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JSPES, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Summer 2017)
pp. 180–227

From Balewa to Buhari: The Paradox of Nigeria’s Underdevelopment

Emmanuel Oladipo Ojo
Adeyinka Theresa Ajayi

Ekiti State University, Nigeria

Alhaji Tafawa Balewa was Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister while the incumbent President, Mohammadu Buhari, is the country’s fifteenth leader. In all, the Federation of Nigeria has had fifteen administrations since independence in 1960, the shortest being the Ernest Shonekan-led Interim National Government (ING), which lasted barely twenty-two days (26 August–17 November, 1993) following the irresolvable political crisis and pervasive violence that engulfed the country following the 1993 presidential elections presumably won by an Ijebu-Yoruba, Chief M.K.O. Abiola of the Social Democratic Party, SDP. Its super abundant human and natural resources notwithstanding, five and a half decades after the attainment of flag independence, Nigeria is still an eminent member of the committee of underdeveloped nations of the world. This paper identifies some of the factors that are responsible for Nigeria’s chronic underdevelopment to include adverse colonial heritage; political instability; poor implementation of national development plans, incessant military intervention in the democratic process; poor leadership and corruption. The paper concludes that Nigeria’s enormous wealth and her chronic underdevelopment is a paradox and trajectory. The method of data analysis employed by the study is the historical approach — simple descriptive collation and analysis of historical data.