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Culture and Development in Nigeria Research Paper

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Culture is an important factor that affects the development of different sectors in any country’s economy. It can thus be said that development is inseparable from culture. The cultural policy of any country is usually considered as a binding factor, which enhances nationalism thereby unifying the citizens.

Different cultural sectors ought to co-work so as to enhance a quick development strategy. Thus, the combined synergetic knowledge of human beings, what they believe, and how they behave can go a long way in determining the rate of development among a particular people.

Nigeria is one of the largest countries in Africa with a great diversification in geography, socially, and culturally. Its populace is Africa’s highest. The rich resources coupled with huge market potential provide Nigeria with the necessary tools to develop her different sectors in the economy.

There are many private and co-sponsored organizations currently in operation to boost Nigeria’s development program. Currently, the country is undergoing through various socioeconomic restructuring. It should be noted that Nigeria’s cultural development has received support from the citizen’s themselves and military governments, an action that has also been recognized in the constitution.

It is thus quite necessary to comment by saying that the development of Nigeria will largely depend on her cultural policy. Cultural interference on development has caused major impediments to societal Nigeria and her economic status. A short synopsis of the history of Nigeria gives a blueprint on how culture punctuated Nigeria’s development by the civil wars in the mid and late twentieth century.

In line with this, various private organizations have been involved in addressing various development problems. They include the IMF, WHO, FAO, UN and its tributaries. The government has also been involved in one way or another in collaborating with non governmental organizations to address these problems.

Problems Facing Development in Nigeria

There are quite a number of problems that face Nigeria’s development programs. These problems range from cultural affiliations to infrastructural problems not forgetting administrative problems. Other problems also include those concerned with the media, political, and economic problems.

It is worth noting that culture has been given priority by Nigeria’s authorities as a means of fostering development. Cultural values and cultural activities have been loudly pronounced as ways by which developments in various sectors can be achieved (Culturelink 39).

Factors Affecting Development in Nigeria

Evolution of cultural life in Nigeria depends not just on the ethnic cultural values and behaviors but also on those habits inclined to religious obligations. The differences between cultural lives of Nigerians are dependent on various factors, such as, distance and environment.

For instance, rural cultures are significantly different from urban cultures. Their differences also come in on the part of habits and norms. Tradition is a major factor that marks the cultural life of Nigerians. Traditional forms of cultural events like festivities and music characterizes cultural phenomena in this country.

Cultural industries also have a stake in influencing the cultural lives of Nigerian people. Mass media as an example of such cultural industries bring to the Nigerians new civilization and technological parameters that the majority of the population can cope with and accept. As a brief recap, the cultural evolution of Nigerians in the recent past has thus punctuated the religious and traditional characteristics through mass media and by other swiftly spreading cultural industries.

International cooperation is also essential in determining the levels of development in Nigeria. International cooperation creates an atmosphere for cultural exchange, which is most of the time good for a country’s development. Hybrid culture is therefore developed in such cooperation thereby boosting economic and infrastructural growth. This also brings about the culture of tolerance in the contemporary societal Nigerian community.

Legislation is also another factor that has strongly influenced the development of Nigeria. The constitutionality of various cultural phenomena is crucial in determining the nurturing and development of particular cultures that can positively impart the Nigerian community. It is quite encouraging to understand that the Nigerian national government has granted the regional governments an exclusive mandate to nurture and develop local culture.

Actors Addressing the Development Problem

The solutions to development problems in Nigeria are being carried out by the national government in collaboration with major stakeholders. The private organizations are involved in informing and alleviating particular negative impacts of some cultures in the society. The collaboration of public and private sectors ensure that there is quality national global health, development, and well being of the society.

There are different kinds of public and private partnerships (PPP) in Nigeria. However, many private sectors usually operate autonomously and they include the following;

  • Food and Agricultural organization (FAO)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • World Bank
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • African Development Bank (ADB)
  • The United Nations (UN)
  • The Private Sector

In addition to the above organizations, Nigeria is a member of some regional trade organizations like ECOWAS and others such as NEPAD. While these trade unions are concerned mainly with traditional socioeconomic cultural relationships, non governmental organizations on the other hand are mainly concerned with promoting new ideas and in encouraging the public sector and the government to implement these particular policies. The following are some of the organizations that are concerned with cultural developments in Nigeria:-

The African Development Bank

The African development bank is involved in major activities in the water sector and in sanitation projects across Nigeria. The bank began its operation in the year 1971. Water and sanitation sectors in Nigeria have been major problems in the development of the entire country. This bank has contributed up to USD 3.75 billion on concessionary terms in literarily all economic sectors of the country (ADB 1). Rural water and sanitation sub programs in Yobe and Osun States were approved in 2007 with an amount of USD 88.32 million.

These projects aim specifically at increasing access to safe water supply and sustainable sanitation for the rural communities in different states across Nigeria. They also engage in infrastructure provision consisting of water facilities, sanitation facilities, and latrines, and in several other community development projects.

In addition to the above activities, the African development bank is also involved in sector capacity building where it supports the communities to ensure long term sustainability at all levels of the sectors, which also include the private sector and NGOs whereby there is a provision of equipment and hospital staff.

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)

UNEP is involved in conducting environmental impacts assessments on Nigeria’s environment such as oil fields. The purpose of their assessment studies are meant to examine the implications of oil pollution in Nigeria’s vast oil fields. Other factors that UNEP has been involved in determining are the nature and location as well as the extent to which oil contamination has reached. This arm of the UN has been collaborating with the government in undertaking its activities (UNEP 4).

There is a study that is still going on in Nigeria’s Ogoniland whereby UNEP scientists are collecting samples of water and soil together with other samples to perform certain analysis. The laboratory analysis of these samples are meant to form an assessment report that will provide a compiled result of the analysis.

This information will then be able to provide specific options to the government on how to clean up polluted areas. Thus, this long term goal to remediate contaminated sites is expected to be achieved in the beginning of the year 2011. The implementations of the recommended options will remediate polluted sites so that the local community can benefit as well as those people who reside in some parts of the Niger delta. Sustainable development will also be realized should this project become successful (UNEP 7).

The Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Non governmental organizations in Nigeria usually deal with issues that are concerned with sensitization. The issues include human rights and other more specific ones like the rights of women. Several non governmental organizations have committed themselves to fight for human rights advocacy.

To be more specific, Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL) is a non governmental organization in Nigeria that deals with women’s rights. Another organization that deals with a similar issue is the Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection (WRAPA). These organizations do deal with specialized issues unlike other non governmental organizations that deal with general issues (Okafor 38).

Most of these NGOs receive money from overseas and channel the resources in particular projects in line with their policies. There are also other organizations that specialize in giving poor people some financial aid with a view to alleviating their poverty status. Others deal with human settlement while others specialize in helping HIV/AIDS victims (Okafor 138).

Their main aim is to empower the less privileged people to acquire a better socioeconomic status within the community. Other environmental action groups specializes in matters of the environment such as ensuring that the environment is protected from hazards and to prevent or reduce the impacts of pollution.

The Effectiveness of Private Organizations in Nigeria

The private organizations discussed above are pretty successful in the implementation of their policies. This is for the reason that most of the organizations are run by foreign experts who manage these organizations. This is evident by the achievements of major undertakings that these organizations have been involved in. The partnerships between the government and the public sectors have increased the efficiency in service provision thereby improving the rates of different kinds of development in Nigeria.

The African Development Bank has succeeded in its water and sanitation project. Rural development especially in infrastructure has been enhanced courtesy of the African Development Bank. Thus, this kind of development partnership in fostering participatory approaches in dealing with matters of development is quite crucial especially in the economic sector. The organizational structure of this financial institution is transparent, and fosters accountability and equity, which further foster effectiveness.

The ADB has been able to do some partnership with the government of Nigeria in a joint fund that seeks to assist the development efforts of low income earners. As a result, low income earners have been able to benefit through this scheme by acquiring loans that attract low interest rates. Thus, Nigerian citizens have been empowered through this scheme (ADB Group 3).

UNEP is another organization that has been quite successful in implementing its policies especially in the environmental aspects. This is evident especially in the current ongoing project that is being undertaken in Ogoniland to analyze the field data collected so as to recommend the best options the government can take to deal with pollution.

If oil pollution can be dealt with then the environment will be friendlier to the habitation of human beings and animals. This will ensure a balanced ecosystem and thus enhanced sustainable economic growth.

Non Governmental Organizations have over time evolved to focus and take on the task of promoting and protecting a complete complement of human rights. The development of NGO’s in Nigeria has enabled peasants to rise in their socioeconomic status. Civil and political liberties have been realized throughout the nation of Nigeria (Okafor 32). Women have been specifically boosted financially by the federal ministry of women, which had been an initiative of the NGOs (Mwalimu 643).

Public Private Partnership and Development in Nigeria

Public private partnership is a form of contract or an agreement in which the private party enters into agreement with the government to provide a specified public service. The private service provider is responsible for the financing of the operations and all the risks involved. In some other partnership programs the services are paid by the particular users of the service.

Nigeria’s private sector is also dominated by foreign investment. For this reason, the private investments do not entirely deliver services within the framework of the national interest. There are so many programs that the Nigerian government undertakes in partnership with the private enterprises. The program of indigenization launched in 1972 and 1977 Nigerian Enterprise Promotion Decree marked a limited but significant participation of government in industrial development.

In pursuit of the decree’s objective to expand Nigeria’s indigenous private sector by excluding non-citizens from a number of categories of commercial service and small scale industrial activity, the machinery of government at federal and state levels were assigned various roles in facilitating the transfer of ownership and control of affected enterprises.

In addition to this, there are other financial institutions that have been set up to act as supporting public sector institutions. They include the Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry Training Fund.

This culture of private partnership by the government has helped a great deal in enhancing Nigeria’s development in various sectors like the economy and industry (Collins 8). Improvement of services by such kind of outsourcing has also influenced the speedy economic growth and an improvement of infrastructure across the country. Considering the outcome of the contribution of culture towards development, it can thus be said that culture is absolutely relevant in enhancing sustainable growth.

Effects of Culture on Development

Diverse cultures affect development of a country in different ways. There are currently so many cultures that impact negatively to a country’s economy. Negatively impacting cultures usually affect a country’s development. Corruption is a good example of those negative cultures that affect a country.

The Effects of Corruption on Development

Corruption in its primary form is described as the use of public power and resources for personal gains. Corruption is a major stumbling block on a country’s development path. Its effects on development are usually disastrous thus causing the decline of a country’s socio economic welfare (Frisch 4). Corruption is a culture that must be admonished in any society. In Nigeria, there are people who embrace the culture of corruption because they argue that corruption oils the wheels of development thus enhancing the rate of development.

It is rather absurd especially when public officers unlawfully enrich themselves together with their close relatives or friends. Public officers misuse the position in which they are placed, a situation that is quite detrimental to societal welfare.

To counter this, Nigeria has begun to engage in rigorous economic reforms so as to set the economy back on track. This has caused the onset of another culture that can cause positive progress to the economy (Obayelu 14). One of the ways through which this has been achieved is by the strengthening of the national currency. The use of anticorruption instruments in tackling the vice has continued to be used so that sustainable economic development can be attained.

A Personal Opinion and Argument

Culture is a substantial instrument that can be used either to abet negative development or to foster development of a country. There are those cultures that cause positive effects on the socioeconomic development in a country. Different impediments to development are usually determined by the cultural structure characterizing a particular community. It is therefore crucial and prudent enough to correct any errors arising from such impediments before any major step of development can be taken.

Culture can also act as an alternative route to national development.

In addition to corruption and administrative errors, political behaviors among leaders have also been detrimental to Nigeria’s development. One particular stereotypical phenomenon is that which involves African political leaders. They are known to overstay their welcoming (Coker & Coker 5). This can be negatively impacting to the development of a country since it leads to acts of violence.


There are various problems that face the development of Nigeria. Cultural, infrastructural, administrative, and political problems are among the notable factors that if not taken carefully and seriously can have detrimental effects on the socioeconomic aspects of the country.

There are also some traditions that must be weighed before they are performed. This is because certain traditions that depend mainly on the environment and religious affiliations punctuate the cultural life, which consequently affects development in several ways such as in the behavioral patterns.

It has been discussed how different actors try to address the development problems faced in the country of Nigeria. Such actors include international organizations such as FAO, WHO, UN, ADB among many others. Public-private partnerships have also been important in fostering development in Nigeria.

For instance, the African Development bank has partnered with some Nigerian commercial banks to economically empower the less privileged by giving them soft loans with reduced interest rates. Other stakeholders in the PPP include some NGOs.

The effectiveness of these organizations has passed the test of time by virtue of the results they give. Several projects that have been undertaken by these organizations have recorded substantial success rates. This is because they are usually managed by professional people who have the know-how. Corruption has also been discussed as a major cultural impediment to positive development.

Works Cited

ADB Group. “Nigeria Trust Fund.” African Development Bank Group, 2010. Web. <>.

ADB. Activities in the Water and Sanitation Sector in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Water and Sanitation department. October 2010. Print.

Coker, Oluwole, and Coker, Adesina. Cultural Exploration as an Alternative Route to National Development: Insights from Yoruba Verbal Arts. University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Kemanusiaan 16 (2009), 1-11. 2009.

Collins, Paul. Administration for Development in Nigeria. Lagos: African education press, 1980. Print.

Culturelink. “Cultural Policy in Nigeria.” IRMO/culturelink, 1996. Web. <>

Frisch, Dieter. The Courier ACP-EU. The Effects of Corruption On Development. NO. 158, July August 1996, pp 68-70.

Mwalimu, Charles. The Nigerian Legal System: Public Law. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2007. Print.

Obayelu, Abiodun. Effects of Corruption and Economic Reforms on Economic Growth and Development: Lessons from Nigeria. Department of agricultural economics, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. African economic conference. 2007. Print.

Okafor, Obiora. Legitimizing Human Rights NGOS: Lessons from Nigeria. Asmara, Eritrea: Africa World Press, Inc. 2006. Print.

UNEP. “UNEP Fieldwork In Ogoniland Is Still Ongoing.” United Nations Environment Programme, 22 Nov. 2010. Web. <>

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