Nigeria: Can a Nation be “Too Big to Fail?”

By Scott Morgan

One of the most used phrases since the Financial Crisis of 2008 has been something being too big to fail. It has remained in our lexicon since that time. We hear: is this company or bank having the status of being to big to fail? So what happens when a country is deemed to be Too big to Fail?

The concept itself is interesting. It begs to be asked why wasn’t it used during the decline of the Roman Empire or Tsarist Russia in the past, but is currently being bantered about regarding Nigeria. So the question is: why is Nigeria considered to big to fail?

There are a myriad of issues that are currently plaguing the Country. They include:

  • Growing population - Nigeria currently has the largest population base in Africa. It is expected to have a larger population than the United States by 2050 in a smaller land area. 
  • Poor governance - this can be seen as a catch all for issues such as rampant corruption and inability to actually provide basic government services in 3 Northeastern States.

The situation in the Northeastern States can also be the sign of another concern which is the cancer of an insurgency. Boko Haram has been active in the Borno State and has spread into neighboring states - i.e. Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The Middle Belt States are having an issue as well as Fulani Militants are attacking specific communities with the goal of claiming these areas as their homeland at the expense of farmers and Christians. Then, in the Niger Delta the NDA (Niger Delta Avengers) have caused considerable damage to the Nigerian Economy by attacking the Oil Industry.

There are ample reasons for concern. The Federal Government in Abuja does have issues. The Corruption of two decades of PDP Rule appears to be firmly entrenched throughout Nigerian Society. This has hampered the response by both the Security Forces and the Government in dealing with these issues. Does the Nigerian Government need assistance from outside sources? Most likely. Will this lead to a situation where people within the Country will realize the Government cannot protect them and they have to take matters into their own hands? That is a scenario that is both chilling and may have a chance of actually playing out - if the situation does not improve in the near future.

The implications of a Nigerian Collapse are wide ranging. We have seen what impact the refugees from Syria and other places have had on Europe. Imagine what impact that Refugees from Nigeria would have? Not just in Africa which would be overwhelmed the sheer numbers but also Europe and even the United States will be impacted. With these facts in place it can be considered that Nigeria Maybe Too Big to Fail.

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]


  1. Nigerian, Angola and South Africa are countries that are too big to fail, at least on paper. But what happens when it becomes convenient to let them fall? And convenient to whom?


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