Being called “giant” in this context means Nigeria is a superpower. This word can be broken down to mean importance, eminence, power, and of great size.
Why Is Nigeria Called The Giant of Africa?
What makes Nigeria the Giant of Africa is how Nigeria became one of the most influential nations in Africa back in the ’90s and early 2000s. The three main areas Nigeria used to supersede other African countries are — population, wealth, and political influence.
This is one of the major reasons why Nigeria is called the giant of Africa. It is a populous country in Africa. Nigerians are in almost every country in Africa and around the world. It’s also believed that 1 in 6 Africans is a Nigerian.
Nigerians are hardworking and they have a strong drive for success. With our vast natural resources, agriculture, and GDP, Nigeria was a country with the possibility of becoming a global economic super.
Back in the days, around the 1970s and up to 1985. The “Naira” was stronger than the US Dollar. The Naira was at an average of N0.65 kobo to N0.90k for USD1. A year later (1986), the foreign exchange system was implemented as required by the IMF/World Bank. After the implementation, things started to go downhill.
The FX rate declined to over N2 to USD1 in 1986, the same year the implementation took place. The fall crashed even more and it was N4 to USD1 in 1987.
Then came the discovery of crude oil which cemented us as the giant of Africa. Nigeria was now a very rich country, and we were able to build a strong infrastructure, music and art centers, universities, Nigeria Airway (that was the best in Africa at that time), telecoms, and so on.
When some African countries were famine ridden we helped them out through food aids. We offered scholarships to Africans and helped in resolving conflicts between nations. We even hosted FESTAC in 1977.
Nonetheless, Nigeria remains one of Africa’s top economies. According to Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics, “the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew in Q3 2017 by 1.40% (year-on-year) in real terms, the second consecutive positive growth since the emergence of the economy from recession in Q2 2017”. Our days of slipping back into recession are still in the corners, but not so imminent and we still have time to take the right steps to avoid it.
With the technologies that are available in Nigeria and the opportunities that are presenting themselves, the Nigerian population is getting more technically advanced and highly educated, this means the economy has a chance to return to its old glory.
3. Political influence
This can be considered the major reason Nigeria is called the giant of Africa till today. Our ability to exert political influence in the UN, and especially in gaining independence for the rest of Africa through the AU (formerly called OAU). With this political influence, Nigeria was able to engage actively with the Pan-Africanism movement that influenced things across Africa. Also, in South Africa, Nigeria was active in the campaigns for the end of apartheid and racism.
Presently, Nigeria’s political influence is no longer as strong as it once was. For us to return to the glorious days, the affairs of this country need to be put in order, internal conflicts have to be resolved, corruption has to be conquered, and we need to review some of the economic policies and weed out the ones crippling the economy.
In Nigeria, we have great tourist and cultural attractions which can be promoted globally and optimized commercially, thereby improving our influence in the world. Throughout the year, we experience more summer in Nigeria, which makes it suitable for the country to always open its doors to tourists.
Also, there was a campaign #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira in place. This can be helpful in making this country return to its glory days. According to HetoGrow, changing the tag to #GrowNaijaToGrowTheNaira will help even more because it will draw attention to the need to develop the economy, and it will make #MadeinNigeria products readily available to Nigerians.
With these improvements, Nigerians in the diaspora will be willing to come back home for holidays and enjoy good sceneries until they’re ready to go back. They might have a change of heart and relocate back to Nigeria.
Nigeria might have once been the giant of Africa, but not anymore. Even though it’s possible to still consider Nigeria a giant, but it isn’t as influential as it once was. Corruption and mismanagement have disrupted the internal and external affairs of this country and it’s just living in the shadows of its past. For this country to go back to its days of glory, it needs capable leaders who are not after their selfish gains but more interested in transforming the country.