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2021 is not the year of salvation for Nigeria



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By Kareem Shamusudeen

Before Financial Times published a report that said the country is close to becoming a failed state, it is already evident—especially with the lack of direction the Nigerian government operates—that the country may plunge further into disunity due to the rampant destabilising crises. Ever since the report became public, the government has not said a word about it. It has remained mute as always. Even the vibrant spokesmen to the Buhari-led government have not reacted to it. We know that the government’s silence means acquiescence. It is only buying time to feed the citizens more lies of some of its illusionary achievements.

When one takes a cursory look at the happenings in the country, one might opine that the Financial Times’ Editorial on the state of this country is an understatement. Nigeria gradually transcends into anarchy. Rather than the government addresses this, it has been—in its characteristic way—shifting the blame of their failures to the previous governments. Yet, it is this same government who promised heaven on earth for the citizens that has proved incapacitated as the nation becomes hell. One cannot even pinpoint how the nation became in such aflunters. Corruption for sure is a major problem, which has now become unstrange during Mr. Integrity’s tenure. Insecurity, ethnic jingoism, and other nation-tearing developments are contributory factors.

Nigerians expect 2021 to be a year of salvation for the country, but this is only wishful thinking. Except the government takes proactive measures to curb the rising discord in the country, by next year, we may be at our worst state—and even cease to exist.

Buharists and some citizens jubilated when the Kankara boys who had earlier been abducted were released. Some went ahead to say the government is getting responsive. As encomiums were being showered on the Buhari-led government, the lighting of terrorism struck again. Not twice. Not thrice. But in rapid successions that not only made affected residents leave their residences, but some have also taken refuge in hills close by. 

When there were nation-wide calls to step up the security, the citizens received nursery rhymes of “technically defeated,” as in the insurgents are “technically defeated” from our leaders. The terrorists are technically defeated, they say, yet news of abductions, killings are no longer shocking. The government chants of technically defeated could as well mean an irony for the technical superiority of the militants. After all, we have heard soldiers confess that the militants wield superior firearms than them.

Nigerians also called for the sacking of the service chiefs. Still, there is no response. A former Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor, said the President should surprise Nigerians by changing the service chiefs. In his words, “I expect Mr. President should take Nigerians by surprise, change the service chiefs. By the change of tactics, equipment, attitude, service chiefs and approaches, we’ll make some progress, I believe that very strongly.” Sadly, the service chiefs remain, and the security operatives remain clueless in the face of a national disaster. The federal government has not given tangible reasons why the service chiefs still retain their appointments.

As the country enters the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is doing the little it can to contain its spread. In Nigeria, the government does the little it can, and God is expected to do the rest. There have been spikes in the number of deaths, and health experts fear that the new variant of the virus discovered in the United Kingdom is now in Nigeria, especially with the pullulating arrivals from the said country.

As of the time of writing this, the government has not deemed it wise to ban flights from the UK and countries with a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. It has only opened a portal for health records of arrivals from these countries. 

How many people practice social distancing nowadays? As the government gets laxer in making sure the citizens adhere to the COVID-19 protocols, many citizens live their lives in blatant disregard for the virus. What is more saddening is the report of travellers getting fake COVID-19 results and the government wasn’t aware until recently. So what have they been doing all this while? There is much sabotage in the country. Even the government sabotages its efforts to curb the virus.

The government, though, has promised a clampdown on those who issue fake COVID-19 results. But we know our government and its ways of responding to critical issues. The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) also said there has been an increase in the number of deaths of doctors, especially as patients hide their medical history from doctors. These deaths were under-reported.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the Naira will further depreciate by January 2021. This is coupled with the fact that the nation’s economy is in shambles. What better 2021 can we expect? One does not even know the steps the government is taking to revive the economy. The standard of living is high, yet there’s no hope that our affairs will change for the better. Recession upon recession is what we hear.

For a country with a crumbling economy, what lies ahead? Food insecurity is becoming a challenging issue, not to even talk of the hike in the price of goods. Companies are laying off workers because they cannot afford to pay salaries. There is an increased rate of unemployment. Some evil machinations are kidnapping for money. Yet, the government folds its arms, as if to egg on destabilising factors in the county.

The educational system in the country suffers as before. The number of out-of-school students in the country is on the rise. The government pumps meagre sums to the sector. Federal university students do not complete their courses of study within the stipulated time. Some students are being employed by politico-criminals to perpetrate evil acts. It seems as if the educational system existent in the country is to breed future bandits. Educationists have clamoured for the revitlisation of the sector but this has fallen on the government’s deaf ears.

There have not been serious attempts to salvage this sector from its drains. Students no longer place their hopes on education, as some have resorted to fraud, and what have you. I hope the government steps in at this moment. A nation can only be guaranteed continued existence when there is quality education. This has been said many times. I hope the government does not continue with its faltering or annus horribilis awaits us.

The government should listen to the clamours for responsive administration in the country. Lest hopes for a dazzling 2021 will remain a dazzling mirage. Will the government take charge? Will Nigerians achieve Elysian peace in 2021? We may only hope for a turn-around.


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