I always refuse to put all the blame on the British for our current maladies and unfortunate circumstances. Yes, they seem to have handed over to some ill-prepared leaders, but they handed over in good faith, with hope in their former colony.
Nigeria was predicted with India and Brazil to be developed within a very short time in the 1960’s. I’ve read several literature relating to pre-Independence Nigeria, and the British had no doubt that Nigeria will be a great nation within 10 years of Independence. The leaders they handed over to, almost effortlessly, and without bloodshed, seemed capable and forward-looking, eager to bring progress and development to their people. Even before Independence, these native leaders had been governing their respective regions, with different levels of progress and results, but nevertheless ruling themselves.
The British, contrary to some schools of thought, never favoured or imposed one tribe over the other. There were 3 regions, West, North and East, and later a Mid-West, all self-governed parliamentary regions, setting their own standards of governance, with a weak central government (What we are now clamouring for in the guise of Restructuring, blah blah blah)
The military coup of 1966 changed all that, set a very strong central government, removed the regional independence and autonomy and steered the fragile country to a bloody civil war, from which we have never recovered, and may never, recover, psychologically.
Again, as we know, to our detriment, the rest is history. The 1966 military coup put an end to that Nigerian dream and signalled the nightmare we are having now.
However, the great challenge is getting ourselves, as a people, as a nation, as a society, out of the quagmire that we laid for ourselves. It is unfortunate that many of our leaders who profess to be patriotic than us, and who think they are smarter than the rest of us, are the ones pulling us back into the quagmire as we try to escape from the abyss.
For whose benefit? I always try to figure it out but can’t. What does it benefit them to keep their people oppressed? What is the point of having power that you cannot use to help the weak and the poor? Why do you want to be the only ones comfortable in the midst of abject poverty? It is against all religious tenets and human morality.
On the long run, none of us, rich or poor, powerful or weak, leader or follower, beautiful or ugly, is going to leave this world alive.