Nigeria as a country as gone through various ups and downs economically since its inception. We can’t talk about the economic development of Nigeria without mentioning the influence of colonialism. Nigeria was colonized by the British and till independence; the British played a major roll in the development of Nigeria economy.
After independence in 1960, Nigeria economy looked very promising. Nigeria was viewed by the world as an emerging economy because of its abundance in human and natural resources. However, because of the various political unrest and tribal disunity among her citizens, Nigeria never truly met its potential. Though the country is still playing a major economic role in the world because of its production of crude oil and natural gas.
Before the discovering of oil in Nigeria, the country also had a relatively strong economic base. Tax generated from overseas companies located along the country coasts by Europeans and the British during the period of slave trade was one of the major sources of revenue generation in the country as at then.
Aside from slave trade, the country also had a strong Agricultural base were over 95 percent of the citizens are farmers. Though at first, they mainly produce crops for personal consumption but later on after the British came they started producing cash crops in the country. Most of these cash crops are exported abroad and they bring more foreign exchange to the country which shot the country’s economy into limelight.
The discovery of oil in Nigeria in 1970s seems to even boost the country’s economic prowess further. Nigeria as a nation was so blessed to an extent that the then head of state declared that the problem of Nigeria is not money but how to spend it.
The exportation of oil, instead of blessing seems to be a course to the beginning of Nigeria downfall economically. This is as a result of the negligence in other sectors of the economy such as agriculture which was once the major economic base of the country. The government depended solely on oil production because it was yielding higher revenue. Oil exploitation caused a lot of damage to farmlands especially in the Niger delta area. This led to decrease in agricultural production and exportation.
To make issues worse, the then military government converted the country from a regional system of government were each region can develop itself, to a federal system of government were power is centralize and everyone dependent on the federal government.
The fall in the prices of oil globally exposed the Nigeria economy further because the country became a mono-economy that was solely dependent on oil.
Though the current government is trying as much as possible to diversify the economy but because of the way at which corruption as eaten deeply into the economy it would take quite some time for the country to truly claim its place as the economic base of the world.