Every country is a manifestation of a story a people have created for themselves. A story of who they are, their purpose, dreams, values and passions. The success and relevance of a country is equally predicated on the efficacy of the people’s collective idea of their country which is their common story. When this (collective idea – story) fails collapse is the only inevitability that follows.
The Nigerian story has suffered a lot of distortions, misinterpretations and misrepresentations that it has been repeatedly called to question and has lost its essential value both for its citizens and the world at large. Can we make sense out of this story any longer? Is it still viable and effective or is it ineffective now? How relevant is this story to the average Nigerian and what is (are) the possible consequences of a lost Nigerian story.
The recent happenings in Nigeria’s political space have left most people in the dark and confused as to what the future of the country would be in the short or long term. Some hope and pray it survives as one united giant nation of Africa, others envisage no foreseeable future for it as it appears bleak to them and yet others are unsure about what its future holds.
Following an educated reflection on the history of Nigeria and Africa and an in-depth meditation on the realities of the current global progression my calculated bet is that on or before the year 2050 the country ‘Nigeria’ as we know it today will cease to exist.
The possible causes to this guess are:
• The palpable absence of a national dream
• The apparent loss of faith in the Nigerian story
• The progressive increase in the state’s fragility
• The new socio-economic realities of the 21st century
• The political structure of the country
• The fixated geopolitical foundational realities of the country
This projection is not an exaggerated guess or something borne out of hatred or naive cynicism but it is the outcome of an educated reflection on the country’s future having gathered all the relevant data at my disposal.
Let me in a nutshell highlight the possible leading causes to Nigeria’s avoidable collapse.
1.The Palpable Absence of a National Dream: Nigeria as it appears currently has no national purpose, no clear national vision of what it wants for its citizens and what it expects its place to be in the world in the nearest future. What its component parts have at best are ethnic dreams of what their ethnic nations want out of the Nigerian project. And this has informed their actions and inactions towards the lone country leaving it naked, lonely and unguarded.
Following a lack of national dream they have been unable to develop a common national vision that would be all-inclusive. Hence they are unable to formulate a purposeful national educational system (curriculum) that reflects a national dream that is aimed at orieting citizens in this regard. With different schools adopting different educational patterns, different values taught and adopted. Thus ideological coherence will be missing in the collective consciousness of the citizens to be unable to make sense out of their country and to chart a common course. Hence when the forces of division come they will be unable to contain it (even with the force of the state). Because of these separate ideological leanings the centre will be overwhelmed and courtesy of this ideological vacuum in the collective consciousness which will adversely affect the collective willpower of the citizenry the country will summarily collapse.
Again because of the sheer ignorance prevalent in the country, consistent marginalisation, pursuit of ethnic interests, dreams, and vendetta, widespread corruption in all institutions, weak and unstable institutions hijacked by the elite, individual and ethnic insecurity and blatant refusal to address these issues of national urgency the agitations will constantly rock the country on a yearly basis. If the root causes of these agitations go unheeded and unsolved. They will summarily overwhelm the polity and the state apparatchik leading to the final implosion of the country.
Thus following the new socio-economic realities of the 21st century and other developing external and internal factors the different parts will summarily pursue their respective ethnic agendas. And with the ethnic marginalisation and subjugations and the present way they are left unattended, will become so unbearable threatening opposing ethnic dreams even to the point of ethnic cleansing as nearly witnessed in the past. This will cause the different parts to finally go their different ways causing the collapse of the country.
The Apparent Loss of Faith in the Nigerian Story
Nations, countries and institutions are all imagined orders upon which humans organize themselves and corporate flexibly in order to achieve success both individually and corporately. An imagined order is a common idea people create for themselves about who they are and want to achieve they believe in this stories and propagate it to the point that it becomes very vivid in their minds. It is a story they share through intersubjective consciousness. In physical reality it doesn’t exist, it only exists in their minds and any day the people cease to believe in this story the institution or country ceases to have relevance and thus dies.
As it stands today Nigeria has so failed as a country that it imbues no hope for its citizen and even when some pretending patriots try to eke out some hope from it they are further confronted by the implausibility of such reality. This stems from the fact that its foundation was created on falsehood and it was so bad that even the founding fathers, (indigenous and foreign) didn’t believe in it. And having continuously failed the people economically, politically, socially, and otherwise they people’s hope in it have continually been eroded to the tiniest point where nothing is left of it.
Therefore following, the massive loss of faith in the union on a mass scale due to ethnic concerns, institutional failures, large scale corruption and economic collapse amongst others the collective consciousness of the people that acts as a binding force will weaken and the Nigerian story having lost relevance for the average citizen will cease to exist in their minds causing finally the collapse of the country.
The Progressive increase in the State’s Fragility:
Since 2008 Nigeria has maintained a steady ascent in the fragility state index (FSI) – a table showing the rankings of failed or failing states. In all the indicators used as criteria she has fared badly and has continually improved its prospects of clinching the top position from the 13th she currently occupies. Following a steady progressive decline in the social, political, and economic indicators of the country over the years in addition to the palpable loss of leadership and disillusioned follower-citizenry who are so disgruntled with some fleeing the country it is not out of place to predict that the imminent collapse of the Nigerian state is inevitably close.
The New Socio-economic Realities of the 21st Century
As the global economy gradually shifts from material based to knowledge based it would become impossible for a Nigerian economy that is a dependent consumerist material based economy to survive and carry the weight of the country. It is almost a fact that by 2050 relevant economies in the world will be knowledge based as most have already evolved. Currently the most successful and wealthiest countries like China, US, Britain, Finland, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland etc. Are knowledge based economies whose main sources of revenue are from inventions in technology, scientific discoveries and biotechnological breakthroughs and not on the extraction of natural raw material resources. Thus the export more than they import. Their food and agriculture are technologically driven and the whole system from public administration to private businesses are all automated. In 2006 the list of the top 5 global brands was dominated by material based companies with Microsoft as the only tech company on the table by 2017 the list is dominated by tech companies throughout.
The incidence of technological disruption, massive digitization and automation are increasingly getting traction as people and companies and institutions are continually investing and developing these areas. The risk of massive job loss occasioned by the technological takeover of both manual and cognitive work from humans and a consequent creation of a useless and irrelevant class of humans poses one of the greatest threat to humanity in this century. With the rise of science and technology inventions are increasing at a breakneck pace the individuals, institutions, companies, and countries who are going to stay relevant are those who are able to match up to the new techno-scientific realities of the 21st century.
Presently, Nigeria’s economy is mainly based on the export of natural resources like crude oil, palm, cash crops etc which makes it material based. These are fast becoming irrelevant to global economy. Take oil for example, the incidence of global warming has turned it from being the most sought after global commodity to the commodity whose replacement is most sought after. The likelihood of a better replacement is very close to us let’s say in one or two decades to come.
Unfortunately in the face of this reality Nigeria has grossly under performed in all developmental ramifications. It has failed to utilise its beneficial oil proceeds to ramp up its economy and infrastructure to meet up with the infrastructural realities of the 21st century and be up to date. Because of its poor infrastructure it has been unable to diversify its economy and because of widespread corruption it has failed to transform its economy from a material based to a knowledge-based. Thus it has remained a consumerist economy and all of these have made it weak and unsustainable.
Therefore, following a global neglect of oil by major oil consumers in the world by 2040 and a possible inevitable shift of the global economy from material based to knowledge based by 2050 Nigeria’s economy will become grossly irrelevant, redundant, stale and stultified. In addition to these possible economic realities is the exploding population of Nigeria which is surging up to 300million with meagre resources to cater for them. When these realities are added to the apparent loss of national dream, lack of clear and definite economic plan for the future, it is possible to logically project that the over-population will overwhelm the economy and political structure which would in addition to the attendant political and social issues already hampering its survival cause it to become unbearably weak and summarily collapse.
The rhetoric of “One Nigeria” is firmly established on the juicy economic pie of crude located in the southern part of Nigeria and this has fuelled the lack of negotiation and forceful maintenance of the Nigerian union. With the loss of economic relevance of the crude oil in the global market. The “One Nigeria” singing parties in Nigeria will find no benefit in the forced union and will summarily seek to opt out leading to the disintegration of the country.
Following the leadership failure, widespread corruption, poor economy, social rife and general exhaustion on the part of the masses caused by the political elite. The masses will organise themselves through different ideological leaders and in different ideological bends they will rise up against the state-hijacking elite in an attempt to wrestle political power from them and oust them. But because of their subtle ideological ethnic loyalties the revolution will cause the disintegration of the country into different ideological lines.
The Geopolitical Realities of the Country:
The Nigerian geopolitics is so structured in such a way that the political power is fixated making for an inflexible political system that allows no healthy competition. This has for long determined the political trajectory of the country and will still determine it in the future. Following this trajectory in 2019 the North already basking in the euphoria of already won power will seek to consolidate on their hegemonic political gains, the West not threatened, with the little they already have will seek to further broaden their political scope in the political equation of things. However, in the reality of this situation the South South and particularly South East with no political bearing in the Nigeria political space will become frustrated as their absence in the political world order will tell on almost all aspect of their life and foreseeing no clear political future in Nigeria will be forced to decide their own future they calls for restructuring and the Biafran agitation will increase first the might get a half-baked restructured Nigeria still in favour of the North and West. With this hypocrisy they will fight harder for their freedom gaining sympathy home and abroad. Eventually they would summarily secede Nigeria to restore a sovereign Biafran State. This Biafra will be nothing like old African states, it would surprise African States it would challenge the negative notion of the black world, it would trail the blaze and become a vanguard of African hope in the 21st century. In Biafra Africa will live.