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Principally, corruption is the willingness to gain or the act of gaining, what one is reasonably not in the position to earn or has not earned legally. It is as good a practice as it is a phenomenon that boils down to human actions and consequences. Truthfully, no human society is totally immune to this phenomenon, the question is only in matter of magnitude; both in practice and effects on the state. In all, corruption on a prebendal scale and sustained by a rentier/patrimonial system has been noted to be the worst of all. Exploring the culture and anatomy of corruption in Nigeria, the chapter presents new insights and interpretations to this phenomenon through the lens of the sociopolitical morphology of the country. This comes with the view of expanding the debate on corruption in Nigeria and contributing to the wide array of extant literature on the interesting, but unfortunate topic. Meanwhile, hardly anything is more talked about in the current Nigeria than this discourse. This provides this chapter with a plethora of sources to tap in addition to existing relevant literature.
“In Search of Modernity” delves into the history, issues, and future modalities of Nigeria surviving or emerging within a global discourse of modernity. It presents the ‘modern’ invention of Nigeria as a nation-state as a formation of Eurocentric modernity and the aftermath of industrialization. This argument is supported by pervasive levels of underdevelopment that ravage many African nations, affecting some of the fundamental features associated with modernity, but the European brand of modernity is obsolete. Nigeria, and much of the globalized world along with it, has evolved. Hence, there is a clamoring to either decolonize the present shape of modernity or evolve a more suitable one, as Eurocentric modernity has proven time without number not only to disregard the essentialities (religion, culture, etc.) that may help to define the peculiarities of Nigeria as a sovereign state, but has also perpetually pulled the nation down into further underdevelopment. Therefore, modernization is projected as a process, and modernity as an ongoing state. A nation can continually be in search of modernity while remaining modern, redefining its modern status, and localizing global features. By globalizing its contributions, modernity can self-inflect, be reflexive, and thrive in continuity.
Religion and politics are connected. They have been used at various times to promote ethnic sentiments and provincial agendas, all of which end up tearing apart the country's economy and political stability. Religion remains a vibrant tool for political manipulation and the mobilization of electorates. The chapter argues that politics must not be over-determined by religion if the country wants to live in peace and develop.
“Women’s Marginalization” aims at evaluating the marginalization of women in postcolonial Nigeria. It further provides an overview of the position of women in Nigeria and examines the role of colonialism in promoting women’s marginalization in the country. It considers the role of the patriarchal religions of Islam and Christianity as impediments to the full expression of women in major spheres of the society. It also identifies women’s financial incapacity as one of the reasons for their underrepresentation in politics. The predominant patriarchal culture in the country fosters the subordination of women, and therefore places women on the margins of society. In other words, in the sociopolitical, economic, and educational spheres, women have experienced and continue to experience discrimination and underrepresentation based on gender, which places Nigerian women in disempowered positions. Also, several constitutional provisions have been linked to the pervasive gender inequality in the country. However, while this discourse explores the implications of women’s marginalization in a developing economy like Nigeria's, it notes that although the nation has ratified and promulgated many policies and laws with the intention of eradicating gender inequality, the situation has persisted and seems to be waxing stronger.
“Environment and Sustainable development” examines the mismanagement and porous policies of governance that neglect pressing environmental concerns with no regard for sustainable development. In reality, bad politics, gross mismanagement, and corruption have stifled human development and sustainable economic progress. Nigeria is rated as one of the ten most corrupt governments of the world, crippling the likelihood for effective and sustainable policy. Moreover, the government has also struggled to create and maintain cohesive leadership driven by public service. Divisive religious and ethnic identities produce starkly conflicting viewpoints that have complicated the nation’s fractured politics and collectively threaten its stability, resulting in politically and religiously motivated assassinations and internal violence such as the Biafran War and repeated campaigns of terror by groups such as Boko Haram. Nigeria must rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of the present without bankrupting the future of both the people and the land. While short-term measures are important to avoid violence and political strife, long-term planning must be treated as a critical investment and balanced fairly in relation to immediate contingencies. Therefore, drawing from an in-depth analysis, this study offers a dozen recommendations for modernizing the country.
“Colonial Modernity” examines the history and impact of colonialism on the present configuration of Nigeria, especially how it has invoked the deficiencies (ignorance, poverty, and diseases) of modern African states, or rather how those deficiencies have been focalized as the modern understanding of Africa. Nigeria as a forced invention of colonial modernity lacks the necessary factors of homogeneity, with which to achieve a truly adequate state of nationhood in transitioning from colonialism to independence. Rather, the perceived and existing differences among the numerous ethnic groups are exploited by colonialists to achieve an effortless divide and rule system of colonial administration, dominant among which is the challenge of Nigerian unity and the nation-building project complicated by fundamental ideological and political differences between the North and the South. Thereafter, colonial policies ensured that the Nigerian state was birthed on an imbalanced slope, and every member demanded relevance despite those imbalances. One such imbalance was due to the spread of Western education, which was intended to prepare people for modern governance and responsibilities. Its influence began creating problems even before independence. However, this discourse suggests Nigeria can only manifest into a functional and adequate nation-state when people are conscious of the fault-lines along the path of its invention.
“Food, Society and Human Capabilities” examines the way in which the food crisis limits human capabilities on a societal level. It explores this relationship through the philosophy of food, the nature of the global food system and related food crisis, and the sociology of food and nutrition. National policy is difficult and slow to change. Nations in Africa are challenged with a heterogeneity of ethnicity, religion, and class, which cause conflict when combined with inequality. It is tempting for nations to focus on export crops to make more money immediately. But dependency on exports leaves an economy vulnerable to global fluctuations, which has grave consequences. In Africa, poverty leaves individuals unable to purchase imported food, and all the local food has been exported for profit. Food is vital to human life, and it has significant cultural value. Throughout history, eating has been a major source of community and social interactions. Many religions center their rituals around harvests and times that celebrate the continuation of life. Food’s importance and the religious, spiritual conversations around it have been with us since the Stone Age. However, this study offers a layered model for understanding the nature of food crisis as well as a few possible interventions.
“Democracy and its Limits” examines the problems of government and governance in Nigeria, one of the most populous yet least popular conglomerates of democracy (with additional reference to other parts of Africa). Nigeria returned to civilian democracy in 1999, but it was an elite exercise, and the governance has been disappointing. There has been much violence, religious and ethnic conflict, rising poverty, and blatant looting of public funds by the same people entrusted with the funds meant for the development of the nation. This discourse studies how the change in the state has a hidden context, while the critique of governance is regarded as like that of democracy. Despite the propaganda about its advantages and the near-global consensus about its values, democracy is riddled with a lot of contradictions that limit its functional value to a majority of the citizenry. It is expected that political modernity would cause an evolution of political culture and lead to the appearance of viable, resilient institutions that would produce stable politics. However, this study posits that democratic mechanisms can only be effective when the citizenry gives more attention to institutional development and nation building that can endure and function, and not to the politicians, elites, or the military.
“Revolutionary Option: Social Movements and the Power to the Citizens” explores the entanglements between culture, security, and development. The interfaces between development and historical events are also explored, as well as the place of social movements in the history and advancement of Nigeria. It draws on three theoretical templates comprising three scapes and habitus that shape intellectual thinking and routine practices. These scapes and habitus form linkages and intersections between so many variables. The masses of Nigeria have not exercised the privilege of creating new forms of power, economy, and organization that can supplant those that fail. The scapes and habitus they have acquired and operate within are machinations of the political class that want to hold onto power. In other words, the people have neither overthrown the political structures they dislike nor, even more importantly, created alternative ones. This study identifies the lack of people’s involvement in deliberations on development and politics. Therefore, forces of repression may break some spirits, and the use of bribery and corruption may divide the ranks, but the masses are never deceived. Revolts, strikes, and protests might have failed, but not the desire to think of possibilities.
“Nationalist Ethos, Collective Reformation and Citizenry Power” examines the invention and fragmentation of Nigeria as nation, and the inadequacies and complications that arise from the lack of a proper definition of national identity as a Nigerian. Only the territory has been clearly defined; the people and the governments are at indeterminate extremes of national formation with insufficient integrating ideologies. While nationalism as a patriotic allegiance to national identity is central to the reformation and revolution interventions, it is yet the least explored or emphasized. The collective identification of a group of people as one is a needed impetus that drives national development, democracy, and empowerment. Rather than enhance the integration of the nation, as it is practiced in Nigeria, federalism further divides the nation across majority–minority and regional dichotomies. Just as the government is alienated from the people, the people are also alienated from the state with the utmost preoccupation of scrambling for survival. Such inadequacies are themselves dangerous prompts for succession and (ethnic)nationalism. However, there is the need to perceive strength from the multicultural existence of Nigeria, and not concentrate on the divisive tendency of our diversity. The spirit of inclusiveness fosters peace and development.
The society is often a fragmented space of ideas and ideals only harmonized by the agency of collective knowledge, tested, disseminated, and established as an episteme through its educational system. Ideally, the nature of a society usually informs the system and structure of its educational institution. Hence, Nigeria, like every other modern state, has moved through different trajectories that have altered the frame of the institution. The purpose of this paper is therefore propelled by the need to assess how those trajectories have affected the nature of the educational system of a West African country and its society. With the power and agency of colonially introduced Western education still reverberating in the modern state, the chapter taps myriad existing literature on Western education in Africa, Nigeria in particular, to reiterate the need for the decolonization of the Nigerian educational system. To this extent, it concludes on the unarguable note of rethinking Western education and its essence in the country for national cohesion and culture.
“Federalism and Its Fault Lines” uncovers the various definitions of federalism and explores how the different federal models work by observing some of the countries that follow it. It answers questions such as: Is federalism as a model of governance the best option for Nigeria? How are people being affected by Nigeria’s current model of federalism? In what ways can the system be improved or transformed to better serve the people of Nigeria? And finally, what components of federalist structures in other countries should Nigeria grasp onto? The chapter takes a closer look at Nigeria’s practice of federalism, the history behind it, and what it lacks today in comparison to other countries. While the political history of Nigeria and the USA are at variance, the need for checks and balances through power division is among the cues the Nigerian federal system can adopt because properly instituted federalism practiced with a properly crafted constitution that effectively spells out ways of performing democracy are ways through which human life can be enhanced in Nigeria. Also, the devolution of power helps to create more capable power holds and engender more growth through healthy competitions.