BusinessDay

Is Nigeria a failed state?

Is Nigeria a failed state? That’s the question many have sadly not received an answer to.

My experience and understanding of geopolitics and security reveal that Nigeria is a failed state. Let’s see what the facts say.

A failed state suffers from crumbling infrastructure, faltering utility supplies in educational and health facilities, and deteriorating fundamental human development indicators such as infant mortality and literacy rates. Failed states become an environment of flourishing corruption and a negative growth rate, where honest economic activities cannot flourish.

Unfortunately, all these have been going on in Nigeria for decades. The economy has nosedived, and there has never been a time the Nigerian naira reached 710 per dollar. A terrorist organisation even dared to threaten the president of the nation. Nigeria has only made it this far because its people are resilient.

A terrorist organisation even dared to threaten the president of the nation. Nigeria has only made it this far because its people are resilient

Does this mean Nigeria has been a failed state for so long? I beg to differ. Although Nigeria fits the parameters of the definition, countries that have officially been declared as failed states like Yemen, Somalia, and Syria, have things going worse for them. These countries have suffered from incompetent and dictatorial leaders, and nothing seems to have changed. There has been a total breakdown of infrastructure, law, and order.

In Nigeria, however, there has not been a complete breakdown of the fragile infrastructure. The country still has the largest economy in Africa. A failed state can’t produce that result.

Despite the horrid challenges, Nigeria’s resiliency, its people, and human capital have been one of the most extensive core competencies the country has produced for the rest of the world. Of course, there’s oil and the rest of the natural resources. This proves that Nigeria is a failing state that can be fixed.

What can Nigerians do in this moment of despair?

The most obvious solution is to exercise their rights and vote for a new government. In a democratic institution, this is the expected response. However, there are concerns about whether the election will be held because the nation is grappling with fear. The nation’s capital is under siege. Most of the institutions over there- as I read on the news- have been closed due to rumours of terrorist attacks.

For the elections to hold, Nigeria and its government must find a way to ensure the situation does not deteriorate. If the elections hold, Nigeria must not repeat the mistakes of 2015 and 2019. The change they hoped for put them in a worse position than they were eight years ago. The elected government must initiate a new order and immediately redefine citizenship, security, and stability to establish new human-centred goals for an inclusive state. Anything less than this is not acceptable.

Read also: Don’t deny us our right to vote, Nigerians beg INEC

Another tactic that has worked in the country is to continually pressure whatever government is in power to do the right thing. The pressure never reverses the trajectory, but it can slow it down. Nigerians have done this continually, but the question is – how can the people continue to mount immense pressure on the government without being subjected to impositions and cruelties from the failing government?

The answer is not as simple as expected. The populace, just like other seasoned democracies and developing ones, should continue to push the envelope of freedom and use technology to amplify their voices, just as they use technology to amplify everything else in their lives. More importantly, everyone needs to get involved in the political processes. This is not the time to leave it to a few people only. The more people are involved in the political process, the more the government is uncomfortable doing whatever they want, knowing fully well that if they are not doing the right thing, their days are numbered.

As Nigeria continues to find its footing in a democratically elected government and improve its delicate institutions, challenges are inevitable. The ability to test and try what works for the country would be something Nigerians must continue to strengthen for decades. As tiring as it sounds, it is part of the democratic process.

In a place like Nigeria where you have diverse cultures, you rely on the democratic process to settle scores. Through democratic institutions, we can level the differences Nigeria battles with culturally.

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