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Against all warning of making a wrong decision, but filled with optimism of an emerging better Nigeria under PMB Presidency, I returned to my beloved country with four other friends to join hands and contribute our quotas in making Nigeria great. With each of us possessing a PhD, minimum of two Masters’ degrees, many years of work experience and a burning patriotic disposition, our decision to return seemed in order. Alas, as they thought us in Sociology, context (especially leadership) matters a lot and sometimes determines all plans and economic outcomes. As at today, almost three years of doing our best to contribute, of the five of us that came back, only two including yours sincerely are still in Nigeria. The other three all resigned their jobs in May/June and relocated back to the UK and Canada! In unison, they all maintain that there is no hope and future with the way the country is going under PMB. While one informed me that about 50 employees resigned from his former employer in the last 12 months and relocated to Canada, the other confirmed that one of the big banks in Nigeria lost over 120 of its employees to Canada in the last one year. Things are falling apart and everybody is leaving, they all said and many of the privileged ones making money in Nigeria all have alternative homes outside. The sad situation of our dear country was further affirmed in a burial of an elderly man I attended recently. Another aged relation of the deceased upon dropping sand on the casket of the deceased and bidding him final farewell, passionately beckoned on him to inform renowned Chinua Achebe that his novel should have been published this year as things have really fallen apart in Nigeria!
While I have been accused and labeled an incurable Nigerian optimist, I must admit that in a recent sober assessment of our economy and nation, I am inclined to agree that things are really falling apart. There is really no aspect of our life as a nation that is encouraging- economy, culture, religion, social relations and security. It is also the same in every sector of the economy- agriculture, manufacturing, financial, transport, etc. Not only have we consistently performed badly in almost all key economic indicators, we seem to have worsened with our very prominent positions such as the poverty capital of the world and 6th most miserable nation among many others indices. While Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) describes our current education policy as wicked and criminal against the needs of the youth, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the absence of a clear economic development plan from the federal government seems to be providing the monetary, fiscal and supply-side policies of the government. In normal circumstances, the CBN is supposed to provide mainly the monetary policy plan of the government.
Lamentably, as if we don’t have many socio-cultural and economic challenges to grabble with, our government seems to derive joy or some benefits in creating more crisis. Even in the presence of more convincing, popular and better policy options, the government prefers ones that creates more tension, exclusion, disunity, inequality, unemployment, insecurity and underdevelopment of the country. Clear examples include the recently suspended but not cancelled RUGA plan and the election of the principal officers of the National Assembly, the wasteful and very limitedly impactful trader money programme, the current education plan and most regrettably the unwillingness of PMB government to appreciate, discuss and execute the restructuring of the country even with its overwhelming and convincing benefits. As the main task of the government is to provide or address the key challenges of the populace, the question that is bothering many Nigerians is why our government continues to carry out policies with negative consequences for the country. After blaming the past government for all the failures of the last four years, it is sad to note that the second term is almost starting like or worse than the first term. Interestingly as criticism and alternative views are now coming from individuals and quarters that cannot be described as PDP or other opposition parties, we implore the government to consider and heed some of the alternative and popular suggestions in the interest of Nigeria.
I particularly further implore PMB, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and key members of the government to appreciate that they have been elected to serve Nigeria and all Nigerians and not sections of Nigeria or some specific interests. Based on the actions and inactions of the government, there is a growing wide perception that the government is not for all Nigerians but for particular sections and interests. In their quiet moments and conversations with God and their conscience, a key question that they should ask is why such perception is growing with our dear country intensely divided and increasingly falling apart with almost every youth preferring to leave the country. While other countries, including some African nations are clearly on the direction of sustainable economic growth, we are just running round in circles and unserious about our present and future. As power is temporal and short, our current leaders should be concerned about the impacts of their actions and inactions and the kind of legacy they are creating. As PMB, VP Osinbajo and other key members of this present government will be referred to as former in less than four years’ time, I pray and implore them to do their best to be on the good sides of our minds and history.
Dr. Ngwu is a Senior Lecturer in Strategy, Finance and Risk Management, Lagos Business School and a Member, Expert Network, World Economic Forum.