Category: Politics

Nigeria at 60: A Thousand Words in a Graph

Nigeria at 60: A Thousand Words in a Graph

On 1 October 1960, the landmass internationally known as Nigeria was granted independence by its erstwhile “colonial masters”, setting the stage for a journey that has now spanned sixty years. There are already a tonne of viewpoints and articles evaluating the sexagenarian with in-depth analysis, but I have chosen a different route. Instead of making a judgement call, I would present data and let you decide how Nigeria fared over six decades. After all, they say “a [graph] is worth a thousand words”.

First, I digress. I began this blog on 1 October 2014, so it’s been six years of writing continuously, sporadically, and sometimes infrequently. Across about 270 articles, I think I have maintained my course, writing about anything that caught my fancy — “The World As I See It”. Here’s a toast to whatever the future may hold for this blog.

Back to Nigeria at 60. As you proceed, you would see some graphs categorised under economy, health, education, and infrastructure. Within these categories, I have selected some indices to empirically assess Nigeria’s performance from 1960 to 2020. For indices such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that are inherently continuous (on an annual basis), data is shown for four milestone years, while for indices such as literacy level that is discrete because countries do not report on a yearly basis, I have taken the latest available data, which may or may not be for 2020. The data was extracted from the World Bank’s data portal that aggregates indicators from diverse sources.

Nigeria’s performance was compared with four sets of countries comprising:

  • African Peers – Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa
  • Asian Tigers – Singapore, South Korea
  • Similar Population – Brazil
  • Other Boomers – China, Malaysia

One last thing before you proceed. In my former life as a management consultant, my boss would have been highly disappointed that I would throw out data without any “so what?” analysis. I have deliberately chosen to sin today because if I had to discuss each graph, maybe this would become a thesis. May you read the thousand words that I have not written!

Population for context

Economy

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Is it all about GDP?

GDP Per Capita

Is the “per capita” metric a good equaliser?

Health

Life Expectancy

Does the health system affect life expectancy?

Maternal Mortality Rate

Why does childbearing cause deaths?

Infant Mortality Rate

Why are infants dying?

Education

Adult Literacy Rate

Do we even need “western education”?

Educational Attainment

Should we bother with anything beyond secondary school?

Infrastructure

Electric Power Consumption

What is the economic use of electricity?

Electricity Access

Should we bother providing electricity to the rural farmer?

Final Thoughts

They say data does not lie but you can lie with data. You have looked at a snapshot of Nigeria over sixty years. Have we done well? Or, do we deserve knocks just above our cerebrum? While you’re at it, there’s a thoughtful article from Tim Nwaobilo that I think you should read.

Image Credit (Nigeria at 60 logo): Government of Nigeria

Of A General, His Colonel, and Justice

Of A General, His Colonel, and Justice

The famed novelist, Salman Rushdie once opined that “Two things form the bedrock of any open society – freedom of expression and rule of law. If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a free country.” If these two are essential ingredients, then it may be debatable whether Nigeria, “Africa’s largest democracy”, is a “free country”; “free” in the sense that citizens are assured of the government and society’s commitment to the rule of law. Talking about commitment to the rule of law, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Retd.) was just released after four years of confinement, with serious questions about the place of the rule of law in Nigeria.

Continue reading “Of A General, His Colonel, and Justice”
Nigeria’s War Against Holistic Planning

Nigeria’s War Against Holistic Planning

The iconic painter, Pablo Picasso, is acclaimed to have said that “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” If there is any validity to Picasso’s claim that a properly implemented plan is the only route to success, what then do we say to individuals and institutions that act like planning is anathema to success. Maybe such persons know something the rest of the world is ignorant of, or maybe the ignorance, wilful or accidental, is in the other direction.

Continue reading “Nigeria’s War Against Holistic Planning”
The Blindside Called State Budgets

The Blindside Called State Budgets

“No man is wise at all times, or is without his blind side”

Desiderius Erasmus

The quote by Desiderius sets the stage for an article that has been on my mind for quite a while. The first time I came across the word “blindside”, it was used in the context of a sports game where players may focus so much on a certain opposing team’s key player and in trying to prevent that person from scoring, they inadvertently leave their flanks unattended for another opposition player to exploit, sometimes, resulting in catastrophic loses. Looking at the political system, we can see this analogy play out so well in the way Nigerians focus all their energy on the Federal Government.

Continue reading “The Blindside Called State Budgets”
Ultra-Legal Fraud

Ultra-Legal Fraud

I remember hearing someone joke that the Queen of England cannot be charged with a crime nor even arrested because all public prosecution is done “in the name of Her Majesty”, effectively making at least one person in the United Kingdom legally above the law. Back here in Nigeria, the Queen’s immunity makes me think of the legal armed robbers, licensed murderers, and now, the lawful lawbreakers. Unfortunately, the last set cannot truly be called lawbreakers as the law is whatever they say it is.

Continue reading “Ultra-Legal Fraud”
Now that the Elections have Ended

Now that the Elections have Ended

A little while has passed since the last time I tapped my keyboard composing a document that was unrelated to my day job. In the intervening time, I got married, and Nigeria held its most expensive elections ever to select office holders for the next four years. Except for my Rivers State, which now operates a different wavelength, other states have concluded their selection processes. Today’s article is more of a potpourri of my thoughts on different issues related to the elections. Although each issue merits a full article in its own rights, let’s accept what will be a summarisation.

Continue reading “Now that the Elections have Ended”
Cry, My Beloved Port Harcourt

Cry, My Beloved Port Harcourt

There is a popular proverb in Nigeria which states, “The person who has never left his father’s farm thinks the farm is the biggest in the village”. If the meaning has not jumped at you, here’s another version: “Until you leave your father’s house, you will think your mother is the best cook on earth”. There’s some kind of epiphany that happens when you go outside your conventional zone and get to experience life in other areas. This has been my experience with Port Harcourt.  Continue reading “Cry, My Beloved Port Harcourt”

Metele: A Fork in History?

Metele: A Fork in History?

It is no longer news that Nigeria got screwed in the week of 18 November 2018. This article was triggered by a grievous tweet. My country just lost over 100 trained soldiers in one week. That’s enough to upset me.

Continue reading “Metele: A Fork in History?”

Nigerian Politics: The Façade of Political Parties

Nigerian Politics: The Façade of Political Parties

I have a friend who has formed the habit of typing “John 8:7” as a reply whenever we have any discussion that hovers around politics, especially when the context is about the rightness or wrongness of a given view. I would usually argue with him on my fundamental human right to judge others but today I would take his side as I write about an issue for which I have also been guilty.  Continue reading “Nigerian Politics: The Façade of Political Parties”

America’s Unfair Fairness

America’s Unfair Fairness

When I decided to write this article, I roamed in search for a suitable quote to set as its façade. Two quotes tugged at my shirt so much that I couldn’t decide which to denominate, so I’ll leave the choice to you.

“The only animal capable of giving man a fair fight is man. Actually, among ourselves, we fight unfairest of all, and the more we practice, the nastier we get.”

—Robert Buettner

“Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.”

—Christopher Hitchens

Continue reading “America’s Unfair Fairness”