When the Bell Tolls on Nigerian Economy
By Mahmud Mustapha
In the past few weeks, alarm bells have been ringing about the danger facing the Nigerian economy. These alarm bells cannot be said to be frivolous or borne out of partisan inclinations because they are coming from tested economists and those who know about how well-run economies look like.
The most recent is by the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi Lamido, a renowned banker who rose to become Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In the same vein, the respected Invest Africa magazine has also drawn attention to Sanusi’s warning about Nigeria’s imminent bankruptcy, even when some people said he had denied the statement. Sanusi is not the type of man who denies statements credited to him. Even if he denied it, it should be noted that these concerns are no fluke as the high level of borrowing and debt servicing embarked upon by the Buhari administration should be a source of great worry about the future and health of the nations’ economy in any place where a genuine democracy is in place. The fact that Buhari’s pseudo-democratic government has conquered other organs of government which should normally be independent as provided by the constitution, gives cause for deep concern.
The way things stand now in Nigeria, a silent fear has gripped majority of Nigerian intellectuals, technocrats and political leaders that they might come under the hidden monitoring camera of the regime if they dare say the truth about the Nigerian condition.
The economic condition of the majority of Nigerians is currently very bad. Statistics from reputable foreign economic monitoring bodies like the Austria-based World Poverty Clock has it that a whopping 93.8 million Nigerians, as at June 2019, suffer from extreme poverty and that about six Nigerians fall into damning poverty every six minutes. On its own part, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) puts the country’s unemployment rate at 23.1 per cent, under employment at 20.21 per cent and youth unemployment at 55.4 per cent.
The above indices show that many Nigerians notably the young and educated population is battling with poverty. It was not long that Nigeria became the laughing stock of the World when in 2018, the World Bank and other multilateral institutions declared the country as the World poverty capital thus sounding another alarm bell for Nigeria’s political leaders.
It should be stated that these poverty indices became prevalent under the administration of President Buhari who took more than six months to put a cabinet in place after he emerged victorious in the 2015 elections. President Buhari’s lack of foresight and passable knowledge of economic issues, in the view of many experts and observers was the main reason for the recession that hit Nigeria in 2016, the first time since independence that the nation’s economy would be in such a mess. Granted that the excesses of the Goodluck Jonathan administration contributed to the economic difficulties the country faced after Buhari took over in 2015, the poor policy choices and outright lack of choice under Buhari’s watch, made economic recession and creeping poverty inevitable.
It was in this condition of recession hangover, continuing corruption in the government and the continuing burden of fuel subsidy that the 2019 polls came. Faced with enormous hardship under Buhari, the majority of the Nigerian people reasoned that voting out the lackluster administration of President Buhari was the way to put a stop to the relentless march of poverty and social dislocation in the country.
The APC and Buhari claimed victory in that election against the postulation of many analysts before the polls. The management of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) whose uncertain and indecisive public posture on issues arising from the collation of results at the Presidential Election Tribunal also sided with Buhari and his party’s’ claim. However the INEC’s shifty position on the Server issue has convinced many Nigerians that much still needs to be straightened out about the conduct of that election and the declaration of a winner. The final report of European Union election monitors on the conduct and outcome and the nationwide violence that attended the election proper, points to the fact that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar have a strong and genuine case before the Judiciary. It is the view of many Nigerians that Atiku Abubakar, who promised to make Nigeria work again by providing millions of jobs and providing an enabling environment for entrepreneurship to blossom won the 2019 polls and that the judiciary has a duty to tell the world so!
The issue is that having used widespread violence and the coercive instruments of the state to hijack the 2019 election outcome, it is now a task for the nation’s judiciary, to show that it is modern, fearless and independent to reverse the outcome of that election. The judiciary owes this duty to Nigerians not only for the sake of restoring the hope of Nigerians in democracy but rescuing the nation’s economy from the hands of a man who clearly does not know how a modern economy should be run.
The poor economic history of Nigeria under Buhari’s watch, characterized by growing poverty of the population, is the result of poor leadership. President Buhari clearly lacks the knowledge, temperament and leadership to guide a team that can make an economy flourish and the people enjoy a good life.
It was for this reason that when Buhari told Nigerians at the 2019 Democracy Day celebrations that his All Progressives Party (APC) administration can raise 100 million Nigerians from poverty in a period of ten years, those who have observed him since 2015, labelled the statement as hollow. Most Nigerians hold the view that the Buhari persona, his leadership style and his pervasive nepotism and policy of exclusion, means that the president and his party, the APC can only descend people into poverty, not to lift them.
Among the reasons why the growing poverty in Nigeria persists, and might continue despite Buhari’s good intentions are first, the poor and indecisive leadership of Buhari. Second, is the nationwide security problem, violence and killings which has dislocated many Nigerians. Third, is the problem which herdsmen pose to the farming population in the country that has uprooted millions of farmers from their farmlands mostly in the Northern part of the country. Food shortages are more than likely all through Buhari’s four year tenure till 2023, if the judiciary does not rescue the nation from his vice grip by declaring the rightful winner of the 2019 elections. President Buhari has shown that he lacks the will to deal with the problem of insecurity, more so when his military commanders blame everyone except themselves for the security problems in the country including Boko Haram insurgency in the North east region of the country. The insecurity issue has emerged as a disincentive to domestic and foreign investment. Four, the country’s huge population is another factor. With a population today, at 200 million and projected to rise to 400 million around 2050, the nation will be in a messy situation if it does not solve its leadership, social, infrastructural, educational and health delivery problems which are becoming critical by the day. President Buhari is not the type of man to put in place and implement a credible and effective population policy to help ensure that the country can manage its population.
Part of the solution to the poverty problem is the practice of true federalism under which the Federal Government, the States and local government will be responsible partners with each level of government working hard to eradicate poverty among the people under its care. Unfortunately, President Buhari does not believe in true Federalism compared to the opposition candidate in the 2019 polls, Atiku Abubakar who is a disciple of Federalism and who has taken pains to lay out the ways and means of its implementation to free the creative and productive energies of the constituent parts of the country.
Finally, Nigeria according to commentators and agencies who are conversant with the Nigerian economy, is in dire straits. The onus is on all Nigerians with the influence to right the wrongs to ensure that the nation is placed in credible hands.
*Mahmoud Mustapha, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Bauchi.
Naira Scarcity: Queues Gradually Disappear As Bank ATMs Dispense Cash
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Following the injection of more Naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) into commercial banks on Thursday, long queues have begun to whittle down at some of the banks in Abuja.
Daily Asset Correspondent who visited some of the banks located in Garki and Central Business District, observed that their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were dispensing Naira notes to customers.
The banks visited include, Guarantee TrustHolding Company (GTCO), United Bank for Africa, (UBA), First Bank and Union Bank.
Banks across the country opened their doors to customers for withdrawals and deposits, bringing an end to long queues and pains suffered as a result of the cash crunch.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
This came after the apex Bank had confirmed the evacuation of banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country as part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.
A bank staff confirmed to Daily Asset at the weekend, that her bank received N10 million to distribute to other branches. A customer said she withdrew N10,000 as there are no restrictions on the amount to withdraw.
The CBN had confirmed the evacuation of banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country as part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.
INEC Distributes Sensitive Materials in Bayelsa
From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Bayelsa state ahead of state Assembly Election on Saturday 18th March 2023 has distributed sensitive materials to the eight (8) local government area that make up the 24 constituencies in the state.
The materials which was distributed at the state Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria witnessed Party agents and other political actors, thought journalists were not allowed into the premises to see for themselves the distribution process.
Speaking to journalists at the gate of CBN, INEC Head of Voters Education and Publicity, Wilfred Ifogah said, they were at the CBN to retrieve the sensitive materials which comprises result sheet and ballot papers for Bayelsa state House of Assembly Constituency elections.
He said for the local government on Land, their materials will get there today while that of Southern Ijaw and Brass local government area will be moved to INEC head office for onward movement Friday morning to the local government headquarters.
“We know in Bayelsa we are not having governorship election, so right now we are moving the materials to the various local government headquarters so that the distribution can be early enough on Saturday.
“We have 24 Constituencies in Bayelsa. Each of the local government has three except southern Ijaw, which has 4 and Kolokuma/ Opokuma with 2. All necessary arrangements have been put in place. BVAS has been reconfigured for this particular Election. So far so good we are good to go”.
Ifogah said to make the system smoother, a refresher training for the supervisor presiding officers has been organized, saying hopefully that of collation officers will also take place.
“Just before today, we actually reviewed the election we had on the 25th and we look at some of the lapses and what actually caused them. As we speak today, we are trying to break the chain. That is why we are moving our materials early enough so that they can go to the various local government headquarters, especially those on lands.
“The result sheet of state Assembly Election also has a seal on it, thought the seal is different from that of presidential election. This is to prevent people that want to be funny possibly want to compromise having seen that of the presidential. We don’t play with that at all, so we design a different seal for this particular one,” Ifogah said.
One of the party agent comrade Martins Bago who spoke with Journalists said, they went inside and inspect the materials and from there finding, constituency 2 has 8 cartoons, constituency 1is 11 cartoons while constituency 3 also has 11 cartoons totaling 30 cartoons.
“I want to believe that the materials are correct, we are moving them to Sagbama to separate them and send them to various wards to see how complete they are”.
Also speaking, the state chairman of New Nigerian People’s Party, comrade Joel Tubonimi, said the materials were already parked before they got there but that they insisted that all materials must be dropped down for proper inspection to know whether they are correct before moving them out which they actually inspected for confirmation.
He said they insisted because of what happened during the presidential election where some result sheet were missing.
“So we insisted that we want to see everything and we were showed some of them. At Sagbama our agents are also going to inspect the materials again to make sure nothing has happened in the course of transit”.
“We hope that INEC will keep to their promise by giving us free, fair and credible election on Saturday because we were not satisfied with the presidential election and others”.
Commonwealth Day: Minister Calls for Peace, Unity and Prosperity among Commonwealth Nations
By Evelyn Terseer – Abuja
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu has called for increased actions and steps that would help promote peace, unity and prosperity among commonwealth nations
Adamu stressed the need for all countries of the commonwealth to look out for the welfare and wellbeing of member countries of the commonwealth for inclusive growth and prosperity.
He said: “Like we all know, the existence of peace in any space of human aggregation or nation translates to progress, wealth and tranquility.It enhances positive outcomes in trade, investment, human rights, democratic governance, quality education, digitized learning and most importantly entrenches equity and equality, which in Nigeria and most Commonwealth means empowerment of youths, women and the girl-child
“As we celebrate, it is important we remind ourselves that the prosperity, peace and security is a collective responsibility and requires mutual commitment and perseverance.The commemoration of the year 2023 Commonwealth Day is a re-awakening call that the promotion of unity, love, peace and prosperity is the foundation of development for our country in particular and the body of commonwealth nations in general.”
Director, Education Support Services, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. L.I Giginna, in her remarks, said that this year’s event is unique being the first after His Majesty, Prince Charles III acceded to the throne as King of the United Kingdom after the demise of the venerated Queen Elizabeth II, his Mother.
“Today marks a decade of signing the Commonwealth Charter that positioned Commonwealth nations as the golden globe and the year declared specially for the youths by Commonwealth Heads of Government.
“Federal Ministry of Education promotes the commemoration of Commonwealth Day every year not just to highlight the historical ties and evolution to the present status of equity in diversity by member nations, but to also model the vision of unity and peace envisaged for Nigeria due to our diverse socio-economic and cultural background.
“We want to forge a common future devoid of tribalism, violence, incessant attacks on students and teachers, destruction of education infrastructure, among others. The Commonwealth vision projects mutual respect for one and all, a virtue worthy of emulation by adolescents and young people for sustainable peace and harmony to prevail.”
Meanwhile, a message from Buckingham Palace, King Charles, noted that the myriad connections between commonwealth nations have sustained and enriched the countries for more than seven decades, stressing that commitment to peace, progress and opportunity will sustain the nations for many more years to come.
King Charles said: “Commonwealth Day was an occasion of particular pride for my beloved Mother. The late Queen. It’s a treasured opportunity to celebrate our Commonwealth family, to whose service she dedicated her long and remarkable life.
“In succeeding Her Majesty as Head of the Commonwealth, I draw great strength from her example, together with all that I have learnt from the extraordinary people I have met, throughout the Commonwealth, over so many years.
“The Commonwealth has been a constant in my own life, and yet its diversity continues to amaze and inspire me. Its near-boundless potential as a force for good in the world demands our highest ambition. Its sheer scale challenges us to unite and be bold
“This week marks the 10th anniversary of the Charter of the Commonwealth, which gives expression to our defining values, peace and justice; tolerance, respect and solidarity; care for our environment, and for the most vulnerable among us.”
Read Our ePaper
Regular Demolitions ‘ll End Insecurity – FCTA
Share Post Views: 18 By Laide Akinboade, Abuja The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Thursday, said its commitment to ensuring...
FCTA Vows to Demolish Structures on Waterways
Share Post Views: 40 By Laide Akinboade, Abuja As part of the proactive measures to mitigate flooding in Abuja, the...
Kick-off and Final Match Dates Confirmed for 2023 AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire
Share Post Views: 67 Dates for the kick-off and final matches at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled...
Woman, 33, Arraigned for Impersonating Police Officer
Share Post Views: 65 A 33-year-old woman, Damilola Odutola, who allegedly impersonated a police officer in an attempt to invade...
Experts Canvass Better Attention to Taxes, Untapped Minerals, others
Share Post Views: 67 By Gom Mirian, Abuja Experts in the research and development sectors have called on the incoming...
Army to Review Troops’ Conduct During Elections, other Operations
Share Post Views: 65 The Nigerian Army is set to review the conduct of troops in Operation Safe Conduct during...
Agba Leads Govt Delegation to South Korea on Bilateral Cooperation
Share Post Views: 69 By Tony Obiechina, Abuja Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba,...
Buhari Pleased with Troops` Performance in North East – Gen. Irabor
Share Post Views: 66 The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, says that President Muhammadu Buhari is happy...
Court Remands 9 Persons for Allegedly Robbing, killing a Police Inspector
Share Post Views: 78 A Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court in Benue on Thursday, ordered the remand of nIne persons in...
Dangote Lists N300bn Bonds, Largest Ever on NGX, FMDQ
Share Post Views: 68 Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has formally listed its N300 billion Series 1 and 2 bonds issued...