This constitutional republic comprising 36 states and a federal capital territory has about six cities. The largest city, Lagos, has a population of over 8 million in its urban area alone. The most populous country in Africa, and presently seventh in the World, the United Nations estimates that the Nigeria Population will be no less than 730 million by 2100. One out of every four Africans is Nigerian. The people of Nigeria have an extensive history; archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BCE.
The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world, with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009. The IMF further projects an 8% growth in 2011. Classified as a mixed economy emerging market, Nigeria has already reached middle income status according to the Worldbank, with its abundant supply of natural resources. Ranked 37th in the world in terms of GDP as of 2007, the United States’ largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, and supplies a fifth of its oil. It has the seventh-largest trade surplus with the United States of any country worldwide.
Football is the most popular sport in Nigeria. The national football team competes regularly for international titles and many of her footballers play in Europe, particularly in England. Nigerian cuisine is known for its richness and variety. Many different spices and herbs are used to create deeply flavored sauces and soups.
Previously, economic development had been hindered by years of military rule, corruption, and mismanagement. The restoration of democracy and subsequent economic reforms have successfully put Nigeria back on track towards achieving its full potential. The heart of Africa, a nation united in love, peace and harmony. I am proud to be Nigerian.
By Nonso Ndumanya