Nigeria: The Making of a Failed State

For about a week now, I have been reflecting on my theme post to mark Nigeria’s 49th Independence Anniversary celebration. I was caught between painting a gloomy picture of the present circumstances in Nigeria (which would be a true picture anyway) and sharing hope. Hope of a better Nigeria. It turns out I can do both but I won’t do it in my own words. I would share the content of others, with you. As you read the blog post below, remember to read a report of the positive changes going on in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Front cover of the TELL Magazine, October 5th 2009 edition.
Front cover of the TELL Magazine, October 5th 2009 edition.

The current edition of  TELL magazine caught my eye at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja on Tuesday. The cover story was apt: NIGERIA, THE MAKING OF A FAILED STATE. Don’t get it wrong. I do not know of any more credible news magazine in Nigeria. TELL magazine is simply the best. They reported accurately, courageously and persistently even during the dark days of General Sani Abacha. The arbitrary arrest and detention of their leading editors by General Abacha’s evil regime did not scare them into oblivion. They are still around and stronger than before, sharing the candid analysis of Nigerians in relation to the news of the day. In summary, the words of TELL should be taken seriously because they are on the side of the truth.

Against this background, I share with you the editorial of the current edition of TELL news magazine:

To Nigeria’s band of lotus eaters, Adebayo Williams, a former university don, writer and columnist, must have put the nation’s state of affairs rather apocalyptically when he wrote his The Road to Kigali some years back. In the seminal piece, Williams had talked about the possibility of Nigeria going the way of Rwanda, the East African nation, with Kigali as capital, that descended into a huge chaos leading to ethnic killings and the near total destruction of the country. That was at a time that Nigeria was under the vice grip of military dictatorship led by officers from only one section of the country, among the many other ills that plagued the country. With the coming of civil rule under former president Olusegun Obasanjo and to the extent that the elections of 1999 were largely inclusive and participatory, the nation moved away, at least somewhat, from the prospect of that Armageddon.

However, 10 years into the democratic journey, we seem to have returned to the tortorous road to Kigali, with the possiblitiy of becoming a failed state. Today, the votes of the good people of Nigeria no longer count, as there is massive rigging of elections accompanied by violence. Corruption is a worsening nightmare. Many plagues, ranging from infrastructural decay to poor internal security occasioned by militancy in the Niger Delta and kidnapping of people for ranson stare the nation in the face. And across the land, the rising tide of armed roberry and of ungovernamble asssasinations accentuates the grim realisation that House Nigeria is in trouble.

The leadership of the country is not just intept, it appears clueless as to how to lift this highly endowed nation from the morass of corruptionm want, poverty and visionlessness. And much of it has to do, perhaps, with the limited world view, lack of experience as well as the absense of sheer grit and determination on the part of the occupant of the driver’s seat, President Umaru Yar’Adua. Now, Nigerians are waking up to the realisation that he may have been ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the job besides, unfortunately, his ill-health being a major cog in the drive for urgent national development.

The Editorial Board, for some time now, has been on the watch, paging the shrinking fortunes of the nation, especially in the last 30 months or so. As the 49th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence comes up, the unanimous decision of the board is that this week’s cover story should capture how our ship of state seems ever so drawn to the loadstone rock of self-implosion. The cover story which we call Nigeria: The Making of a Failed State is presented with the hope and prayer that the authorities of our time will rise up to reverse the perilous trend for good.

You should get your own copy of the current edition of TELL, for full analysis on the current state of affairs in Nigeria, as well as a close look at the personal style of leadership of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Previous articleEffective Blogging: How to be a better blogger
Next articleLagos State, a beacon of hope for Nigeria
Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. We really do not need go to Abuja to change Nigeria,If you want a cleaner Nigeria, Start from your bedroom,Hasn’t it occurred to You? Most that go to Abuja to change Nigeria ended up being conformed to the order.

  2. Like all failed states, you need to begin by instauring the rule and that can only be done by tough regime at begining which can progresively progressively democratize itslef. I don’t may other ways out of this. Russia, if it had continued would have become a failed state, Now with Putin and Medvedev, its by far not ideal but its not a failed state

  3. For how long do you want to change and pray and hope for nigeria in your bedroom? forgive me you will only end up there changing your bed room. the major prolem of any failed system is management, in this case our government, if you ask me, it is the selection of a selfless individual that wld see money and other entities of corruption and ignore them and choose to do the right thing that is our problem.

    This man should be very brilliant yet knw that he isnt perfect and needs others.

    He should be informed both tech wise, politically, economically, infact he should be very versatile.

    He should be flexible in the mind and we wld be better off if he does things for intergrity rather than money or other vanities of life.

    Look at the procedures for selecting USA leaders, final results they all end up coming from harvard, princeton, Yale (where are these, i call them where things are done the way they shld be done)

    What then do you expect thierresults to be… close 2 exellent i’d say.

    We need a leader… else we remain in darkness. i hear Fashola is doing fine, trust me i ddont knw him but check the above qualities in him. thanks.

  4. At the National Youth Summit held at Abuja in September,I defined leadership as leading myself first so I could lead others well.

    I quite agree with Obafemi. Leadership starts from leading yourself well enough to confidently lead others.

  5. As you said it so it is. Nigeria is a failed state and will remain so until the present ruling party which came to power without the mandate of the people is chased out by nemesis. They have stone-walled their ears against any voice of reason like a doomed dog which does not hear the smell of shit unti it meets its waterloo.
    Let’s trust in God Almighty; He has done it for Nigeria before and will definitely do it again. Let them continue to prepare to return themselves into power come 2011; they are not dreaming good for Nigeria, period!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.