Ask some Nigerians what it is about their country that they would change and many would say, "Everything." Others argue that corruption is the key problem that underlies every other issue faced by the country. In response to this belief that tackling corruption would help solve other issues, various tactics have been employed by the Nigerian government, expending money, time and the goodwill of citizens and foreigners alike. But, what if the emphasis on corruption has been misplaced? What if there is a different 'problem' whose solution could ease the quest for development and advancement across the Nigerian spectrum?
This writer previously argued that corruption is the common denominator to all Nigeria's problems, but acknowledged that other factors such as the national psyche, personal/national security and adequate electricity supply (#lightupnigeria) play a role in remedying many of the issues Nigeria needs to overcome. However, a recent discussion with a mentor suggested the possibility of an overarching Nigeria-specific obstacle that is yet to receive adequate attention.
Is it possible that there is an overarching issue, yet to be fully identified and tackled, that hinders Nigerian progress? This proposition could explain why despite all the solutions that have been thrown at various problems, like corruption, malaria, maternal and pediatric health, a solution still appears far away. After all, some have gone as far as to attribute the slow progress on major issues to demons, hidden groups/organizations, and other ilk. And, so far, despite the prayers, high hopes and many examples of success in various parts of the nation, its government and people continue to face significant challenges.
If there is any validity to this approach to improving Nigeria - an acknowledgment that the nation's 'problem(s)' remains misdiagnosed - then maybe now is as good a time as any to identify the hidden problem(s). Based on their experience, organizations like the World Bank and others, have come to various conclusions about what needs to be changed in Nigeria and other African countries. Likewise Nigerians, and many Africans, have equally determined that solving certain issues will clear the way for progress. But, what if these conclusions have all been wrong? What if something has been overlooked? The reality is that money has been thrown at many an issue and in some parts of Nigeria there has not been enough success. Determining the 'hidden issue' would allow for the creation of potentially more efficient and effective solutions. More importantly, having a better idea of what exactly is wrong could actually produce verifiable results. That, in turn,would limit the disappointment of most Nigerians, frustrated with the lack of progress, and refocus minds on finding solutions to the key problems previously left unaddressed in a nation yet to fully achieve its potential.
I can admit that I do not have a definite answer to the questions I am asking. I can even admit that there might be an already identified problem yet to receive adequate attention. And, I can admit that there possibly is no unique problem that needs to be solved for other issues to be remedied. However, the very possibility that Nigeria's issues have been misdiagnosed is intriguing and presents a compelling challenge worth considering. At the end of the day, there are many things that need to happen in Nigeria at a federal government level, at a state government level and just as importantly, at an individual level, to overcome the difficulties all well meaning individuals want resolved. Sometimes, thinking outside the conventional box helps identify and solve those issues and hopefully, Nigeria, and other similar countries, will do so very soon.
What do you think? Of the many problems attributed to Nigeria, is there one more important than the others? Or, do you think there might be another issue, yet to be addressed that plays a part in staling Nigeria's progress?
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