As Nigeria marks her 60th independence anniversary, a Lagos- based Non Political, Non Governmental Organization, the Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA) congratulates Nigerians, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to be more people focused in his policy formulation.
Speaking through a recent statement made available to Journalists in Lagos, Jerome-Mario Utomi, the Group’s Programmes Cordinator (Media/Public Policy), felicitated with Nigerians on this auspicious celebration noting that a day like this ought to be a moment of joy but unfortunately, the vast majority particularly the poor masses cannot express such happiness as a result of the present economic downturn in the country.
While urging Nigerians to seek consolation in the reality that relative peace is better than war, the release which formed part of the organization’s activities to mark the nation’s 60th Independence Day Celebration, acknowledged the effort the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government is making in the areas of infrastructural development. But however, added that from this glimpse evidence, one could hasty assume that the nation is standing on the right pedesta.
Continuing, the rights advocates lamented that a further view beyond this peripheral show of leadership reveals a sad reality of policies that aptly qualify as anti-people, anti-development and openly promote hardship and capable of enslaving the nation to the foreign countries. Quoting Federal Government’s inability to provide palliatives for the poor masses during the Corona Virus Pandemic period, inadequate attention to development of the young people, develop their skills and generate the spirit of excellence and creativity in them as perfect examples.
While stressing that the nation will under the present circumstance not record sustained development, SEJA added that this ugly situation is compounded by President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration’s penchant for foreign loans without recourse to its ingrain consequence on the socioeconomic future of the nation as no nation becomes great by living on borrowed fund.
From the event of the past five years, the Group observed that it is obvious that Mr. President and his handlers appears to have forgotten that achieving success is a matter of following specified laws/ key indicators. The nation at this juncture need to evaluate the promised change/next level and accept them only if it makes sense as acceptance without evaluation amounts to conforming behaviour which is a sign of lack of confidence.
‘We are particularly unhappy that at a time the country’s economy is showing its inability to sustain any kind of meaningful growth that promotes the social welfare of the people, corruption becomes even more entrenched as scandal upon scandal has completely laid bare the anti-corruption stance of this administration and those who were initially deceived by the present government’s alleged fight against corruption has come to the conclusion that nothing has changed”.
The worst part of this narrative is that while the nation is right now in its most fragile state since the end of the civil war, the Federal Government, has by its actions and inactions proved to all that they are not responsive to the yearnings of the poor masses. Even the democracy gains the country recorded under the previous administrations are being eroded daily by the present occurrences in the country. The skyrocketed prices of food items and other commodities in the market support this fact.
Under the present state of high level insecurity, suffocated economy that daily drive citizens to the rank of beggars, the Group is tempted to ask; how the present administration hope to achieve the promised lifting of 100 million Nigerians out of extreme poverty?
It remain a paradox of the sort listening to the representatives of the FG during their negotiation with the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress recently in Abuja, declare that they recognize the public outcry and protest over the recent Federal Government twin policies on Electricity Tariff Reform and full implementation of deregulation of the downstream sector of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry, and bears in mind that due to impact of COVID-19 pandemic the world is undergoing socio-economic transition which has affected price stability, sustainability of enterprises, employment, and other socio-economic indices.
If they are sensitive as claim, why must they wait until the inconsiderate hikes were about resulting in the nation-wide industrial action by Organised Labour before calling for negotiation? If they are convinced that due to impact of COVID-19 pandemic the world is undergoing socio-economic transition which has affected price stability, sustainability of enterprises, employment, and other socio-economic indices, why must such burden be on the civil servants and poor masses alone as public office holders have not in anyway shown that they are with the masses in the corona virus imposed recession. Instead, they have continued to flaunt behaviour or qualities that raised them above the civil servants.
To make this celebration rewarding, the Group therefore called on Mr. President to find out who else(country) had met the present problems in the country, how they had tackled it, and how successful they had become. So as to draw useful lesson from such encounter. The administration should as a matter of urgency tackle the protracted failure to stamp out corruption in the country as promised and positively drive to fruition the much orchestrated change and next level mantras.