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Nigerians lament dashed hopes, insecurity, hardship at 63rd independence anniversary

Nigerians (Punch Newspaper)

• We must endure fuel subsidy removal for good future – Tinubu

• President silent over tomorrow’s workers’ strike

• Nigeria will soon be better, says Peter Obi

Nigerians across the federation have continued to react to the 63rd independence anniversary of the country, expressing knocks and kudos on the journey so far, lamenting that the country is yet to fully realise the visions of the founding fathers sixty-three years after Nigeria gained independence.

Most people spoken to by our correspondents attributed lack of good governance birthed by corrupt leaders as one of the major problems bedevilling the nation right from its Independence in 1960.

In 2021, a global index, the Chandler Good Government Index, CGGI ranked Nigeria as the third worst country in the world.

Nigeria was ranked in the 102nd position out of 104 countries captured by the CGGI, which classifies countries in terms of government capabilities and outcomes.

The index focuses on seven pillars: leadership and foresight; robust laws and policies; strong institutions; financial stewardship; attractive marketplace; global influence and reputation; and helping people rise.

According to them Nigeria’s bad reputation which has spread across the globe may not be unconnected to some of the age-long crises ranging from poor leadership quality, insecurity, dilapidated education amongst other things that have hitherto crippled the country’s economy.

It would be recall that the hardship faced by millions of Nigerians skyrocketed on May 29 when President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy.

For Dr Joyce Effiong, a developmental economist based in Abuja, the uncalculated announcement made by President Tinubu of he 29the May was what triggered the astronomical hardship being witnessed in the country today.

According to her, the subsidy removal, which aggravated the country’s inflation rate, has imposed unfavourable living conditions on most Nigerians.

“By Tuesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, may be shutting down the economy in protest of the inability of the federal government to put up measures that would mitigate the negative impacts of the subsidy removal.

“Prices of staple food items and other essential commodities in the market had tripled following the high cost of fuel.

“Several citizens lost their sources of income due to the unpleasant development as both intra and inter-state transportation fare jumped beyond the affordability of common Nigerians.

“Aside from the price of food items and transportation fare, the removal of fuel subsidies apparently affected every other thing, including house rent, school fees, drugs and even hospital bills,” she added.

On the security challenges facing the country, the situation has, over the years, continued to deteriorate despite the efforts of past and present leaders.

Apart from the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents that are causing mayhem in the northeast, many parts of the country are still battling with the daredevil bandits who have converted kidnapping to a lucrative business in North West, North Central and other regions.

A report emerged in August this year that at least 23 local government areas in three North-West states are currently under the control of bandits.

The report underscores the gravity of the current security situation and harks back to the time terrorists ruled over 27 LGAs across the North-East.

Farmers and residents in 23 LGAs in Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states have abandoned their farms and communities, fleeing rising bandits’ criminality.

The Federal Capital Territory, FCT, is not left out in the unfortunate security crisis as miscreants are on the rampage, committing several crimes, including kidnapping, robbery usually by the ‘one chance’ vehicle drivers.

On the leadership front. After 63 years, Nigeria is still known for producing corrupt leaders who have over the years, allegedly mismanaged the country’s resources, leading to the nation’s poor growth.

According to an analyst and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ondo State, Adebayo Mathew, who spoke to our correspondent on Saturday, Nigeria is blessed with rich human and material resources begging to be harvested by purposeful, creative and innovative leadership.

According to him, leadership that is based on the cultural values of the people and takes a bottom-top approach holds the key to unlocking the development quagmire Nigeria has found itself.

Adebayo, however, lamented that “this is not the case” due to leadership failure, corruption and bad governance.

“It saddens me to know that Nigeria, a rich country that is endowed by providence, with human and material resources critical for national development and advancement, is struggling after 63 years.

“Nigeria had very great prospects at independence and was even expected to lead Africa out of the backwoods of underdevelopment and economic dependency, unfortunately, the country is still stuck in the league of very poor, corrupt, underdeveloped, infrastructurally decaying, crisis-riven, morally bankrupt and leadership-deficient.

“Instead of becoming an exemplar of transformational leadership, modern bureaucracy, national development, national integration and innovation, Nigeria seems to be known only for bad things.

“The truth is that Nigeria is a victim of poor leadership and systemic corruption, which has become pervasive and cancerous to the growth of the country”.

President General of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem told an online medium on Saturday in an interview, that Nigeria is rather retrogressing than developing.

According to him, certain achievements the country made prior to 1960, especially in agriculture and other productions, had all fizzled away.

Ibem called on Nigerians, including leaders at various levels, to embrace homemade products, saying only through such moves would the country develop and grow economically.

He said, “It is very unfortunate that instead of us as a country to improve for the better after taking charge of our own destiny via independence, we are rather going backwards. Other African countries that got their independence just 20 years ago have overtaken Nigeria.”

We must endure fuel subsidy removal for good future – Tinubu

However, President Bola Tinubu on Sunday pleaded that Nigerians must endure fuel subsidy removal for the good of the future.
The president stated this during his national address on the occasion of the country’s 63 Independence Day.
The President’s speech did not make reference to the Tuesday’s strike action planned by the labour in the country.

He reminisced that he made “promises about how I would govern this great nation. Among those promises were pledges to reshape and modernise our economy and to secure the lives, liberty and property of the people.

“I said that bold reforms were necessary to place our nation on the path of prosperity and growth. On that occasion, I announced the end of the fuel subsidy.

“I am attuned to the hardships that have come. I have a heart that feels and eyes that see. I wish to explain to you why we must endure this trying moment.

“Those who sought to perpetuate the fuel subsidy and broken foreign exchange policies are people who would build their family mansion in the middle of a swamp.

“I am different,” the president declared adding, “I am not a man to erect our national home on a foundation of mud. To endure, our home must be constructed on safe and pleasant ground.

He argued that “Reform may be painful, but it is what greatness and the future require. We now carry the costs of reaching a future Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever fading past.

“There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future,” the president said.

President Tinubu also approved the payment of N25,000 wage awards for civil servants for the next six months to cushion the negative impact of fuel subsidy removal.

He said that the wage award will be paid to civil servants while the federal government take steps to work for the review of the national minimum wage.

The wage award has been one of the demands of the Nigerian Labour Congress that led to the declaration of strike on October 3.

Some of the NLC demands include wage awards, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers, reduction of cost of governance, provision of Compressed Natural Gas, buses, the release of modalities for N70bn for Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, and release of officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, among others.

He said, “There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future.

“My government is doing all that it can to ease the load. I will now outline the path we are taking to relieve the stress on our families and households.

“We have embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilize the economy, direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation, encourage production, ensure the security of lives and property and lend more support to the poor and the vulnerable.

“Based on our talks with labour, business and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation. For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month.”

Nigeria will soon be better, says Peter Obi

Mr Peter Obi, 2023 presidential candidate, Labour Party has urged Nigerians not to despair after 63 years of their nationhood, but to remain hopeful that a better Nigeria is still possible.

Obi, the former governor of Anambra made this known in his goodwill message to celebrate the 63rd Independence anniversary in Lagon on Sunday.

Obi lamented grave uncertainties and apparent hardship the citizens of Nigeria were experiencing due to persistent leadership failure after 63 years of their nationhood.

He added that the situation might be critical but certainly not hopeless.

The presidential standard bearer noted that if in an analogy between a nation’s life and parameters of modern technology; if the input is garbage in then the output would be garbage out.

“When you Google a subject, the response you get will be based on the questions you input. Every nation invariably determines its own fate and destiny; and gets a leadership they deserve.

“Nigeria cannot be an exception. If we subscribe to rogue leadership, then we must face the attending consequences.

“At 63 years, what type of questions are Nigerians asking of their leaders and what type of answer are we expecting?

“Present realities notwithstanding, I am hopeful that a new Nigeria is possible; but the burden of responsibility is on Nigerians.”

Williams Orji

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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See also Naira crashes to N890 after JP Morgan’s revelation on Nigeria’s reserves

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A seasoned Tech/Business Analyst, Digital Media Consultant , Publisher and Entrepreneur with more than a decade experience. Online Editor in Chief-New National Star newspaper and a host of clients...

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