A Nation On The Brink
After close to two decades of military rule, the nation was hopeful that return to democracy in 1999 would translate to better living standards and development, but that these hopes have been dashed would be an understatement. The sad reality has been that twelve years of democratic rule have not translated into better living conditions for majority of the citizenry. Instead, only those in the corridors of power have been better off, basking in affluence while those they were supposed to serve still wallow in penury. 51 years of independence and over 12 years of uninterrupted democracy have not translated into any form of meaningful development in the nation. Instead the nation hovers on the verge of instability. The stability of the nation is being threatened by the forces of youth unemployment, fiscal indiscipline (impending economic failure) and insecurity. On these three fronts, the nation is losing a battle and the culmination of these failures is likely to lead to an uprising- maybe a revolution.
The view of the average Nigerian youth is one of a hopeless future, one which has been mortgaged already. It is estimated that there are 80 million Nigerians under 30, and of this figure less than 30% of them are gainfully employed. This implies that millions of able bodied Nigerian youths wake up every day with nothing worthwhile to do. Youth unemployment constitutes the greatest threat to the stability of our nation. Millions of youths roam daily with nothing to do, majority of them graduates of our higher institutions of learning. It’s therefore not difficult to understand how Boko Haram, MEND and other militia groups command such huge membership, after all an idle hand becomes a tool for the devil. Factories which could have provided these youths with jobs have either closed office or relocated to other countries with more conducive clime for doing business. You cannot have such population of unemployed youths without bearing the consequences. If nothing is done to correct this, we have a ticking time bomb in our hands, and when it explodes, it will rock the whole nation.
When unemployment reaches a head, protests will be inevitable
The state of national security is at best parlous. The Jos crisis has been raging for over 10 years and successive governments have failed to find a lasting solution to it. The Islamic radical group Boko Haram has practically taken hold of the North with series of bomb explosions in the past six months. It is quite baffling that over 10 bomb explosions have occurred in the country in less than one year. The police headquarters and the United Nations building in Abuja have both suffered bomb attacks. Just last week, the Independence Day parade was cancelled over threats of attacks from Boko Haram and MEND. It goes to show how secure the average citizen is when the Commander-in- Chief of the armed forces cannot guaranty his personal safety. The police ‘farce’ as actions continually portray remains a thorn in the flesh of citizens its officers are paid to protect.
The police continually harass citizens it was meant to protect
Just yesterday, it was reported that the Abia state police command has suspended investigations into the ABSU five man gang rape case, citing that the victim CONSENTED TO BE RAPED. One is left to wonder how a victim can ‘consent to be raped’. Instances like this are quite numerous and they reflect the worrying inefficiency of our security apparatus. A poor security system coupled with millions of idle, unemployed youths who can easily be used by unscrupulous individuals and illegal organizations to cause unrest can only spell doom for our nation.
That the Nigerian economy is right now at best floundering should be obvious to everyone. In spite of what the statistics say, the average Nigerian does not feel the impact of the policy makers and their claims that the economy is growing; instead it seems the living conditions worsen with every announcement. The national debt is at an all time high since the cancellation in 2005, already total domestic debt is estimated at over #5 trillion while external debts total around $5.4 billion. This implies that our leaders have successfully mortgaged our future and that of generations yet unborn. In spite of these, our elected officers remain the highest paid in the world. An average federal lawmaker receives over $2million annually and just last week, they allocated to themselves funds to procure brand new state of the art cars despite receiving loans for same in January. The foreign reserve has been depleted from $50 billion to $32 billion within 2 years. This does not take into consideration that the Yar’Adua/Jonathan administration between 2007 and 2011 earned over $150 billion from oil alone. The Naira currently exchanges at about #165 to a Dollar, while the CBN plans to devalue the Naira if there are continued “threats to oil price and reserve position”. If this occurs, coupled with the impending removal of fuel subsidy, the economic state of the majority can only worsen while only those with access to the corridors of power will continue to be better off.
In a country where elected officers allocate over a quarter of the budget to themselves and receive hundreds of millions of US Dollars annually, the best way seen by the government to reduce expenditure is by removal of fuel subsidy. This move is likely to compound the woes of citizens who are still struggling to survive even when fuel prices are subsidized. Removal of fuel subsidy under the prevailing circumstances will spell nothing but doom for majority of citizens. A government that spends billion to cater for itself while the very citizens it was selected to serve go to bed hungry and continue to wallow in extreme poverty is courting failure. When public officials view their followers as unequal and place no premium on their well being as currently witnessed in Nigeria, an uprising is inevitable. Continued economic oppression will definitely give birth to an uprising.
Nigerians continue live in poverty despite the nation’s wealth
It is as saddening as it is ironical that a nation as wealthy as Nigeria ranks amongst the poorest in terms of living standard. High income from vast oil sale receipts have had no impact whatsoever on the lives of majority of the citizenry. Nigerians have been long suffering for decades, condoning the ineptitude of rulers who have done nothing to better their lots to better our lots but enrich themselves. At every corner what you hear is “God dey”, “E go beta”. For so long we’ve been mouthing these parlances with no change in our living conditions. Perhaps the only change that experienced has been in the number and sizes of the bank accounts of our political office holders who seem unconcerned by the fact that 70% of us survive on $2 daily while a ‘legislooter’ in the National ‘scAmssembly’ receives over $2million annually. Yet we remain a peace loving people. We were even voted the happiest people on earth some years back. We are able to condone these leaders, forgive them their trespasses as our holy books instruct and continue to live like all is well, but for how long shall we be like this? For how long shall we watch while these self-centered fools loot away our future? How long shall we remain “idiots” basking in the joy that tomorrow will be better when that tomorrow has been auctioned off and when our children’s collective destiny is being frittered away and tied to self serving loans?
When a government does nothing but inflict pains on its citizens, an uprising is just inevitable. A goat pushed to the wall has no choice but to go head on with its oppressors. What might probably be the straw that’ll break the resolve of our people is the removal of fuel subsidy. While removing the subsidy on fuel is not a bad idea in itself, the deplorable state of life of Nigerians should not be further worsened by a policy that is likely not to impact on the life of the average Nigerian. There is no assurance in any form that the over 1 trillion that could be saved from the subsidy removal will be channeled to the right areas. Removal of subsidy in January 2012 without stable power supply can only spell doom for the Jonathan presidency, the national economy and the nation at large.
When the people get angry, violence is inevitable
You do not take the people for a ride for too long without facing the repercussions. That the citizens are tired of the system is an understatement. It’s just a matter of time before they react to the “lootocratic” system. Soon Nigerians will refuse to be content with state they are in. It should be noted that countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya all had higher living standards than Nigeria, yet that could not prevent the people’s uprising. Any form of oppression- political, economical and social will inevitably lead to an uprising. And in a society like ours where all these forms of oppression and several others exist. It is perhaps the cowardice of Nigerians that has prevented one for this long, but even the most fearful of men will sooner or later prefer to damn the consequences and fight for what truly belongs to him. With these circumstances, it’s soon bound to happen.
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This article was originally published on blogger.com in October 2011.
Originally published at blaqeagle.blogspot.de on April 30, 2016.