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  Some days ago, I was in a conversation with my parents and we reminisced on the good old days, about how a bag of rice was 20 Naira in the late 1980s, and how the transport fare from Onitsha to Lagos was 15 Naira in the mid-1990s. Our discussion centred on the history of inflation. We finally arrived at the year 2015 when the price of a bag of rice was sold for N3,000 to 5,000 Naira. This was under the former President Goodluck Jonathan, the same year he handed over to the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari. 
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Today, the story is severe. Many Nigerians who voted All Progressive Congress under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari as president in 2015, might have a rethink if they are asked to vote for Buhari again. Before Buhari, it was 150 Naira to a dollar; today it is 600 Naira to a dollar. The truth is this: Under the present administration, Nigeria’s economy has suffered setbacks, the inflation rate is crazy, it has never had it this worse. The prices of goods and services have skyrocketed while minimum wage remains flat. To make it more painful, for the past six weeks, Nigeria has been battling with fuel scarcity: The price of fuel is N300/litre, diesel is N800/litre, while kerosene is N700/litre. Gasoline is nothing to write home about. Factories have shut down, workers have been retrenched, more Nigerians have been plunged into poverty. Unlike in the past when poor governance only affected the poor and was largely felt by the middle class, today even the wealthy are lamenting and crying. World Bank dubbed Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world. Under the administration of Buhari, more Nigerians have fallen below the poverty line.  Like I said earlier, the wealthy are feeling the yoke of this administration. Although I had thought that the rich were immune to poor governance, however, on Thursday 17 March 2022, the founder and business owner of Transcorp Hilton and Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman of UBA, Tony Elumelu, took to Twitter to lament that Nigerians are suffering. According to him: “This morning, I am listening to my colleagues at the office bemoan the very pressing issues that they face everyday in this country, and how things have been getting worse and worse – no electricity for 5 days, hikes in the price of diesel, frightening food inflation, etc.” This rant was surprising coming from an elite banker, philanthropist and one of Nigeria’s richest individuals. In his tweet, he queried that: “How can a country so rich in natural resources have 90% of its citizens living in hardship and poverty?
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“I have often said that access to electricity is critical for our development, alleviation of poverty and hardship. And speaking of security, our people are afraid!” It was a long Twitter thread that got Nigerians talking. The UBA chairman said Nigeria cannot meet its production quota because of oil theft and called for more security measures. “Look at the Bonny Terminal that should be receiving over 200k barrels of crude oil daily, instead it receives less than 3,000 barrels, leading the operator @Shell to declare force majeure. “Why are we paying taxes if our security agencies can’t stop this? The reason Nigeria is unable to meet its OPEC production quota is not because of low investment but because of theft, pure and simple! “Meanwhile, oil-producing countries are smiling as their foreign reserves rise. What is Nigeria’s problem? We need to hold our leaders more accountable! “Elections are coming – security and resources need to be everyone’s agenda — let’s be vocal for our nation’s priority. “Evil prevails when good people are silent. We need to be vocal about 2023. Let’s focus on Nigeria. Demand and advocate for leaders that deliver. “In 2023, Nigeria must be on a strong trajectory for progress and development.” Many have stated that if a billionaire of this stature can lament about the state of this nation, then this is the height of it. But one thing we can be sure of is this, the change Nigerians seek is in their hands. Featured image source: New African Magazine
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This article was first published on 22nd March 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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