States that have developed fought old traditions that limit development. Major political and social plans were launched to achieve reformation. In Europe, Protestants revolted against the religious authority of the Catholic Church leading to the 30year fought from 1618-1648. The Peace of West-Phalia of 1648 that resolved the war established the modern states of Europe. The treaty brought about the principle of sovereignty that remains the foundation of contemporary international politics and it checked the role of the church in government.
The 1688 Glorious Revolution in England was a battle against traditionalism. It led to the overthrow of King James II and brought in the Bill of Rights of 1689. The overthrow of King James began modern English parliamentary democracy and the Bill of Rights took away the absolute powers of the British monarchy.
The American revolution of 1776 was a bold move to make America be for
Americans and remove the veil of the traditional British society imposed on the system. With the declaration of independence, the United States followed a modern path to development, launching market reforms, introducing new technology, balanced by continuous political reorganization.
The political and economic revolution in the United States helped aggregate the feelings of the masses of France when they in 1787 stormed the Bastille in a bloody revolution. By this time, the monarchical establishment led by King Louis XVI resisted the abrogation of the feudal order that denied the poor access to land.
The privileged class attempts to continue to dominate France came to an end with the revolution. King Louis and his wife Antoinette were later killed leading to the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the citizen”. By the declaration, sovereignty moved back to the people. It became Loyalty to the state not to the leader.
What about the industrial revolution in Britain and Europe? This brought about the world of machines and modern weaponry. The point is that a society aiming at development must deliberately initiate change or accidentally take advantage of it.
Nigeria does not necessarily have to follow the American or European path. Japan and China followed their own paths. After the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki towards the end of World War 2, Emperor Hirohito of Japan surrendered to the Allied forces on August 14, 1945. Then began the occupation of Japan by US forces led by General Douglas MacArthur. Before then, Japan had never experienced occupation in its history. The occupation ended with the signing of the San Francisco treaty of 1951. The important point here is that the occupation gave Japan the opportunity to embark on radical political and economic reforms. By the 1980s, Japan had become the 2nd most powerful economy in the world. The country had to drop its negative old ways to become an industrial power. It launched a new political process, initiated vibrant economic policies and made a huge leap on technological front within a short period of about 20 years.
China in its match to development followed the communist path. But it did not model itself after the Soviet Union. After the communist forces defeated the nationalist forces in the civil war of China, Chairman Mao launched a socio-political movement known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The goal was to preserve the communion and eliminate capitalist forces.
It succeeded but did not bring large scale economic prosperity to China. When Deng Xiaoping became the leader of China, he initiated reforms that launch China on the path of economic greatness.
What about Nigeria?