Nigeria is a West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea. Since attaining her independence in 1960 from Britain, the country has been marked by political instability and bloodshed. In addition to the atrocities evident in Nigeria, the country’s high population of over 182 million has led to a vicious cycle of poverty as a result of a lack of support from the government. Despite the economic uncertainties, the state boasts of massive oil mining which has improved the economy. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the current conditions in Nigeria, many of these factors have been rooted in history. The political, religious and cultural factors are the major driving forces in Nigeria as they have been motivating factors to war. The economic and environmental factors affecting Nigeria are mostly due to policies implemented by the government. There have been efforts from international bodies such as the United Nations to establish stable governance, but all has been in vain.
Historical Factors Affecting Nigeria
Nigeria’s history can be traced back in 1100 BC when multiple prehistoric settlers were living in this nation. Nigeria had numerous ancient civilizations which included the Benin Empire and Oyo Empire. Islamic religion was introduced in Nigeria through the Borno Empire in 1068 AD while Christianity came at a later date in the 15th Century. The nation was colonized by Britain in 1901 until 1960 when independence movements fought and gained independence. After becoming a republic in 1963, the country succumbed to military rule for three years. There was a series of civil wars after the establishment of a separatist movement. After becoming a republic once again in 1979, the military seized power. General Sani Abacha established a new government in 1993, but it was short lived after he died in 1998. Thirty years of intermittent military rule ended after a fourth republic was formed, but up to date, there is still bloodshed due to struggle for power (Lijphart, 2017). The presence of Islamist militant groups in Nigeria is also a significant setback. In 2014 more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped. Significant recent events is the nation’s preparedness in the upcoming elections which features fierce opponents.
Environmental Factors Affecting Nigeria
Being a major oil producer, Nigeria has faced a severe threat of environmental pollution. The Niger Delta is almost uninhabitable because of the enormous amount of oil products deposited there making it one of the dirtiest places on earth. Water pollution has risked over 70% of the population that lives in this region, most of the people in this region are farmers. The benzene level is higher than the set standard by over 900 times. The estimated cost for the clean-up would cost the government over $1 billion which makes it almost impossible for the government.
Since the 1990s, industries have increased, most of them owned by American, Chinese and European governments. Most of these companies do not pay keen attention to environmental issues which have led to air pollution rate increasing to 39% (Simwambana, 2013). Every year, thousands of people succumb to cardiovascular diseases because of air pollution which affects the respiratory system.
Climate change is not only in Nigeria, but across the globe, however, the nation is major contributor to climate change. Climate change has been evident by drought, erosions, and floods. There is a rising precipitation level which is affecting the agricultural sectors and decreasing harvest which results in mass migration and therefore increases in conflicts.
Cultural Factors Affecting Nigeria
Majority of the people in Nigeria are black except for a few who are either Asian or European. Most of the white people are of a higher class than the black as they own or work in major business settings. There is racial discrimination in major cities due to the different social levels occupied by the blacks and white people.
Ethnicity has been a major hindrance to Nigeria’s development. Most of the conflicts emanate from ethnic groups and diversities which have resulted in mass killings and underdevelopment. In Nigeria, it is common for one to be bitter because he/she has been associated with a particular tribe. Ethnicity in the nation was contributed by the colonial administration which had divided Nigeria into regions (Rotberg & Mazrui, 2010). In the colonial rule, there were two regions, the southern and northern part, up to date, the two areas are linked with ethnic units which results to rifts between the Yoruba and Igbo speaking regions.
Religious Factors in Nigeria
There are two major religions in Nigeria which are Islam and Christianity. The country has been characterized by religious violence since 1953. The Boko Haram insurgency has worsened the rift between Christians and Muslims with its main aim being, imposing sharia law on the northern parts of the country. The differences between the two religious movements have been the cause of massacres in Nigeria, most notably, the Igbo massacre which led to deaths of thousands of people. Recently, a riot between Christians and Muslims led to the death of over 100 people. Churches have been torched down by suspected Boko Haram insurgents on various occasions resulting to many casualties. Religious conflicts seem to have taken another course, with politicians divided by religion.
Political Factors Affecting Nigeria
Political parties are responsible for fragments of political uncertainties experienced in Nigeria. There is a rampant competition between political parties and democracy has been affected. Multiple political issues are facing Nigeria:
Most of the politicians are known to put public funds in their foreign accounts putting Nigeria among the top corrupt nations in the world. Corruption has also manifested in the law and police forces to the point that authorities are no longer trusted. Almost all the political institutions have been marred by multiple cases of corruption making the integrity of the nation questionable.
Oil and gas industry
The huge profits accrued from the oil and gas industries end up being used by politicians instead of developing the nation which has led to a political crisis. Politicians are also known to finance illegal movements which have led to political instability (Ikein, Alamieyeseigha & Azaiki, 2018). Economic sanctions have placed on the nation because of illegal activities.
Economic Factors Affecting Nigeria
Most foreign investors stay away from Nigeria, and those who have invested there are gradually shifting their investments to better and peaceful places. Nigeria has become a home for Boko Haram, and there are frequent attacks carried out by terrorists which discourage investors. The insecurity in the nation has led to a loss of billions of money a yearly.
Overdependence on the Import
Most of the products used in Nigeria are imported thus destroying the market for the local industries. Lack of reliable power supply makes importation of products cheaper. Most of the manufacturing industries are relocating to neighboring countries such as Ghana causing loss of many jobs; hence the nation highly depends on imported goods.
Poor transportation systems is a hindrance to businesses as the cost of production is increased. Most of the roads are unrepaired making them impassable. The poor transport network leads to limited development which is common in rural areas. Areas characterized by poor roads are underdeveloped, and thus the country’s economy is affected.
Nigeria has the potential to develop, but many factors are affecting the nation. Political and religious crisis in the state is a major setback and a source of rivalry. The historical background of the country since the colonial era defines most of the activities evident in Nigeria. Cultural factors such as race and ethnicity have further drifted the country backward. With the unstable political movements, there are poor policy developments which could help the country progress. Poor policies have also led to encroachment on the environment resulting in environmental pollutions and hazards. If the country is to move forward, then there must be a good political will to realize the development.
Ikein, A. A., Alamieyeseigha, D. S. P., & Azaiki, S. S. (2018). Oil, democracy, and the promise of true federalism in Nigeria. Lanham, Md: University Press of America.
Lijphart, A. (2017). Democracy in plural societies: A comparative exploration. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Rotberg, R. I., & Mazrui, A. A. A. (2010). Protest and Power in Black Africa. New York: Oxford University Press.
Simwambana, M. S. C. (2013). Environmental factors modifying the growth and flowering behavior of four cassava cultivars in Nigeria