By Obani Obodo
The question of Nigeria, being the giant of Africa in recent times has brought a lot of questions left said than answers given. The news of the country being at recession is no more new as there is so much angst in the country as Nigerians feel pains of the increasing hard times.
The news of the country being plunged into the bowels of recession was announced long before July 21, 2016, when the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adesosun officially confirmed in her words, that Nigeria is ‘technically in recession,’ since then, it had been a deep source of thoughts for Nigerians as different people with different views have said, ‘is this really change or chain?’ The tales of woes, it is, as people brand the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari with the new economic reality is affecting the lifestyle of Nigerians immensely.
Different reports have been made to security authorities about organized and petty crimes been on the increase, unsecured pots of soup have become endangered species, sale of human blood and organs for economic reasons is rife, and frustrations have given rise to rampant cases of domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide to say the least. If the Biblical Prophet of Doom, Jeremiah was in this day and age, he would be a highly revered clergyman.
An elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, in an interview by Gibson Achonu with the Punch Newspapers, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to seek economic advice from the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in order to rescue the country from recession. Iwuanyanwu further said that with the present economic problems, no foreign investor would invest in the country. Look at it, the light supply has crumbled like a pack of cards thereby making the citizens resort to alternatives like buying gas, petrol, generators and even solar panel for those who can afford it. It is quite appalling to be an entrepreneur and want to invest in a place without power and dissipate more cost on power by investing here in the country. This is in counter to the previous talks in the conference the President made overseas to seduce foreign investors to come to Nigeria to invest so that we can make money from there.
An outsider would look at Nigeria with the eye of a country that is in plenty or should I say in the land of milk and honey. With the fact that the country had its years in ‘oil boom,’ having a rich foreign reserve would be in order. The former Minister of Finance, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said ‘We had everything under control until Nigerians Voted Buhari,’ regarding to the former administration and management of funds, debunking the assertions by the Federal Government that the National Treasury was practically empty. Financial Watch Nigeria reported her quote saying, ‘Former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that despite the economic challenges the country faced during the last administration, they left some solid economic legacies for the Buhari led administration, debunking claims that the economy was in shambles before the new administration took off, she said, ‘such claims are untrue’ and that the ‘current economic crisis rocking the country could partly be attributed to the unguarded utterances and unfounded allegations against the last administration by certain individuals whom for the sake of political gains, painted the economy black and by so doing, sent a negative message to the international community and investors’ as she once warned.’
Just last week, on October 1st, the Federal Republic of Nigeria celebrated her birthday and from my view, it seemed as though, unlike recent anniversaries, was a forced celebration, just like a normal day in the calendar. The recession and the steady diminishing value of the naira against the U.S dollars has caused an increase in the sale of everything ranging from groceries to electrical equipment. Sellers carry long faces to the market everyday but with high hopes that the goods they have will be bought. The sellers, however, cannot afford to spend much of the turnover netted because the fear of the dollar increase thereby making the buying strengths of both buyers and sellers relatively low. Nigeria, known as a nation occupied by people with diverse culture as well as religion still smile and endure it all like the late Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti’s famous saying; suffering and smiling, hope for a day that what seem like the self-inflicted punishment from the election and advocates of change will be a thing of the past.
Nigeria is facing series of challenges – insecurity in the northeast, which the army has contained to a large extent, resurgence of militancy in the south-south that has reduced the nation oil output and volatile oil price which has affected the nation’s revenue ultimately as over 70 percent of the nation’s revenue comes from crude oil sales among others.
The economy of the nation has also been hugely affected by these challenges, leading to increase in inflation, with critics saying there is so much hardship but just like every country, Nigeria has a bright future and we continue to surprise ourselves with endless creativity and smiles. With that, we stay afloat in the current hardship in the country.
By Obani Obodo