Political Leadership And Societal Development: An Unfulfilled Promise In Nigeria

1727 words - 7 pages

Nigeria is located in the tropical rainforests of West Africa. She was colonized by Britain until the nineteen-fifties (1950s) when clamor for independence by prominent citizens became fierce. As a result, Nigeria was granted independence as a self-governing state on October 1st 1960. By virtue of her population, she remains the most populous black nation on earth with an estimated population of over one-hundred and forty million people. Since independence, this country has had three unsuccessful experiments with democratic governance. This is traceable to the undue interference of the armed forces which culminated in several coup d’état. On the contrary, Nigeria is in her fourth republic and the longest democratic experiment since independence. The latest democratic system of governance heralded in 1999 after close to two decades of uninterrupted military rule witnessed the hand-over of power from one elected president to another without serious disturbance capable of undermining the democratic process. Nonetheless, Nigeria’s political leadership characterized by corruption, tribalism, and violence has led to severe underdevelopment despite the availability of enormous human and natural resources.
Corruption remains a critical issue militating against considerable development in the African continent. Specifically in Nigeria, it seems that politics is conjoined with elements of corrupt practices such as inflation of contracts, embezzlement of state funds, nepotism et cetera. Statistics from agencies such as Transparency International (TI) indicates that Nigeria sits jointly atop the list of the most corrupt countries in the world with the likes of Albania, Cambodia, Cameroon, Kosovo, Pakistan, Philippines, and Romania (4). It stated further that corruption in this country transcends looting of the treasury by politicians. It also included the manipulation of power for personal gain and self-aggrandizement at the expense of the populace by the authorities at the local, state, as well as the federal level of government. In addition, I seriously contend that corruption in Nigeria includes manipulation and inflation of government contracts as well as institution of bogus remunerations for public office holders. This is done at the detriment of meaningful development for the benefit of the larger society and at the expense of the laws of the land. Rather disappointingly, corruption crept into the fabric of the nation’s leadership around early seventies (1970s), when Nigeria reaped gargantuan sums in foreign earnings from crude-oil exportation. This was the case because the military dictatorship was in control of the nation. As a result, the country experienced massive looting of her treasury especially after the oil boom of the eighties. This never seized even at the advent of civilian rule in 1979. Instead, the nefarious practice went from pillar to pole, thus compounding the woes of the good people of Nigeria and the continued strangle of any...

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