Nigeria is a country with a rich history and culture, but it is also a country with many challenges. 

There have been conversations about the kind of Nigeria Nigerians want. We once believed in Vision 2020—the once-upon-a-time “strategic” deadline for Nigeria to be one of the 20 largest economies in the world. Where in the world are we now? 

While Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa by GDP, we are in the 30th position among the 2023 largest economies in the world. We failed to meet the vision set for 2020. Critics continue to argue that one of the reasons Vision 2020 failed is that the target was way too ambitious, considering the country’s acute developmental challenges and huge dependency on oil. 

On May 3, 2023, we also had former President Muhammadu Buhari launch a new national development plan, the Nigeria Agenda 2050, looking ahead to creating over 150 million jobs by 2050. Critics have also pointed out that this agenda lacks a proper action strategy. 

While the government is working more on improving the state of the economy, there’s a popular desire beyond that—economics and finances—for everyday people. It’s multi-layered. 

Some Nigerians dream of a Nigeria where everyone has equal opportunity, regardless of background. They want a country where hard work and determination are rewarded and where everyone has the chance to succeed.

Others dream of a Nigeria that is more independent and self-sufficient. They want a country that is not reliant on foreign aid and that can stand on its own two feet.

Of course, there is no single answer to the question of what kind of Nigeria Nigerians want. But the comments of some Nigerians (Bimbo, Laolu, Bridget, and Favour), shared with Zikoko Citizen, provide a glimpse into Nigerians’ hopes and aspirations for their country.

A Nigeria that is independent and self-sufficient

“I want a Nigeria that is independent. A Nigeria that people from all over come to for vacation. In the medical community, a Nigeria where people are referred to our hospitals worldwide because we are the best.” — Bimbo

Bimbo’s comments reflect the desires of people with access to healthcare services. Nigeria’s healthcare system is truly not applaudable and needs urgent attention. The issue of Brain Drain is a concern as many healthcare professionals seek greener pastures in other countries. As for the major health facilities, it’s not world-class for anyone to seek treatment in Nigeria, which could also help generate revenue.

A Nigeria where the son of nobody can become somebody

“When I dream of the Nigeria I want, I want a country where the child of a nobody can become somebody through sheer tenacity, hard work, and just a lick of luck. A place where good government policies favour industry and there are job opportunities for everyone everywhere, regardless of educational backgrounds.” — Laolu

Laolu’s comment about good government policies favouring industry reflects the desire of many Nigerians for a more prosperous and self-sufficient country. They believe Nigeria has the potential to be a major economic power but needs to make some fundamental changes to achieve its full potential.

A Nigeria that is more tolerant and accepting of diversity

“I want a Nigeria that’s way less religious.” — Bridget

Bridget’s comment about a less religious Nigeria reflects some Nigerians’ desire for a more secular society. They believe Nigeria’s religious diversity should be celebrated and that no one religion should influence the government or the people in making decisions that will impact everyone.

Download the Citizen Election Report: Navigating Nigeria’s Political Journey

A Nigeria where the Law is the Law

“When I think about what a better Nigeria would look like for me, I think of a Nigeria where there is truly the rule of law, where people and the government are held accountable for their actions. I would like to see a Nigeria with a better economy, where workers are properly compensated and can afford to live debt free.” — Favour

Our partner, LEAP Africa, has also unveiled “The Nigeria We Want” Report, highlighting feedback from young people across the six geo-political zones for a prosperous federal nation where everyone in every generation is secure, free, happy, and dignified. 

Through its youth engagement, advocacy, and grant-giving programme, the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund, they’ve disbursed grants totalling $400,000 to 130 individuals and organisations, comprising action grants, development grants, and individual grants that are designed to support initiatives in the civic participation space. Download the report here. 

The Nigeria of Nigerians’ dreams is a country where everyone has equal opportunity, where hard work is rewarded, where people of all faiths and sexual orientations can live together in peace, and where tranquilly is essential. It is a country where the potential of its people can be fully realised and where Nigeria can take its rightful place as a leading nation in the world.

Do dreams like this come true?

Only time will tell if dreams like these come true. But one thing is for sure: Nigerians, especially young people, are determined to make their dreams a reality. They are resilient people with a strong sense of hope who will not give up until they have achieved their goals.



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