Editorial: Nigerians enduring hardship under Buhari-led administration

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In 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari promised Nigerians “change” after sensing that the country silently craved for a change of administration and a taste of another political party with the Peoples Democratic Party being in power for 16 years. Six years down the lane, Nigerians are drowning under the heavy weight of hardship they are subjected to by the All Progressives Congress (APC), yet our observations revealed that the president believes Nigerians are better off than they were six years ago.

In his 61st Independence Day national broadcast, the President said the nation’s economy recovered from economic recession in the fourth quarter of 2020 with a GDP growth rate of 0.11%, and grew by 0.51% and 5.01% in real terms in the first and second quarters of 2021. He said the agricultural sector contributed 22.35% and 23.78% to the overall GDP in the first and second quarter of 2021 while insisting that there have been significant private sector investments in almost all areas of the agricultural value chain. Reeling further, he said about the sector, “Unfortunately, as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering.”

It is rather unfortunate that the number one citizen of the country would shy away from addressing the base of soaring food prices but would rather blame it on middlemen. The cause of high food price is not farfetched considering the current state of the country.

Although agriculture truly receives considerable attention from the government with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disbursing funds to farmer through the Anchor Borrower’s Programme, but insecurity and the insincerity of the Federal Government to call a spade a spade and face the challenge head on has discouraged farmers from going to farms. A lot of farmers have been displaced by bandits and herdsmen welding dangerous weapons.

The government promised in 2019 to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty but little had the president made the promise, less than a year, the country was declared the country with the highest number of poor persons in the world. Reasons for this can never be farfetched. How would harmless and defenceless farmers go to farm when rice farmers in the northeast of the country are slaughtered on their farms? How would the country attract foreign direct investment when kidnapping and banditry is on the rise with the government not helping the situation?

The rate at which Nigerians lost their jobs is alarming and the swell in unemployment rate is a source of worry for this medium. The unemployment rate that stood at 27% at second quarter of 2020 jumped to 33% in the fourth quarter of same year according to a study conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The study which focused on the impact of COVID-19 on business enterprises in the country revealed that 20 percent of the full-time workforce in Nigeria lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

While the President jets out of the country for medical tourism, Nigerians groans and die due to inaccessible basic healthcare provision as medical doctors and other healthcare providers are frequently in and out of industrial action.  The number of out-of-school children continues to rise, a challenge that poses greater risk to the future of the nation.

While the inflation rate, according to the NBS continues to drop, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) continues to rise. The Bureau said the CPI rose by 26.63%. All this statistics and data are enough evidence that Nigerians are getting the opposite of the change they bargain for in 2015. We therefore challenge President Muhammadu Buhari to lay the basis for economic prosperity for Nigerians, while ensuring that the country is safe enough for business to thrive. A secured environment would activate economic growth.

We also charge the government to ensure that all policies geared towards providing business friendly environment for foreign direct investment are pushed into operations. Nigerians deserve good live, it is the responsibility of the government to lay the foundation for Nigeria s to build their good lives on.

Muhammadu Buhari

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