Are Nigerians ready for change?

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ready for change

Robert Greene advices power-seekers to extensively preach change, but practically avoid changing things because people don’t like to change.[1] Theon Greyjoy refused to be rescued from kidnap-captivity after he got used to living under Ramsey Bolton’s captivity and torture. Stockholm syndrome is an emotional disorder in which captives develop love and respect for their captors instead of hatred. Some captives eventually convince themselves that captivity is the real world, and would protest external attempts to free them from captivity. The type of deference some Nigerians show to foreigners, even current exploiters, forces observers to ask whether Nigerians are ready for change.

After the Obama’s change mantra, several public office aspirants evoke the emotional mantra to get power. Presently, many Nigerians are calling for different kinds of change: change from old generation to new generation of leaders; change, as restructuring from unitary system to any other system of government; change from old ways to new ways of patriotism, religiosity, honesty, diligence and other beautiful ideals. However, there is not much insight about the meaning and type of change Nigeria needs in order to obtain progress. There is thus, a need to understand Nigeria’s facticity and potentiality to determine whether they are ready for change.


Facticity are unchangeable and historical facts about beings – human, animals, places or things.[2] In humans, they include facts about place of birth, gender, age, race, parents and other undeniable facts about a person. Potentiality are possible outcomes about the future of beings – humans, animals, places or things.[3] In humans they include future developments, professions, positions, achievements and all possibilities about human beings. Like other beings and societies, Nigerians have both glorious and pitiable facticity and potentiality, depending on how it is managed.


Colonialists formed Nigeria by brutally yoking hundreds of independent and progressive ethnic groups and kingdoms without their consent under a highly-militarized government.[4] Nigeria has experienced a civil war and continues to experience ethno-religious cum social clashes and crises. “These wars diminished in number after the turn of the millennium, but their chief cause – the lack of common nationhood – remains. Africa’s nation states were formed by foreigners, lines drawn by Europeans on maps of places they had often never been to. They carved out territories, cut up kingdoms and societies of which they had little ideaThey [Nigerians] lack a common conception of nationhood.[5] Hence, Nigerian peoples have not been able to distinguish themselves in order to collaborate in utilizing their resources for producing what they need.


Presently, the Nigerian facticity can be classified in three sets: social, intellectual and physical

  • SOCIAL (BEHAVIORAL) FACTICITY: before colonial invasion, the different ethnic communities in the present day Nigeria have been living and progressing independently. They had their different forms of governance and sustaining economic activities, though archaic. The forceful colonial unification under a militarized government pitched these communities against one another in a perpetual struggle for control of policy and resources. Effects of the forced unification includes:
    • Destructive form of capitalist individualism: with the destruction of ethnic communal life in a haphazard unification, each individual now struggles to survive alone at the expense of the country or his community.
    • Consumerism: the emphasis on social responsibility and productive contribution was replaced with consumerism, making different Nigerians to struggle to acquire and flaunt depreciable goods as evidence of good life.[6]
    • Conformism and crisis of identity: the disorganized and inefficient governing structure forces Nigerians to admire and conform to the trends and values other societies. Some Nigerians may demand a Nigerian recolonization, doubting the black’s capacity.
    • Transformation of traditional superstition to modern religion: in the absence of means to solving their problems, many people resort to prayers and sacrifices.
    • Irresponsibility and blaming every other person for misfortunes and mistakes.

“Nigerians have never agreed – or been given the chance to agree – what Nigeria is.”[7]


  • INTELLECTUAL FACTICITY: before the colonial invasion, Nigerian ethnic communities produced and transferred knowledge orally, but were not advanced in science nor technology. Yet, they were ready to learn modern and suitable ways of doing things from other cultures. However, after the takeover of the colonial-formed government, a new form of education was introduced that does not really apply to our local situation. “The educational system still trains people for a life style that is unavailable and unaffordable to most Nigerians… alienates the Nigerian from his environment… In contrast to our pre-colonial education, which was tied to our ways of life.”[8]
    • Today, the average Nigerian graduate does not understand his history, peoples or the process of managing resources within his country. He moves around hoping to be employed in some multinational company, importation outfit or foreign aid organization.
    • It appears that current politicians do not understand the government structure imposed on them, but are afraid to hand over for fear of the unknown.


  • PHYSICAL FACTICITY: there is a high level of uneducated population in Nigeria at the moment; secondly, the colonially-made government institutions seem to be serving as tools for forceful containment and exploitation. Thirdly, there are large deposits of untouched mineral resources, which are militarily guarded for foreign companies.[9][10][11]

Despite the hopelessness presented by these facticity, NIGERIA HAS GREAT POTENTIALITY:

  • SOCIAL POTENTIALITY: notwithstanding the interpersonal, tribal and religious conflicts, Nigerians are still good people with great hope for a better society. There are latent virtues in the different ethnic communities and peoples of Nigeria waiting to be revived for a better Nigeria. For, they still retain the humane and communal worldviews to address destructive individualism and unproductive consumerism ravaging Nigeria since colonial experience. There are compatible values within the different Nigerian ethnic communities upon which they can found a collaboration for productivity and peace.


“Africa is given a reputation: poverty, disease, war. But when outsiders do go there they are often surprised by Africa’s welcome, entranced rather than frightened. Visitors are welcomed and cared for in Africa. If you go you will find most Africans friendly, gentle and infinitely polite. You will frequently be humbled by African generosity. Africans have in abundance what we call social skills. These are not skills that are formally taught or learned. There is no click-on have-a-nice-day smile in Africa. Africans meet, greet and talk, look you in the eye and empathize, hold hands and embrace, share and accept from others without twitchy self-consciousness. All these things are as natural as music in Africa. – Westerners arriving in Africa for the first time are always struck by its beauty and size -even the sky seems higher. And they often find themselves suddenly cracked open. They lose inhibitions, feel more alive, more themselves, and they begin to understand why, until then, they have only half lived. In Africa the essentials of existence light, earth, water, food, birth, family, love, sickness, death – are more immediate, more intense. Visitors suddenly realize what life is for…” Humanity, that is the prize Africa offers the rest of the world.[12]


  • INTELLECTUAL POTENTIALITY: it is no more news that Nigerians are among the most educated and enterprising people with a new hope for Africa and the world. Africans wait on the Nigerian manifestation, for mainly “a successful Nigeria could transform the continent in the twenty-first century… In business, law, science, art, literature, music, sport, Nigeria produces phenomenally talented individuals as if its superheated society throws up brighter, hotter human beings than anywhere else.”[13] With harmonious organization, Nigerian intellectuals from around the world can converge to create a paradise from a desert.


  • PHYSICAL POTENTIALITY: Nigeria has great human resources at her disposal who can be trained to fit into different sectors of development. Nigeria is a home of priced mineral resources that can be locally harnessed for good employment, infrastructure and standard of living. “Nigeria is one country that western countries, dependent on oil, cannot afford to bully.”[14]


Desired change in Nigeria is not the purchase of the best amenities produced by other countries, but the actualization of Nigerian potentials.


Nigerians have always been ready for change

Despite series of political disappointments from different regimes, Nigerians are still hopeful and ready for change. In Nigeria, “even in the worst of times you do not hear the tones of doom and despair that characterize some western media reports.”[15] Nigeria always has hope, and Nigerians have always been ready for change. They only need the emergence of a sincere and competent set of leaders to bring out the core values in Nigerians for a good Nigeria.[16]


In summary, Nigerians are physically and emotionally ready for change, but may not be intellectually ready for a change. Nigerians have not achieved an intellectual consensus about the cause of the problems or for collaborating towards the change they desire. Thus, they continuously blame politicians, civil servants, themselves and every other person they can without considering the foundational structure of Nigeria. A good leader will arise to redirect Nigerians’ attentions to the root cause of our socio-political problems, which is an absence of intellectual agreement to collaborate.

When Nigerians are convinced of the sincerity and intellectual competence of a leader, Nigerians will demonstrate that they have always been emotionally and physically ready for change.

Ready for change from conflicts and discord to collaborative productivity.

Ready for change from economic dependence to sufficiency and sustainability.


[1] Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power (London: Profile books, 2002) pp.392-398

[2] Cf. Martin Heidegger, in Glossary of terms in being and time by Roderick Munday, March, 2009. Retrieved 18th March, 2018.

[3] Ibid.

[4] S. O. Oyedele, “Federalism in Nigeria” in Issues contemporary political economy of Nigeria (edited) Hassan A. Saliu, (Ilorin, Sally & Associates, 1999). p.57

[5] Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. (New York: Public Affairs, 2010). p3

[6] Chukwunwike Enekwechi, “Law as a tool of Philosophy” in Restartnaija, 22nd February, 2018.

[7] cf. Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. (New York: Public Affairs, 2010). p.445

[8] Ogban Ogban-Iyam, Re-Inventing Nigeria through Pre-colonial Traditions In Issues in contemporary political economy of Nigeria.edited by Hassan A. Saliu. (Ilorin: T.A. Olayeri press, 1999). P73

[9] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2

[10] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[11] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3

[12] cf. Richard Dowden, op. Cit. p2

[13] Richard Dowden, op. Cit. p 441

[14] Richard Dowden, op. Cit. p478

[15] Richard Dowden, op. Cit. p.4

[16] Richard Dowden, op cit. p478


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