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CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN NIGERIA’S DEVELOPMENT By ‘Lanre Adeyemi Dept. of Political Science and Public Administration Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko. INTRODUCTION Establishing a State from colonial ruins from the African experience has been both violent and peaceful. Nigeria has been both fortunate and unfortunate that her path towards statehood was almost on a platter of gold. Nevertheless, the inability of the Nigerian people to create and sustain an enduring nationhood has come to affect the corporate existence of the Nigerian State. The problem of Nigeria's stunted development since her political independence is largely attributed to bad leadership and governance. Nigeria's successive leaders have been self-serving, corrupt and incompetent. The larger percentage of the citizenry is impoverished, traumatized and resulting in complacency, and inability on the part of the citizens to hold their leaders accountable. With the degree of destruction and disorientation, which this society has experienced, democracy may not easily find a comfortable political space to operate. The problem of active citizenship and enlightened, committed follower ship in democracy as well as a responsive and credible leadership has limited the growth of a sustainable democratic culture. All over the world today, there is a growing recognition that democracy and good governance are part of a people's basic rights. However even with her several democratic experience Nigeria is yet to embrace democracy and good governance in its true form. It is the passion to see a transformed Nigeria that occasioned the birth of this vision which is aimed at bringing about a radical social re-engineering and re-orientation among the
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peoples of Nigeria, consequently, translating into a collective and collaborative initiative that will ultimately culminate in the attainment of national greatness. On 29 May 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in as Nigeria’s first democratically elected president since 1983 and expectations rose that with democracy Nigeria now has the opportunity to build a society that can guarantee justice, human dignity and civil liberties to all Nigerians. This hope was borne out of the fact that democracy is capable of resolving most, if not all of our multifarious problems. Five years after, the country still continues to grapple with economic, social, political and ethnic uncertainties. Numerous flashpoints of ethnic, communal, religious and resource conflicts persist. Also, the economy is still unstable and the environmental issues in the Niger Delta areas still persist. Aggravating this is the public perception that the State has proved incapable of resolving the fundamental issues raised above as well as others like human rights, poverty alleviation, equitable resource distribution, infrastructure development and insecurity of lives and properties. The president faces the daunting task of rebuilding a petroleum-based economy, whose
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