in banishing the vestiges of underdevelopment or in ensuring its furtherance as the case may be. In their explanations, such scholars and writers put forward adequate theories to capture the theme of underdevelopment and two of such theories [modernization and dependency] will be appraised before reviewing the actions and inactions of African, nay Nigerian leaders in dealing with underdevelopment.

Rodney (1973) admitted the above observation when he says “not only are there African accomplices inside the imperialist system, but every African has a responsibility to understand the system and work for its overthrow”.

Causes of underdevelopment in Nigeria, effects & solutions

Nigeria is a wonderful country with a huge population and endless natural resources. It has enough potential to become a great nation. However, the country is struggling with the problem of underdevelopment, which is not a good thing, because there are many unpleasant factors contributing to it. Here, you can read about the causes of underdevelopment in Nigeria, and the possible ways to resolve all the issues.

What are the causes of underdevelopment in Nigeria?

Even though Nigeria is a bright country with massive perspectives for growth, the reasons for underdevelopment underdevelopment in Nigeria are clearly evident. The problems of underdevelopment in Nigeria are responsible for our way of life, which is lower than average. How can the causes of underdevelopment be dealt with in Nigeria? Let’s discuss the solutions to the problems of underdevelopment in Nigeria.

  1. Corruption The initial problem in the Nigerian everyday life is, of course, corruption. It is such a huge issue that has affected almost every area of life in the country and deprives us of growth. It feels like no matter which political leader we will choose, the result will be the same – they will not care much about improving the lives of Nigerians. There are a lot of politicians who steal the funds that are meant for various projects related to country development and put them on their personal bank accounts. If you look at the lavish lifestyle of many politicians, it becomes clear that apart from their official salary, they also take the funds from the national reservoir. There were efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria and a lot of initiatives supported by the government. There was a re-enactment of certain laws, and also many integrity systems were enforced. But none of those have brought significant success. To beat corruption, people should start with changing themselves and their outlook on society. The “leading by example” strategy can also be helpful – we need to have strong leaders who would show with their own example that corruption is wrong. Nowadays, many countries are fighting the corruption problem by electing the government that made a promise to implement a reform against this toxic practice, and we should follow their example as well. Combating tribalism and getting more united as a nation is also a way to success.
  2. Unfavourable business conditions

There is one thing that helps the nation to grow and develop, and this thing is business. The successful and developed country needs to have a large number of industries, which are also of high quality. It is impossible to contribute to the development of the country without the existence of the industries. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, there are no suitable conditions for the long-running industries. This is mainly because every industry is in need of constant and steady supply of power and it is barely available in the country. The solution to this problem will be, of course, the stabilization of power and water supplies. If these issues are dealt with, it will be more possible to attract investors from the country and outside it.

  1. Dependence on oil

Nigeria is a country which is almost fully dependent on the oil sector. Since there are major supplies of oil in Nigeria, which contribute to the general income of the country, there are other economic sectors that are left without proper development. For example, such sectors as tourism and agriculture are really abandoned compared to oil. This puts a lot of limitations on the revenue potential of Nigeria because the country is unable to take up a lot of projects related to its development. If the tourism sector was in better condition, it could possibly attract investors from outside the country and the foreign visitors, but this sphere is much neglected nowadays. This way, Nigeria is developing slower than it should, seeing how there is a lot of natural resources. The solution is simple – the agricultural sector, as well as the tourism sector, should be given more attention and care. The development of these sectors will mean that there will be enough revenue for carrying out the much-needed projects, directed at the improvement of Nigeria’s everyday life and solutions.

  1. Unemployment

This problem is very serious because if not enough people are employed, their contribution to the country’s development will slow down. The youth are unable to find jobs because of the high requirements and lack of work. Not only the young people but also the older people who find it difficult to find a job are left unemployed when their knowledge and skills could have been extremely useful in the growth and development of Nigeria. Due to the unemployment rates, the GDP of Nigeria keeps reducing every year, which is one of the effects of underdevelopment in our country. The solution to this problem would be easier than it seems – more job opportunities have to be created for the youth. The problem of corruption should also be dealt with because it exists in large amounts in the job market and is closely connected to the unemployment rates.

5. Poor government policy implementation

There are a lot of policies in Nigeria that are technically supposed to improve the life of the local residents. They all look great on paper, but in practice, they have very little actual implementation. The result of it is the untimely ending of many projects that were designed for development because they have not moved on anywhere from the paperwork level. Government should take it under its own responsibility and watch over these policies, making sure that they were implemented and did not just stay on paper. It is the problem that the government should take immediate care of because there are so many potential improvements and so little implementation.


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