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1.1       Background to the Study

It is a statement of fact that Nigeria as a political entity is richly endowed with both human and natural resources. But ironically, the socio-political status and the living standards of Nigerians remain seemingly irreconcilable with the inherently embedded potentials of Nigeria as a nation. Nigeria remains largely a giant on its feet with numerous developmental challenges ranging from wide spread corruption, brazen looting of the  national treasury, mass poverty, decayed infrastructures, mounting unemployment, worsening insecurity of lives and properties, moribund manufacturing sector,  poor state  of education and health  system,  pervasive inequality  epitomized in an abysmal lacuna between the rich  and the poor, frightening food insecurity, thoroughly compromised  judiciary, rampant inflation, crisis of leadership and the utter disregard  for due process and the rule of law among others. Corroborating, Chris Orngu notes that:                               

The post-colonial history of Nigeria presents decades of visionlessness and the intentional lack of commitment to the advancement of the country’s socio-political process translating to sustained developmental crisis and steady decline in social, educational, agricultural, economic and technological spheres. This unfortunate state of affairs as some analysts insist is unquestionably accentuated by the unenviable nature of the country’s leadership at all levels of governance1 

According to Lewis et al, “Nigeria is simply a dysfunctional state”2. He further observed that “Nigeria’s travails, while hardly unique within the developing world are surely exceptional in their scope and persistence”.3 He acknowledged that the economic stagnation in the case of Nigeria arises from a generalized crisis of governance and poor economic performance.

In a related thought pattern, Mamman et al notes that “Nigeria, the biggest country on the African continent and one of the largest energy producers is still walloping in abject poverty as a result of bad governance” 4. This corroborates Chinua Achebe’s assertion that Nigeria’s problems remain simply and squarely the problem of leadership5. Concurring, Soyinka submits that:

we are living in a condition that shames and dehumanizes us, a condition of enslavement to a ruling class that “is bereft of solution, an incontinent, spendthrift, power besotted class, a class that lacks the will even the integrity to embark upon policies for the amelioration of the parlous existence of multitude  that has cushion their existence, a class that has raised corruption to Olympian heights and made a sacred duty of deceit, imposes on us no other course but that of our own rescue mission6

Critical observations of happenings in Nigeria have revealed that the apron-string of the leadership crisis in Nigeria is the perpetuation of the imperialist ideology of the colonialists. The British socio-political and economic structures have remained the existing framework from which the successive Nigerian leaders from independence seek the transformation of Nigeria without any conscious efforts to dismantle the colonialist structures of exploitation which was never contemplated for the well being of Nigerians. In the words of Uzodinma Nwala.

Nigeria, as a political and economic entity, is a creation of British imperialism. The prime motive force for British imperialism was to seek new sources of raw material and new markets for her manufactures. Hence, all the social and political activities of the British in Nigeria were geared towards creating a convenient administrative structure for maximum exploitation of the human and material resources of the country7.

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