Nigeria: How the people feed the weeds of Underdevelopment – Babs Iwalewa


Recent happenings in the polity particularly as it concerns the attitudes, beliefs and behavior of ordinary Nigerians continue to leave much to be desired.
Our foibles in Nigeria are now becoming legion; is it the so-called babies delivered with holy books or the ones delivered clutching rosaries at the time of birth? Is it the deification of a squid? Or baby octopus? Is it the publication of exaggerated and “miracle” stories on social media urging you to type “Amen” if you want to experience similar miracles? Is it in the running amok of some so called “muhajideens” who destroy “unholy” places such as hotels and beer parlors at the sight of a moon eclipse? Is it the incineration of little children on suspicion that they are “witches”? or the “establishment” of baby factories with huge “patronage” and large clientele amongst several other social malfeasance. To a curious observer these points to a society that is not only decaying but one which is in the middle of a great chaos.

The abandonment and disregard of science for superstition, the neglect of empiricism for “voodooism” amongst most ordinary and at times supposedly educated Nigerians is really amazing. For how long shall things continue like this? Can Nigeria really get out of the woods so to speak with the current nihilistic mindset of her people?
The assertion that development may not necessarily be measured by the amount of physical infrastructures/buildings one can find in a society readily comes to mind. But rather some scholars aver that development refers to a particular state of mind, which in turn generates positive ideas for societal transformation. With the present state of mind of most Nigerians and the foibles and idiosyncrasies they continue to exhibit almost on a daily basis it is not surprising that we still find ourselves at the base of the development pyramid. Thus with this mindset, its not surprising to find Nigerians resisting and sabotaging government policies such as ban on street trading, the use of seat belts or crash helmets when driving, environmental sanitation , urban renewals and so on.
If Nigeria must develop, there is an urgent need to invest heavily in human capital development. It is only when the attitudes, nuances and beliefs of majority of her people are redirected from superstition and voodoo that the fruits of the several development policies can begin to come to bear.

[Photo: New York Times]

Mental development as a necessity for national development