The first is population. You may have heard that 1 in 4 Africans is a Nigerian. That may no longer be factually correct. Current (2017/2018) estimates are Africa = 1.27bn, Nigeria = 195m. Ratio is 1.27bn/195m = 6:1. Roughly 1 in 6 Africans is Nigerian.Nigerian people are very knowledgeable and they have an open culture. Nigeria is a highly-diverse nation with over 400 ethnicities and that diversity is the source of its strength, HRM Dokun Thompson, the Oba of Eti Oni, State of Osun, told Anadolu Agency.
Nigeria has the fastest growing construction industry in the world.
For decades, Nigeria has been playing a “fatherly” role in African politics, providing economic support and peacekeeping assistance when and where necessary.
Nigerians are the most exposed and traveled people in Africa. There are Nigerians in every country on Earth!
Yes, Nigeria is truly the giant of Africa despite the fact we’ve got Giant Problems. Nigeria is the only African country listed among the “Next Eleven” economies poised to become the biggest economies in the 21st century.
Second reason is wealth. Given a population that is hardworking, fantastic agriculture, unbridled drive to succeed and strong GDP, Nigeria was an economic superpower. In the 1970s and up to 1985, the currency was much stronger than the US dollar at an average of N0.65 kobo to N0.90k for USD 1. In 1986, Nigeria implemented the Structural Adjustment programme which required a reformation of the foreign exchange system as required by the IMF/World Bank et al, and things went downhill from then. In 1986 the FX rate declined to over N2 to USD1. In 1987 the decline doubled as the FX rate fell further to N4 to USD 1. Guess who benefited from this and who lost overall.
The discovery of crude oil made Nigeria very rich and we were able to build strong infrastructure, Universities, Telecoms, TV, Arts (Nigeria hosted FESTAC 77), Music, Poetry and other literary works, national airline (Nigeria Airways) that was the best in Africa, sports (Nigeria dominated the All Africa Games for years) military, etc. We helped other countries in terms of food aid to famine ridden countries, resolution of internal conflicts and award of scholarships to Africans. Not so much now! Gone are the glory days of Nigeria. Corruption has brought the country to its knees today. Shame!!
Third reason was and still is political influence. This is tied to 2 above as the wealth made it possible for Nigeria to exert political influence in the world and at the UN, particularly independence for the rest of Africa through the OAU (now called AU). This enabled Nigeria to engage actively with the pan Africanism movement that swept across the continent. Nigeria was also very directly active in campaigns for the proscription of racism and apartheid in South Africa.