The Giant of Africa: Illusions and Realities

The renowned Prof. Pat Utomi ignited a conversation about the state of Nigerian politics with his thought-provoking tweet today. Reflecting on recent political developments in Africa, Utomi highlighted the South African elections and President Ramaphosa’s government of National Unity. He questioned if Nigerian political leaders were taking note, especially as Kenya’s William Ruto emerged on the global stage in Switzerland.

Utomi’s tweet brings into focus Nigeria’s diminished status in Africa, a sentiment echoed by Dr. Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, who recalls a poignant conversation with his late brother, Chief Blessing Oghenekevwe Ohwavborua, JP, in Sapele back in 2011. Dr. Audu-Ohwavborua shared this story with our correspondent.

A Brother’s Political Struggle

In 2011, Chief Blessing Ohwavborua had high hopes for securing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket for the House of Representatives for the Ethiope Federal Constituency. Despite previous disappointments, he believed this time would be different, supported by assurances from party leaders, including Chief Williams Makinde, the then National Treasurer of the PDP.

For months, Dr. Audu-Ohwavborua supported his brother’s campaign, investing significant personal resources. Yet, on the eve of the primaries, the outcome was decided in favor of the incumbent, Hon. Emeyese, under dubious circumstances. This led to a period of deep disillusionment for Chief Blessing, who passed away in 2013, a victim of the toxic political climate.

A Reflection on Nigerian Politics

Dr. Audu-Ohwavborua reflects on the conversation he had with his brother during that challenging time. His brother lamented that the politics in Nigeria would never support true greatness due to its inherent dishonesty and lack of honor. He argued that without integrity and transparency, the notion of Nigeria as the “giant of Africa” was merely an illusion.

In 2013, Nigeria’s GDP rebased to 520 billion USD, surpassing South Africa and Egypt. However, Dr. Audu-Ohwavborua argues that this economic growth was not sustainable due to the absence of key ingredients like honesty, transparency, and accountability in the political system.

Current Economic Challenges

Today, under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigeria faces significant economic challenges. The removal of fuel subsidies and the harmonization of exchange rates were intended to stabilize the economy. However, Nigeria’s GDP has declined to 252.5 billion USD, and the nation grapples with high unemployment and inflation rates. Many believe that the economic growth of previous decades was unsustainable.

The Path Forward

Dr. Audu-Ohwavborua emphasizes that for Nigeria to reclaim its status as a true giant of Africa, it must build strong institutions through honest and transparent politics. Leadership must set examples of good behavior and reward integrity. Without these fundamental changes, the dream of a prosperous Nigeria will remain an illusion.


Dr. (Engr.) Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua (FNSE)
WhatsApp: 08052004083

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