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Nigeria At 63: Nigerians Want Change Now More Than Ever

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Monday, 2 October 2023 09:52

By Caleb Jacob & Victor Christopher

The 1960s was a decade for Africa as 17 African countries including Nigeria gained independence from colonialists.

Despite the several military coups, Nigeria has maintained her democracy for 24 years since 1999, surviving seven uninterrupted election cycles.

At 63, the country still contends with numerous crises like the imminent labor strike, unemployment, insecurity, and a historical 25.80 percent inflation rate.

Nigerians React

Reflecting on the celebration, Daniel Emeka, a trader in Kano, believed the country is retrogressing. According to him, “Nigerians are buying a liter of fuel at N640 despite having the product in its backyard.”

Also speaking, Adamu Saleh Daurawa, a Kano resident, expressed dismay that despite gaining independence 63 years ago, “Nigerians are indirectly colonized by its elite.”

3,567 Jobs Lost in 2023 -NBS

Though the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) claimed that our unemployment rate dropped from 33.3% to 4.1%, about 3,567 jobs were lost in the manufacturing sector in the first half of 2023 alone.

Also, the NBS report in November 2022 revealed that 133 million Nigerians were multidimensionally poor. The recent removal of fuel subsidies worsens the situation.

Experts Call for Change

Reacting, an Economist, Dr. Abdulsalam Muhammad Kani, linked the situation to mismanagement of resources, corruption, debt accumulation, and poor leadership.

Dr. Kani however says a “functional refinery, investment in key sectors, improved security, and reduced cost of governance amongst others as solutions to the current challenges.”

Reviewing Nigeria’s progress so far, a political analyst, Prof. Kamilu Sani Fage, said insecurity and unfavorable government policies continue to threaten the country’s unity, despite the gains of democracy.

“Nigerians welcome democracy because it will give them the right to participate, but despite all these promises of democracy we are challenged with issues of instability and crisis.”

He lamented the recent devaluation of the naira, the removal of subsidies, and the adoption of a free capitalist system, saying they complicate the decades of wrath in the country.

“Now, poverty is at a high rate, including hunger and illiteracy, resulting from government policy. So, unless the government address that the situation will continue to deteriorate,” he lamented.

On Wednesday, the 2023 Global Organised Crime Index ranked Nigeria sixth in the world for organized crime.

Commenting on this, a security expert, Dr. Yahuza Getso highlighted the lack of professionals, the government’s irresponsibility, and the lack of a national policy as causes of our security challenges.

He recommends unification of security agencies, massive recruitment into the forces, and improved officers’ welfare as some of the solutions to these problems.

As the country is celebrating this year’s independence anniversary on a low key, Nigerians want government officials and politicians to soberly reflect on their lifestyles and take bold steps in addressing the salient issues bedeviling the nation.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!


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