It is widely believed among Nigerians; even the most notoriously prickly in their Nationalism admit to themselves that Nigeria is dangerously nearing a failed state status. According to Ogaga Ifowodo, a lawyer, a poet, and a PhD student at Cornell University, New York:

Most, if not all of the indices of failed states, declare Nigeria well on its way to joining that disreputable club.

Nigeria boasts a government unable to deliver basic social services.

It is plagued by corruption so endemic and monumental it is hard to separate it from state policy.

It lacks the capability or discipline to prevent threats to public safety and national integrity and is assailed by active challenges to its legitimacy.

Out of 141 underdeveloped countries it termed “critically weak”, The Brookings Institute ranks Nigeria 28; thereby placing it in the company of Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In its 2008 index of failed states, The American Fund for Peace placed Nigeria only two short steps above Somalia and Zimbabwe in the league of failed states; ironically below Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two countries it spared no expense in resources, personnel, and materiel to bring out of civil wars into restored democracies.

It is difficult to talk about Nigeria without the words of Dr. George B.N. Ayittey coming to mind. In his critically acclaimed book, Africa in Chaos, Dr. Ayittey made the characterization of the “vampire Africa state” with “governments” unlike it is known in the West: unresponsive to the needs of its people; incapable of performing the most basic services for its people; “as an entity is totally divorced from the people, perceived by those running it as a vehicle not to serve but to fleece the people”. “Government” inexorably infested and infected from head to bottom with dishonesty, thievery, bribery, corruption, and peculation. “Government” where every one involved in, or associated with, is on the take, and the chief bandit being the head of state himself.

You are invited to view this documentary by PBS depicting corruption of epic proportion in Nigeria. In it, Olusegun Obasanjo decries institutionalised corruption in Nigeria. But as the head of state of Nigeria for eight years, he was the bandit-in-chief”.

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