Development is not something that happens accidentally or spontaneously. Rather, development is something manmade, something that is done through various steps. It is a movement, and all movement requires some form of propulsion. Take Nigeria, for example, where development has gone hand in hand with various problems. Every achievement is followed by a setback, and many people feel that no progress is being made. The exception to this is Nenadi, the now former finance minister from the state of southern Kaduna.
As the economic and financial minister, Senator Nenadi Esther Usman attempted to bring about great changes, and she was very successful in this. She focused strongly, obviously, on the economic development of her country. Nenadi did this by encouraging the empowerment of young men and women alike, ensuring they could become more involved in entrepreneurship. Esther also worked on education, and particularly on making sure girls and women could access vocational training.
Nenadi Esther Usman also brought about changes in the social field, however. She was born Nenadi Esther, a Christian woman from Kaduna. But she married a Muslim man in an interfaith ceremony, taking on his name in part. Hence, she is now known as Esther Nenadi Usman. This is unique because so few people in Nigeria agree to interfaith marriages, even if they are completely legal.
Throughout her tenure as minister, and through her personal life, Esther Usman believes she has identified the 10 main reasons why Nigeria continues to be underdeveloped. Nenadi Esther has changed much of this, but she acknowledges that much more needs to be done. Hence, the 10 issues she has identified are also the 10 priorities she wishes to address.
10 Reasons for Nigeria’s Underdevelopment
- Self-discovery. Nigeria has only been independent for around 60 years and still has to find its own identity.
- A lack of sense of nationhood. There are around 500 different tribes and cultures within Nigeria, most of which are classed as minorities who do not feel like they are Nigerian.
- National sacrifice, which is not a problem of itself, but in Nigeria it means the poorest have to sacrifice to further the rich.
- Social structure. Nigeria is still an unequal society in which women in particularly are significantly disadvantaged.
- The country wants to become one of top 20 global economies, but it has little influence outside of Africa.
- Colonialism and imperialism have caused significant problems in the country, not in the least a scarcity mentality, meaning people expect to have little.
- Unfortunately, there is a sensation among many that things will never get better.
- National vision, as there is no sense of togetherness and single vision.
- Role models. This is clearly being changed by women like Nenadi.
- A reward system. When something goes right, it is not recognized other than by personal riches – and personal riches do not always mean success.
These are the issues Esther will continue to work in, either officially or privately.