Factors Responsible For Low Self-Esteem Or Self-Worth Among Nigerians

Recently updated on September 6th, 2022 at 10:49 pm

Factors Responsible For Low Self-Esteem Or Self-Worth Among Nigerians


Self-esteem or Self-worth is conventionally what we think, love, and believe about ourselves. Individuals could have high or low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is the lack of self-confidence, self-belief and trust. It is characterized by an individual’s fragility or inability to standup for himself or herself, take up challenges without fear and admit one’s weaknesses without shame or disgust.

As Nigerians, we are confronted with many personal and general challenges that affect our self-esteem. These factors affect our mentality and efficacy towards self-realization and progress. However, we are obliged to remember who we are, what we are made of and the country we represent.

Factors Responsible For Low Self-Esteem Or Self-Worth Among Nigerians

The following are factors that are responsible for low self-esteem or self-worth among Nigerians:

  • Culture

Culture is the way of life of people, which is reflected in their day to day activities.

In Nigeria, the effect of cultural hegemony, neglect and nepotism has cost many to relent in manifesting their inherent capabilities, ravaging intellectual minds with psychological insecurity and low self-worth.

Gender is a substantial factor in most cultures in Nigeria; the female gender is in most cases deprived equal rights and opportunity to manifest their true potentials. These give rise to low self-worth among females within these areas.

With adherence to respect for the principles and value for democracy and human rights, indigenous Nigerians can gain much more freedom of expressions, explore various culture elements in other states/countries and utilize opportunities therein. This will consequently, reverse the suppression of external creativity and trophy of favoritism over meritocracy.

  • Political Leadership

Bad political leadership has been a significant trait in Nigeria, encouraging embezzlement and corruption, which has cost the country hardships and underdevelopment.

In 2019, Transparency International revealed that Nigeria is the third most corrupt country in West Africa (behind Chad and Cameroon) and 146 out of 180 countries all around the world; this is as a result of tremendous vote buying activities during elections, siphoning of public revenue and the disregard of federal character policy during appointments (tribalism over meritocracy).

Citizens face mountainous limitations due to the effects of bad political leadership and governance such as unfavorable business environment, inflation,  unavailability of jobs, weak moral compass, social crisis/neglects, lack of sense of direction, etc. – all of which ultimately leaves a lot of Nigerians with deep-rooted fear, shame and anger.

  • Social Media

Social media as a powerful communication mechanism increasingly poses adverse effects on people’s self-esteem.

In 2018, the number of social media users in Nigeria grew to 92.3 million, reflecting 47.1% of the entire population. With the growing number of internet users globally, Nigerians encounter life style conflict, lack of sustained focus, cyberbullying and other possible ills on social media that affect their self-esteem. These occurrences expose brilliant Nigerian minds to discontent, over-ambitiousness, greed and societal crimes, in a bid to measure up to the luxurious lifestyle they see and ‘follow’ on social media.

The heavy usage of a number of these social media platforms also affect the work ethics and productivity of most Nigerians, since an average Nigerian with internet access spends over three hours on these platforms daily.

  • Poverty and Unemployment

Disapproval and rejection are two major causes of low self-worth in Nigeria under unemployment.

The National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria in 2019 revealed that over 23.1% of Nigeria’s population is unemployed and reconciling these with over 16.6% under-employment rate in the country, it can be inferred that Nigerians lacks the adequate avenue to express their highest forms of self, display their inherent ingenuity, skills and goals.

Incessant rejections of Nigerians in job interviews and disapproval (lack of sponsor) of young Nigerian inventors, discourages their relentless efforts to effect change and thereby, damages their self-esteem or self-worth.

Poverty is a canker-worm that has continually eaten deep into human psychology, causing dishonorable standards of living, decreased hope of prosperity and finally, low self-esteem and self-worth.

The financial capacity of most Nigerians (over 100 million persons live below $1 per day) invariably reflects in their self-worth, as people tend to become more confident and courageous when they are financially independent or stable.

These will surely affect their daily feeding system and educational background, which would promote illiteracy and lack of awareness/sense of purpose in the country as well as their abilities to speak out and stand for their rights when facing various forms of injustice.

  • “Foreign is Better and Local is Bad” Mentality

The notion/mentality that anything foreign (western) supersedes locally made (Nigerian/African) products, ideas and innovations has contributed to low self-esteem among Nigerians.

This claim is reflected in Nigerian markets, where most goods displayed for sale are largely imported from other countries.

Half-way into 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Nigeria imported foodstuffs worth 334.3 billion, while the country is gifted with hardworking and reliable farmers and farmlands to produce its own food.

Foreign preference is also showcased when awarding contracts and jobs by top companies and the government. Most construction projects in Nigeria are handled by foreign contractors/companies instead of our domestic companies. The self-esteem of Nigerian producers is affected when there is inadequate or insufficient demand for their products and services.



Nigeria should seek to empower her citizens accordingly towards maintaining healthy levels of self-esteem and self-worth.

Nigerians should also leverage their efforts collectively, their inherent skills and talents to avert these factors promoting low self-worth and self-esteem among themselves.

We should love what we are (content), work to improve what we are (hard-work) and become what we desire (fulfillment).

“How we come to value everything in life relative to ourselves is the sum of our
emotions over time.” – Mark Manson



Effects of social media on self-esteem and personal development (a case study of Lagos state). Retrieved from https://uniprojectmaterials.com/education/project-topics/the-effect-of-social-media-on-self-esteem-and-personality-development-a-case-study-of-lagos-state

Nigeria: number of internet users 2017-2020. retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/183849/internet-users-nigeria/

Nigeria’s unemployment rate hits 33.5% in 2020. Retrieved from https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/328137-nigerias-unemployment-rate-hits-33-5-per-cent-by-2020-minister.html

Nigeria: Profile. Retrieved from https://www.transparency.org/en/countries/nigeria

Nigerians living in poverty rise to 61%; retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-17015873

Nigerians spend 334.3 billion to import foodstuffs, tobacco, others in 6 months. Retrieved from https://nairametrics.com/2019/10/03/nigerians-spent-n334-3-billion-to-import-foodstuffs-tobacco-others-in-6-months/




*This article [Factors Responsible For Low Self-Esteem Or Self-Worth Among Nigerians] was first written by Chukwu Micheal Ike on the 12th of June, 2020 and was last modified by Toju Micheal Ogbe on the 29th of November, 2020.

*This article was last fact-checked by Ayodeji Olowolagba on the 1st of July, 2020.

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