Despite the presence of huge mineral and human resources found in Nigeria, the country has remained a victim of underdevelopment. This has prompted several efforts by scholars, elites, prominent leaders and the international development agencies to understand and solve the development crisis. All nations (developed, underdeveloped and developing) are populated by human beings with needs and wants. While the developed nations are relentlessly searching for solutions to their social, political and economic problems the underdeveloped nations engage each other in war of attrition and dish out half-baked and unreasoned policies to enslave its citizens. The leadership only prescribes solution to socioeconomic problems without actually providing the institutional framework to solve them. Consequently, the peoples’ needs and wants often out-run resources. Growth is increase in size without scientific and technological advancement. Development means growth integrated with economic, scientific, political and home based technological expansion. Kindleberger and Herrick (1977), defines economic development to include improvements in material welfare, especially for persons with the lowest incomes; the eradication of mass poverty, illiteracy, disease and early death. An economy that has productive employment among the working – age population rather than the situation of a privileges monitory and a correspondingly greater participation of broadly based groups in making decisions about the directions, economic and otherwise, in which they should move to improve their welfare. Presently, the crisis of development is the most serious problem facing Nigeria. This is because the continent has remained largely underdeveloped despite the presence of huge mineral and human resources. Several decades after the end of colonialism, most parts of Nigeria is still fighting with problems such as high poverty rate, lack of basic infrastructural facilities in all sectors of the economy, unemployment, high mortality rate, political instability and insecurity of lives and property. Nigeria is still considered as third world country because the nation still exhibits the traits of underdeveloped nations in spite of her abundant resources (both natural and human). “The present conditions of the third world countries are not in the least analogous to the conditions of the industrialized countries in the earlier stages of their 1

economic development. The present condition of the third world is the effect of the slave trade, pillage, colonialism and unequal exchange (Ake 1982: 153)”. In a similar manner, Walter Rodney after a thorough examination of the origin and trends of underdevelopment in Africa bluntly asserts that: “African development is possible only on the basis of a radical break with the international capitalist system, which has been the principal agency of the under development of Africa over the last seven centuries (Rodney 1972: 7)”. In the present era of globalization, another school of thought strongly argues that globalization constitutes the major obstacle facing Africa’s effort to develop. This is because of the fact that the benefits of globalization are not equal and just for all the regions of the world (Asobie, 2001; Olukoshi, 2004). It is therefore suggested that since a major feature of the globalization process is that it cannot be halted or ignored, the success of the development enterprise in Africa now depends on the mode of its integration into the global capitalist economic system (Ajayi, 2004: 2). Yet, there are scholars who believe that Africans should be held responsible for the present pathetic state of underdevelopment in the continent. Recently, it has been said that Africans through the instruments of inept leadership, corruption, authoritarianism, endless political crises, military rule, civil wars and lack of concern for the poor, have contributed more than any other people to the cause of underdevelopment in the continent (Falola, 2005: 3). The views expressed above are appreciated, which in summary imply that no adequate understanding of the crisis of development in Africa could be achieved without taking into cognizance the effects of three major factors. First, colonialism, neocolonialism and dependency. Secondly, contemporary globalization and thirdly, the role of the African ruling elite. It is also worthy to note that more suggestions are still offered on how to solve the crisis of development in Africa. It is in acknowledgement of the contemporary challenges and realities confronting the African continent, that Bedford Umez (2000) in an insightful and captivating work provides useful insights for understanding the crisis of development in Africa using Nigeria as a case study. Umez argues that Nigerians have Alumona contributed more to her problem of under development than any other people. Further, he also presents four perspectives which he


believes offers more fundamental and comprehensive explanations of the problems of development in Nigeria. The four perspectives, which will be discussed later in, this paper, are: the prevalent value system, inferiority complex, language and collective ignorance.

The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism or NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World), or communism and the Soviet Union (which along with its allies represented the Second World). This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the Earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions. Third Worldism has been defined as "the idea, popular among Third World autocrats and many American and French leftists in the late 60s and 70s, that-contrary to orthodox Marxism's view that the Western working class would deliver the world from the tyranny of capital that ... Third World elites were the privileged historical actor." The term Third World was originally coined in times of the Cold War to distinguish those nations that are neither aligned with the West (NATO) nor with the East, the Communist bloc. Today the term is often used to describe the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. Many poorer nations adopted the term to describe themselves.

There are many reasons why Nigeria is still referred to as third world country in spite of her abundant natural and human resources. These include corruption and fraudulent practices, conflict, lack of security, over-dependent on agriculture, monoeconomic factor, poor leadership and neglect of education that has led to fallen standard of education. These problems will be discussed later under this section. Compounding the problem of underdevelopment in poor countries like Nigeria is micro nationalism, ethnic, religious and communal conflicts which pose great threat to 3

peace, security and progress. Conflicts refer to disputes, disagreements, quarrels, struggles, fights and wars between individuals, groups and countries. In every nation there is no complete agreement on how to share wealth, power and status among individuals and groups, and how to effect necessary changes and reforms. Since different groups and individuals have diverse interests, the aims of some groups will conflict with those of others. Conflicts occur when deprived groups and individuals attempt to increase their share of power and wealth or to modify the dominant values, norms, beliefs or ideology. May it be noted that there are functional and dysfunctional conflicts. Dysfunctional conflicts are destructive and cause loss of lives, property, man-hours, investment opportunities, hunger and starvation when open violence, wars, mass strikes, and other forms of disruption occur. On the other hand, functional or creative conflicts are constructive and reflect the differences and variety of human opinions and activity which exists in any free society. If creative conflicts between groups which are major sources of innovation, new ideas, institutions and social change are suppressed altogether, a nation becomes stagnant and static. We now analyze the problems (factors) that have made Nigeria remain a third world country in spite of her abundant resoures. 1) PROBLEM OF LEADERSHIP: Nigeria has ever been faced with the problem of leadership; this has left the country crawling on her kneels in spite of the abundant resources. Nigeria has witnessed several transitions of governments with one regime leaving one problem or another that have dragged the country ever since independence; the military especially did more damage in terms of leadership than any even though the fourth republic is ongoing and we virtually don’t understand what is hidden in the bag for Nigeria. Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience (Jago, 1982). Nigeria need good and effective leaders to function and to move forward; the leadership determines lots of things in terms of progress. The failure of Nigerian leaders to establish good governments, forge national


integration and promote economic progress has led to mass poverty and unemployment, and the resultant communal, ethnic, religious and class conflicts. Rather than the chains of poverty, the poor has little or nothing in the form of property, to lose and are easily engaged by war-mongers as mercenary fighters. Poverty increases the number of people prepared to kill or be killed for a given cause. The breakdown of such vehicles of social control as the family education, law, religion and the political system has increased ethnic and communal conflicts. The inability of many homes to make ends meet with the family income tends to increase immorality, broken fatherless/motherless homes, divorces and drunkenness, leading to street fights. The educational or school system is in shambles and cannot impart even sound knowledge, let alone instill discipline and morality. Some lecturers/teachers are now called "cheaters" because they have become emergency contractors, politicians, farmers and petty street traders, hawking "hand outs" and scores for sex and money. Rather than mould and build good characters, some prosperity preachers are more interested in making quick money to mould blocks and build earthly (not heavenly) mansions, and buy luxurious cars for the shepherd, while their sheep trek home to sleep on the ground under flyers and in the open fields, feeding on grass and drinking dirty pool water. When the poor sheep followers who had been taught to expect their rewards in heaven see their leaders enjoying heaven on earth, they feel frustrated and engage in feigned and fake religious fights and clashes to capture peoples' property in order to enjoy heaven on earth like their leaders. In his own analysis of why Nigeria has been crawling annoyingly while it should be running fast after Independence, the present president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan saw the failure of leadership as the greatest obstacle to the desired growth – political and economic. The unemployed troubled mind would expect an assurance that if his leader is elected, certainly a decent job is waiting for him in any part of the country. 2) CORRUPTION AND FRAUD: Just like the leadership problem, corruption has eaten deep into the marrow of Nigeria such that development has been


hampered, no wonder we are still seen as a third world country. There are many unresolved problems in Nigeria, but the issue of the upsurge of corruption is troubling. And the damages it has done to the polity are astronomical. The menace of corruption leads to slow movement of files in offices, police extortion tollgates and slow traffics on the highways, port congestion, queues at passport offices and gas stations, ghost workers syndrome, election irregularities, among others. Even the mad people on the street recognize the havoc caused by corruption - the funds allocated for their welfare disappear into the thin air. Thus, it is believed by many in the society that corruption is the bane of Nigeria. Consequently, the issue keeps reoccurring in every academic and informal discussion in Nigeria. The effects of corruption on a nations socio-political and economic development are myriad. The negative effects impact economic growth as it, among other things, reduces public spending on education (Mauro, 1997; and 1995). Lipset and Lenz note that the effect on growth, is in part, a result of reduced level of investment, as it adds to investment risk (2000). The effect of corruption on education comes from the fact that the government spends relatively more on items to make room for graft (Shleifer & Vishny, 1993; Lipset & Lenz, 2002). And corrupt government officials would shift government expenditures to areas in which they can collect bribes easily. Large and hard-to-manage projects, such as airports or highways, make fraud easy. In addition, poverty and income inequalities are tied to corruption (Lipset & Lenz 2000). Development projects are often made unnecessarily complex in Nigeria to justify the corrupt and huge expense on it. The new national stadium in Abuja, which is said to have gulped millions of Naira more than necessary, is a case in point. Corruption causes a reduction in quality of goods and services available to the public, as some companies could cut corners to increase profit margins. Corruption effects investment, economic growth, and government expenditure choices; it also reduces private investment (Mauro 1997). This in turn retard development of an economy, that is why Nigeria has not been progressing geometrically and is still referred to as a third world country.


Pervasive impact of fraud has been described as the greatest factor engendering and perpetuating under-development in Nigeria in particular and Africa, by extension. 3) EDUCATION AND POVERTY: Development is measured with some yardsticks known as economic indices, when these indices don’t measure up to standard, then there is problem. Poverty is then one of the indices and it has been measured that an average Nigerian live below average (earn and spend less than a dollar a day). Education on the other hand contributes significantly to development but the failure of our leaders to effectively monitor and maintain education in the country has led to fallen standard of education in Nigeria. Development may be difficult in poor countries without qualitative and quantitative education. Also it may be difficult for a country to achieve economic development through education, if a high percentage of the population is living below or at poverty level, with series of hygienic problems. These results into poor feeding, housing and medical care; the characteristics of low-income third world, underdeveloped, less developed or developing countries. Case and Ray (1989) defines poverty as people with very low incomes. Poverty should be measured by figuring how much it costs to buy basis necessities of life, minimally adequate diet, what is a minimum housing unit? And so on. A country is said to be poor, if she cannot cater for her citizenry, and live in fear or lacks anything. One basic thing about poverty is “it is ever-ready to gulp any amount or material in it” (Dukor, 1995: 28). Dukor (1995: 28) stated that poverty is caused and will be caused by the following; defiance of God’s laws, laziness, early marriage, pride, unwanted pregnancy, cheating, mental slavery, gambling, failure to adjust or re-adjust when situation detonates, taking wrong steps or approaches to issues, burden, police arrest, detention, drunkenness, court cases, fire outbreak, spending above one’s income, illegal business, accident, borrowing and death of a bread winner, it also includes, spending in anticipation, illiteracy, seizure of goods, dupes, illness, expensive burials/weddings, spiritual enslavement i.e. The churches (the leaders) contribute nothing to our betterment but ruin our


already tattered lives and we still follow them sheepishly. He also identified lack of; the spirit of God, good road, water, good transport system, love, peace, good neighbourlines, good governance, steady supply of electricity as causes of poverty. Unproductive labour could also cause poverty. A situation where individuals do not do what they are suppose to do. This results into inefficiencies due to non-placement of individuals in their proper places. Such inefficient individual make themselves ‘good workers’ by rendering “eye services” and pointing accusing fingers on others to cover their inefficiencies or evils. These are some of the effects of “quota system” in appointment into Federal or State Services. Lack of political development causing political instability and exploitation. Example, is a situation where few opportunities, a wicked leader or rich person exploits the majority. This increases the rate of corruption in a country especially among workers. 4) MONO-CULTURE ECONOMIC SYSTEM: A country operating a monocultural economic system may be poor. Nigeria since early 1970’s have moved away from agricultural primarily to the production of crude oil, a commodity whose price can only be determined by foreign countries. Price mechanism has no direct control of the production and distribution of crude oil. According to Asemota (1999: 3): “the oil sector which is dominated by the government is in a state of decay due to poor operating conditions and inadequate funding, vandalization and bureaucratic interventions. Public organsations in Nigeria enjoy monopoly status that hamper development rather than fostering it.” Western education is about one hundred and fifty-six years old in Nigeria. Despite this, some socio-cultural factors still hinders our economic development, causing poverty. Some Nigerians still believe that their economic capacity and security can only be guaranteed by having more male and a large number of children. As long as we continue to have more children without a corresponding increase in food production, our poverty level will continue to be on an increase. A man’s production of children above his income, will increase poverty level, from increased number of illiterates and criminal rates in the country.



CONFLICT AND LACK OF PEACE: One factor that has rendered Nigeria a third world country in spite of her efforts in developing is conflict which has raged several economic states in Nigeria. Foreign investors have refused to come in to invest claiming that lives and properties are not safe. Foreign workers (expatriates) are kidnapped every time, especially in the Niger-Delta region. Several political conflicts, religious conflicts amongst many will not allow Nigeria grow past the present developmental level. Presently, it is Boko-Haram people that have been disturbing the peace of Nigeria, bombing everywhere, even the government house is not secured from these people. Both foreigners and Nigerians alike fear for their lives and continually live in fear and panic, how then can there be development?

Real Problems, Real Solutions (2000) is Bedford Umez’s contribution to the discourse on the crisis of development in Nigeria. In his analysis, Umez begins by providing a review of what he calls the three long standing perspectives that have been used by scholars in the past to explain Nigeria’s problem of underdevelopment. The three perspectives namely are: colonial legacy, corrupt leadership and democracy leads to economic growth. The colonial legacy perspective argues that the problem of underdevelopment is traceable to the origin of the Nigerian state by the British colonial authority and the exploitative nature of Nigeria’s colonial and postcolonial experience. The corrupt leadership perspective believes that corruption and mismanagement on the part of the leadership has been the bane of development in Nigeria. Chinua Achebe’s (1983) analysis of the leadership problem in Nigeria is located within this framework. The democracy leads to economic growth perspective which links the cause of underdevelopment to the long absence of democracy caused by military rule (Umez, 2000: 29 - 39). After a careful examination of these long standing perspectives and their impact in explaining the problem of underdevelopment in Nigeria, Umez concludes that: “They do not offer a fundamental explanation of the current development problems in Nigeria; they explain little of the country’s internal contradictions. Consequently, they provide an inadequate guide to formulating appropriate and lasting policies and sound


strategies to address those problems and internal contradictions in Nigeria (Umez, 2000: 25).” It is from the above premise and conviction that Umez proceeds to present his understanding and explanation of the development problem, which are contained in the four perspectives mentioned earlier. His central argument is that the current problems of development in Nigeria are fundamentally linked to the issues presented under these perspectives. Before his exposition of the issues contained in these perspectives, Umez authoritatively claims that they are “the most effective solutions to move Nigeria forward” (Umez, 2000: 22). The four perspectives could be summarized thus: i) The prevalent value system: The central argument of this perspective is that since the values of a given society provide insights into how the attitudes and actions of individuals within that society affect development endeavors, it is necessary to understand the prevalent Nigerian value system as a guide to solving the problems of development in Nigeria. This perspective links the crisis of development in Nigeria to the dominant value system which is defined as ‘one that glorifies and endorses corrupt and illegal means as necessary, normal, and sufficient means to ends’ (Umez, 2000: 53). The prevalent value system perspective identifies the following factors as the consequences of the Nigerian value system which in turn have created problems for development: a) b) c) d) e) Embezzlement of public (and company) funds; A free-rider mentality; Dishonesty; Disobedience to laws; and Disregard for the opinion of experts. In summary, all these issues discussed under the prevalent value system in the words of Umez, “produces, at the general level, a corrupt and inept leadership, which ultimately misappropriate public funds, thereby creating problems of development” (Umez, 2000: 58) ii) The inferiority complex perspective: This perspective argues that at the root cause of corruption and the embezzlement of public funds only for such looted funds to be sent abroad, lies the issue of inferiority complex. The perspective


views as abnormal the practice where Nigerians who are entrusted with public funds do steal such funds and then stack them in foreign banks where it will be of no benefit to Nigeria. The irony of this practice as the author points out is that leaders of these foreign countries in return see Nigerian leaders as corrupt, uncivilized, and nasty thugs (Umez, 2000: 61). iii) The language perspective: The language perspective seeks to demonstrate how the power of language has affected the mentality of Nigerians. According to the author, the use of such phrases like paint someone black; black sheep of the family; black book; black market; black devil; black death; black magic; black widow etc has succeeded in demeaning, desecrating and dehumanizing especially black Africans. The implications of this, which in the words of the author are ‘’damaging, terrifying and enormous (Umez, 2000: 66) are as follows a) At the macro level, it has created a situation where Africans consciously or unconsciously have come to accept that black people are of no good that is, the word black is used to describe anything that is bad. b) It has tarnished the image of Africa. Because of this even Africans in the Diaspora do not have regard for Africa. c) It has also created a sort of distrust and disrespect among Africans. iv) The collective ignorance perspective: Within this perspective, collective ignorance is conceived as a situation where a set of misguided Nigerian leaders out of sheer ignorance believe that they are the only ones who are capable of ruling the country. The problem of collective ignorance, as the perspective argues is responsible for a lot of contradictions and problems in Nigeria. Some of these problems include a) b) c) d) e) Lack of conscience among ‘chosen’ Nigeria leaders/elite; Starvation of the ‘masses’ by the leaders; Accepting bribery and corruption as normal; The embezzlement of public funds with impunity; and The shameless trips to foreign countries for routine medical check-ups and treatment by the leaders without any attempt to provide such hospitals in Nigeria.


After his exposition of the four perspectives, Umez went further to highlight some illusions held by Nigerians, which to a great extent have compounded the crisis of development. These illusions could be seen from two basic angles, namely: 1) 2) That Nigerian is still a young country; after all, it took the United States over 200 years to be where it is today. There is corruption everywhere.


This assignment examined the reasons for the underdevelopment of Nigeria; in spite of both abundant natural and human resources at her disposal, she is still regarded as a third world country simply because she has refused to produce good leadership since post-colonial period, she has neglected education which could be used as a change agent, she has allowed corruption to hamper her development and has depended too much on agriculture in the past and crude oil in the recent past till present. Nigeria will develop and meet up with vision 20:20:20 (Millennium Development Goals-MDGs) if we can follow these recommendations. The following address the problems of development in Nigeria. These suggestions that are in form of policy recommendations are listed below: i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) vii) viii) ix) The need for citizenship education and a centre for the study of ethnics; The taming of destructive arrogance and class consciousness among Nigerians; The involvement of parents in the campaign for real education; The involvement of the media and other agents of socialization in the crusade to reeducate Nigerian children and the public at large on better ways of life; The elimination of illegal and fraudulent acts; The need to urgently address the ‘brain drain’ problem; The investment of Nigerian resources in Nigeria curing the disease of ignorance and inferiority complex; Teaching leadership qualities; and A weekly address by the President of Nigeria


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