The "Nigerian Way of Doing Things" & How it's Holding Back
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Opinions - June 16, 2023

The “Nigerian Way of Doing Things” & How it’s Holding Back a Great Nation

The “Nigerian way of doing things” is a term used to describe the corrupt practices, inefficiency, and lack of accountability that Nigerians practice. From the leaders to the followers, this ingrained phenomenon has not only eaten deep into the fabric of Nigerian society, but it has also kept the nation from fulfilling its true potential.

It’s saddening to note that while the Nigerian way of doing things may seem pleasing to Nigerians, it has hindered economic growth, stifled innovation and made a large room for social inequalities.

Let’s explore the complexities of the Nigerian Way of Doing Things and examine its detrimental effects on Nigeria’s path to greatness. 

Religion and Ethnicity Over Quality

Most Nigerians are guilty of giving preference to individuals who share their religion or hail from the same town as them. From politics to education, business and social interactions, a lot of us choose individuals because we share something in common. This also results in the selection of leaders based on their religious or ethnic affiliations rather than their ability to govern effectively or enact meaningful change.

When this happens, Nigerians create a cycle of nepotism, corruption, and the mismanagement of resources, which hinders the country’s overall development. It is also important to state that people who vote for leaders of their tribes or religion are of the opinion that their ethnic or religious groups will enjoy more benefits from them when they are in office. This is why some regions of the country are more developed than others. 

The Nigerian way of electing leaders is the reason why the nation is where it is today. Nigeria will only become great when we begin to prioritise quality, good records, and experience over religion and ethnicity.

Every man for Himself

The popular saying “every man for himself” simply refers to prioritising your own interests and needs above those of others. This is one way Nigerians do things. Most of them hardly care about the effect their actions may have on their neighbour. A practical example will be the naira redesign that brought untold hardship to Nigerians.

During that season, some Nigerians who were POS operators charged customers an unreasonable amount for withdrawal. This is because most of these operators had to pay exorbitant rates to bank officials to get the naira. So, this is a chain that flows from the top echelon to the lowest cadres of Nigerian society.

This virus which suggests a lack of collective cooperation and shared responsibility has greatly affected the growth of the nation. Until we quit the pursuit of selfish interests the country will continue to go in circles.

Who do you know and who knows you

Another example of the Nigerian way of doing things is the “who do you know” syndrome. It is often said that “it’s not what you know, but who you know” that gets you ahead in Nigeria. This vicious cycle perpetuates a system where access to opportunities and services becomes contingent upon personal connections and illicit dealings. 

The harsh reality is that this system leaves many Nigerians marginalized and deprived of necessities. As a result of this, Nigerian youths aspiring to be leaders of tomorrow can come nowhere close to holding political positions because they are newbies in the political terrain. Worse is, some graduates from Nigerian institutions have not gotten jobs because they probably don’t know those that matter in society.

Until Nigerians accept new values and cultivate better ways of living, the old ways of doing things will keep holding the nation back from greatness.

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