Is Nigeria Truly the Big Brother Africa? The Identification Of True Leadership

5 January 2010

By Salim Salihu Muhammed


Nigeria is at a crossroad. Many Nigerians has resulted to this statement over a month owing to the fact that we lack a sitting president which had been perceived to result to a standstill in most of governance as well as signing and implementing the supplementary budget and various other projects. However, there came a relief with the signing of the bill at the New Aso Rock Villa at King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Saudi Arabia.


The last UN’s assembly election that selected the country to chair the United Nation’s Security Council could be viewed as a complement to the nation’s assumed success at restoring peace to the troubled Niger Delta region in spite of President YarÁdua’s continuous absence at the United Nations general assembly over the last two years. Nigeria could have played a big brother role for the black continent; bailing out several African countries and helped in restoring democracy, but the irony of this feat is its inability to respect the principles of true democracy, governance and the country’s constitution. 

It will be a symphony to say that this country cannot achieve its economic reform policies aimed at bettering the lives of its citizens with its enormous resources; the biggest of all is its inability to fulfil its promise to give the people a token 6,000 MW of electricity by the end of 2009. Every other sector, notably the agricultural sector is suffering neglect and rejection. Before the discovery of oil, which led to the dearth of our rich wealth in agriculture and solid minerals, the US dollar was alleged to be exchanged for 70 kobo or less. What translates today for our leaders who had enjoyed this benefits is a fiesta of enriching themselves on taxpayers’ (or oil people’s) money with no sympathy for the common man. For a country with more than 80 million of its over 150 million citizens alleged to be living below the poverty line, and about 80% of this group lacking access to quality health care delivery system, education, shelter and electricity; one is left to wonder and ponder if Nigeria is truly the Big Brother Africa. 

Now that the odyssey towards enlisting Nigeria among top economies had commenced, whether it is called Vision 2020, Economic Recovery, or Transformation, it is now an open challenge for Nigerians to truly claim the Big Brother Africa status by redefining strategies to curb corruption, especially in the public sector, create and implement feasible macroeconomics theories that would improve the country’s per capita income, create gainful employment, health care and education for all. However, the cardinal effect of this retainer ship is our collective support to governance through commitment, inter-dependency (acting locally and thinking globally), continued exhibition of the can do spirit. None-the-less, our association with true economists (nations) will determine the possibility of seeing the light after the tunnel, or tearing us and the possibility of the light apart. 

While nation is at the verge of “rebranding” to gain recognition and acceptance, top leaders seems to be abusing this concept for personal gain even as we have an out-of-form president, thereby availing us negative image in the international community. It is obvious that the country is faced with enormous task in ensuring its integrity, may be a “Rawlings” formula could be a better option if we cannot give the constitution its rightful respect. Perhaps, the identification of true leadership will be the only panacea to our dearth economy ditched away with corruption and selfish leaders; else, it could be wise to say Botswana is the economic giant of Africa having ranked 37 among 180 world countries, and 1st in Africa. Until we fix our economic, political, electoral and judicial systems, we should give credence to Cape Verde (a country who gained independence in 1975 and only had its first election in 1991) and Ghana with their favourable Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI). If for any reason there should be a big Brother Africa, I think Cape Verde and Ghana stand a better chance to claim that laurel.


Salim Salihu Muhammed




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