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Citizens’ attitudes determine country’s dev.

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By Mercy Kelani

Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution has been blamed for hindering the nation’s progress.

An interesting perspective on the evolution of nations involves examining the influence of culture, constitution, and the attitudes of citizens on their country’s development. Statehood relies on a collaborative effort between the government and its people, with each individual having a responsibility to contribute to the collective entity. Each individual in the state must contribute to the collective will of the state in order to bring about the desired transformation. The direction a country takes in seeking change greatly impacts its political culture, policies, governance, and citizen participation.

Elite consensus, strong leadership, and adherence to the rule of law play significant roles in shaping a nation’s cultural and constitutional outcomes. We will thoroughly investigate various paths towards Nigeria’s progress, including culture, constitution, and the character of its citizens. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, although amended, has been criticized for hindering the progress of the country, with many arguing that it does not truly represent the people’s values and principles as a governing document.

Lack of effective leadership among those in power caused leadership crisis.

When implementing federalism in Nigeria’s political structure, it is clear that a constitution that heavily favours the central government with 68 items solely under its control makes the system more centralized than truly federal. Despite its 320 clauses and six schedules, the constitution of Nigeria is not the main obstacle to effective governance. The real issue lies in the failure of those in power to properly implement its provisions for the benefit of the country and its people. Although Section 6(6)(c) renders the entire chapter non-justiciable, countries with ethical leaders will still enforce it for the benefit of the public without needing legal coercion.

It is the citizens’ moral integrity, rather than constant constitutional amendments, that truly upholds the law, although updates to reflect societal changes are still important. Over the past 24 years, Nigeria has amended its constitution more than 30 times, with no tangible results or accountability for the ₦24.85 billion spent on the process. Following Nigeria’s independence, the lack of effective leadership among those in power resulted in a leadership crisis, as noted by Chinua Achebe. Leaders refused to take accountability and engage with the public, causing a moral dilemma among citizens.

People are now focused on individual survival at any cost.

Consequently, success is now associated with self-interest, consumerism, and dishonesty, with very few individuals willing to demand transparency and integrity within the system. In Nigeria today, the main issue is a crisis of character that has been exacerbated by years of ineffective governance. This has led to a situation where people are focused on individual survival at any cost, even resorting to corruption or other unethical methods. The prevailing mindset is one of seeking quick success without regard for the proper processes.

By supporting special interests, wealthy individuals have profited from unethical businesses, dishonest dealings, and ruthless mistreatment of the most vulnerable. However, it is important to remember that the concept of democracy suggests that regular citizens have the power to enhance their quality of life through collaborative efforts toward a common goal. The lack of progress in Nigeria is due to the joint leadership rather than focusing on ethnicity, religion, and constitutional issues. Blaming colonialism and imperialism for underdevelopment is no longer considered acceptable when educating students.

Citizens should feel compelled to steer the nation towards a brighter path.

Rather than focusing on constitutional amendments which cost the National Assembly one billion naira annually, people should feel compelled to steer the country towards a brighter, more civilized, productive, secure, and prosperous path. By examining the remarkable achievements and contributions of certain Nigerian individuals known for their dedication, innovation, and success, Nigerians may shift their attention away from divisive narratives related to constitutional issues, ethnicity, religion, and social status. This could pave the way for Nigeria to truly realize its full potential as a sovereign nation.

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