Nigeria – a living example of leadership curse
Nigeria provides a more current example of leadership curse on Africa. Nigeria gained independence in 1960; thanks to the efforts of the nationalists and patriots like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe,
Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Alhaji Tafawa Belewa. The country is blessed with Petroleum, tin, columbite, iron ore, coal, limestone, lead, zinc, natural gas, etc., and enormous wealth creating power as the fifth largest supplier of oil in the world and the 6th largest supplier of natural liquefied gas on earth.
The country’s history has been marked by economic stagnation, declining welfare, and social instability. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Brazil, among others, with which Nigeria was at par in developmental terms a few decades ago, either have attained the status of developed nations or have long been recognised as truly emerging economies of the world. But Nigeria, the largest black nation on earth:
- remains a typical Third World nation: buffeted by mass hunger, poverty, crime, corruption, environmental degradation, massive unemployment, disease, primitive state of basic infrastructure, etc.
- with vast amount of arable land is regrettably unable to feed itself and has been involved in importation of food for the past 40 years (Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Mr. Gbenga Makanjuola).
- the prevailing conditions have led to brain drain and mass voluntary economic slavery into Europe, USA and Asia of a new generation of Nigerian citizens and professionals. At best, some may describe themselves as economic and intellectual refugees.
History is repeating itself before our very eyes. As is the case today, the slave trading of our ancestors in the 1400s and beyond was driven largely by African rulers, traders and a military aristocracy who all grew wealthy from the sufferings and humiliation of their fellow citizens. “European slave traders saw the advantages of helping African kings and chiefs realise their desire to acquire western culture, if not for themselves then for their children…. They were obsessed with the variety of goods available through the trade. Locally produced equivalents of some merchandise,
like cloth and jewellery, existed but greater satisfaction and prestige was got from having imported varieties. The man with a warehouse full with goods from abroad was a powerful figure in the community, able to buy favours and influence with his ill-gotten wealth” (Tunde Obadina).
“In some respects Africans are now more vulnerable to theories of black inferiority than they were during colonialism. Under colonialism they could dream that with liberation would come the opportunity to prove their worth. But actions of the African leaders have made the theory of African dependency persistent” (Yaw Sappor).