December 24, (THEWILL) – One thing that most Nigerians wish for themselves, perhaps, is to recover quickly from an eight-year spell of misery induced by the Muhammadu Buhari Administration’s mishandling of the Nigerian economy, politics and national security.
Indeed, for eight years, impoverished and pulverised by hostile government policies, actions and a persistently worsening insecurity, Nigerians could do very little other than to helplessly watch as the ship of state floundered endlessly, tossed around by forces inclined, more than anything, to self-aggrandisement instead of rendering genuine service to the people.
The people are still watching and hoping, even as the current President, Bola Tinubu, struggles to untangle the All Progressives Congress-dominated Federal Government from a complicated and messy web spun by his predecessor. Unfortunately and so far, it does not seem as if his efforts will yield any positive result soon.
During electioneering, Tinubu made some promises to Nigerians. He pledged to build a country where sufficient jobs with decent wages create a better life; to create an enabling environment for the production of goods and services that the nation requires; as well as ensure the transformation of Nigeria from a nation of consumers to that of creators.
Tinubu promised to strengthen the naira by importing less and exporting more made-in-Nigeria products.
He also pledged assistance to farmers, through government policies aimed at promoting and increasing agricultural productivity, so that farmers can support their families and feed the nation; improve and expand public infrastructure so that the rest of the economy can grow at an optimal rate; embolden and support the youth and women by harnessing emerging sectors, such as the digital economy, entertainment and culture, tourism and others to build the Nigeria of the future today.
The President promised to train and give economic opportunity to the poorest and most vulnerable in the country; generate, transmit and distribute sufficient, affordable electricity to give Nigerians the requisite power to enlighten their lives, their homes and their dreams; and to make basic healthcare, education, and housing accessible and affordable for all.
Most importantly, he promised to establish a bold and assertive policy that will create a strong, yet adaptive national security architecture and action to obliterate terror, kidnapping, banditry and all other forms of violent extremism from the face of our nation. Nigerians have not forgotten these promises.
Meanwhile, the situation in the country remains much the same, even worse than Buhari had left it. For example, in 2014, the value of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $572.2 billion. Today it is $390 billion. In the same year, the GDP’s growth rate was 6.32 percent. Unfortunately it has declined to 2.54 percent.
Also, inflation has increased from 8.05 percent nine years ago to 28.20 percent today, just as the unemployment rate, which was 14 percent in 2015, increased by 33 percent in 2022.
The Capital inflow, which was about $6 billion when Buhari was first sworn in as civilian president, has now dropped to $1.03 billion
Many companies listed on the Nigerian Exchange before 2015, are now delisting and leaving the country. The Naira once traded at N173 to the dollar on the parallel market, today it is N1, 150 to the dollar.
Available statistical data points to the fact that Nigeria lags behind most other countries in terms of literacy. The World Bank’s latest records indicate that by November 2022, Nigeria’s literacy rate was 62 per cent. According to Statista, 68 per cent of the youth in Nigeria in 2020 had received secondary education. Around 15 percent of them had completed primary education, while only 17 per cent pursued higher studies after secondary education.
Education in Nigeria suffers from several challenges, including poor funding, inadequate classrooms and teaching aids, a shortage of quality teachers and the absence of an enabling learning environment. These shortcomings yield poor educational achievement and limited employability choices.
Healthcare is gradually slipping out of the reach of most Nigerians, especially the poor and less privileged. Healthcare infrastructure is still underdeveloped and lacks modern facilities. The situation is further compounded by the government’s failure to provide adequate funding for the health sector.
What is more, the health sector is on the verge of being crippled by a persistent brain drain syndrome that is currently sweeping Nigeria’s best trained and qualified medical personnel abroad in search of better prospects.
Unfortunately, for Nigerians, it is not yet Uhuru and there seems to be no end to the country’s myriad of challenges in sight.
Tinubu’s government must immerse itself in the task of finding solutions to these problems. It must begin to act immediately to renew hope in the long-suffering masses for a better Nigeria, as promised.