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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Nigeria and a man’s search for survival

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By Isah Aliyu Chiroma

Let us talk this week about human struggle, in times of uncertainties for a better life. You must be wondering, why I keep on talking about the current situation without a shift. Yes, as the notion of time, which needs urgent attention, then we must emphasize, until we start witnessing a kind of shift, bringing smiles to our faces.

On a more practical note, challenges are a part of life, mostly for journey towards economic reforms. Like we know the lines on our palm, we are feeling the steps and policies imposed. But what is unique is that, can we still see light at the end of the tunnel. Is the light still burning, can it last long through this journey?

Without doubt, it must be clear to those who have eyes, those who can’t see, they can feel it. The killer is hunger, with families starving, wishing for death as their remedy. Those stories of survival and resilient, clouded by patience and struggle has shaped our atmosphere.

Complex interaction of socio-political forces is reflected in the struggle of Nigeria during economic revolutions. Nigerians have demonstrated resiliency, and determination in the face of hardship, from colonial exploitation to the difficulties of military rule, economic downturns, and global crises. One of the most important aspects of Nigeria’s journey towards a more sustainable and fair future is the continuous struggle for inclusive development and economic prosperity.

The colonial economy of pre-independence was driven by the exploitation of natural resources, especially palm oil and later groundnut and cocoa. However, this economic model was characterized by exploitation, as Nigerians were forced to work in inhumane conditions on plantations.

An important turning point following independence was the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta in the late 1950s. This brought tremendous prosperity, the 1970s oil boom also led to social unrest and economic inequality. As the fight for control over oil resources grew more intense, political instability and regional inequities resulted.

Economic difficulties were made worse by military takeovers and the military’s subsequent reign over Nigeria. This period was marked by corruption, resource mismanagement, and a deficiency of diverse economic solutions. Demands for democratic government got entwined with the fight for socioeconomic fairness.

Nigeria has implemented the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) in response to economic crises in the 1980s, with the help of foreign financial institutions. Although the goal of these policies was to liberalize the economy, they had the opposite effect on the general public, increasing social instability and poverty. During this time, labor unions and civil society were vital in promoting the rights of marginalized communities and workers.

The 1990s saw a surge in the democratic movement and transition to civilian government, which culminated in the 1999 shift to civilian control. There were expectations for better governance and economic growth with the arrival of the new democratic regime. Nonetheless, social inequalities and economic institutions are still affected by the legacy of military dictatorship.

Nigeria has difficulties in the early 21st century as a result of changes in the world economy. The 2008 global financial crisis and changes in oil prices brought Nigeria’s noneconomic system’s fragility to light. Talks for economic diversification and reforms arose as the fight for economic resilience grew critical.

Youth unemployment is another main causes of Nigeria’s economic problems. Young people in the population had difficulty finding employment, which sparked social unrest and requests for equitable economic policy. The convergence of calls for police reform and decent governance with economic complaints was brought to light by 2020 movements such as EndSARS.

The COVID-19 pandemic that broke out in 2019 compounded Nigeria’s economic problems. The necessity for robust economic institutions and social safety nets, disruptions in global commerce, and the collapse of oil prices.

The fight for equitable development, economic diversification, and efficient government goes on as Nigeria negotiates its economic course. Advocacy groups, grassroots movements, and civil society organizations are essential in keeping the government responsible and advancing laws that deal with the underlying causes of economic problems.

As Abubakar Gimba said, ”The Nigerian nation promises a bright tomorrow for its citizens, for Africa, for the Black race and for mankind. To me therefore, Nigeria, means a soothing Hope”. As always, we loom in mud of dreams towards a better future, supplicating in solitude.

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