Professor Basil Chukwuemeka Nwankwo (PhD)


This work examined and interrogated the reasons why the 21st century Nigeria appears to be a paradox which is a reflection of the opposite of the development strides, goals and objectives set for the country by the founding fathers on attainment of independence in 1960. The founding fathers of Nigeria gave the country the 1960 independence constitution and the 1963 Republican Federal constitution which interalia emphasized the national development objectives of the country to be- increase in per capital income, more even distribution of income; reduction in the level of unemployment; increase in the supply of high level manpower; balanced development and indigenization of the economy. The Nigerian founding fathers emphasized that for the country to attain greatness in terms of adequate security and achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs), the political leadership and administration should be anchored on pursuance of a united, strong and self-reliant nation; a great and dynamic economy; a just and egalitarian society; a land of bright and full opportunities for all its citizens and a free and democratic society. All these lofty ideas and aspirations of the founding fathers notwithstanding, development in Nigeria in the 21st century has not met public expectations over the years. This is why Nigeria appears to be a paradox in the 21st century, despite being blessed with vast abundant human and natural resources which if adequately had been managed by the past and present administrations of the country would have made Nigeria an ‘elderado’ (i.e. paradise and envy of the world). The methodology adopted for the study is dialectical materialism which gives primacy to material conditions, particularly economic factors, in the explanation of social life. The justification for giving economic factors such primacy is because man is first and foremost an economic being. To begin with, economic need is man’s most fundamental need. Unless man is able to meet this need he cannot exist in the first place. Man must eat before he can do anything else- before he can worship, pursue culture or become a leader. When an individual achieves a level of economic well-being such that he can take the basic necessities, particularly the daily food for granted, the urgency of economic need loses its edge. Nevertheless, the primacy remains. The fact that one is not constantly preoccupied with and motivated by economic needs shows that the needs are being met; it does not show they are not of primary importance. The greatest benefit of this tool of theoretical framework of analysis and method is that we must pay particular attention to the economic structure of society and indeed use it as the point of departure for studying other aspects of society. Once we understand what the material assets and constraints of a society are, how the society produces goods to meet its material needs, how the goods are distributed and what types of social relations arise from the organization of production, we have come a long way to understanding the culture of that society, its laws, its religious system, its political system and even its modes of thought. Thus methodological application of dialectical materialism to the study reveals the major findings in our contemporary Nigeria societies in the 21st century. First, economic inequality is extremely important in Nigeria because it tends to reproduce itself endlessly in a series of other inequalities especially access to political power which makes the economically privileged groups in the corridors of power to continuously reinforce it through corruptions and perpetuation in office. Second, the security challenges and poor achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the areas of health, education, social services etc, in Nigeria are attributable to extreme poverty and economic inequalities in the society. Third, tribalism flourishes in Nigeria mainly because it is useful especially in the economic sense. It provides access to ‘important’ people for villagers and the unemployed seeking jobs in the cities; it fills to a considerable extent the gap left by the lack of a social security system in the country. Finally, Nigerian Government excessive use of police and soldiers to truncate any form of anti-government lawful protests and opposition both in the past and at present are largely responsible for the perceived marginalization, insecurity and quest for self-determination by some sections of the country. Based on the findings it is recommended that Nigerian government at all times as a panacea to the security challenges and achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) should allow conversations that will lead to an acceptable constitutional reforms by both the majority and minority ethnic nationalities in the country. Also, there should be an electoral reforms with electronic transmission of results for transparency capable of producing leaders with a strong political will to build a united, strong and self-reliant nation; a great and dynamic economy; a just and egalitarian society; a land of bright and full opportunities for all its citizens; and a free and democratic society as was envisioned by the founding fathers.


Paradox, Development, Security challenges, Dialectical materialism.

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