What Every Nigerian Should Know

It is not news that most Nigerians are ignorant of the role the government plays in their daily life. Or even worse, some think the government does not affect them so they seem not to care what happens in government. This trend is not only disturbing, it is also dangerous because a democratic system, cannot work without the active involvement of the majority.The government plays an active role in our day- to- day life as Nigerians. If you didn't know, the points shared in this article will help you understand more.

In a mixed economy, like ours, the most direct impact of the federal and state government on our cost of living is through taxes. We all agree that taxes must be paid, but the government decides how much tax is to be paid. In January 2020, the federal government increased the Value added tax (VAT) from 5% to 7.5%. The VAT is charged, knowingly or unknowingly, on every item you purchase including food stuffs and airtime credit. This is in addition to other forms of taxes imposed by local and state government on their constituents.

The prices for petrol, Diesel and Kerosene in Nigeria are set by the government to make it 'affordable' to the masses. That is why, within the past 10 years, petrol pumo price has changed from N65 to N87 to N125 and now N145. All these prices were set by the government a.k.a "the Ogas at the top”.

The state and federal governments are directly responsible for the education and healthcare of the majority of Nigerians through public schools and health institutions. The amount of attention and funding they put into this will definitely affect the wellbeing and development of our human resources. Their role in education ranges from building and funding schools to setting the educational curriculum for the country. After tertiary education, the one-year national youth service is mandatory for all graduates and intending members of the Nigerian labour market. This is another government policy that has touched almost everyone since it was established in 1975.

Our 'rights' such as religious rights, right to education, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly
are all granted by the federal, state or local government. They can also be denied by them. The response of the federal and state governments to the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that much of what we do in society can indeed be controlled.

Social networking platfroms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are precious to most Nigerian youths and people all over the world. But in China, their communist government has consistently maintained a ban on these three sites and more to control the access to "contrary information". If you think this cannot happen in Nigeria you are wrong because the attempted introduction of the social media bill and hate speech bill has proven that the social media space is not out of touch.

Finally, it is important for you to know that in Nigeria the government (mainly the senate) decides the process for electing people to be in government. For instance, in previous elections voter registration was done manually but in the 2015 election, electronic registration of voters became mandatory because of a law passed by the Nigerian senate. In 2018 the "Not too young to run" bill reduced the minimum age recquired for a person to be eligible to contest in a federal or state election in Nigeria.

The points listed above are just a few amongst many that show how the influence and impact of the government on your life is very substantial. Since the government will keep on playing these roles, the only option for us is to seek to influence the decision making process through active participation. However, this has not been the case for most people, what we have seen instead is political apathy and negligence which has led to the prevalence of bad governance in Nigeria.

To be continued.

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