IDENTIFY AND DISCUSS FIVE NATIONAL PROBLEMS FACING NIGERIA AND PROFFER SOLUTIONS TO EACH OF THE PROBLEMS
Currently, there are lots of national problems to reflect upon as Nigeria begins its 59th journey as an independent nation. Apart from the ‘hilarious’ display by politicians across various states, technology development and other salient issues, such as education, job creation and national integration are some of the issues that have been relegated to the background. This term paper identifies and discussed five national problems facing Nigeria and also suggest possible solutions the problems. :
Economically, Nigeria is plagued with pervasive poverty and unemployment rate, rising debt profile, high inflation rate, low human development index, unfavourable trade relations, food crisis (Nnamani, 2015). Socially, the Nigerian state is struggling with civil strife, terrorism, ethnic based militias, kidnapping, debased educational system, armed robbery, youth restiveness, human trafficking, religious-motivated conflicts, high maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition, gender inequality, high scourge of HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases, illiteracy (George & Ukpong, 2013). However, the continued manifestation of the aforementioned challenges that beset the post-colonial Nigerian state was directly responsible for the initiation, experimentation and implementation of various strategic frameworks and developmental plans by successive governments, whose ultimate aim is the amelioration of the observed problems.
Nigeria will soon mark its 59th independence anniversary on October 1, 2019. A casual glance at the nation’s 59 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 term paper examines the five major national problems embattling the nation, whilst proffering lasting and workable solutions to those problems.
NATIONAL PROBLEMS FACING NIGERIA
1. LEADERSHIP PROBLEM
The leadership problem that has confronted Nigeria since independence appears to be worsening by the day because the state of the polity is rapidly deteriorating. Yet the leaders appear oblivious of the magnitude of the problems facing the Nigerian economy. As noted, very few of the leaders, if any, work for the ‘common good.’ Over the years a wave reform programs have been undertaken, but the society lacks leadership committed to implement them to address the problems facing the economy.
The leaders do not seem to understand that leadership is assuming responsibility for something. As Northouse (2007) has noted leadership ‘is a process of getting things done through people’; it ‘means responsibility’- having ‘passion for the purpose and the mission of the organization’ or society one leads. However, the leaders of Nigeria appear good at prescribing solutions to economic problems without providing the institutional framework to make it grow (Acemoglu, June 2003; Dike, October–December 2003; Edison, June 2003). And more often than not, their policies are hastily put together and poorly executed. The political landscape is littered with wreckage of unreasoned policies and those involved in such activities appear to enjoy the nation’s underdeveloped status (Dike, July 22-28, 2006).
The activities of the leaders shape the reality the nation faces today because there is a glaring contradiction in their words and their deeds. For Nigeria to move forward the leaders must clean up their act and invest in the society. Most of them fail to understand that performance, and not rhetoric, is the only standard by which leaders are judged. Nigeria’s development rests with good leadership and governance.
2. UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEM
Unemployment is a hot issue in Nigeria, and many people are frustrated with widespread joblessness. Unemployment in Nigeria is like a disease that the cure is not yet discovered. According to official statistics, 24% of Nigerians are unemployed. These numbers are worse for young people. Official Nigerian statistics say 38% of those under 24 are unemployed, but the World Bank estimates this number to be closer to 80%. In March 2014, 16 people were killed in stampedes when 500,000 desperate job-seekers rushed to apply for under 5,000 vacancies at the Nigeria Immigration Service.
Students at tertiary educational institutions often graduate into joblessness and low morale. There is a great challenge in Nigeria education. Many Nigerian graduates did not learn good skills during their studies. They were busy reading only textbooks without knowing the applications of what they read. They apply for jobs for which they aren’t hired because they lack skills. Graduates often must stay in their parents’ homes for a long time, with mounting frustration and pessimism. This negativity is one of the major root causes of crime among young people in Nigeria, as they turn to unscrupulous activities because there is nothing else to occupy their time or generate income. Each year, 200,000 students graduate from universities, but many fail to find a job, and some will seek out less-than-honorable means of supporting themselves.
3. GOVERNANCE CHALLENGES:
Related to leadership problem is bad governance, which has among others, been defined as a system of values, policies, and institutions by which a society manages its economic, social, and political affairs through interactions within the state, civil society and private sector (UNDP, 1997 & 2000). Governance comprises the mechanisms and processes for citizens and groups to articulate their interests, to work together and mediate their differences, and exercise their legal rights and obligations with rules, institutions and practices that set limits and provide incentives for individuals, organizations and firms.
Good governance refers to the question of how a society can organize itself to ensure equality of opportunity and equity (social and economic justice) for all citizens. Good governance promotes people-centered development. And bad governance (political, economic and social governance) – the three dimensions of governance (Shabbir Cheema, April, 2004) – is among the major causes of the problems facing Nigeria and it is threatening to undermine its democratization process. The people are not allowed equal economic opportunity and freedom to participate in the political process. As Sen (1999) has noted, ‘unfreedoms’ leave the people with little choice to exercise ‘their reasoned agency.’ For Sen (1999), ‘Freedoms are not only the primary ends of development, they are also among its primary means.’ Thus development (social, political and economic) ‘requires the removal of major sources of un-freedoms.’
Because of bad governance the system lacks checks and balances (or mechanisms) to control the autocratic tendencies in government and to hold political actors accountable for their actions. The politicians do not practice ethical politics and their actions do not add values to the system. Lack of ‘ethical politics and values’ (Dike, January 15, 2007) and politics of hate and destruction have contributed in no small measures to the economic and political hiccups in the society. But the people have responsibilities too; they should not just sit there and hope for the best. As noted, they should be politically educated and active to get the government and the politicians to listen and act right. Political pressure from the people could determine the type of policy the government would choose for execution. Corruption is, however, a greater part of the problems facing Nigeria as it leads to poor governance that has hampered socio-political and economic development.
4. CORRUPTION PROBLEM
Although corruption is a global scourge, Nigeria appears to suffer the most from it because the leaders are pathologically corrupt. Everyone appears to believe that the nation has a ‘culture of corruption’ (Smith, 2008). Over the years, Nigeria has earned huge sum of money from crude oil, which has gone down the sinkhole created by corruption. In an article, “Oil giant that runs on grease of politics,” Nigeria was described as a rich nation floating on oil wealth “but almost none of it flows to the people” (San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2007). Top public servants are very rich because they harbor the mentality that public money belongs to no one. National dailies are awash with news of how public officials are acquiring million-dollar homes (within and outside Nigeria) and stockpiling stolen public money in financial institutions abroad.Today the politicians clamoring to rule are harping on anti-corruption crusade and at the same rewarding corruption.
Infrastructural and Institutional Challenges: Any person familiar with Nigeria would agree that among the challenges facing the economy is ineffective institutions and dilapidated infrastructure (bad roads, erratic power supply, limited access to potable water and basic healthcare, and ineffective regulatory agencies, etc).The plethora of reforms and policies are ineffective due to institutional failure (Hoff, 2003). In a country where electricity takes about 40 per cent cost of production (Daily Sun, June 7, 2010) improving electricity supply would lure industries into the society and spur the sluggish economy.
Building a vibrant economy or restoring growth to an ailing economy takes resources. To ensure long-term growth and prosperity, Nigeria must use its resources wisely, invest in science and technology education and rebuild the institutions and infrastructure without which the economy will not gain from the ‘power of productivity’ (Lewis, April 2004; Dike, January 31, 2006). A nation enjoys higher standards of living if the workers can produce large quantity of quality goods and services for local consumption and extra for export (Mankiw, 2001). Without technological capability, however, the economic will remain in shambles, productivity will remain low, the quality of goods and services will remain poor, and Nigeria will not effectively compete in the global market place.
5. LACK OF TECHNOLOGICAL CAPABILITY:
Unemployment has been soaring in Nigeria and the rate will continue to ratchet upward without technological capability to drive the economy and create employment. Because of lack of investment in technology education Nigeria is suffering from a shortage of skilled technical manpower to build and maintain its critical infrastructure and produce quality goods and services. The on-going global economic and financial crisis has worsened the already terrible economic situation. According to the ILO (August 15, 2010, p.62) the impact of the global economic crisis has pushed up global unemployment figure, particularly youth unemployment. Over 71.9 million youth out of the 1056.5 million global youth population was unemployed in 2008. But the figure jumped to 80.7 million in 2009 out of the 1214.0 million youth in the world. Other causes of high global youth unemployment include global industrial restructuring toward the knowledge- based and technology-intensive economy that allows industries and corporations to work with fewer workers; increase in minimum wage and the recent global staffing practices that favor experienced and skilled workforce over the less skilled or unskilled youth, and changes in business cycle (ILO, August 15, 2010; World Bank, January 21, 2010; Jeon, 2002, Kakwagh & Ikwuba, 2010, UNOWA, 2006).
The Nigerian economy is suffering from a shortage of skilled technical manpower and lack of technological capability. Modern economy demands technological skills to enhance innovation and to function effectively and efficiently (Rose, 2009; Offor, 2007; Freeman, 1987).
SOLUTIONS FOR NIGERIA’S NATIONAL PROBLEMS
Every aspect of leadership in government, most especially the president, the governors and the chairmen of local government authorities, should as a matter of duty prioritise and deploy resources judiciously to areas of education, health, agriculture, security and job creation for teeming jobless individuals whose energy could be diverted to productive economic development.
Our leaders as well as the led, being change agents, must be faithful, committed, and pragmatic in their dealings; demonstrate abiding love to the country, and be ready to absolutely sacrifice self-interest for the good of all citizens in particular and the nation in general. It is collective responsibility to salvage our dear country, Nigeria from backwardness to a land of equal opportunity, justice, development and sustainable democracy.
- Encouraging acquisition of skills will go a long way in solving Nigerians unemployment challenge.
- Both the government and the individuals should work hand in hand to reduce unemployment.
- Another alternative to solving unemployment issue in Nigeria is through self-discovery.
- Embracing the opportunities offered by the internet is a welcomed idea in solving Nigerians unemployment challenge. Among them include application design and online publication. Online publication helps in discovering how to write.
There are immense prospects for the nation to witness good governance, security and stability. The following points are to be noted and worked for.
- There is urgent need for Nigerians irrespective of status, to reflect on the visions, values and aspirations of founding fathers of their nation, particularly in the areas of good governance, formulation and implementation of people-oriented policies and programmes through good leadership.
- The need for a well mobilized and enlightened citizenry capable of rising against misrule by the powers that be.
- Constitutional provision as it affects the immunity clause should be revisited. There should be no sacred cows in government. Nigerian voters should vote only people who have sparkling record of integrity, good principle and proven character.
- Nigerian judiciary can still be the last hope of Nigeria by discharging justice in a free and fair manner , and by awarding punishment when due. Hence, the national Judicial Council should as a matter of urgency investigate and discipline all members of the bench that allegedly compromised in the discharge of their duties
Corrupt Nigerians do not truly understand the harm they are causing to other citizens. Corruption can be reduced by these possible remedies:
- Institution of strong anti-corruption groups
- Employment generation
- Proper government funding of schools
- Treating all citizens equally
5. Lack of technological capability
- Appropriate Technology: We need to embark on the acquisition of the technology that is appropriate and useful to us as a nation. That America has sent men to space does not mean that Nigeria must also send men to space. We need to look at our environment see what our local people do, and fabricate machines tools and equipment that will assist them to do these things more efficiently.
- Adequate Financing of Research Institutions: A good number of research institutions in Nigeria is not adequately funded. This continues to militate against effective research undertaking. India for example invested over three billion dollars in 1985 in some 1,300 research institutes working on electronics aeronautics and space, atomic energy, etc.
- Copying items already in the Market: This method requires that laboratories, workshops, and other facilities be developed for component analysis and for building prototypes of items to be produced. The idea is to knock down products of interest in the workshops, study and analysis each component in the laboratories to ascertain chemical composition, physical properties and other production parameters of interest and replicate such items. Government should encourage “Igbo made” items and should assist in improving the quality of their products so as to compete favorably with the imported ones
Obviously, 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. However, the current ruling government is not performing its functions as promised, and officials are too busy enriching their pockets instead of governing effectively. In 2013, Transparency International deemed Nigeria one of the most corrupt nations in the world, ranking as 144th in Corruption Perception Index out of the 177 countries measured. Mathematically, it shows that Nigeria was the 33rd most corrupt country in 2013. In the year 2012, a Gallup poll found that 94% of Nigerians thought corruption was widespread in their government. The spoils of political corruption—billions of US dollars—are stashed in foreign bank accounts. The Abacha administration in the 1990s notoriously looted upwards of $3 billion. Since then, government institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the former President Goodluck Jonathan have vowed to eradicate corruption. Even so, as recently as 2013, the Central Bank of Nigeria reported the 76% of the country’s crude oil revenue intended for the Bank was unaccounted for.
The most currently released result on the level of corruption in Nigeria has improved when compared to that of 2013 and other years. In the 2014 result on corruption ranking, Nigeria is ranked 136 out 174 surveyed countries. This implies that Nigeria is the 38th most corrupt nation in 2014. The result was published by Transparency international on Wednesday 3rd December 2014. The result shows that former President Goodluck Jonathan administration was making an impact to bring down the corruption level in Nigeria. The current president, President Mohammed Buhari, is putting his own efforts to bring corruption in the country to the minimal level. This made few who looted in the past regime to bring back some of the money they embezzled. Therefore, all hands must be on deck.
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Daily Independent (2010), ‘Before Our Politicians Empty The Treasury,’ June 22.
Dike,V.E. (Jan-March, 2002),’The State of Education in Nigeria and the Health of the Nation,’ NESG Economic Indicators, Vol. 8, No 1.
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Kim, L. (1997), From Imitation to Innovation: The dynamics of Korea’s Technological Learning, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. identify and discuss five national problems facing nigeria, identify and discuss five national problems facing nigeria, identify and discuss five national problems facing nigeria, identify and discuss five national problems facing nigeria, identify and discuss five national problems facing nigeria, identify and discuss five national problems facing nigeria, identify and discuss five national problems facing nigeria, identify and discuss five national problems facing nigeria
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of Sir Pee Integrated Services and www.libraryguru.com and www.projectvilla.com.ng. A reputable researcher, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.