ARTICLE: Nigeria at 56: A Case of Economic Osteoporosis
Nigeria is a country situated in the sub-Saharan region of the continent, Africa.
Blessed with a long list of natural resources, she has been dubbed the pride of Africa.
Colonized by Great Britain during the invasion of the supposed dark continent (as Africa was then referred to as) by the then power houses of the world, Nigeria gained her independence on the 1st of October, 1960.
After her independence, Nigeria’s economy was mainly centred on the exportation of agricultural products such as cocoa, cassava, groundnut, palm oil, etc. Ranked as the first and sixth country with the highest agricultural output in Africa and worldwide, her economy was tagged as one of the best in Africa and earmarked as one of the fast-growing economies globally.
Also aiding the sustenance of the economy was the mining of mineral ores found beneath her soil. Ores such as tin, iron, steel, etc were mined and exported internationally.
Coups and counter-coups however dealt a hard blow to the young nation as the military overrode the civilian government and assumed total control of the economy. Worsening the situation was the then massacre of thousands of the Igbo tribe resident in the Northern region of the country, home to mostly the Hausas and Fulanis. This led to the secession of the Eastern region, home to the Igbo tribe and her sister-tribes, from the young nation and the formation of the Republic of Biafra. Despite a peace accord being signed by the parties involved, the eruption of a civil war seemed and became inevitable. The end of the war saw an outright end to regionalization and the creation of several states. This further heightened the instability of Nigeria’s economy due to its centralization causing sole dependence on the federal government (run by the military then).
In the 1970s, the world experienced an oil boom and the discovery of crude oil, in commercial quantity, in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country caused a diversion of the economy from dependence on exportation of agricultural products and mineral ores to a dependence on exportation of crude oil. As the years went by, the economy moved totally from diverse dependence on several resources to solely depend on crude oil. Due to the high oil prices, this was supposed to boost and keep the nation’s economy stable but due to the monopolistic system run by the military government, economic stability was unattainable.
In the 1980s, a decrease in oil prices caused a decline in the country’s per capita real gross national product (GNP). By 1987, the GNP decline reached a 4.8%. This led to the classification of Nigeria as a low-income nation by the World Bank.
In 1989 the World Bank declared Nigeria poor enough to be eligible for concessional aid from an affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA).
The 1990s saw an increase in oil prices which was slated to boost Nigeria’s economic state but due to the mismanagement of the country’s income, the economy kept suffering instability. In 1999, Nigeria’s transition from military rule to civilian (democratic) rule was applauded and hope was rekindled for the economy.
The civilian government was required to deliver accountability to the masses but this didn’t still give the nation’s economy the stability she hoped for as the treasury was continually looted and emptied in personal coffers in international bank. The establishment of several anti-corruption agencies didn’t totally check the issue as favouritism and sentiments have continually clouded the total war on corruption.
In 2015, history was made as the ruling party was ousted by the opposition party whose electoral campaign agenda was centered on the restructuring and revival of the country’s economy. However, since its assumption of office, the economy has plunged further as inflation, decrease in oil prices, oil pipeline vandalism, terrorism, lack of resources, etc has gripped the nation causing it to go into economic recession.
Nevertheless, citizens of Nigerians patriotically look forward to when they can proudly beat their chests and announce their nationality globally but till then, we can only ask for God’s guidance as Nigeria moves onwards from strength to strength.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Happy Independence Anniversary Nigeria!
Article by Agwah Michael Sledge
(Founder, 247NewsUpdate Blog, Administrator, Naija Music Hub, Human Rights Activist, Social Critic, Political Analyst, Researcher and Entrepreneur)