Nigeria – a Country Full of Contradictions Part I
Nigeria is a country full of contradictions. It is characterized by extensive poverty with a huge difference in living conditions between the rich elite and the poor majority. 60 percent of the population lives on around one dollar a day or less. Corruption and political violence are part of every day, and in the north of the country a radical Islamist group – Boko Haram – is fighting a bloody battle against the government and everyone else whom they do not count as returning Muslims.
- What are the contradictions in Nigeria about?
- What is Nollywood?
- How can developments in Nigeria affect countries around?
- What challenges does Nigeria face?
At the same time, Nigeria is the great power in West Africa and one of Africa’s most important countries with a population of about 175 million people and a gross national product (GDP) per capita of 2600 dollars (measured by purchasing power). In the UN, Nigeria is considered a middle-income country, and the country also has a well-developed financial sector.
It is the world’s 12th largest producer of oil and gas, and revenues from this sector account for 80 per cent of GDP and 90 per cent of export revenues. Nigeria also has the second largest stock exchange in Africa (by turnover), and the world’s richest person of African descent is no longer Ophra Winfrey, but the Nigerian cement billionaire Aliko Dangote . Nigeria also has one of the largest film industries in the world.
2: Large film industry
The Nigerian film industry – Nollywood – have directions from one modest start in 1960 talet washing the to become the second largest in the world measured by number of film production per year. Clearly ahead of Hollywood, but somewhat behind Indian Bollywood. A film can be made in just one week, which means low production costs, cheap film for users and thus a large hall. Therefore, even those who make the films can make money.
The Nollywood industry is among the parts of the private sector that employ the most people in the country. At the same time, it is an important contributor to Nigeria’s strong position in Africa. Nigerian films are strong all over the continent. The Nollywood movies can probably be perceived as simple low-budget productions by us who are used to western movies and well-directed American productions. But they appeal to an African audience where they address moral dilemmas and practical issues that are relevant and important to the people of Africa.
3: Noko skil – noko foreiner
Nigeria (see facts) is truly a paradox – full of contradictions. The country’s history after it became independent in 1960 is a tale of violence, corruption and misrule , with consequent poverty and suffering . But it is also a story about the political, economic and military giant itself in West Africa according to softwareleverage.org. It is a story of failure, grief and struggle for social justice and development that has proved unsuccessful.
At the same time, it is a story of success . Just keeping this huge and composed population together is a success in itself. The country is divided between Christians and Muslims . The former constitute the majority in the south, while the Muslims are in the clear majority in the north of the country.
Nigeria , however, is more than religious divides. The country is also divided into 250 different ethnic groups that both cooperate and are in conflict with each other. But if there is one thing that characterizes the Nigerian people, it is their entrepreneurial spirit and ability to make a living out of almost nothing. Nigeria is therefore truly a land of contradictions where many different factors come into play. But above all, oil and gas production and the distribution of the income from it play an important role in what happens or does not happen in the country.
4: Instability and coup
Nigeria was a British colony that became an independent country in 1960. However, the hopes for development and increased prosperity did not last long. Already in 1966 came the first military coup , and in 1967 the country was thrown into a bloody civil war . Then the Igbo people broke out and declared their territory independent, an area they called Biafra . The ensuing civil war lasted for three years, and as many as one million people had to pay with their lives before the uprising was crushed and Nigeria’s sovereignty was restored.
The 1970s and 1980s were difficult for the country. The Nigerian economy grew well in line with rising oil revenues, but politically this was a time of political instability and a series of military coups and changing leaders – most of them from the military. This lasted more or less until 1999. Then Olusegun Obasanjo came to power through a democratic multi-party election, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerged as the new state-supporting party in Nigeria.
The party, which was created by Obasanjo, was founded on a compromise between Christian and Muslim leaders. The idea was that they should share power. One candidate could sit for two terms, but then the party’s next presidential candidate had to come from the other group. This meant that when the Christian Obasanjo had a seat for two terms, the next presidential candidate from the party had to be a Muslim. In 2007, it was therefore Muslim Yar`Adua’s turn, but he became ill and died early in the period.