By Prince Charles Dickson
We no go chop rice, e scarce for pot,
For dis Naija, e don dey too hot,
Hardship dey bite, we don chop pepper,
For dis economy, e be like say na suffer.
We no go chop rice, we dey hustle every day,
I hope say tomorrow go bring better pay,
Naija people strong, we sabi survive,
Even when life tough, we dey stay alive.
Election promises, we don hear many,
But for our pockets, penny no dey,
No light, no water, roads dey spoil,
We dey hope say one day, dis yeye film go reach the end.
Corruption plenty, e don tey we know,
But we never give up, we dey find our own dough,
Our leaders’ dey flex, while we dey vex,
But we go ginger, we go fight, e go bring success.
Naija, we resilient, we no go bow,
Even though we suffer, we dey find am somehow,
One day, we go smile, chop rice wella,
For now, we dey strong, with Naija umbrella.
Nigeria, often referred to as the “Giant of Africa,” is currently grappling with an array of complex challenges that have led to significant hardship for its citizens. While the country boasts abundant resources, including oil, natural gas, and a vast young population, it is plagued by a multitude of issues that have hindered its growth and development.
December is again around the corner, I want to look at the current hardships facing Nigeria and suggest potential solutions to address these pressing issues.
One of the most immediate and impactful hardships facing Nigeria is its economic instability. The country’s over-reliance on oil revenue, coupled with fluctuations in global oil prices, has left its economy vulnerable. Corruption, mismanagement, and a lack of diversification have exacerbated the situation.
We cannot keep buying cars for politicians and feed fat on a top-heavy system where a few drain the resources for very many. We cannot keep lying to ourselves through some marabout economic modules. For example, I do not understand how we closed our borders to grow rice, only for anchor borrowers’ money for the same rice to disappear.
Solution: To overcome economic hardship, Nigeria should focus on diversifying its economy by investing in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and technology. Implementing comprehensive economic reforms and effective anti-corruption measures is essential to encourage foreign investment and boost economic growth.
Unemployment and Underemployment
Nigeria’s large, youthful population is both a potential asset and a significant challenge. The country is currently plagued by high rates of unemployment and underemployment, leading to widespread discontent among its youth.
Boys are not smiling, schools and institutions are everywhere, graduates, baked in all manners but either not employable or in some cases not equipped with any form of entrepreneurial knowledge.
Solution: Job creation through investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), vocational training programs, and entrepreneurship development is crucial. Encouraging the private sector and supporting initiatives for youth empowerment can help alleviate this hardship.
Inadequate Healthcare and Education
Nigeria faces significant challenges in the healthcare and education sectors. Access to quality healthcare and education remains a privilege rather than a right, causing a significant hardship for the majority of Nigerians.
You do not want to be sick in Nigeria, the brain drain is at a rate that there are states where the doctor-to-patient ratio is 1-4000 or even more. You don’t have some specialties. Some communities do not have local primary healthcare. Our budget for health is at best laughable, government comes and government goes and it is still the same story.
If one cannot eat healthy, one is sick and the consequences are grave…if we cannot eat rice.
Solution: Increasing public investment in healthcare and education is essential. Providing universal healthcare and improving the quality of schools will help address these hardships. Collaboration with international organizations and civil society groups can support these efforts.
Insecurity and Conflict
Nigeria’s ongoing security challenges, including terrorism, insurgency, and communal conflicts, have created a climate of fear and instability. Citizens in many regions live in constant fear, resulting in severe hardships.
Let me single out Imo and Zamfara states, and one will ask how about Niger, Kaduna, Anambra, Plateau, Rivers, and Sokoto. Whether we are talking bandits, kidnapping, Boko Haram and Religious extremists, state-sponsored or state-facilitated killings, non-state actors forces, and many more. Nigeria is under a heavy siege of insecurity, and it is not the worst-case scenario but it is not getting better.
Solution: Enhancing the capacity and effectiveness of security forces is essential, alongside addressing the root causes of conflicts through community-based solutions, economic development, and dialogue. National unity, with respect for diversity, is crucial for building a more secure and prosperous Nigeria.
Corruption remains a significant challenge in Nigeria, affecting every facet of life. It hampers economic growth, undermines public trust, and perpetuates hardship for ordinary citizens.
Thieves everywhere you go, and it makes the honest ones amongst us suffer the sins of few. The bureaucracy is corrupt, our institutions are corrupt, and those in government are corrupt, just imagine the process of getting a simple national passport, or getting your dissertation signed by a supervisor. A system that rewards corrupt persons…people who chop our collective rice…
Solution: Implementing transparent and accountable governance structures, strengthening anti-corruption agencies, and fostering a culture of integrity is essential. Ensuring that those found guilty of corrupt practices face legal consequences will deter future corruption.
The hardships in Nigeria are indeed daunting, but the country is not without hope. By addressing these challenges head-on and implementing practical and well-thought-out solutions, Nigeria can rise above its current struggles. International cooperation, strong leadership, and active citizen engagement are vital components in achieving a more prosperous and stable future for Nigeria. The journey may be long and arduous, but the destination is one of great promise and potential.
Let me repeat; In the heart of our beloved Nigeria, a tale unfolds, and lives are celebrated with stories yet untold. The pots are empty, the stoves grow cold, as the land grapples with hardships, we’re told.
The hardship is a familiar refrain, wallets grow thinner, causing much pain.
Yet in the eyes of the people, resilience remains, for the spirit of unity, nothing can restrain. With hope and compassion as our trusted guide. Though it is tough, we won’t let it slide, together we’ll conquer, with our hearts open wide. If we sincerely want to…In the face of hardships, we won’t face defeat, for our bonds and our spirits, nothing can beat—May Nigeria Win!
Prince Charles Dickson PhD is the Team Lead at The Tattaaunawa Roundtable Initiative (TRICentre).
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