Nigeria Political Issues: Overview, Causes and Solutions
The Problems of Nigerian Politics
Nigeria as a country located in the West Africa has suffered many political issues from the time of independence till date. The country has been facing both internal and external political challenges. The political problems are one of the major challenges in Nigeria. It is not as if the politicians that cause the issues in the country are the people to suffer the resultant effects of what they are doing in the country; rather the citizens of the country feel them the most.
Nigeria was created by the British colonial masters that ruled the nation in the year 1914. These Britain explored what they found in Nigeria and used them in the development of their own region. Where do we start from? The Nigeria’s crude oil, agricultural products, cotton, cocoa, palm products or their likes? As if they were not enough, the Britain went further to the extent of taking Nigerians from their own country to foreign countries for slavery.
Since Nigeria got her independence from her colonial masters, she has not taken in good and fresh breath as there are many political crises that the country has been experiencing since then.
In the year 1960, Nigeria was officially given independence. This happened on October 1, 1960. Because of the emergence of the independence, every citizen of the country felt very happy that the country called the “Federal Republic of Nigeria” is now free from the bondage of the selfish Britain that colonized them for many years. But, who knew that the joy will soon turn into sadness because of the wicked people who were aspiring for political leadership. The quest for power in Nigeria gave birth to the most remarkable political crisis in the country.
In the year 1967, Nigeria experienced her first Civil war that rendered many homeless and helpless. Till today, the country is still suffering from the impact of the war. Many lost their beloved ones and others perished in hunger and starvation. Mothers died; fathers died; and children died as well. This has left scar on many citizens of the country, mostly the tribe called Igbo, that make them to fear the word “war” when mentioned. The war continued until 1970 when it stopped.
The Nigerian Civil War is also called the Biafran war because the war started due to the fact that the Biafrans (the name that the Igbos answered) wanted to stay on their own and answer a separate name as a separate country without being called Nigerians again. Irrespective of the fact that the civil war of Nigeria has ended, there are still internal political wars going on in the country.
Nigeria is made up of a population of about 158.4 Million according to the 2010 World Bank report. As Nigeria has this high number of human population, so is the number of political parties in the country as every politician wants to be governor or president. Because of the hunger to attain on leadership position of the other, it has resulted to political crises and disintegration.
Notwithstanding the level of bloodshed that Nigeria passed through during the civil war, blood is still being shed on the land till today. In fact, the northern part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is becoming blood soaked because of the negative resultant effects of political crises in the country. Houses, car packs, gas stations, market placing, churches and schools are being burnt down because one person or the other wants to rule as the president of the country. But the truth is that everybody will not be the president or governor of Nigeria.
In the 2015 Presidential, National Assembly, Gubernatorial, and state House of Assembly election in the country, there were political crises being witnessed in so many states of the country. Citizens of the country taught that hijacking of ballot boxes during election is now history but it took place. A notable example is the one that occurred at Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Boko Haram in their recent attacks in Nigeria has caused so many problems in the country. These are men who have come together to destroy the leadership of the current administration yet no better impact has been made by the current government to conquer them. The army force of Nigeria does not have sound and quality military equipment to fight this group of blood suckers because of inadequate organization by the leading administration. In the current army department of Nigeria, many soldiers of the country has refused to confront Boko Haram not because they are afraid but due to the fact that the equipment used by insurgence is more superior than that which the Federal Government of Nigeria is able to provide for the people who vowed to sacrifice their lives for the good of the country. How can somebody with cutlass go and fight the person with AK-47?
Statistics shows that Boko Haram has killed many Nigerians and this is because of the political corruption and other issues in the country. The Boko Haram Islamic insurgency started their wicked business attack in Nigeria in the year 2009. According to Premium Times report on January 12, 2015, Boko Haram has killed more than 13,000 Nigerians in five years (2009-2014). The statistics is evidence on how political issues through Boko Haram have been sucking the blood of innocent Nigerians.
Causes of Political Issues/Crises in Nigeria
There are many factors that have been propelling political issues or crises in the country, Nigeria. These factors have been the brain behind the political problems in the country. Among the causes of political issues in Nigeria are, but not limited to:
- Bad governance
- The cost of politics
The word “greed” has caused so many problems not only to Nigeria but to many areas in the world. Greediness is a tool that destroyed many countries and turns things upside down. It is because of greed that made insurgency to fight the former president of Libya who refused to step down from the government for another candidate to take over.
In Nigeria, we have seen many situations where political parties fight one another. A political party may like to rule for many years without giving up power. Instead of not winning the political position, he rigs the election to see that power comes back to the ruling party. This is one of the major causes of political issues in Nigeria. We have seen many politicians in Nigeria fight in government houses all because of greed. This is what we cannot see in developed countries like the United States and Canada because they understand politics.
On 25 June 2015, the House of Representatives of the country witnessed free-for-all fight over issues. Also, on November 10, 2015, the country witnessed a capital insult as the Lawmakers of the country engaged in a fight over committee distribution. The incident raised dust in the country as the National Assembly was messed up by the leaders of the country. This is confirmed in through the statements by The Nation newspaper publication on November 11, 2015, thus: "There was tension yesterday in the National Assembly, as fight allegedly broke out between two lawmakers. The two legislators, Herman Hembe (APC Benue and chairman, FCT Committee) and Magaji Aliyu (APC Jigawa and a Femi Gbajabiamila loyalist), allegedly exchanged slaps at the lobby over issues related to committee distribution".
During swearing-in for new positions, the politicians took "strong oath". They made so many promises and swore to lead the citizens entrusted into their hands to the Promised land. But do they keep to all the oath they took during their swearing in? What we usually see at the end is clearly the opposite. And the truth is that what contributes to the betrayal by our so call leaders is greed. They assumed the positions and allowed themselves to be used full-time by this destructive factor called greed. What a pity. When they are used by greed, disaster in politics results, and that is termed political issue.
Many political issues in the Federal Republic of Nigeria are traceable to bad government. In the other words, one of the major causes of political issues or crisis in Nigeria is bad government. A government which is not properly handled or ruled is vulnerable to crisis relating to politics.
In Nigeria Civil war that occurred from 1967 to 1970, it is due to bad governance that made the Biafrans to say no that they will no longer belong to the country called Nigeria. Because of this bad governance, it gave birth to the identity called the Biafran War.
Under the leadership of President Buhari, we experience a lot of flaws. The leadership is accompanied with the hardest time the country has ever witnessed. The president refused to take good advice from his co-leaders in the other departments, and that has effected the country negatively.
Political and Self Satisfaction
Politicians should first of all be satisfied in the positions they are handling in every state or community. Political satisfaction will make every political party to stop being greedy to another party that is succeeding more than them. Self satisfaction on the other hand will help every politician in the country to be okay with what they have and do not fight the other directly or indirectly.
Religion plays important role when it comes to politics. It is hard for any aspiring president or governor in Nigeria to do without religion. The reason is because the large numbers of citizens of the country are either in Muslin or Christian religion. So, any governor or president that wants to win in any election in the country must identify with any of them or both.
We have seen situations in Nigeria were people who have not been going to church all of a sudden turn into the “holiest pope” on the planet earth. They turned into “holiest pope” as used in the context because they needed the votes of the Christians. After the election and they win, they go back to their old shell and forgot that Christianity has ever existed in the country. Who is deceiving who?
Religion on the other hand has caused so many political issues or crises in Nigeria. There was a time when the Muslims in Nigeria were attacking the Christians in the country all because of political reasons. Among these two most popular religious practice in Nigeria, each of them like someone that practice their religion to be found in leadership position. Because of this reason one sometimes attacks the other to occupy the leadership sit. Boko Haram insurgency attacks for instance started since President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria enter leadership position. Because of the fact that the president is a Christian, his leadership has experienced a lot of bloodshed by the insurgency.
The cost of running politics
The cost of running politics in Nigeria is high. It is so high that if you do not have enough money to share to the voters that decide on who they elect on the day of the election, forget about winning on that day. People buy their ways into political positions. People who have stolen enough money from their previous positions in government give out money on election days to win the positions they contest for.
So, your credibility as a candidate is not enough to get you any political position you want to occupy in the country. In Nigerian politics, you campaign with money. In some cases, how much you have to give out to the masses is directly proportional to the number of votes you are likely to get during elections. Running politics in Nigeria is very expensive.
Fundraising conducted ahead of the 2015 elections were done without regards to legal provisions. Campaign expenses, particularly of the two main presidential candidates, overshot the
N1 billion limit. Money was illegally used to buy votes and permanent voters cards. State administrative
resources were used by incumbent officials to facilitate party activities. Political party primaries became
a cash affair to lead to the possible emergence of the highest bidders. Yet, the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC), the regulatory body, is yet to investigate, prosecute and sanction erring parties and candidates for infringements. This has been the case since the transition to democratic governance in 1999 (2017).
Before the 2019 presidential elections in Nigeria, presidential candidates of different parties spent much during primaries. They spent these money before they were given tickets to contest under their individual parties. The money spent by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the primary attracted the attention of many Nigerians. Nigerians reacted negatively on this through social media sites.
The table below states the limit each candidate contesting for a political position in Nigeria is expected to spend. Irrespective of the fact that this amount is high, some candidates still spend more than this. It is clear that an average man cannot contest effectively with the money bag candidates in the country.
Solutions to Nigerian Political Issues
Irrespective of the fact that Federal Republic of Nigeria has many political issues, there are ideas that can rebuild the destroyed buildings. The solutions to Nigerian political issues when accepted and practiced will go a long way in solving the country’s political issues. Hence, the solutions to Nigeria political issues are:
- Political and self satisfaction;
- Cultivating the spirit of sportsmanship;
- Religious understanding; and
- Limiting the number of political parties in Nigeria;
Cultivating the Spirit of Sportsmanship
In the world of sports, we see players commit foul against the other and yet do not fight in the football pitch. That is the spirit of sportsmanship in action. After the foul, you still them embrace each other and continue with their football sports.
The political issues in Nigeria will be reduced if the country’s politicians understand the spirit of sportsmanship. The issues in Nigerian politics will be minimal if the political parties in the country understand the importance of spirit of sportsmanship. They should take politics as tidy game and not a dirty one that involve attacks on the other parties.
Religions in Nigeria should understand that every have the right to belong to any religious group of their choice. That you find yourself in Muslin is because you were given birth into that religion. On the other hand, that you find yourself today in Christian religion is because your parents gave birth to you in that religion.
All religious groups in Nigeria should not allow themselves to be used by any politician to cause political and national disaster. All attendants of Islam and Christian religions should use their initiative to different the bad from the good irrespective of the false teachings that they were given. All should take every man equal and see every to be qualified notwithstanding the religion the politician is coming from.
Reducing the Number of Political Parties in Nigeria
Another factor that contributes to political issues in Nigeria is the large number of political parties in the country. Among these political parties are those who want to make it into the leadership position either by hook or by crook. Because of the number of premature and hungry political parties in the country, they tend to cause political crises in the country during voting and other political gathering.
Nigeria which is the most populated country in African continent has suffered many political issues since her independence. These issues have given birth to other national crises including corruption in Nigeria, unemployment, poverty and other “negatives”. Discussed are political crises/issues in Nigeria, causes and the possible solutions.
If Nigeria wants to avoid all the political issues listed and explained here, politics in the country should not be taken as game again. It should be taken as what calls for selfless service. We can build a better Nigeria. One love.
- Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi (2015), Reps ‘fight’ in National Assembly, The Nation, Nigeria
- Adebowale Olorunmola (2017), Cost of Politics in Nigeria, published by Westminster Foundation for Democracy, United Kingdom
- Electoral Act (2015), Election Expenses Limit, published by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abuja, Nigeria
Does this help?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P