Relating Self-Reliance And Modernization Theories To The Happening In Nigeria
In relating self-reliance and modernization theories to the happening in Nigeria, it should be pointed out that the arrowhead factors nurturing underdevelopment in Nigeria is poor or bad governance and leadership inertia. In other words, it is on these two issues that other factors (both internal and external) are anchored. What this implies in the words of Nnadozie (2010) is that any attempt to address underdevelopment in Nigeria must be zeroed in on the problem of leadership inertia and bad governance. That Nigeria is overwhelmed by poverty and underdevelopment today can easily be attributed to poor, visionless, inept and selfish leadership’.
From the experiences of other continents, including America and Asia which passed through similar historical experiences as Africa such as colonialism and foreign domination, it is evident that their ability to jerk off the yoke of external domination and exploitation and leap into first and middle class industrialized societies never occurred until their leaders rejected foreign domination by taking concrete steps through their visionary, resilient, selfless and charismatic leadership.
Indeed, the central factor sustaining underdevelopment in Nigeria is squarely a failure of leadership that is, the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the occasion in their responsibility and the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of the true leadership. Nigeria has been less than fortunate in their leadership; and a fundamental element of this misfortune is the seminal as absence of intellectual rigour in the political thought of many of the founding fathers of the country; a proclivity “to pious materialistic wooliness and self- oriented pedestrianism” (Achebe, 1998).
The ways by which the Nigerian leaders have sustained the underdevelopment of the country are as follows: one is the manner Nigerian leaders have been mismanaging the enormous and God-given resources of the country. They waste the wealth of the nation by purchasing foreign and exotic goods and services for themselves, friends and cronies. Secondly, a large junk of that wealth was simply stolen through inflated contracts, frauds and other dubious methods.
Apart from direct stealing of public fund, there is also the adoption of corrupted concept of development and development projects and programmes by governments in Nigeria, hence investments and public fund are for pecuniary reasons directed by our leaders at white elephant projects and programmes that do not yield dividends or create employment for the people as private interests override public interests. Colossal sums of public money has been lost in is manner. Nigerian leaders who loot their state treasuries often take the monies to foreign banks mostly in Europe and America, thereby depriving the country even the benefits of reaping from investing the stolen money in the country; as a large chunk of state resources should have been channeled into productive sectors of the economy to strengthen social services, especially in the areas of health, education, infrastructural facilities and energy is lost through various forms of corrupt practices. The money all end up in the pockets of few privileged state/government officials and the people are worst off for it (Nnadozie, 2010).
Eranga (2009) wrote that Nigeria is besieged with huge debt burden and unequal foreign exchanged and that her economy is in a state of near-collapse. Despite the debt cancellation by the Paris Club, Nigeria still owes huge debts, as the nation’s total debt stock as at end of 2010 stood at $4.7 billion for external debt and #4.5 trillion for domestic debt (Babajide, 2011). Inflation is on the increase day in and day out, reaching to its peak when it was rated at 10.5 percent in October 2011.
Unemployment, statistically given at 4.9 percent in 2007 by Index Mundi (2011) has ravaged the economy to the extent that it has been said that about 64 million Nigerian graduates are unemployed as evidenced by the teeming millions of Nigeria youths roaming the street in utmost despair; Majority of them joining crime and other social vices to make ends meet as they must feed, clothe have a shelter over their head and fend for their immediate families.
These factors are clear indicators of severe underdevelopment in Nigeria when compared to most developing countries of Africa and when consideration is paid to the amount of loot that goes in the higher and highest echelon of our public and political realms. Such categorization has led to the assertion that Nigerian economy presently is characterized by galloping inflation, unequal foreign exchange rate exasperated by devalued currency and persistent dependence on importation, widespread unemployment, dilapidated infrastructures exemplified in the nature of the Nigeria roads and death conservative nature of Nigerian hospitals, epileptic power supply that has helped crippled all aspect of the societal survival possibility, near death state of the educational sector leading to a unavoidable brain drain.
Entrepreneurship has died as corruption in the system has left nothing to desire in hard work and labour as youths are now concerned with money-making irrespective of how it comes and who gets hurt in the process. This is why diligence and honesty has been dethroned while dishonesty and greed has been enthroned. This also explains why merit has died in Nigeria making way for mediocrity (Eme and Emeh, 2012).