By Bala Baba Dihis 

Where will Nigeria be in 20 years time from now? The truth is no one knows. Not even the leaders or the followers. The current leadership haven’t sat down to chart a realistic vision and a plan for the country in the next 20 years and I seriously doubt that the next crop of leaders will do that.  With the way things are going, I personally doubt if there will be a Nigeria in 2040, the insecurity and the inability of the state to confront and tackle it realistically might lead to the break up of the country as we know it before 2040. No country can develop or make any meaningful progress or development without peace, stability and security. The division amongst the people is now at an all time high and the leadership is confused and don’t even know how to tackle it. If left unchecked and unresolved, the current insecurity levels will lead to the end of the country. 

You can’t force unity, because a unity that is forced by arms will never stand the test of time. Unity is not given or taken, unity is what is acheived over time by doing things together, appreciating each other and valuing each other. The unity of Nigeria is really going through a very serious test, whether it will stand the storm and survive is what we don’t know. If the country survives this quagmire and comes out as one, then Nigerians need to learn very serious lessons and make realistic adjustments because we refused to learn and make any serious adjustments after the Biafra civil war in the late 60s.

That being said, if Nigeria survives this current storm it is facing and comes out in one piece,  then the population of the country will be around 329 million people by 2040 according to the United Nations Population Commission on population and development. That is a very large population and will mean a lot of implications for the country and the region as a whole. This will move Nigeria from 7th to the 3rd most populous nation in the world and with that large population will come a lot of things. Unfortunately, there are no reliable data or government policy any where to show what policies are being developed and put in place to manage such a population. 

Given that the country is a youthful country with about 65% of the population below 35 years at the moment, the country will still be a youthful country in 2040 since the average life expectancy hasn’t increased and I dont see it increasing much in 2040.
Socially, economically and politically, I believe that there will be some measured changes in the next 20 years. The changes might not be much but they will be a bit significant. Enlightenment and awareness will increase amongst the people and that will lead to personal adjustments which will have some little effect on the society as a whole. 
On the social side,  I believe that more Nigerians will abandon the traditional Abrahamic religions and will embrace reason and rationality over religious superstitions.  That is not to say that it will happen in very large numbers but over all, the number of irreligious people in the country will significantly increase in 20 years to come with the help of technology and science. Also because of the anti religious wave that is exploding in the Western world. 

Social media and the internet is doing a very good job in enlightening the people and given them the other side of the story that they never imagined or thought about all their lives, that will continue to grow for the next 20 years. In 20 years many people will be less superstitious generally, and that will affect how the society views and sees things and also how it solves its problems. Even though the religious people who will still be the majority, the society will be less conservative and more people will be more liberal in their views.  That social drive will have some reverberations in the general society including the political class as well. The change will portend well for the country, because after all, our excessive belief in superstitions is one of the main reasons that we are backwards today. What man needs to do must be done by man himself, if a lot of Nigerians know this,  then it will portend well for the country. Christianity and Islam have shown that they have no solution to the Nigerian problem, so I see people leaving them to embrace science and technology more. Majority of Nigerians will still be religious but more will be liberal Christians and Muslims compared to today. 

On the economic side, I see Nigeria being able to improve on its electricity generation and distribution in the next 20 years, the inability of the country to solve its electricity problems remains one of the greatest undoing of the country. Any country that can not solve its electricity problem can not solve any other problem it has, I see Nigeria making some reasonable progress in that regard in the next 20 years, if the Siemens power deal is well executed and works as planned, then the power generation should increase to like 30,000MW or more by then and that will help ease a lot of things, general production of goods will be cheaper and many people will go into serious production and manufacturing with improved electricity supply. This should help improve the economy a little overall. Improved electricity supply will have positive effects in all sectors of the economy from agriculture, to manufacturing, to health, to education, to security. There will be an overall improvement in the economy with improved electricity supply and I see that happening in the next 20 years because of the significant foundation that has been laid by the government of the day. If successive governments follow through with then there will be some significant improvement. 

Politically, I see people becoming more politically enlightened and aware and coming out more to engage their leaders and holding them accountantable for better leadership. It won’t be widespread but it will be significant at least. Social media is enlightening people faster than anything ever. You can now get to know about the social services people in France, Belgium, Germany and UK are enjoying just by sitting down at home, you can also get to know what your leaders are stealing and mismanaging as well,  something that wasnt possible just 20 years ago in Nigeria.
You can be in Osun, Ekiti, Aba, Jos or Gombe and interact with people in Canada, Germany, Japan, Australia,  UAE and Turkey in real time and get to know how they think about issues and also get to hear and know about how things are done in their countries. Something that wasnt possible just 20 years ago. The internet is revealing a lot and people will use that revelation to tackle their leaders and hold them to account. Social justice will improve a bit in the next 20 years, and institutions will become a bit stronger. Some strong institutional foundations will be laid in the next 20 years. 

If Nigeria survives the present upheaval it is going through,  the country will come out better and will learn from it this time around I believe.  The silent but powerful social,  scientific and technological revolution that is going on around the world will also affect Nigeria and Nigerians and that might portend well for the country. 
If the present leadership is unable to manage this current situation and allows it linger on, then there will be no Nigeria as we know it in the year 2040.

(c) Bala Baba Dihis 2021