According to Cambridge online dictionary, an underdeveloped country is a country that is less developed economically than most others, with little industry and little money spent on education, health care, etc. And according to the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Report, April 2014 and World Bank data, Nigeria is among the 154 developing countries of the world. But what stands Nigeria apart from most other underdeveloped nations aside poor infrastructure is the infamous “Nigerian factor”.
This factor is responsible for the underdeveloped minds of most people including leaders who when entrusted with public offices will rather choose to serve themselves and their families. How else can one define a scenario where a leader who is highly educated and internationally exposed will rather choose to squander public funds and repatriate such to foreign bank accounts while infrastructures are left to decay?
Even the middle class and the poor also are not left out as they suffer haplessly from this underdevelopment of the mind by passively encouraging corruption. It is sad when one hears people casually say they will not participate in the upcoming elections to choose their leaders as they already know their votes will not count. Citizens recline from holding their leaders accountable and will rather worship corrupt leaders whose source of overnight wealth is questionable.
Yours sincerely was jubilating on social network pages like Facebook and twitter on the ongoing infrastructural revival currently blowing across the country. Of particular interest was the revitalization of the moribund rail facilities. It was heartwarming sharing pictures of brand new trains which the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration just acquired and the time schedules for its journey across some cities of the country departing from Iddo Terminus in Lagos through Ibadan, Offa, Ilorin, Minna, Kaduna, Kano, etc. But the reception from most Nigerians on this welcoming news is rather cold and half-hearted, as people expressed their reservation on how long this facilitates may run for as they variously sighted the Nigerian factor which will ensure that in few years down the line these rail facilities will decay once more.
This now brings one to the pertaining question if actually we are only an underdeveloped nation or rather a developing nation with underdeveloped minds. This is because it seems most people have simply given up on the country and concluded things can’t work here. Officials appointed to run national facilities and investments prefer to mismanage and run down these facilities and will rather use the ill-gotten wealth to spend on the same facilities in nearby Ghana or Europe.
Assuming a research study was to be commissioned which could empty the whole inhabitants of Nigeria into a developed country such as the United Kingdom, and also all UK citizens are equally emptied into an underdeveloped Nigeria. In about 10 years of study observation, it will be pleasantly surprising to discover that the once stagnant Nigeria will be vibrantly working and on its way to full development and industrialization, while on the other hand the already developed UK will be downwardly on its way to underdevelopment.
The reasons for these will not be far-fetched, because immediately the UK citizens with their developed minds arrive into their new home (Nigeria), they will immediately work towards fixing the decay in the economy devoid of corruption, ethno-religious squabbles, etc. Then if one were to take a trip down to the UK now filled with Nigerians in 10 years, one wouldn’t be too shocked to see the total decay of all the facilities already put in place in UK.
To construct a quick scenario, once the Nigerians arrive on the streets of London, one wouldn’t be surprised to see the streetlights getting missing as some people will become merchant dealers in streetlights overnights. And others entrusted to run the rail facilities will become dealer merchants in train parts and equipment. And finally before the end of the decade under review, you will see Nigerians who are in the UK scampering in long queues to get visas to come down to Nigeria and spend the ill-gotten wealth they have made in the UK.
So are we truly an underdeveloped country or a nation of underdeveloped minds?
Diana-Abasi Alphonsus Udoh
A public affairs analyst writes from Copenhagen, Denmark
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