Nigeria celebrated her 58th independence anniversary last Monday amid daunting and gargatuan challenges confronting the country which are to say the least, self-inflicted.
On assumption of office in May 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari reeled out the components of his change mantra to include eradication of poverty, guarantee of uninterrupted power supply nationwide, holistic fight against corruption, fight against crime and criminality in all ramifications.
In the power sector, there is not much improvement no thanks to citizens’ incessant complaints of escalated billings. As at now, almost half of the whole country is in perpetual darkness, yet Nigeria still sells its power to some West African countries. The tortuous issue of supply of prepaid meters to consumers still remains insoluble thus subjecting Nigerians to paying astronomical bills for power not consumed. Many industries had remained shut for a long time; ditto for middle and small-scale enterprises such as barbing saloons, hair-dressing who ply their trades through regular power supply. Economically, the country is losing heavily because of the irregular power supply. Power Minister, Babatunde Fashola should brace for the enormous challenges facing the country.
The citizens are always quick to say that if it is only the power sector President Buhari could fix before leaving office, his name will always be indelible in the annals of the country. Foreign and local investors would be attracted to the country to do business thereby increasing considerably the country’s GDP.
On security nationwide, the country is worse off more especially this year. The much-dreaded Fulani herdsmen had a field day with their escalated killings of innocent Nigerians. Ditto for the Boko Haram insurgents pitiably, President Buhari has not gotten his act right. Nigerians expect much from him. We have cried hoarse for the President to change his not-too-performing service chiefs to contain the rampaging insurgents. The ball is still in his court to urgently make amends.
Abject and untold poverty still stares Nigerians in the face. Nigeria which prides itself as the biggest economy in Africa has the greatest number of poor people. Many innocent Nigerians have died unsung through harrowing poverty in the land; many not able to afford just one meal a day not to talk of two or three. The Federal Government many months ago came up with giving a paltry N5,000 to perceived underprivileged in the society. Government did not tell Nigerians who and who benefitted and how much was disbursed. The programme had since run aground.
Fighting crime and criminality still remains the government’s Achilles’ heels, crime and criminality have reached an uncontrollable crescendo such that President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be losing the battle against the menace with the perpetrators becoming more daring in their devilish exploits.
On the hydra-headed corruption fight, Nigerians are yet to see much improvement on the part of the government. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) , Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) much as they are trying to nip corruption in the bud; they are yet to record glaring successes in the area of imprisonment of high-profile culprits like former governors and top government functionaries.
These and many other challenges are what Nigerians are battling daily and it behoves President Muhammadu Buhari to brace for these challenges before he leaves offices in order for his name not to remain extinct in the annals of this great country. We wish the country many happy returns of her anniversary.