Is Nigeria Really a Failed State?

A failed state is one with a weak central power that has no authority over its people, such as the inability to raise taxes or perform other mundane activities.

Is Nigeria Really a Failed State?

No, Nigeria isn’t a failed state, not yet. By definition, a failed state is one whose economic and political system is weak and the government is no longer in control. While the Nigerian government still has some authority over the people it governs, we can still see the retaliation by youths who are tired of the bad governance.

Here are reasons why Nigeria is at the brink of being a failed state and what she can do to avert that:

1. Rise in insurgency

If an insurgency is not tackled on time it will affect the internal and external affairs of this country drastically. For years, Nigeria has been battling terrorism and it seems like we are nowhere near the end. Their bold attacks show that we lack adequate security. Every successful terrorist attack grows the appetite of the terrorists.

What Nigeria needs to do is put in place counter-terrorism measures that are well planned and well funded. Terrorism is something that should be taken seriously.

Also, it is well known that these terrorists recruit members by offering them financial freedom in exchange for their manpower. There has to be a stop to these, and the only way to put a stop to it is by strengthening local political and economic institutions. An average Nigerian living comfortably won’t be easily persuaded to join these terrorists.

2. Lack of accountability

We all know if a company has terrible accounting, then it will go bankrupt at last. This is the same with countries. Nigeria is known for gross misconduct, and if this isn’t checked and reduced then it will pose a problem that can make Nigeria a failed state sooner than later.

All the three arms of government (executive, legislature, judiciary) should all be accountable and make sure to check for excesses. If not, then the rot in the government will spread, and if one arm of government is unstable or not functional, all the remaining ones can’t stabilize the country.

The interdependence of all arms of government is required for a stable economy, so it means this issue of terrible accountability should be changed very soon. The saying “prevention is better than cure” carries a huge weight in this scenario.

3. Inflation

Inflation has been a recurring issue in Nigeria for several years. It keeps getting higher every time, and the higher the inflation is, the more it gets. When inflation turns to hyperinflation, it can wipe away people’s savings thereby leading to instability. Some scholars argue that inflation itself can’t really lead to recession, nonetheless, it is a factor, so it can’t be ruled out entirely.

Those who have experienced hyperinflation know how drastic it can be. There will be a reduction in the value of savings and a fall in wages. When this happens, the average Nigerian will be hit the most. The state will be far from functional, so this gives the people the power to take things into their hands, and when they do, things will turn ugly.

4. Severe unemployment

When a man has no means of surviving he will most likely enter survival mode, and since he has nothing to lose, he will be willing to go to any length just to survive. While one man can’t bring about the fall of a country, if several people come together and form a coalition then it is very possible. The sad part is that Nigeria is reaching that point. The unemployment rate is high, and now the youths are screaming “school is a scam”.

Without skills and technical knowledge that will be gained in the four walls of a classroom, unemployment is likely to soar even more in the coming years. Internet fraud will also increase. Those that are unsuccessful in their fraudulent activities will most likely turn against the government and wreak havoc out of frustration. It’s disheartening we are nearing this stage, yet the government is doing nothing.


Different organizations have developed metrics they use in measuring the level of control a country needs to have. The precise level of control a government needs for it to be considered a failed state varies amongst different authorities as well. Moreover, declaring a state as “failed” is very controversial, and when it’s is declared authoritatively, this can lead to geopolitical consequences.

Most countries won’t want that declaration due to the constraints it might cause, so even if it comes to the point that Nigeria deserves to be called a failed state, the government might rebuke such. However, the consequences that occur when a state is failed will definitely affect Nigeria, regardless of whether the government admits Nigeria is a failed state or not.

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