A look at 2023 through the prism of insecurity, economic crisis
Generally speaking, the socio-political atmosphere of the African continent is such that it attracts the attention of the rest of the world. Perhaps, because of its historical outlook or past events. More often than not, these are deemed unpleasant due to the quality of life of the inhabitants of the rich continent despite its enormous natural resources and human capital. Perhaps the great potential and the enormous abundant opportunities in Africa, which the “outsiders” see, push them to seek out the dark continent. However, Nigeria is often referred to as the giant of Africa and regardless of its challenges and hardships, the country is truly blessed with an abundance of natural resources. Hence the prominence and economic importance of Nigeria as the seventh most populous country in the world, according to the 2015 IMF review and the most populous black African nation in the world, according to research papers from World Population Review. of 2021, cannot be denied. Considered one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world, Nigeria is a large and complex country with many internal variations with over 450 indigenous languages.
Perhaps the main divide separating the North from the South was caused by the Nigerians themselves. Although this was initiated earlier by the colonial rulers who divided the country into regions, it still made the division between the south and the north of the country very visible. But this divide is not only due to the linguistic and/or historical factors highlighted above, it is also based on the religious, economic, environmental, cultural and political differences that exist between the two regions. So, any subject or topic on Nigeria should be of interest not only to the whole of Africa but also to the rest of the world.
This could perhaps be why Nigeria has been called Africa’s giant.
As the 2023 elections approach, the political atmosphere in Nigerian society is becoming quite tense. Political gladiators in the North and their counterparts in the South are already engaged in a political war of words over which region should inherit power in the next general election. Additionally, the two main political parties; the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress have also been spectacular in their engagement in different forums (which include the various social media platforms) on issues relating to the upcoming elections. However, the current APC regime’s scorecard has not been impressive enough. But despite the evidence, some members and party leaders, as well as supporters of those in power, have elevated the administration across the board, praising the president for all the ‘great accomplishments’ over the past six years. entry into office. . Some other members of the same party do not have the audacity to claim that the current regime has done well, on the contrary, they blame the non-performance of the current regime squarely on the former administration of the Peoples Democratic Party.
In reality, the past six years have been difficult for everyone in Nigeria. Additionally, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation worse. Apart from the fact that the Nigerian economy has been mismanaged, even the high rate of depletion of oil reserves around the world is cause for concern; the ratio between the naira and the dollar is at its lowest level on record, food security is highly threatened and the unemployment rate now stands at 33% (according to a Statista research paper published in 2022)! In September 2021, Nigeria’s external debt reached $38.0 billion. Despite the debilitating debt profile, the country struggles with uncertainty while infrastructure remains in a comatose state. The question remains, why is the impact of these colossal loans not visible to all?
The Nigerian health sector is a disaster. While leaders do not hesitate to travel abroad for their medical examinations with taxpayers’ money, public hospitals are mostly under-equipped and poorly paid health workers. Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world where health care workers regularly engage in strike action, either because of government arrears or poor workplace conditions. i.e. dilapidated hospital facilities and obsolete medical equipment). According to Statista’s 2019 research reviews, Nigeria has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, with neonatal disorders at 25.27%, diarrheal diseases at 17.14%, respiratory tract infections respiratory diseases below 16.74%, malaria 12.37% and meningitis. at 4.23%, among other health problems in infants and children. Additionally, in 2015, according to the World Health Organization, the estimated maternal mortality rate in Nigeria was over 800 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, with an estimated 58,000 maternal deaths during that year. Interestingly, it is usually information from the poor masses that make up the statistics for all of the numbers above.
Furthermore, the current scourge of growing insecurity in Nigeria, particularly in the northern region, has taken on a dangerous dimension that threatens the very existence of the country. From the rise of ritual killings, internet fraud, armed robbery, religious crises, communal and sectarian clashes to paedophilia, kidnapping, banditry and terrorism, in all its ramifications, the crisis has taken on a frightening dimension threatening the very basis of the existence of the whole population. Almost daily, cases of abduction of innocent citizens are still being reported. And often, the victims are killed by their captors despite the payment of ransoms! It can be said that the northeastern part of the country is becoming a haven for ISWAP-Boko Haram terrorists who are determined to establish their Islamic caliphate in the region. Many local government areas in Borno State, for example, have suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists. Additionally, the violent terrorist insurgency has proliferated towards the north-west and north-central, with Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Niger, Benue and Plateau states making headlines lately due to the violent ISWAP-Boko Haram insurgency. terrorists who attempt to capture and control communities in these states.
There is a growing wave of fuel shortages in many parts of the country. No one knows how long this may persist. The reason for this new development would be due to the import of adulterated fuel into the country! The questions are; What is the sole responsibility of the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, which replaced the defunct Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency? How does this agency fare in monitoring and enforcing compliance in the country’s downstream sector? The fact that the nation has degenerated to this level should really be concerning. Why is it so difficult to embark on industrialization with the aim of building new refineries rather than importing and distributing poor quality products?
With all these issues at hand and the anticipation of the general election in 2023, one may begin to wonder how the country plans to navigate through the current economic difficulties and the wave of insecurity in the country. But the main question is what will a country that is heavily pregnant with relentless security challenges staggering towards a general election in 2023 give birth to?
On that final note, with uncertainties diffusing the political atmosphere of the Nigerian state, current leaders should step back and make a critical assessment or analysis of the current situation rather than being overzealous about general elections. of 2023. It is a high-risk oversight that risks being too costly for the future of the fragile African giant.
Adeparusi, an independent researcher in international criminology, wrote from London via [email protected]
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