Paper Example on Sustainable Development and Leadership in Nigeria

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1539 Words
Date:  2022-10-04


Sustainable development is one of the pillars of development that are advocated by international organizations and developed countries. Developing countries such as Nigeria have put effort towards achieving the set development goals, but many challenges developing countries such as Nigeria have to contend with. Sustainable development is a development approach that ensures that a country meets the present needs without compromising the needs of future generations. On the other hand, sustainable leadership is a type of leadership that promotes diversity and inclusivity of all the people to be able to have a voice in the country leadership matters. Sustainable development and sustainable leadership then become two sides of the same coin. Sustainability in the current world is becoming a significant norm in creating a holistic development. This paper will assess sustainable development and leadership in Nigeria and establish the challenges and possible solutions for creating a more sustainable democracy and economy in Nigeria.

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Background of Nigeria’s Political Terrain

Nigeria gained independence in 1960 after being a British protectorate. The main country exports were agriculture, which earned foreign exchange. Nigeria was among the leading producer of cash crops worldwide. In the late 1960s, Nigeria discovered petroleum, and it corresponded with military revolutions and outlaws in the country. The military government delayed economic development since it was the beginning of mismanagement, fraud, and dishonesty. According to Nwanganga, Nwachukwu, & Mirian (2016), over the past years of electoral misconduct, fierceness, threats, and others forms of dark art have taken over Nigeria political terrain. Failure of governance and leadership in Nigeria has led to the subtle future of Nigeria. Despite the increase of oil revenue in the world market, Nigeria development curve is still going down. The over-dependence on oil in the country has led the country to an oil resource spell situation. Leadership is significant in demonstrating quality control that enhances social development.

Leaders are not great because of their power, what makes them great is their ability to empower their constituents. To achieve good results, it takes good leadership and governance. No country can have progressed beyond its governance level. Leadership is a phenomenon widely known. It enables one person to influence the views and characters of other people. Leaders give direction, and the rest of the people follow. They help to see what is ahead and visualize what they can achieve. Leadership has gone under transition from just aiming at improving productivity and financial progress to a culture of focusing on sustainability. Sustainable leadership brings hope and realization of the possible growth of sustaining resources for the current and forthcoming generations (Bahauddin, 2018).

Contemporary Sustainable Development and Leadership in Nigeria

For the last 50 years in which Nigeria has been an independent country only the previous 16 years has the country been able to enjoy democratic dispensation. The period in which democracy has been respected in Nigeria the country has experienced economic and revenue generation growth. However, the political scene in Nigeria has not been sustainable due to ethnic, religious and political violence that has been witnessed in the country from time to time which has been a drawback to the rapid economic growth which has been seen in the last 16 years. The most affected population is the poor citizens who languish in poverty poor social-economic infrastructures in the country such as lack of water, hospitals, schools and recreational facilities (Adam, Aliyu, & Yusuf, 2017). Despite the government effort in implementing and legislating sustainable development policies, this has not been achieved due to lack of political will, corruption, and mismanagement of public resources. Nigeria needs patriotic and devoted leaders who will rule with integrity to help the country to realize sustainable development and leadership.

Challenges of Attaining Sustainable Development and Leadership in Nigeria

Leadership is an essential element of attaining progressive development. In Nigeria a country with many ethnic groups and religions sustainable leadership which ensures representation of all the people is necessary to create an environment that is sustainable for development. The tensions in the northern states where Boko Haram continues to cause panic is an area that is poorly represented and the grievances of the people especially the minorities have not been addressed which is the reason behind the continued chaos in the region which has hindered sustainable leadership in the region (Nicholas-Omoregbe et al., 2016). Poor leadership is a significant obstacle in achieving national growth. Sustainable leadership determines the economic development of a country. Good leadership leads to employment opportunities, protection of human rights, and properties. In Nigeria, the biggest problem facing the country administration is transparency and responsibility of community assets. When these two aspects lack in governance, decision-making becomes crucial in the eyes of the public (Nicholas-Omoregbe et al., 2016). The decisions made will not be sound, and they will not lead to better performance regarding growth. Abuse of public offices and lacking accountability hinders good governance. Open processes in policymaking and management of public resources characterize responsibility.

Corruption is another hindrance towards achieving sustainable development. It mainly occurs where there is no sustainable leadership. Political leaders embezzling public funds, electoral misconducts, bribery, and dishonesty characterize corruption. All these dirty doings in the society have stopped development of Nigeria economy. According to Iyoha et al. (2015), one of the highest threat to good governance and growth today is corruption. The main reason why it is a social problem is that it takes away the chance of advancing socially. It slows down future investments from huge investors and growth of the country. Nigeria is an underdeveloped country, and the main reason for this is the mismanagement of funds. According to Transparency International (2018), Nigeria ranks position 148 out of 180 countries with a total of $322 million stolen from public money. The money was supposed to be used in developing the country's economy.

Nigeria is among the poorest countries in the world. Poverty is another main reason of a country not attaining sustainable development. Lack of universal healthcare, shelter, freedom of speech, food insecurity, and unemployment are characteristics of poverty. Nigeria is a significant exporter of petroleum and agricultural products. However, most of the Nigerians are poor. No matter how a country has resources, it requires sustainable leadership to maintain and fully utilize the resources (Adejumo & Adejumo, 2014). Poverty occurs because of corruption, the funds meant for developing a country end up in cartels pockets within the country. Unemployment and low wages lead to conditions where the citizens cannot cater to their basic needs.


Good leadership is essential for sustainable development of a country economy. Nigeria in the last 16 years of democracy has experienced economic development, but this has not been sustainable due to high corruption and terror from Boko Haram which has hindered foreign direct investment in the country. Nigeria does not only need a good leader but one who is selfless and has integrity. Despite the existence of sustainable development goals and policies in Nigeria, this has not been achieved due to corruption and the lack of goodwill amongst leaders who bribe their way to get public offices only to enrich themselves.


Leaders of Nigeria should uphold accountability and integrity to be able to achieve sustainable development. Auditing and public declaration of what leaders have achieved will ensure leaders are accountable. It will help to account for what has been used at the end of the financial year. The high corruption and cases of bribery when the people are voting their leaders has hindered sustainable leadership in Nigeria. There is a need to fix Nigerian electoral processes to address the issue of bad leadership and corruption which has made it impossible for the poor and the minorities to be represented. These are among measures that can help stop corruption, funds embezzlement, and ensure leaders accomplish their promise and duty to serve Nigerians. Also, the judicial system of the country should be empowered and made independent. This will help in bringing corrupt leaders into justice by facing necessary law actions. Leaders need to be fully responsible, and this can happen if the citizens are allowed to choose their leaders. Moreover, Nigerians should not celebrate corrupt officers. Celebrating such leaders is another way of legalizing corruption. Instead, they should push such leaders to spend their lives behind the bar.


Adam, B. U., Aliyu, I. H., & Yusuf, A. (2017). Political Rhetorics and Sustainable Development in Nigeria. International Journal of Engineering and Information Systems, 1(7), 175-180.

Adejumo, A., V. and Adejumo, O., O. (2014). Prospects for Achieving Sustainable Development Through the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria. European Journal of Sustainable Development. Vol. 3 (1) 33-46

Bahauddin, K. (2018). The Essence of Leadership for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Available from

Iyoha, F., O., Gberevbie, D., F., Iruonagbe, C., T., and Egharevba, M., E. (2015). Cost of governance in Nigeria: in whose interest? International Journal of Social, Education, Economics and Management Engineering. Vol. 9 (1).

Nicholas-Omoregbe, O. S., Kehinde, O. J., Imhonopi, D., & Evbuoma, I. K. (2016). Good Governance and Leadership: Pathway to Sustainable National Development in Nigeria. Journal of Public Administration and Governance, 6(1), 35-49.

Nwanganga, P., Nwachukwu, N., P and Mirian, U. (2016). Politics Unusual: Rethinking Nigeria Political Terrain through Political Marketing Strategies. European Journal of Business and Management. Vol. 8 (20) ISSN (Paper) 2222-1905 ISSN (Online) 2222-2839

Transparency International (2018). Nigeria. Available from

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