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Nigeria at 53: Making Progress or Remaining Stagnant by Emeka Obia



Welcome to Nigeria, a country with a population of over 150 million People – The most populous black nation in the world. A country where street hawkers and even an Okada-man believes in the mantra – “one day, e go better”. That’s how passionate Nigerians are. Some people say out of every five black men in the world, one is a Nigerian. Now if you’re a Nigerian, None of these is new to you.

This month, we celebrate 53 years since Nigeria gained independence from the British. People say Naija has developed to a commendable degree; others share the opinion that Nigerian politicians have wasted and embezzled Nigeria’s resources to the detriment of the nation’s development. Nigeria’s major source of income is oil, yet the average Nigerian lives on less than one dollar per day.

Having abundant oil and not being able to refine is a shock many Nigerians are yet to recover from. As usual, the Independence Day routine should go this way: The President holds a live telecast and speaks to Nigerians (who are lucky to have power or functioning generators at that time) and probably congratulate Nigerians then of course proceed to throw a party that would be graced by the crème de la crème of the society.

Yes, Nigerians love to party. But the question is; should Nigeria really celebrate its independence? Especially with the following things plaguing us
• Evident epileptic power supply across the country(records showed recently that power generation capacity suffered a significant decline from an all-time high of 4,517 megawatts recorded last December to a miserable level of about 3,300 megawatts in the middle of April.)
•Poor social infrastructure
• Pathetic Educational System(with ASSU strike still ongoing)
•The Insurgence of Boko Haram
•Current political crisis (even in the ruling party)
• High rate of unemployment(with Nigeria’s unemployment rate for 2011 at 23.9% with youth unemployment rate at over 50%)
• Corruption
• And all other issues facing the nation?

The finance minister says the economy is making progress and of course I’m forced to believe her because obviously I know little or nothing about the economy. But the fact remains that its impact on the people of Nigeria is almost invisible. Even the people who are willing to contribute to the society (a perfect unemployment excuse for the government) by either creating jobs for themselves or in any other way are constantly frustrated by the lack of social amenities. And even some others who choose to be inspired by great minds that dropped out of school in “developed countries”, by dropping out of school in a “developing country” have had their fair share of frustration. Nigeria is great country! – I hear it all the time and I believe it strongly, but I think it’s time Nigerians began to see the greatness and enjoy the dividends of being a citizen of a great country. A great country is not just about winning the Nations Cup and constantly claiming the self-acclaimed “Giant of Africa” title etc. There’s more. Good governance, peace, unity, security of lives and property amongst others.

We have a President who has continuously reiterated his intentions to better the lives of Nigerians – some believe in him and the “Nigerian Dream”; others are gradually running out of patience. But patience is key, they say.

Some Nigerians have quickly taken to the social media to make all sorts of jokes about Nigeria. Others have confidently adopted the cliché “a fool at forty is a fool forever” to describe the Nigerian situation and ridicule the Independence Day celebration. It leads to the big question – is Nigeria Really a fool at 53?

Even though there’s no electricity as I write this, my honest prayer for Nigeria remains better leadership, peace and unity.

Emeka Obia is a Social scientist, writer, blogger, speaker and a passionate Nigerian.He blogs at Emeka Talks.


  1. chichi

    October 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Remaining stagnant?? that supposed to be a compliment??..let us be honest with ourselves..Nigeria is going DOWNHILL and it doesn’t help that we have a president who is beginning to sound like a pastor!!!..Love this article cos it just summarized what was going through my head all week…The country is a hot mess at the moment and i wonder what ppl are celebrating this week…

  2. banimo

    October 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Stagnant is a mild way of putting it. Nigeria is headed for doom and it is all because of we the citizens.We just sit down there and chop everything the leaders do!We do not have the fighting spirit.We do not demand accountability from our leaders, rather we too wait for our turn to be in position and chop money. We want to be friends with the children of politicians. We want to attend their parties and be seen rolling with them.Some of our ladies are desperate to marry into political families…Until we start shaming these political thieves and demand accountability, things will keep going downhill for us.

    • Tb

      October 4, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      100% accurate.

  3. new bride

    October 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Regressing is more like it!

  4. Gistyinka Blog

    October 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Suffering but smiling that is how will live and survives in nigeria.. E go Better ringing tone.

  5. the mane captain (natural hair & skincare)

    October 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    only God can save Nigeria.

  6. Imasu

    October 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Nigeria … A country with so much drama (most of which have been tragedies lately). Nigerians… Agroup of people with so much faith(faith without works is dead anyway) who make comedies out of the slightest tragedy. We are still in that Nigeria where everything is dying to work but the forces behind its ability to work lack ‘Vision’ (vision and direction go pari passu) . Nigeria’s state is complicated @ the moment but anyways Nigeria can and will work.
    By the way, who wants to employ a pharmacist? I need a job

  7. Deedee

    October 5, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Lol @ Imasu, job hunting tinz……Naija my country, e go
    better #inTonyTetuilavoice# i don tire for Naija issues

  8. frances

    October 5, 2013 at 4:42 am

    This sounded to me like an over re-iterated statement.yes,Nigeria isn’t whr we want it to be ryt now,yes,Nigeria is stagnant even but dis article seemed 2place d blame on only d Govt.they r a big part of it,but wat abt u and I?? If we start helpn a little in anyway we can wt d interest of d country at heart,I guess Naija wud av gone further now.Corruption is not only in high places,it has eaten into almost evry individual in Nigeria.Nepotism isn’t only in Godvt corporations,even private institutions do dat now thrby contributing even more 2d deplorable state of unemployment…d whole gist of d matter is let us also strive 2mk Nigeria better.u already av a sphere of influence,use that…may our beloved country grow and may we live to see any leader not taking us forward leave soon,Amen.


    October 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

    There is a king and a fool in everyone, the one you talk to grows.
    I know that nigeria has challenges but the reason y it seems like the country is having more bad sides is simply bcos that’s what the citizens are focusing on. I ‘m not the son of a wealthy man but i ‘ve bn able to create something for myself(


    October 5, 2013 at 11:47 am

    There is a king and a fool in everyone, the one you talk to grows. I know that nigeria has challenges but the reason y it seems like the country is having more bad sides is simply bcos that’s what the citizens are focusing on. I ‘m not the son of a wealthy man but i ‘ve bn able to create something for myself ( )

  11. Mr.D

    October 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    This Piece is wonderful, very clear and direct to the point. Love your optimisim and Prayer for this nation. Sure there is hope for this nation. Good work Emeka

  12. Uchenna Nwaobi

    October 5, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    We must not turn blind eye to the truth. peacefull separation is the only answer to the problem facing this bondaged nigeria.

  13. Clare

    October 27, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Hi Bella Naija,

    I sent an article to the features team via email at [email protected], I got a reply immediately saying I would get feedback soon. I have not got any reply. It’s been almost two weeks. I have also sent another follow up email with no response.

    Please I wanted to kindly ask if my request and article is being reviewed.

    Thank you.

    • Clare

      October 27, 2013 at 6:08 am

      My name is Clare Ofodile and I sent it with this email address – [email protected]

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