What is Nigeria worth beyond oil and gas? – Niyi Akinnaso

Published:20 Nov, 2012

What is Nigeria worth beyond oil and gas? – Niyi Akinnaso

There are two approaches to this question. Those who focus on Nigeria’s potential and, therefore, see Nigeria’s glass as only half full, will tell you that the country remains a “great” one (a self-delusion that once characterised our rebranding slogan). But those who focus on the perpetual wastage of Nigeria’s potential, and, therefore, see the country’s glass as half-empty, will tell you that Nigeria is a “failing” (if not “failed”) state. The ruling class belongs to the first group, while the vast majority of the population belongs to the latter.

Those who belong to the latter group are not denying Nigeria’s human and natural resources as well as her fertile land and agricultural potential. They are not even denying what Nigeria’s ruling class has been able to accomplish since independence. What they are saying is that Nigeria’s future has been seriously compromised by a myopic and corrupt leadership, fixated on oil resources to the neglect of other natural resources as well as human and agricultural potential. The consequences would have been more tolerable had oil and gas revenues been judiciously expended for sustainable development instead of being repeatedly looted. What is left is a country in crisis on all fronts. Hubert Ogunde’s “Yoruba ro’nu”, a lyric composed following the Western Nigeria crisis of 1964-65, could now be adapted for Nigeria as a whole.

But don’t be surprised that, in consonance with typical Nigerian leadership culture, the ruling class, always eager to protect its self-interest, might consider this discussion unpatriotic. However, such a negative view ignores Nigeria’s relative under-development, mass poverty, and the varied experiences of millions of suffering Nigerians. Moreover, it ignores the perception about Nigeria held by the international community. Anyone in doubt about Nigeria’s freefall should consider the following facts.

First, given enormous natural and human resources, Nigeria’s progress has been painfully too slow since independence and it has all but stagnated since 2006, a significant year for three reasons. One, that was the year former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s third term plans fell apart and the politics of succession began, leading to the imposition of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua on the country. Two, Yar’Adua turned out to be a lame President on account of an undisclosed terminal illness. The looting of the treasury during his administration put the country in financial abyss, which was worsened by the global financial crisis of 2008. Endemic corruption has prevented Nigeria’s full recovery, despite rising oil revenues. Today, virtually every branch of government has showcased more cases of corruption and grandstanding than substantive achievements. Three, as I will discuss later, 2006 was also the year Nigeria fell into the “Alert” category on the Failed States Index.

Second, rather than make progress, the country has fallen even further below standards, especially in corruption, infrastructure, and security. True, corruption affects our lives but it does not directly take our lives. But poor or inadequate infrastructure and insecurity often do. Thousands die on the country’s decrepit highways just as thousands lose their lives and property to terrorists, armed robbers, kidnappers, and pirates. For the first time in the country’s history, an internal terrorist organisation, typified by suicide bombings and shifting targets, has been in competition for state power for about two years, forcing the government to enter into third party negotiations, none of which has been successful so far.

Third, fractures have intensified along regional, religious, and ethic divisions. To complicate matters, the elite is also fractured, often along these divisions, on how to solve the problems facing the country. There are indications already that these fractures will intensify even more when the next presidential election comes around in 2015. But these fractures are not new. They were responsible for the fall of previous Repubics and the rise of military coups. They even once led to a full blown civil war. What is new is the form these fractures have taken in the last two years; the intensity of competing claims along fracture lines; and the government’s fumbling approach to the ensuing problems.

The cumulative effects of these shortcomings are illustrated daily in poor infrastructure; inadequate health facilities; declining educational outcomes and standards; rising unemployment; growing food insecurity; erosion of values; and lopsided distribution of political goods in favour of the ruling class and its allies.

If Nigerian leaders fail to acknowledge the sufferings and complaints of fellow citizens, they should at least ponder the reaction of the international community, especially as revealed in three major international indices, all pointing toward a failed state.

First, for six years in a row, the 2012 Failed States Index, which ranks countries on 12 social, political, and economic indicators, puts Nigeria in the bottom “Alert” category as the 14th country in the world that is most likely to fail. Once again, Nigeria falls into this ignoble category some war-torn countries, such as Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq belong.

Similarly, Nigeria ranked very poorly on the latest Corruption Perception and Human Development Indices. After countries worldwide were ranked on bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement, and the strength and effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts, Nigeria emerged near the bottom at 143 on the 2011 CPI. Given all the corruption scandals within the past year, the 2012 CPI (due out on Dec 5) is likely to be worse.

On the leading indicators that affect citizens’ well-being, the Human Development Index also has bad news for Nigeria. In a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, standards of living, and quality of life for countries worldwide, Nigeria ranked at 156 in the bottom category of  “Low Human Development”.

Of course, Nigeria can boast of its high ranking as the tenth largest oil producer, owner of the tenth largest oil and gas reserves, and the sixth largest oil exporter in the world. She can also tout her ranking as the seventh largest country on earth. However, Nigerian leaders’ failure to capitalise on these positive rankings in transforming Nigeria into a “strong and virile nation”, as envisaged by the founding fathers, continues to make the Nigerian glass half empty.

If the oil and gas industry were to suddenly collapse, what would Nigerian leaders do to sustain the country’s teeming population? This is a thought they should begin to entertain as many countries worldwide are working harder and harder on developing alternative sources of energy. Economic profligacy should end and the diversification of the economy should begin in earnest. Otherwise, the Nigerian glass will continue to fall below the half mark until it is completely empty.

– Niyi Akinnaso

Related Posts

Recent Posts

11 Chadian Soldiers Killed In Boko Haram Attack

Boko Haram Islamists attacked Chadian soldiers on Tuesday, killing 11 and wounding 13, a Chadian security source said, in the latest deadly raid by the militants despite a regional offensive against them. The source said 17 Boko Haram fighters also died in the fighting following the pre-dawn strike near the Nigerian border and Lake Chad. “Boko Haram members attacked our positions at 4:30 am (0330 GMT) in Kaiga Ngouboua about two kilometres (about a mile)...

What Kim Kardashian Really Feels About Being Pregnant

Kim Kardashian is feeling the pregnancy woes the second time around. In a new post on her website titled "From the Desk Of: How I Really Feel About Being Pregnant," the reality star does some venting about her second pregnancy. "I'm gonna keep it real: For me, pregnancy is the worst...

Janet Jackson & Husband Make Rare Public Appearance At Paris Fashion Week

Janet Jackson may be traveling around the world in honor of her Unbreakable Tour. A busy schedule, however, wouldn't stop the "All for You" crooner from stopping by Paris Fashion Week for a special show. In a rare public appearance together, Jackson joined husband Wissam Al Mana in the front row for Hermes' 2016 Spring/Summer show. The superstar performer kept things comfortable thanks to a  black turtleneck with matching pants and sunglasses. Meanwhile, her main man...

Why Instagram Does Not Permit Display Of Women’s Nipples

If you post a photo on Instagram in which nipples are visible and those nipples belong to a woman — there's a good chance it will be taken down. Just ask Rihanna, or Miley Cyrus, or Chelsea Handler, or Naomi Campbell. After nearly a year of #FreeTheNipple backlash, Business Insider reports that Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has finally explained their censorship: Apparently it's all about Apple. In order to keep your app available for Apple smartphones, you have...

Engagement Rings Soon To Be Worn As Nose Ring (PHOTOS)

As showcased in her spring/summer 2016 collection,? jewelry designer ?Delfina Delettrez has a new idea for those looking to pop the question: Engagement septum rings. Seeing as though septum piercings (jewelry worn on the bit of cartilage that divides your nostrils) are such a popular piercing trend right now among both bloggers and celebrities, the idea of a diamond septum ring isn't too out there. https://instagram.com/p/5Mimu-Rc2A/ Read More: cosmopolitan

I Have No Interest In Amaechi’s Appointment –Wike

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has insisted that he doesn't care if his predecessor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi is appointed as a minister or not. The reason he made this statement was because of the claims by the All Progressives Congress that he was orchestrating a protest against Amaechi’s likely appointment as a minister. Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Opunabo Inko-Tariah, in Port Harcourt, on Monday, the governor described the...

Rita Dominic, Annie Idibia, Toke Makinwa Group Up In One Glam Moment (VIDEO)

Annie Idibia gives us a sneak peek into the celebrity type of party... not one celebrity, not two, but three. The girls were obviously having so much fun while Annie Idibia captured the moment. Take a look at how you can party the celebrity way. Watch instagram post below: https://instagram.com/p/8ffrWUAMak/?taken-by=annieidibia1

Dangote Makes Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential People In The World

Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, has been named among the 50 most influential personalities in the world by Bloomberg, a business and financial news media in the US. The list consisted of CEOs, world leaders as well as religious leaders. According to Bloomberg, those who made the list are businessmen & women who "build companies and assemble fortunes. They run banks, or hope to disrupt them. They shape economies and...

Diezani, 13 Billion Pounds & A Nigerian’s Reaction

This is quite hilarious! Don Jazzy shared a video on instagram showing the conversion of 3billion pounds to Naira, which is connected to the trending trail of former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison Madueke. Don Jazzy's reaction of the total sum in Naira was more of emojis than words. Believe me, you'll be speechless too after you watch the short clip that reveals the total sum in Naira. However, the reaction of one Don Jazzy fan in...

Rear-Admiral Alison Madueke (Rtd) Flies In Legal Team To Defend His Wife, Diezani

Following the arrest of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on allegations of bribery, corruption and money laundering, her interrogation continued yesterday at the Charing Cross Police Station, just as her husband, a former Chief of Naval Staff, Rear-Admiral Alison Madueke (rtd), has put together a legal team to defend his wife against the charges by the United Kingdom authorities. The former minister was arrested last Friday in London by the British National Crime Agency...

Boko Haram Financier Nabbed With 1M Cash, Stimulants, Other Items (PHOTOS)

One Mohammed Maina, a suspected Boko Haram money collector, has been arrested by troops. The suspected book haram financier and stimulant dealer was arrested with 1 million naira cash and other items. The Nigerian Defence Headquarters shared photos of cash, drugs and other items on twitter. The suspect has been accused of gathering money & other materials from Boko haram sympathizers in Bama and along that axis and also sending them to the terrorists camps.

‘I’ll Care About Him Till The Day I Die’ – Rihanna Talks Chris Brown & Sex In New Vanity Fair Interview

Despite being linked to several men in the music industry, Rihanna says she's not really been having sex and her last real, official boyfriend was Chris Brown - when they briefly got back together three years after his arrest for assaulting her in 2009 and, prior to that, then Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who she says she was just getting to know when the paparazzi got a picture of them together.  “We were...

Grace Jones Furious At Lady Gaga & Kanye West

Grace Jones is seemingly not the biggest fan of Lady Gaga. The 67-year-old supermodel and songstress revealed during a recent interview with Bevy Smith on SiriusXM’s Bevelations that when she met Lady Gaga, she didn’t connect with her. “Gaga came to me, and I just could not find a soul,” Jones told Smith. “I come from church — maybe that has something to do with it. I like to...

2015 Ministerial Nominees announced, view #TheList here

List of Ministerial Nominees As Unveiled by President of the Senate Bukola Saraki today at Senate Plenary. Chris Ngige - Anambra  Kayode Fayemi- Ekiti Rotimi Amaechi - Rivers 

Kylie Jenner Gets Herself a New $320,000 Rolls Royce

The 18-year-old, who got into two car accidents under the span of a year and was ticketed multiple times, has just gotten herself a brand new car. Adding to her growing collection of pricey whips, Jenner’s new ride — a white Rolls Royce Ghost — comes in at a whopping $320,000. The reality star took to her Snapchat to flaunt her new obsession. “Yaaay! It’s here!” Jenner squealed in one video as a truck delivered her new car. Jenner’s BFF, Anastasia Karanikolaou, also shared videos...

Kourtney Kardashian Reacts To Scott Disick’s 18-Year-Old Model Girlfriend

Kourtney Kardashian is moving on from Scott Disick -- and actually isn't bothered at all by the 32-year-old's latest gal-pal, 18-year-old model Lindsay Vrckovnik. Scott has been spotted with the blonde beauty multiple times in both New York City and Miami, Florida recently, not exactly going undercover with their relationship. "Kourtney surprisingly isn't fazed by this at all," the source says. "She's moving on. She knows it's just a fling."

Fashola, Amaechi, Fayemi Make Ministerial List #TheList

The immediate past governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN; former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi and Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was defeated by Ayodele Fayose in the last governorship election in Ekiti state are also among the names submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate for consideration as ministers. The National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed also made the list Fashola was the Lagos State...

News Alert: Senate Announces Ministerial List #TheList

The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, Tuesday morning read out the list of ministers at the floor of the Senate. The Minister nominees are : Abubakar Malami, Abdurahman Dambazzau, Aisha Alhassan, Lai Mohammed, Adebayo Shittu, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Udo Udoma and Ibrahim Jibril. Other are Rotimi Amaechi, Suleiman Adamu, Chris Nigige, Kemi Adeosun, Ibeto, Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbeh,Hadi Sirika and Ibe Kachikwu. The Senate President said the screening of the nominees will commence October 13. More to follow..........

Tyga Pulls Kylie Her On Stage, Kisses Her Mid-Concert

Tyga just took his love for Kylie Jenner to another level… The rapper was performing at California State University, Northridge over the weekend when he decided to pull his girlfriend on stage during his performance of "Stimulated." According to this fan video, the crowd went wild when the 18-year-old reality star—donning an all blue Adidas track suit and white tennis shoes—made her appearance, hugging and kissing her boyfriend as he continued to rap the song...

Senators Give Terms For Confirming Ministers

As the Senate today, unveils the ministerial list it received from President Muhammadu Buhari last Thursday, some senators have provided insight into how the screening and confirmation of nominees would be done. Some of them, who spoke on the terms and conditions that would guide the screening at the National Assembly yesterday hinted that the upper legislative chamber would adopt stringent measures in line with the provisions of the Constitution. The senators made it clear that...

Police Arrest 2 Female Suspected Bombers In Abuja

Plainclothes police operatives numbering more than 15 arrested two female suspected terrorists. The incident occurred around 10.30am at the Gwarimpa Estate, CITEC end of the pedestrian bridge at the CITEC Junction Bus Stop, when the operatives stormed the spot where the two girls aged between 16 and 18, were standing as if waiting for somebody, and swooped on them in a bid to bundle them into their waiting vehicles. The two girls wearing hijab, but...