Recent Socio-Economic Performance essay
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Nigeria is a big producer of oil in the African continent and indeed in the whole world. It joined the OPEC during the economic boom in the oil sector in the year 1970. During this period, there were several billions of dollars generated from the oil wells of Nigeria around the Niger Delta. This money was taken into the public coffers by the government making the government quite very rich and a lucrative place to be. Later on the initial rivalries erupted with the claims that a clique of military men from the North were benefiting from the oil revenues at the expense of the entire population of Nigeria and it may cause the destruction of the economy. This eventually necessitated the subdivisions of the country into several federal states. However, the cutthroat kind of economic and political competition was transferred to the federal states as they became the centre of all struggles as well as the threshold of political power in the country. As such, the country emerged too dependent on the oil economy as the oil revenues seemed too lucrative for the political players at the moment. This coupled with dependence on the international commodity markets spelled doom to the federal system of governance in the state of Nigeria (Falola, 1999).
Nigerians attempted to get back to political sanity at the beginning of the year 1979, when Obasanjo briefly returned the country to civilian government under the leadership of Shehu Shagari. However, shortly after this the public perception grew loud and clear that they were dissatisfied with the rampant corruption in the Shagari government. This was made worse by the fact that people viewed it as inept and unable to implement any tangible policies in virtually all the economic sectors of the country. This necessitated another military coup that was led by Buhari immediately after the 1984 election which they described as too fraudulent to be accepted. Indeed, the general public viewed this move as a positive step toward attainment of sanity in the country. The new leader, Bahari, promised far-reaching reforms in the state that would resuscitate all the economic sectors of the country. However, it did not do any better for the next several months leading to his eventual removal in yet another military coup in the year 1985 (Agbu, 2004).
The new coup brought into the limelight a new leader known as Ibrahim Babangida who promptly declared himself the undisputed president and the commander in chief of the Nigeria’s armed forces. The political tenure of the President Babangida was punctuated with a flurry of activity including the institution of the Structural Adjustment Program to aid in the repayment of the whooping debts that the country had acquired during the successive regimes on the advice of the International Monetary Fund. Indeed, he commissioned a significant amount of the federal revenue towards the servicing of these debts. However, he is said to have inflamed the ethnic tensions in the country by enrolling the country into the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a move that technically elevated the North above the South. Nonetheless, he was able to suppress a military coup attempt against his government (Falola, 1999).
The military coup attempt seemed to have taught him a lesson and come the year 1992, he renewed his mission of returning the country to democracy. These efforts saw the country go into a general election that was largely free and fair. However, a stubborn Babangida declared the election null and void as it had favored another candidate, Moshood Abiola. As a result, civilian violence erupted yet again closing down all operations in the country for a period of weeks, forcing Babangida to honor his earlier pledge to hand over power to a civilian government that became known as the caretaker government. It survived only till the year 1993. Nonetheless, Babangida’s regime left a mark in the history of Nigerian people as historians credit this regime with the dilution of corruption that had become official in the country. (Adams, 2004).
Following the re-election of Obasanjo as president of Nigeria in the year 1999, the country returned to some degree of stability and democratic governance. Although all the elections that landed him at the helm have all been described as unfair, Nigeria under Obasanjo has greatly improved on the country’s development record as well as reduced corruption. In the year 2007, the country saw yet another smooth transition of the power during which Umaru Yar’Adua of the Democratic Party was elected as president. However, ethnic tensions are still rife between the North and the South as it was recently seen in ethnic violence that was basically a scramble for the oil revenues. Even under the current president Jonathan Goodluck, the country remains politically volatile. The different regions of the larger Nigeria country are currently engaged in a serious debate over infrastructural development which is seen to be skewed in favor of certain ethnic groups (Agbu, 2004).
The GDP estimates as at the year 2011 stands at $ 415.132 billion and a per capita income of about $ 2589. Besides, the Human Development Index is quite appreciable, with the Gini index indicating serious inequalities across the regions. Currently, the music is said to be the most popular art in Nigeria. It encompasses lots of different kinds of music including folk and popular songs that are known across the world. However, these are based along the ethnic lines, with each having its own instrumentation as well as the musical techniques (Nigeria's population hits 167 million, 2011).
Nigeria’s situation is not any different from most other countries in Africa. Indeed, corruption has been said to hamper the development in virtually all the countries in Africa. Further, the cases of ethnic tension are not alien to the countries in the region. Even Kenya that has severally been described as a beacon of peace in the region recently found itself in ethnic violence following a disputed general election in the year 2007. Meanwhile, Nigeria can only hope and pray that its new-found peace and stability will last and actually see it emerge as the new economic powerhouse in the African continent (Nigeria's population hits 167 million, 2011).