I love my country Nigeria so much, but my greatest duty is to Africa. Nigeria has failed Africa indeed and although still the giant of Africa, he is a fallen giant.
Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world and boasts of the highest manpower in Africa with a population estimated at 180 million. The country is also blessed with large deposits of Crude Oil and Natural Gas. Nigeria's natural gas reserves total 165 trillion standard cubic feet (scf), Crude oil production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day, Nigeria ranks as Africa's largest producer of oil and the sixth largest oil producing country in the world. Nigeria appears to have a greater potential for gas than oil. It's gas production in the year 2000 was approximately 1,681.66 billion scf, 1,3715 billion scf was associated gas and the rest 310.16 billion was non-associated gas.
Iron ore, Coal, Limestone, Niobium, Lead, Zinc, Gold, Talc, Rock Salt, Gypsum, Bitumen, Gemstones, Kaolin, Tantalite, Columbite and many other solid minerals are also available in the country in addition to large expanse of arable farmland; yet reports reveal that almost 100 million people living on less than a $1 (£0.63) a day. The National Bureau of Statistics said 60.9% of Nigerians in 2010 were living in "absolute poverty" - this figure had risen from 54.7% in 2004.
The corruption in Nigeria is so evident that one can cut it through with a knife. Public offices in the country are occupied by a bunch of corrupt gluttons who loot unbelievable amounts of wealth which they store in European Banks and invest in estates abroad. The country has failed to serve as a role model for smaller African countries to emulate. If Nigeria gets it right, then all of Africa get it right but it appears the country has chosen to adopt a 'One Step forward, Two Steps Backward' approach.
Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah and other great African leaders believed so much in Nigeria being a leader in the African continent and they were positive that the country was the trigger for any positive change in Africa; today, these leaders will be disappointed. Nigeria has chaired ECOWAS and the African Union more than many other African countries and one would have thought that the country will live up to its reputation as a big brother in the continent and show Africa the way. Rather, the country seem to be 'anti-African' in character and is more interested in building ties and establishing allies with Europe, UK, China and America.
The country has become one of the greatest agents used by the colonial masters to foil efforts of Pan-Africanism and African unity. It is rare to see Nigerian leaders visiting other African countries except for mandatory meetings, but they visit Europe, UK, America and China so frequently one would mistake them for foreign Diplomats. One will not be wrong to say that it appears Nigeria's allegiance is to the colonial masters, not Africa.
Another area where Nigeria has failed Africa is in its institutions. One would have believed that Nigeria would boast of the best Universities, Hospitals, Stadia, etc. but this is not the case as corruption and poor governance seem to be the only fronts on which the country is leading the pace.
It is disheartening that this African giant has become a colonial slave crippled by corruption.
Disclaimer: The ideas represented in this article are entirely the opinion of the writer and do not reflect the stance of African Exponent.
Photo Credit: Forbes Africa