Salim I. Hassan
Education Department
The celebration of our 50th anniversary of independence is desperately acclaimed by few ‘irrationals’ but confidently being frowned at by many. In fact, I go for those who seriously and indubitably doubt the development of this country in the last 50yrs. It is not a matter of pessimism; it is the truth we proclaim. Nigeria did achieve nothing in actual sense of development. To account for dubious and paradoxical aspects of development to corroborate for the actual Nigerian development is to distort reality. Those who assume themselves as optimists they do so only because they believe in the paradox of Nigerian development. To state the truth of Nigerian underdevelopment is not a matter of being a pessimist; in fact, such a person is a kind of rational analyst. Natural and unplanned development is always imminent wherever, whenever, however and on whomever the settlers are, including the creatures in the ‘Animal Wild Society’.
But the kind of development we are referring to in here is development in its original sense, being it in politics, government, economy and education as well. If we are talking about development let no one talk of achievement. You can achieve but without making a development. But development is all-encompassing as it includes achievement in itself. Even the term ‘development’ can be unplanned (natural) or planned. Planned Development is what we are referring to in this context. I know the reason why I am making this unusual clarification. Some seem to disagree to the fact Nigeria does not develop throughout the last 50yrs. If you ask them why this argument they will just cite some mere achievements – some kinds of natural development – that are not worthier than the word ‘development’ itself. Rise in number of schools, colleges and universities, rise in number of school enrolment (at all levels) and perhaps a relatively increase in oil income are not the actual determinant factors of development; they are just mere unplanned aspect of development which is irrelevant to our ‘discourse of development’. These must come to be either consciously or otherwise in the course of time passage. We too, do believe that Nigeria (but only in this aspect of unplanned or natural development) had stepped forward some extra miles as compared to our development in the 1960s as the so-called optimists wanted us to believe. Nevertheless, this will not aid them to escape my blow. let me ask: am I right to say Nigeria did develop and achieve a lot in the last 50yrs because our population multiplied more than that of 1960s, peoples’ houses and residences increased to greater extent and the power hungers (political power aspirants) rose in constantly high rate? This is a parable of those who account for the increment in the number of schools and universities, and rise in number of school enrolment from 1960s to date as their sole evidence for the actual Nigerian development in the last 50yrs. if such people were right in their argument, so then I have all right to state as in the above question.
Those who argue for Nigerian development in the past 50yrs were able to account only for what we have referred to in here as ‘natural’ or unplanned development. In comparison with other co-partner independent countries (those attained independence concurrently with Nigeria) we achieved nothing to date in terms of actual development. Still I know some wishy-washy writers and political analysts will continue to retain their argument by creating more confusion and paradox in this discourse of Nigerian development. The standard average measure of whether a country developed or not is the moderate extent to which it competes with the development of modernity, at least when it is compared to its contemporary mate in the history of independent political establishment in terms of actual development there should be a slight disparity or almost similar degree of development. Other standard measures of assessing a nation’s development is by considering the current global standard of governance, education, economy and technology. There is no doubt that the true developed countries have attained the highest level in these areas. Therefore, for developing countries, in order to confirm whether they have developed, or are developing in their own level, they must attain the average level in the scale of standard measurement of development as specified above. It is true some are saying Nigeria has come a long way – a long way from where? Asked by Adamu Adamu in one of his column in which he described Nigeria in its face of development as being ‘practice makes imperfect. The underdevelopment of Nigeria throughout the past 50yrs and the long-lasting irrationality of its leaders as well, are self-evident, so much so that if you are going to explain it you may not know from where to start.

Let me now show you some powerful evidence for Nigerian failure of development in the last 50yrs. Now it is almost 11yrs of democracy in Nigeria but no one can prove a single aspect of development or even an improvement. All the identified problems affecting Nigeria among others, corruption, injustice, economic instability, educational downfall, problems of power and water supply and problems of health matters as well, none of them is resolved even partially per se. One may ask that is the governance/leadership in Nigeria a democracy or a tyranny? If it is democratic then democracy must have been bad; and if it is tyrannical then the deposal of military regime from leadership does not make sense. Perhaps our failed leaders will say 10yrs is not sufficient time to reconstruct and stabilize the National power supply. Ridiculous!
All acts of Nigerian leaders – the good, the bad, and the evil – are unquestionable and are beyond reproach. I will be brutally honest for pointing out these irrefutable facts, and my frankness may offend some people, but I feel it necessary to speak out the truth. This crisis in Nigeria demands only the whole truth. Nothing less than the whole truth can help us build a secured and prosperous future for our motherland Nigeria. Alas, it is time for introspection.

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The confused man can no longer be at ease.