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Is this government losing grip on Nigeria?

Over 95 per cent of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. And citizens have been struggling for eight years and counting in a country that is…

Over 95 per cent of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. And citizens have been struggling for eight years and counting in a country that is currently the seventh highest oil producer in the world and fourth in Africa. Nigeria is the continent’s fourth-largest oil producer, only behind Libya, Angola and Algeria.

Prices of food, transportation, unemployment, inflation and tuition at federal universities have all soared since President Bola Tinubu took office.

As at August 2023, the price of a bag of rice in Nigeria, which is one of the country’s basic foods, ranged from N32,000 to N45,000, depending on the brand. Depending on the region or location in the country, a spoonful of cooked rice can cost N200 or more. Additionally, basic items the average person could typically afford, including beans, garri, yam and other commodities, are now out of reach due to price rise and extreme poverty in Nigeria.

People are suffering from severe hunger, and majority now find it challenging to eat even one meal every day. You will see signs of hunger on people’s faces wherever you go. Because of unemployment, poverty and inflation, there are a lot more beggars in the streets of Nigeria – in the East, North, South and West -pleading for money so that they can eat and provide for their families.

The increase in petroleum pump prices has caused a 100 per cent spike in transportation costs across Nigeria. A litre of fuel costs between N568 and N610 in Lagos and other states in the South West. Prices range from N615 to N620 in the South East of the country, while they range from N625 to N640 in the northern regions.

According to KPMG, Nigeria’s unemployment rate would reach 41 per cent this year, up from 37.7 per cent in 2022, while the National Bureau of Statistics said Nigeria’s inflation rate had increased to 25.8 per cent in August 2023 from 24.08 per cent in July, which is the highest rate since September 2005.

The federal government raised the cost of attending a public federal university from around N21,500 to about N140,000 through the Ministry of Education, while students offering medical courses and other related courses would pay more.

While most citizens in the country cannot afford to feed their families due to poverty, the government is happy to appoint a multitude of advisers and assistants who will be receiving enormous allowances and salaries, wasting our common resources for political patronage. The appointment of over 60 advisers, special advisers, assistants, and personal assistants in the presidency by President Bola Tinubu is also alarming.

In addition, Nigerian citizens are being abducted by terrorists and bandits in the North West geopolitical region and other parts of the country, which is a sign that the government agencies tasked with the responsibility of defending the populace are failing miserably. The Army, Navy, and Air Force of Nigeria are confused and lack practical ways to put an end to the threat posed by militants and the kidnapping of innocent citizens in Nigeria.

There have been numerous recorded occurrences of kidnapping in Nigeria, including the kidnapping of students in Katsina, potential members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Zamfara State, and students abducted from the Federal University, Gusau.

It is evident that Nigeria’s poverty, hunger and unemployment crisis are caused by the mismanaged administration, and this has resulted in the terrorism and banditry we are witnessing today.

More than 95 per cent of Nigeria’s over 200million population are common people, and the ruling class in the country is egotistical and indifferent to their wellbeing.

Members of the Federal House of Representatives and the Senate in Nigeria, who are meant to serve as a check and balance on the executive arm of the government, are mere rubberstamps. What they want is membership in key committees of various federal ministries and parastatals that they are supposed to be overseeing through oversight roles, along with other benefits associated with their membership.

If Nigeria were in a rational environment, its high unemployment rate, high cost of living, 100 per cent increases in transportation fares, over 500 percent increases in fees at federal universities, and high rate of inflation would have caused civil disobedience and anarchy in the country, but here, the difference is the case. We are all living our lives as if nothing was happening.

Institutional corruption at all levels of government, lack of political will, the self-centeredness of our elected officials, corrupt judiciary, and the absence of the rule of law are the main causes of our problems.

Enough is enough! People in Nigeria are suffering because of the extreme poverty brought on by poor governance at all levels of government, including the federal, state and local government levels.

When the government of Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumed office, it said that it brought what it described as ‘Renewed Hope’, but what we are experiencing today is the opposite as hope seems to be lost and shattered.

We are in a country where the political class would call for national sacrifice and tell the people to be patient and endure, but on the contrary, they are living in opulence. Who is fooling who? This suffering must end.

 

Bashiru, a public affairs analyst, wrote via [email protected]

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