The Bane Of Nigeria


Years ago (nearly six years now), we (a group of friends) had a brainstorming session on the bane (woes) of Nigeria as a nation-state. We asked each of us in the session to list (repeat: list) 50 bane of Nigeria (50 because it was during Nigeria's celebration of her 50th Independence ceremonies). We did not want to go beyond listing, because each detailed explanation of the points will attract different and varied interpretations. So we restricted ourselves to just listing what we individually thought then to be the bane (troubles) of Nigeria. We did this, because we believed they will help us all understand the problems of Nigeria from a small but educated, enlightened and exposed group of Nigerians. Why the emphasis on educated, enlightened and exposed Nigerians here: It was because each member of the brainstorming session had atleast a Masters Degree in his/her area of study; have graduated at that level of education over ten (10) years and reads at least one newspaper a day and one book every week; and has travelled to and slept in atleast ten (10) states of Nigeria, and also has travelled to atleast five (5) countries of the world (i.e. outside Nigeria). It was a tough requirement on ourselves and we complied and did our best on this our self-assigned assignment. We asked ourselves to be honest and truthful without biases. In all, we believed if such a group of Nigerians can honestly and truthfully list the bane (problems) of Nigeria, if per chance, any of us finds himself/herself in a position to solve Nigeria's problems at whatever level thereafter, we would have then been prepared through our earlier (as said here) brainstorming. It was a task we sat-down and within 50 minutes (one minute for one well-thought-out bane listing) completed our self-assigned assignment. Listed here (below), therefore, for (public consumption from this writer) is his own list. It could help in finding the solutions to them (remembering that “know ye the problems first helps a lot in finding the right solutions”); by those in the corridors of power to do so: now or in the nearest future.

1. Corruption
2. Poor educational system (which is not globally focused for now)

3. Poor and inadequate well-planned mass housing
4. Unemployment is very high
5. Unavailability of power (electricity) supply and water for all

6. Poor, inadequate (especially intra and inter rail links) and expensive transportation system

7. Inadequate, poor and underdeveloped agricultural sector

8. Underdeveloped industrial/product design policy
9. Poor/underdeveloped healthcare care system
10. Un-streamlined legal system (i.e. whether to follow constitutional, traditional or religious law)

11. No standardization in the manufacturing sector
12. Underdeveloped tourism sector.
13. Underdeveloped mining sector
14. Not so good and properly professionalized security organizations

15. Restricted freedom of information
16. Un-simplified constitutionalism (i.e. constitutional system)

17. Underdeveloped Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector for all

18. Poor prison reform system
19. Poverty abound in the country and poor or no rural development policy

20. Poor focus on Research and Development (zero emphasis on Science and Technology)

21. Stealing (armed robbery, pen robbery—embezzlement, misappropriation, obtaining by trick, etc.)

22. Less patriotic and nationalistic citizenry (poor orientation/mobilization and provision of basic needs)

23. Imperfect structural framework in federalism
24. Skewed electoral system and a seemingly entrenched electoral malpractices

25. Denial of the basic needs to the generality of citizens (not affordable, unavailable and not abundant)

26. Lack of political and economic principles and ideologies

27. Entrenched primordial/primitive sentiments (parasitic, petty, nepotism, tribalism, religious)

28. Primitive accumulation of wealth/property
29. Apathetic, gullible, confused and treacherous followership

30. Exhibition of false lifestyles (many living a false life and “lie-life” styles)

31. Unplanned cities and urban areas
32. Undue expectations from others (hallmarked in unfair criticisms, blaming and hating of others)

33. Prideful many, egomaniacs and “ego-merchants” everywhere

34. Punishment of the innocent (scapegoating others) and non encouragement of the intelligent

35. Wickedness and sadism at high places (even lower places)

36. Negative assumptions on others (thereby fostering the blame culture syndrome)

37. Copy-cat mentality abound (thereby killing inventions, innovations, creativity and originality spirit)

38. Greed, envy, jealousy and selfishness abound
39. Second generation syndrome (accumulating as much as one can to rub-off poor background)

40. Living in multiple places (having many accommodations/houses and maintaining them)

41. Shameless exhibition of ill-gotten wealth
42. Get-rich quick syndrome (worship of money)
43. Idea stealing (misappropriating other people's ideas and proposals/poor patent and copyright policy)

44. Overpopulation (unplanned family size and unplanned-for children)

45. Humility and gentility attributes and values despised instead of being encouraged

46. Inefficient leadership cadre
47. Poor, uncoordinated and unsustainable economic agenda

48. Religious fundamentalism and bigotry
49. Rule of law not yet fully implemented and not accepted as a societal norm

50. Allowing our positive (emphasis: positive) cultural and traditional heritage to die-out.

In conclusion, listed above is this writer's list of the bane (troubles, woes, problems, etc.) of Nigeria; which was listed in a group of friends', brainstorming session (as indicated in this essay's introduction). Everybody in the brainstorming session listed his/her own understanding of what constitutes the bane of Nigeria. Is this one detailed and does it capture the reality in our country? Did it hit the bull's eye? Your assessment is as good as ours! We decided to make it public—that is, for public consumption beyond the confine of the said friends (with their permission though), so that our country people will gain from our mental-exercise. Encapsulate them and explain them in details yourself; list your own bane—encapsulate and explain them also for yourself and for public consumption too—if you desire and if need be. Doing all these will go a long way towards finding solutions to them. What do you think?

Written by Ejike Kingsley Osuji.
[email protected]

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