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Contrary to the unspoken desires and expectations of most of us, development is not accidental; neither is it spontaneous – instead, every development is a product of a well followed and articulated process. A child that GROWS UP to become a notorious criminal or a fraudulent politician or a careless Medical Doctor, did not just get to that; rather, he or she gets there through a series of behaviours or attitudes that were unchecked from childhood to adulthood. When a man takes a step, and another step, and another step unchecked; he or she will not remain on the same spot – but would have moved places and spaces.
In same vein, what we see around us today, are not accidental, the “the sudden” crave for fame, HUGE money, pleasure and acceptance in our societies, are not SUDDEN as we would love to admit; but gradual – indeed, every development is a product of a consistent, but gradual process over time. Whether, Nigeria is a developed economy or an under-developed economy today, is not a SUDDEN thing. That we having a form of political crisis in Nigeria and we are seeing politicians crossing parties like crossing streets, is not also SUDDEN. It is apparent that the attitude of our leaders as it concerns money (laundering or looting) is also not a SUDDEN occurence – certain steps have been taken by us as a people and by the leaders over decades, which has led to all that we are seeing and enjoying (or enduring today).
Many reasons explains our undevelopment or under-development; but I will be examining top 10 of them in this article. The top 10 reasons for the under-development of Nigeria (at 54 years of independence) are as follows:
1) Self – Discovery:
It is believed that Mongo Park discover the Niger river, and many other explorers discovered different parts of the world. As fantastic as it appears that a people are discovered; it is equally pathetic. When a people are DISCOVERED by others; those who discover them get to know about them, there strengths and weaknesses; and they ensure that they exploit the discovered people and there resources (while keeping the discovered people IGNORANT of themselves). The greatest enemy of our development as a nation economically is IGNORANCE of SELF. Life Coaches are aware of the impediments of lack of self-awareness to personal success; I am persuaded that until we realize who we are as a people or nation; we might end up trying to become just anything or any people among nations. IDENTITY is key for focus and courage; for until we realize who we are, we will continue to wish that we are like others. Today, we have lost almost everything we could call “our heritage” to cultures and peoples that know who they are and are secured in their self-awareness.
2) Sense of Nationhood:
Assumption is strong; but is different from reality. Oftentimes, we assume and we act on our assumptions; and truly, some people live on and by assumptions. Some people assume so much that they are even scared of reality. October 1st, 2014 was an eye-opener for me; after the Independence day celebrations in the evening; my wife observed that scarely was anyone really moved by the independence day – most people only use the opportunity to rest from work. A nation is not just a collection of people wholive together; but a bond of people who share same culture, economic life, ethnicity among others. Until we regain the lost sense of nationhood among Nigerians, true productivity from the private sector to the public sector will not be realized. Nigerians must be moved to see the bigger picture than their immediate families to the entire nation called Nigeria.
3) National Sacrifice:
This reason is connected with the previous one. When we see ourselves as parts of a whole, sacrificing for the whole (Nigeria) will be easy. The truth is, not development is attained on a platter of gold. Going to the moon may sound laudable; but leading the expedition for your nation is a sacrifice. Many nations that we call developed nations today are simply nations whose people have sacrificed for the attainment of a common good.
4) Social Structure:
Sacrifice is not just by public declaration; but by public and private practice. Some time ago; the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan advised Nigerians to sacrifice for the good of Nigeria during the protest against fuel subsidy; but Nigerians were quick to advise him to cut short his own entitlements, benefits and allowances for the good of the nation. A society that is ill-structured, will hardly by well ordered and well managed. The gap between the rich and the poor is daily getting wider and the government is not really working hard enough to bridge this almost unending gap. The society that hails the corrupt and “over-smart” entities; the society that expects so much from a rich man, but cares less about the source of his or her money can hardly be a developed society. The structure of our societies must be reformed for true development from the grassroot to the center of governance.
It is said that everything remains in a state of rest until an external force is applied to it. Nigerians are great people, with tremendous potentials; but they have been trained to be dependent on the words of elders. However, it is glaring that the required force of will that Nigerians need to step into the unkown to try new things and break new grounds have been weeak and in most cases absent. Influence determines where a people follow or get to; we are where we are because of the manner of influence that our leaders have exerted on us. Therefore, we Nigeria is undeveloped today, it is because our past and current leaders have exerted and are exerting undedevloped influences on us.
Scarcity does not have to be real to be felt; I believe that problem in Nigeria is not scarcity per se; but a SCARCITY MENTALITY. This kind of mentality makes people to act or think as if things, positions, opportunities and people are scarce. When a man is caring a scarcity mentality around, he believes that it will be foolish for him not to grab as much as possible, steal as much as possible, connect with as many as possible. A nation with a scarcity mentality is a nation that is distracted; instead of the people spreading out to break new grounds, explore new opportunities and try new things; everybody stays with the “available” and scramble for the largest share. When this continuesb for too long; the perceived scarcity then becomes real. Nigeria is not undeveloped because the requirements for true development were not available or are not available; but because no one wants to leave the few for the much buried under ground or hid in places. Let us therefore make up our minds to breakforth from this shackles of scarcity and explore more grounds and opportunities.
I am of the opinion that shallowness is not implicative of emptiness or foolishness; but unwillingness to go further, deeper or higher. We are not lacking in potentials as a people; we just have challenge with “stressing” ourselves. We believe that “just a littl is enough”! Nations do not develop over decades with shallow thoughts, shallow productions, shallow inventions or shallow ideas; but indepth! We must say not to mediocrity and embrace excellence. What we need to become excellent scholars, excellent politicians, excellent teachers, excellent designers among others is in us; we only need to tap into our inner reserves of national excellence.
8) National Vision:
Until we see it together, we cannot get there together. Our challenge is not lack of vision; but lack of national vision. We must come together to conceive and cast a vision for the future we all anticipates. Vision produces speed, confidence, creativity and focus; until we all see the same thing as a nation; we can not get to the same place as a people.
9) Role Models:
It is said that “people do what people see”; hence, if Nigerians cn see enough pictures of their personal and national future; they will be motivated and inspired to endure anything and face the biggest challenges on their way to great attainments. Nigerians need more reliable, proven and sure SHOULDERS to ride on, on their ways to greatness. Role models are supposed to be guides for personal attainments, which culminates into national attainments; however, or nation suffers from scarcity of transparent models (men and women) with worthy track record in their own pursuits in life. Today, marriages, busineses, parties, associations and religious organizations of so many “role models” are falling. We need more reliable MODELS in Nigeria for the sake ofour national posterity.
10) Reward System:
National honours I believe ought to be for the honourable men and women in the country. But the reality in Nigeria is not; for men and women of questionable character and records are dashed (given) various national awards. A politician who contested a governorship election, and lost was given a national merit award; while the winner of the election was not. Nigeria is a place where honour is given to whom honour is not due – in such a situation, few people, whose honour is not from men and women, nor govenrments; but God, have been able to do great things on their own, without been weighed down by the attitude of the government. To encourage more attainments by individuals in the country, more professionals, entrepreneurs and statemen should be given national honours – if we truly desire to join the committe of progressive nations in the world.
This is a word from my deepest heart to all Nigerians at home and abroad.
I published this article first on Witicles.com (The Top 10 Reasons for Nigeria’s Undeveloped Economy, 2014)