Nationalism is a sense of patriotic feeling or pride in your country. Fareed Zakaria wrote A Post-American World and discussed that nationalism is problematic because countries need to be able to work together. Zakaria thinks that as people’s pride in their country increases they are less likely to want to work with other countries. This is due to individuals’ pride blinding them and only allowing a narrow-minded outlook.
As I discussed in previous posts, Nigeria received its independence from Britain in 1960 and Nigeria is a very ethnically diverse country. Several years after gaining independence, the Biafra people (which represented the Igbo) believed that the government was too northern focused. Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu led a military coup, which lead to the death of 11 senior Nigerian politicians and two additional soldiers on January 15, 1966. Major Nzeogwu and his fellow mutinous soldiers attacked the cities Kaduna, Ibadan and Lagos and blockaded the Niger and Benue River. The coup was soon subdued and Nzeogwu was arrested on January 18. After the coup, people learned that four out of the five army majors who enacted the coup were Igbo, leading to fears of an Igbo take over. That same year on July 29, northern officers held a counter coup where 240 Southern officers and thousands of southern origin civilians were killed. The majority of the massacred people were Igbo. Many killings of Igbo people and killings perpetrated by Igbo people followed in retaliation.
About a year later on May 30, 1967 Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu declared Eastern Nigeria as a sovereign state called the Republic of Biafra for the Igbo people. This was the final straw for Nigeria and these events started the Nigerian Civil War. The Nigerian government toppled the Biafra regime about two and a half years later. Once the war ended, about 2 million civilians died from disease and starvation due to blockades of the Republic of Biafra.
An obvious example of religious conflict in modern Nigeria is the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. Even as recently as January 30, Boko Haram militants opened fire on a Dalori village in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram set fire to homes and killed at least 85 people and injured at least 136 people.
Economic inequality is a huge problem in Nigeria. In his book Ill Fares, Tony Judt talks about this problem of income inequality. Judt discusses how this is a huge problem in all aspects of society in both rich and poor countries. Income inequality has become a big talking point in the United States lately, but Nigeria faces a much more difficult problem with monetary inequality. Absolute poverty in Nigeria (which means earning less than a dollar a day) has increased from 55% in 2004 to 61% in 2014. At the same time, there are 16,000 millionaires living in Nigeria, which is a 44% increase in the last six years.
“Nigeria is characterized by the paradox of growth and deepening poverty as well as worsening inequality,” President of NES (Nigeria Economic Society), Professor Olu Ajakaye said. “Specifically, the annual growth rate of between 6.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent recorded since 2010 in our country has been accompanied by dwindling descent employment opportunities for the teeming youthful population.”
Professor Olu Ajakaye also believes that Nigerian economic growth could increase and become more inclusive and diverse by “promoting high productivity descent job opportunities for the youths and facing out low productivity, peasant and informal sector activities.”