Some Social and Religious Perspectives on the Nigerian Crisis
Chapter 2. The Real Problem of Nigeria
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THE REAL PROBLEM OF NIGERIA
It is customary to think of failed leadership as Nigeria’s curse.1 Chinua Achebe made this observation in 1983 in his slim and readable volume The Trouble with Nigeria.2 His assessment of the nation was based on the social and political realities of that time. Back then, one could actually blame Nigeria’s trials on the leadership. Those in power enjoyed the oil money while most other Nigerians languished in poverty. In those days, the masses could be described as innocent sufferers, like the biblical Job, or the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. In general, their character was good. Some even stayed out of politics in order to remain pure. They watched their leaders ruin the nation but could do nothing to stop them.
In 1999, many years after Achebe published his political polemic, he returned to Nigeria briefly after almost a decade overseas receiving treatment for a back injury sustained in an automobile accident. At his home in the East, Achebe met with Cunliffe-Jones to discuss the Nigerian crisis. Achebe’s view had not changed at all. He reiterated his old message: “If poor leadership was the cause of the problem then, it is still the case today.”3
More recently, some have identified the military as the national problem of Nigeria. In their view, the soldiers are not saviors, but oppressors who do not fix problems but create more problems for the nation. Supporters of this...
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