THE BIG BROTHER: No Progress for Africa Without Nigeria?

In light of the recent xenophobic chaos across Africa especially in South Africa, Nigerians have come out to voice their opinions about their place and role in the continent. Some argue strongly that they will be no progress in across Africa without Nigerians. Others are a bit conservative as they argue for balance amongst African countries. No doubt, Nigeria’s role in the continent cannot be understated.

As the largest African nation in terms of population, Nigeria holds a lot of economic promise for itself and the continent. However, will progress stifle in the continent without Nigeria? The following statement was made by the former President of the United States of America about Nigeria around 2010. Do you agree or not?

Nigeria is critical to the rest of the continent and if Nigeria does not get it right, Africa will really not make more progress.

President Barrack Obama

Despite the gross mismanagement of resources and funds that is prevalent in the Nigerian economy, the country still has the largest economy on the continent. Could this be because of just Nigeria’s population or that Nigerian leaders are actually doing one or two things right? Quite frankly, just like Obama rightly observed, if Nigeria gets it right, the rest of Africa would benefit greatly.


Exploring Comments From Across The Web

When it comes to Nigeria’s place and role on the continent, however, there are a lot of views from across the continent and we will explore them below.

Yes, Nigeria is important to Africa. Just imagine a developed, and well-run Nigeria and the impact it will have in other West African countires? Even with the mismanagement, corruption and all the troubles Nigeria is going through, many Africa countries refer to Nigeria as the big brother. Nigerians are great what we just lack is LEADERSHIP.


Yes, indeed, Nigeria is important for Africa. If nothing else, due to its size and vast human and material resources. It is still up in the air, whether it has even made an attempt to realize all that potential. And there are no unimportant countries for that matter in Africa, as far as there are humans in them. What Nigeria should do is get rid of its lame superiority complex and start showing real leadership.


How important is Nigeria? Nigeria is not important beyond its oil revenue squandering. Its political social and economics management have no vital positive example to sub-Saharan Africa.

Which African country is most important to you other than your own, and why?

Two countries in Africa are best suited to serve as good examples and show good leadership role only if they knew their past.

Ethiopia and Liberia have been on the forefront of AU for decades. Both have very tragic past to overcome. If they do overcome their haunting troubles inside and outside and look deep in their hearts and minds to care for their citizens, then Africa will be well served. Especially Ethiopia as the home to AU has every reason to set far exceeding achievement in every sector to set example as they have done so in their fight for independence through unity.

Although Ghana has a unique place in AU as one of the oldest member, they have been excessively influenced by outside to set proper Africanism push.


Nigeria may be important to the development of neighboring West African states, but I don’t consider Nigeria to be that important to other regions on the continent. Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy is not diversified or dynamic enough to be a model for the rest of Africa, while the country’s endemic corruption serves to limit its continental influence.

The states, in my opinion, that are critical to African continental development are South Africa and Ethiopia (I exclude Egypt from this list since it is a self-styled “Arab Republic”).

South Africa’s large diversified economy can serve as an engine of investment and technology transfer to other African economies. Ethiopia boasts Africa’s fastest growing non-oil producing economy and has made massive investments in hydroelectric power and other infrastructure.

Ethiopia will soon be an electricity exporter which will help the development of neighboring economies. Ethiopia’s rapidly growing and increasingly diversified economy will serve as a model for other African economies.


Nigeria may be important but each country in Africa is equally important as the total sum is greater than the single unit. Likewise, each African country should get it right to make the continent greater.
Many times African states blame history for their inability to perform.

They may be right but since the countries have been independent for nearly half a century, what has the leadership done to make things right? Impunity and corruption has been the order of the day.

n the other hand, the outside influence of the World Bank institutions through structural adjustment program squarely laid the ground for bad performance as it entrenched dependancy syndrom; forced governments to sell off revenue generating ventures; and cut civil service employment numbers greatly. Let us be balanced in thought and judgement.

George Oyeho

To say something is important it must have at least certain features or characteristics that constitute the importance and the relevance. What is it about Nigeria that is important to Africa? Nigerians can’t even agree about the anatomy of our country, so how can we begin to claim that our country is important to Africa?

John Igbino

No doubt, Nigeria is giant in Africa, though the country is facing incredible disturbances that recast its economy to shamble one. Aberration and mismanagement under the leadership of corruption force this fortunate nation, which have been blessed with human and natural resources to remain in the shadow of poverty and starvation.


Nigeria, Africa’s most populated nation most get it house in order to be able to influence policies in other African countries despite its oil wealth and and over-population. Nigeria, if it house is in order, in terms of good governance, sound economic policy of growth, development, and stability, and free and fair elections, it could be a source envy of other African nations/leaders and their people.

Raymond Ogunti

Nigeria is regarded as a BIG BROTHER and they have been playing the BIG BROTHER role in Africa in general and Sierra Leone in particular for the last decade. They provided leadership during my country’s trouble period under ECOMOG when the world ignores us. They restored our President almost twice after he was overthrown by rebel forces.

Although, other countries are now claiming that their intervention in Sierra Leone helped end one of the world most barbaric civil war, but I think Nigeria should take credit for that.

It is on record that the Nigerian ECOMOG force was spending one million dollars a day for their men in Sierra Leone. Nigeria still continues to support Sierra Leone in its post war reconstruction phase. If the world did not recognize that, we in Sierra Leone appreciate them. A friend in need is a friend in deed. Bravo Naija!


Being big is not synonymous with being great. If Africa is looking up to Nigeria, then Africa will never develop. When Nigeria gained independence in 1960, there was a lot of hope and enthusiasm. The country at that time had surplus of intellectual and technological manpower.

The Nigerian universities at that time compared with the best in Europe and most African countries sent their citizens to Nigeria to study. Unfortunately, that hope disappeared because of poor leadership and corruption. The forty years of military dictatorship in Nigeria created a massive brain drain as intellectuals and technocrats mainly from the East of Nigeria left the country in droves to Europe and USA and never to return. This is a loss that will hardly be recovered.

The smaller countries like Angola, Namibia and Ghana have done very well and should move ahead without looking up to Nigeria for leadership. Nigeria is no longer the hope for Africa. The problem with Nigeria is leadership. Leadership in Nigeria has never been attained by free and fair election. It has always been achieved fraudulently either by a military coup or a retired military general posing as a civilian and rigging the election and putting himself into leadership with the help of the Army.

In essence, Nigeria has never had a genuine leadership. In the absence of genuine leadership, greatness will always elude Nigeria. The smaller and progressive countries like Ghana, Namibia, Angola etc should forge ahead without looking up to Nigeria. Nigeria is a highway to nowhere.


DISCLAIMER: The comments above are from individuals who are not associated with this platform and do not reflect the views of EveryEvery.NG. Feel free to leave yours in the comments section below.

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