here is a wise saying that you can offer a guy the world and all its comforts and still bear the brunt of his ravenous rebellion insofar as his liberty to incisive choice between items and stances of varied divides falls under your favorable judgement, even though it was done for his own good. A relevant case study of how nations under colonial control created agile fighters, through unwavering secular and passionate opposition, broke down the barriers of forced reliance to realize the dreamt freedom of self-determination. It is this regard that Jean-Paul Sartre (a French Philosopher, 1905-1980, a key figure in philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology) asserted that man is doomed to be free, because once released into the universe, he is responsible for whatever he does.
Despite how ironic it may appear, the path to independence was not always that idyllic paradise. It was when early national heroes’ plans were kept as the hard basis upon which the country was created, rejecting disparities in order to pursue a consistent purpose of assembling a strong sovereign nation supported by stiff pillars of amazing unity, from decentralized diversity. As the aftermath of the famous 1775 American war of independence, which saw the disconnection of the American people from the influence of their British colonial masters demonstrated, the country’s spear progress in almost every field of human and capital development made her undisputed accession to the seat of superpower unavoidable, a century after independence. The United States has gotten to where it is today because of a coordinated leadership approach based on principles and tight policy adherence. However, for several post-colonial nations, this was not the case. The situation changed, and the conditions changed as well. The tone changed a few years after obtaining self-rule from melodic chants of glory to heartbreaking cries of dismay accompanied by a succession of documented administrative failures. Nigeria today, 61 years after independence, belongs to a group of countries that do poorly after a few years of post-colonial authority.
Nigeria may have risen to become one of the world’s leading nations after independence, as it showed signals of a promising start, but the excesses of its inhabitants, particularly its leaders, have been the wolf in the manger. Following the assassination of nearly all of the first generation of nationalist leaders who secured the country’s independence, the next generation of leaders succeeded in sowing the seeds of the country’s misfortunes by reviving some ancient customs and standards that threatened Nigeria’s polity’s unity. Their ascension to power was followed by revelations that they were openly and surreptitiously promoting racial bigotry. As a result, what was formerly considered a national cause and patriotism became politicized, regionalized, and ‘ethnicsized’. However, their true colours soon emerged, and their acts revealed that they all had the same goal in mind: to amass personal fortune. The ethnicity was ostensibly a showdown to persuade their other tribesmen to elect them to positions of government where they could pursue only their own personal interests. This political malfeasance was passed down from generation to generation, and exploitation of Nigeria’s riches at the expense of Nigerians is still their signature manner of administration today.
This year’s (2021) October, the country is 61 years old, and there is not a single ounce of optimism in the air; rather, based on statistical truth, it is sad to predict that the country will eventually reach 100 years with almost no positive change. If the current tide did not alter, I would be bitter but bound. This stalemate is as a result of the government’s inconsistency in enforcing its policies. Instead of building on and finishing the work done by the previous administration, each new administration always throws out and proposes its own so-called new policies and projects that will not be completed until the end of their term. This is one of the reasons why the country has a slew of projects that have been in the works for as long as 30 to 35 years but have yet to be completed.
The worst aspect is that a large sum of money is set aside each year for the completion of projects, only for it to be improperly routed and embezzled by a few selfish officials, despite the fact that the money was borrowed. And as the government continues to borrow, the debt continues to grow. It has been a long time since the country commemorated the debt repayment to the Paris Club. The story at that time was that paying down the debt would free up funds for capital spending, resulting in the long-awaited economic boom. Instead, more recurrent spending, minimal capital spending, and a large amount of looted riches were discovered. In a way, we have come full circle.
The country’s external debt was $3.5 billion in December 2006, following the payment of the Paris Club debt. The external debt has risen again as a result of decreasing oil prices, disproportionate expenditure, and currency defence. In December 2019, the external debt reaches a 16-year high of $27 billion, slightly higher than the $20.8 billion in external debt in 2005. The country’s external debt grew from $9.7 billion to $27 billion between 2015 and December 2020. Foreign debt has now risen to almost $33-34 billion, which is a record level. The majority of these debts have been incurred through multilateral, bilateral, and commercial loans since the commencement of the present administration. The administration maintains it had no alternative when oil earnings fell short of expectations, leaving it unable to support the country’s massive infrastructural deficit, which is necessary for economic growth, but with no tangible results.
Nigeria bemoans and blames corruption for all of her problems. This is the same corruption against which many prior administrations had spent vast sums of money, sponsored numerous campaigns, and built parastatals. In reality, the present administration was elected on the promise of eradicating corruption as one of its key policy goals. However, many people may be surprised to learn that there has never been, and will never be, a corrupt-free administration throughout human history. Many wealthy countries around the world have filthy corrupt officials, yet this has not stopped them from progressing as nations.
The distinction is in the level of accountability and tolerance for the heinous crime. If authorities are found guilty of such an offence in many nations, they are frequently subjected to harsh punishments. Still, some may have been involved in numerous corruption scandals during their time in power but have managed to avoid scrutiny, despite the fact that one thing remains as given: they must deliver when performing their duties to a level that serves as a deterrent to the public’s doubts about their integrity. Otherwise, they risk being swept up in a whirlwind of vitriol as soon as fresh faces take over the offices. In the United States, there have been a number of instances of corruption. Mail and wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, and other types of fraud are only a few examples. According to a survey in Germany, 11% of people claim to have been solicited to pay a bribe at some point in their lives, with only a minority saying they refused. Investors, on the other hand, never think of these countries as having a corruption problem.
On this point, the situation is diametrically opposed. Here, the leaders will steal the public coffers as if the entire treasury is their hard-earned money, exhaust their spells with nothing to brag about, and then shamelessly and deftly ride on the populace’ gullibility to return to power with the same diabolical mindset. Any right-thinking Nigerian must be pained by how the country is heading in the wrong direction, and with the current state of affairs, one can only be hopeful.