With the myriad issues Nigeria is grappling with, one concept has captured the imagination of ordinary Nigerians and the political elite alike—restructuring.
The official motto of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress’. The national anthem remixes this slightly with the words, ‘One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.’ The belief being that these words are tied to our nation’s future and serve as a benchmark to analyse against our country’s aspirations.
Progress has been a foundational aspiration since the birth of a Nigeria free from its colonial shackles. But only through self-determination can true progress begin. The United Nation’s Global Consumption and Income Project (GCIP, 2019) shows that not only has poverty remained at astronomical levels in Nigeria since independence (61 per cent of the population in 1960), it has also actually increased (64 per cent of the population in 2015). Where countries with much larger populations, such as China and India, have managed to pull tens of millions of people out of poverty over the decades, Nigeria has failed to do so. In fact, in 2018, the World Poverty Clock and the Brookings Institute designated Nigeria, ‘the poverty capital of the world’—beating out stiff competition for the illustrious title. As such, the ‘progress’ benchmark remains unmet.
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