Sir: Nigeria is experiencing a leadership crisis today, not because the democratic government / federal system we practice is based on its own bad systems or cannot provide the necessary solution to the country’s diverse political and economic needs, but because too many politicians and officials have exercised power and responsibility not as trust for the public good, but as an opportunity for private gain. The problem is made worse by their endless quest to get more at any cost, regardless of the general welfare of Nigerians.
The average Nigerian is economically and materially worse off today than in 2015 or even 1999. We are currently going through the worst social and economic crisis since independence; bad leadership; bad development strategy; Lack of capable and effective state and bureaucracy; lack of focus on sectors that improve citizens’ living conditions, such as education, health, agriculture and infrastructure.
Over the past six years the number of Nigerian workers has increased, but the number of manufacturing jobs has actually declined due to the relocation of these industries to neighboring African countries. A development that arose from the inability of the federal government to guarantee security and electricity.
While millions of workers have given up hope of finding employment, unemployment stood at 23.1 percent in 2019, with an underemployment rate of 16.6 percent, according to the National Bureau Statistics (NBS); and currently at an all-time high of 33.5 percent. The problem, in my opinion, is the refusal of political office holders to be fair and honest in their dealings with Nigerians.
To give an example: in 2005 the head of the government Olusegun Obasanjo and in 2010 under Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gave the federal government two weak attempts to reform the electricity sector, EPSR, ACT 2005 and the 2010 electricity sector reform roadmap, which aimed to rehabilitate the electricity sector to ensure efficient and sufficient electricity supply to the country. The project ended on schedule – allegedly devouring $ 16 billion for NIPP without contributing the targeted megawatts to the country’s electricity needs.
The current government is again in a similar partnership with the German government and Siemens. And in my observation, the only change that has taken place since this new development is the mindless increase in the bills / tariffs paid by Nigerians. No nation can survive under this form of agreement.
Accordingly, Nigeria is currently in its most fragile state in terms of security since the end of the civil war. And by failing to take steps to halt the unsafe situation in the country, responding to calls to restructure the country, or to implement the 2014 Confab report, the current government is doing more harm than good to that country and is accelerating it Decay. This should certainly spark a legitimate interest for everyone.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is Program Coordinator (Media and Politics), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos.