Once again, I read someone’s comment on a friend’s Facebook page a while ago saying that the quote which was my friend’s Facebook status post was a “confirmation that Nigeria is a failed state”. Such statements always rile me. While I understand the frustration, disappointments, expectations, anger, cynicism, and sarcasm that are behing such remarks, I believe we really must get our facts right on this matter. Hence this note; though I had written on the subject in the past.
Nigeria being a “failed state” is an often repeated OPINION of dubious “political analysts” which, sadly, some Nigerians (especially some “social critics”, many newspaper editors and columnists, and most human rights activists) have believed even though the evidence does not support the idea that Nigeria is a failed state.
Pot-hole-filled roads, poor social infrastructures, corruption, crime, weak human development indices, intense political rivalry, religious bigotry and even terrorism do not by themselves translate to a country being a failed state. Or else most countries even in the northern hemisphere would qualify as failed.
The Foreigh Policy Group publishes the Annual Failed States Index(please use this link to visit their website:
http://www.facebook.com/l/c446fF4hJGVyjVTa1VLgxNwEVvQ;www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/2010_failed_states_index_interactive_map_and_rankings). By the popular definition that a failed state is a “state that can no longer perform its basic security, and development functions and that has no effective control over its territory and borders……one that can no longer reproduce the conditions for its own existence” (please see http://www.facebook.com/l/c446f50gOJ-H22nsiQrUM6mbBfg;www.crisisstates.com/download/drc/FailedState.pdf ), countries like Spain (with its Basque separatist movement), Mexico (with the drug wars), U.S.A. (with its huge unrepayable debt burden, high crime rate, inability to police its borders effectively, unemployment rate etc,), Ireland and most E.U. countries should be regarded as failed.
As the interactive map which the link above shows, Nigeria is ranked as the 14th failed state and is supposedly in worse condition than Burundi, Togo, Georgia, Bukina Faso, Liberia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Niger and Yemen among others. If you’re familiar with the situation in these countries you would see how ridiculous the perception of Nigeria as a failed state is. Yes, we have many challenges but which nation on earth does not. A classic failed state is Somalia where there is virtually no government in existence. Guess which other countries the arm-chair analysts of Foreign Policy Group considers as failed states and categorised as being “In Danger”: India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, Indonesia…..and even China.
The objective here is to emphasize that we frequently succumb to, and accept without thought, the stereotypical “Nigeria” which some neo-colonial elements in the west who do not realise that the world’s epicentre is shifting east and south of the equator from London/Paris/New York/Washington D.C. and that another international order is emerging.
If I may use a banking analogy, it would be wrong, for instance, for the CBN/NDIC to classify say Zenith Bank or First Bank as Failed Banks and liquidate them simply because the banks have some fraudsters in some branches and they have numerous operational glitches even though the fundamental prudential parametres for measuring bank solvency are positive.
Wrong diagnosis=Wrong treatment! If we deem Nigeria a failed state, the real work of nation-building may be undermined as the wrong assessment of the problems inevitably leads to wrong strategies for solving them and, of course, the consequence is wrong outcomes.
Please let’s stop this nonsense about Nigeria being a failed state. NIGERIA IS NOT A FAILED STATE!
GOD BLESS NIGERIA!!
Eghes Eyieyiens is a Lagos based Business Consultant, Risk Ratings, Human Capital Development, Investments and economic analyst.