Nigeria At 60: Unemployment, Security Situation Worsening

Nigeria At 60: Unemployment, Security Situation Worsening
ndic advert
  • As Nigerians return to farming
  • Citizens seek way forward

Celebrating the nation’s independence anniversary is not new but what is symbolic this time is the number 60. Having come of age, AljazirahNigeria led by Samaila Ishaku, Chika Mefor-Nwachukwu, Joel Ajayi, Mariam Sanni and Lois Effiong encapsulate snippets of major landmarks in the nation, post-independence.

Political Development

https://aljazirahnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/cbn-keep-the-naira-clean.gif

Nigeria’s political development had its highs and lows. If it had not been slowed down by anything, it had by the British colonial government which ruled the country as a vassal state prior to its independence in 1960. The colonial government controlled all the structures of governance, including its security organs.

But all that changed soon after independence when the frontline nationalists took over the reins of leadership from the British. Although there were constitutional developments and political activities prior to independence, they were strictly under the guidance of the colonial power, without any bite of sovereignty.

However, with that landmark event in 1960, the first national government was led by Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as Prime Minister. His government was short-lived as it was truncated by the military.

After that incursion of the military into the nation’s politics in 1966 when prominent leaders, including Tafawa Balewa was killed, the military intervention continued even after successive democratic governments were installed.

These military and its cabal never allowed a fertile ground for democratic culture and tenets to mature, hence there were recurring fits and epileptic shots at democracy. There were no fewer than 10 military coups in Nigeria even as some of them were perpetuated against their own ranks. All that skewed the nation’s political culture in favour of the military who continued on the scene for a better part of post-independence Nigeria.

However, Nigeria’s seemingly nascent democratic experiment since 1999 has come with no history of any coup till date but we cannot rule out the hang-over effect of that long romance of the military on the political scene.

When the coast was clear for another democratic experiment to commence in 1999, the person who took the first shot an ex-military general, Olusegun Obasanjo, had also benefited immensely from that constituency having been military head of state when his compatriot General Murtala Mohammed was slain yet in another bloody but unsuccessful coup.

He was in the saddle from 1976-1979 when he handed over to a civilian government led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari whose tenure was again terminated by another junta with General Ibrahim Babangida as the arrowhead.

Babangida

Babangida was accused by civil society organisations and the international community for not being sincere with his then transition programme which appeared unwieldy and winding. He was reputed as one who embarked on the longest and most fruitless transition programme in the nation’s contemporary history.

With Obasanjo who held sway as President from 1999 to 2007, his attempt at securing a third term through yet unclear manoeuvres made him lose some grounds as a supposed statesman among some Nigerians. Since his tenure elapsed, there have been three presidents in succession from 2007, with all being democratically elected.

What is established is the fact that the democratic institution is already taking its place as the norm for governance as evident globally but what is still being debated is the quality of the processes and institutions driving the system.

Political analysts and observers are agreed on the state of the nation’s contemporary political development which they score below the average.

The Nigerian contemporary politics is dominated by lack of intra-party democracy and unhealthy rivalries to produce candidates for election, electoral malpractices, occasioned by rigging, ballot box snatching, illegal usage of ballot boxes, illegal printing of voter’s cards, results falsification, stuffing ballot boxes with fake ballot papers, votes manipulations with registration of voters and outright violence to hinder voters from exercising their franchise.

Rumours about manipulations and malpractices have been around Nigerian elections even since 1959. This is the problem in many countries globally.

The rancorous trend and make or mar, egocentric attributes of many a politician has not also aided the political development of the nation. Politicians no longer interested in issue-based electioneering where they would sell their candidature and advertently their parties’ manifestos but take recourse to mudslinging, hate speech and barefaced assault that have worsted the system and giving it an image of the fabled state of nature where life is said to nasty, short and brutish.

However, Nigeria is yet to break completely from the shackles of military dictatorship many have argued, as they stress that some of the dramatis personae in the military era are still very visible in the current democratic dispensation.

On The Health Sector

In April 2001, the African Union countries met and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector and urged donor countries to scale up support. Years after, Nigeria and some other countries are still struggling to keep up.

Also, there is a global commitment to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). When all 193 Member States of the United Nations (UN) agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York in 2015, they set out an ambitious agenda for a safer, fairer and healthier world by 2030. The goals include a broad array of targets across different sectors. The target to achieve UHC is a beacon of hope for a healthier world. However, Nigeria is far behind in achieving this feat. Nigeria currently spends less than 5% of its federal budget on health.

A recent analysis conducted by ThisDay, the Health Budget Recurrent Allocation in 2015 was 2,370,757,428,47, 2016 at 2,214,125,480,87, 2017 run at 2,528,543,966,62, 2018 was pegged 2,699,651,178,87 and 2019 3,156,173,440,56.

Capital Allocation for the year 2015 was 22,676,000,000, whilst 2016 was 28,650,342,987, 2017 reading 55,609,880,120, witnessing an upward trend saw 2018 peak 86,485,848,198. 2019 and 2020 saw a drastic decrease peaking 57,085,655,234 and 59,909,430,837 respectively, totalling 310,417,157,376.

Total Capital Releases for 2015 was 16,445,053,729, 2016 raised to 28,592,592,445.77, 2017 spiralled to 52,656,143,772.55, in 2018 and it nosedived to 44,499,584,274.72 and 2019 to 15, 689,647,293.72

In 2020, even with the nation trying to battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government had to cut the nation’s basic healthcare funding by 43% from its original 2020 budget to N25.6 billion. Stakeholders in the health sector have condemned the reduction noting that the decision is bad for the health sector.

The healthcare system in the county has remained dysfunctional and ineffective in responding to the needs of the citizenry, with many seeking medical services outside the shore of the country and the nation’s doctors seeking greener pastures abroad. As the nation celebrates its independence, there ought to be a change in the budgetary allocation of the nation’s health sector.

Education

The United Nations (UN) adopted 26% as the acceptable budget benchmark for education among its member states. The UN saw the inestimable value of education and its importance to global advancement, and thus adopted that budgetary benchmark. Nigeria is still struggling to get to this benchmark.

Nigeria’s poor education standard is by all means a reflection of the indifference that Nigeria still has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Insecurity, poverty and instability in many states of the country these past years have contributed immensely to the rise.

Recognizing the importance of education, the United Nations has recommended 26% of the nation’s budget allocated to the sector.

But sadly, Nigeria is yet to meet up with the recommendation.

 In 2009, the Federal Government allocated N221.19bn. The figure was N249.09 billion in 2010, N306.3bn in 2011, N400.15bn in 2012,  N426.53bn in 2013, N493bn in 2014,  492bn in 2015 and dropped to N403.16 in 2016. In 2017, the figure was N455.41bn. In 2018, the president initially proposed N496.9billion, but it was raised to about N605.8billion while N620 billion was provided in 2019.

The Ministry of Education was earmarked to receive N653 billion as its total budgetary allocation in 2020. However, it was slashed by  55% due to the decrease of oil price in the international market.

Stakeholders in the sector have continued to raise alarm over the merger amount allocated to education, warning that if nothing is done, Nigeria will continue to sink in the abyss of decay as no nation can develop without education.

Economy Outlook

Colonialism is a major feature of the economic history of Nigeria. When Britain eventually gained control of Nigerian administration, it took over virtually the nation’s resources, only dispensing the same at its instance and to where it was expedient to her.

After independence, the Nigerian economy seemed very promising. Many saw Nigeria, with 15% of Africa’s population, as an emerging economy.

However, this potential never materialized. A series of unfortunate political and economic events have stalled Nigerian growth. The country still plays an important economic role in the world, especially as a producer of fossil fuels.

A major feature of Nigeria’s economy in the 1980s, as in the 1970s, was its dependence on petroleum, which accounted for 87% of export receipts and 77% of the federal government’s revenue in 1988. Falling oil output and prices contributed to another noteworthy aspect of the economy in the 1980s: the decline in per capita real gross national product, which persisted until oil prices began to rise in 1990. Indeed, GNP per capita per year decreased 4.8% from 1980 to 1987, which led in 1989 to Nigeria’s classification by the World Bank as a low-income country (based on 1987 data) for the first time since the annual World Development Report was instituted in 1978.

In 1989 the World Bank also declared Nigeria poor enough to be eligible (along with countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Chad, and Mali) for concessional aid from an affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA).

Another relevant feature of the Nigerian economy was a series of abrupt changes in the government’s share of expenditures. As a percentage of gross domestic product, national government expenditures rose from 9% in 1962 to 44% in 1979 but fell to 17% in 1988. In the aftermath of the 1967-70 civil Nigeria war, the government became more centralized.

The economic collapse in the late 1970s and early 1980s contributed to substantial discontent and conflict between ethnic communities and nationalities, adding to the political pressure to expel more than 2 million illegal workers (mostly from Ghana, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad) in early 1983 and May 1985.

Boko Haram is responsible for roughly 10,000 deaths since 2011 and roughly 2.6 million displaced people. Nigeria’s economy suffered when attacks held by the Boko Haram began on local businesses, government buildings, and local facilities such as schools and churches. Local businesses began to migrate south as a result of being attacked or due to fear of Boko Haram. Roughly 80% of the businesses in Kano had to close down due to power failure and security challenges caused by attacks.

 Nigerian refugees who were displaced by insurgency or just seeking refuge migrated to neighboring countries such as Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, and Chad. Majority citizens migrated to the southern half of Nigeria where there are more opportunities for work, better economy, and less insecure. This further plays into the socio-economic divide between the North and the South of Nigeria where the South is more financially stable owing to minimal conflict, government funding, and the oil industry in the Niger-Delta.

In 2014, Nigeria changed its economic analysis to account for rapidly growing contributors to its GDP, such as telecommunications, banking, and its film industry.

In 2005, Nigeria reached an agreement with the Paris Club of lending nations to eliminate all of its bilateral external debt. Under the agreement, the lenders will forgive most of the debt, and Nigeria will pay off the remainder with a portion of its energy revenues.

From 2003 to 2007, Nigeria attempted to implement an economic reform program called the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS).

A longer-term economic development program is the United Nation, UN, sponsored National Millennium Goals for Nigeria.

Specifically, Nigeria had advanced efforts to provide universal primary education, protect the environment.

A prerequisite for achieving many of these worthwhile objectives is curtailing endemic corruption, which stymies development and taints Nigeria’s business environment.

Former President Obasanjo’s campaign against corruption, during his time, which includes the arrest of officials accused of misdeeds and recovering stolen funds, has won praise from the World Bank.

In September 2005, Nigeria, with the assistance of the World Bank began to recover $458 million of illicit funds that had been deposited in Swiss banks by the late military dictator Sani Abacha, who ruled Nigeria from 1993 to 1998.

Nigeria’s ranking has consistently improved since 2001 ranking 147 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The Nigerian economy suffers from an ongoing supply crisis in the power sector. Despite a rapidly growing economy, some of the world’s largest deposits of coal, oil and gas and the country’s status as Africa’s largest oil producer, power supply difficulties are frequently experienced by residents.

Real GDP growth was estimated at 2.3% in 2019, marginally higher than 1.9% in 2018. Growth was mainly in transport, an improved oil sector, and information and communications technology. Agriculture was hurt by sporadic flooding and by conflicts between herdsmen and local farmers. Manufacturing continues to suffer from a lack of financing. Final household consumption was the key driver of growth in 2019, reinforcing its 1.1% contribution to real GDP growth in 2018.

The effort to lower inflation to the 6%–9% range faced structural and macroeconomic constraints, including rising food prices and arrears payments, resulting in a rate estimated at 11.3% for 2019.

In January 2020, we estimated that better trade terms between the US and China, improved clarity on the UK-EU economic ties, as well as an accommodative monetary policy stance by central banks across the world would bolster global growth in 2020. Against the run of play, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic threw a curveball at our forecasts, as global attention was shifted to the public health crisis, at a huge economic cost.

Reviewing Sports

Expectedly, drums would be rolled out to celebrate the birthday of the most populous black nation on earth.

However, the sporting fraternity will not be left out of the celebrations. It is common knowledge that even as Nigeria has not recorded many successes to her potential in sports; the sector has remained one of the country’s most potent agents of unity.

Even at this moment when insecurity, banditry, kidnapping among others threaten national peace and unity, when the Super Eagles will be playing the whole nation will be united. That has always been the power of sports.

However, the general consensus has remained that Nigerian sports has failed to live up to its full potential as the country’s sportsmen and women have been blowing hot and cold at international competitions since Independence.

The first step towards sports development in Nigeria was the setting up of the National Sports Commission NSC in 1963. Unfortunately, the present government scrapped the commission and sports is now in the care of persons other than trained sports administrators. The clarion calls for the return of the NSC have fallen on deaf ears.

The next step was the setting up of the National Sports Festival in 1976 for the discovery of raw talents that would be nurtured to represent the country in international competitions. The first edition in Lagos was attended by over 6000 athletes.

In 1976, Nigeria hosted the 2nd edition of the All Africa Games and the then Green Eagles won the gold medal in football just as the country placed second on the overall medals table.

The achievements made in the 70s continued into the 80s still within football as the Green Eagles improved on the bronze medals won in the Africa Nations Cup in 1976 and 1978 to win gold in 1980 on home soil when the Christian Chukwu captained Eagles defeated Algeria 3-0 in Lagos to lift the continental trophy for the first time.

However, Nigeria’s first triumph on the global stage in football since the time of Independence came in 1985 when the Golden Eaglets shocked the world to win the maiden FIFA/KODAK U17 championship in China.

Also, Super Eagles won their second AFCON title in 1994 in Tunisia and also made their first World Cup appearance in the same year in the United States of America.

Indeed, any piece on Nigerian sports would remain incomplete without a mention of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics which witnessed Nigeria’s most glorious moment in sports. The “Dream Team” stunned the world to win Nigeria’s second Olympics gold medal hours after Policewoman Chioma Ajunwa had won the first and to date the only individual gold medal at the Olympics.

Although Nigeria has failed to build on the success of Atlanta ’96, the country has recorded other victories in world and continental events like the 2003 “All Africa Games in Abuja”.

The Super Falcons eight African titles won by the female national football team are still fresh.

As for Basketball, the D’Tigers first title in Afrobasket in 2015 in Tunisia, the recent victory of D’Tigress in the 2017 Afrobasket Women Championship in Mali.

Nigeria has produced famous sportsmen and women like the late Dick Tiger and Hogan Bassey, both world boxing champions; ex-Olympians as Isaac Ikhuoria, Late Rashidi Yekini, Peter Konyegwachi, Chioma Ajunwa, Faliat Ogunkoya, Segun Toriola, Jay Jay Okocha, Emmanuel Amunike, Kanu Nwankwo, Funke Oshonaike and Olusoji Fasugba among several others

Entertainment Industry

Nigeria, the Giant of Africa celebrates its diamond jubilee as it turns 60. Through thick and thin, this great nation has to stoop to conquer; posing hurdles as it evolves. Despite this range of concerns, the vision of the entertainment industry has not been short-lived by obstacles, yet rising to the peak of sustainability and progress.

The Nigerian entertainment industry comprising diverse sectors ranging from filmed entertainment, music, art and lifestyle, advertisement and more has consistently been at the top of the chain, creating jobs for Nigerian citizens, adding economic value as well as portraying vividly, Africa’s norm and values.

The Nigerian film industry is currently the largest in Africa, producing more films than Hollywood. Nollywood has evolved into an industry with reputable film festivals such as the African International Film Festival, Light Camera Africa, Abuja International Film Festival, Eko International Film Festival among others.

Nigerian films have also gained international recognition, screened at international film festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival,Toronto International Film Festivals among others.

Aljazirahnews

Also Read:  $9.8 million: Court sends Ex NNPC chief Andrew Yakubu to prison

Tags assigned to this article:
Nigeria @60Nigerians return to farming