Opinion: Will we heed the African Development Bank’s new warning on Nigeria’s economy?


That Nigeria is a poor country is a verifiable fact, and that the Nigeria government at all levels in words and actions continue to be ambivalent about the above fact is worrisome and beggers belief.

In its Africa Economic Outlook report for 2018, the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has raised alarm on the increasing poverty incidence in the country. According to the report “Nigeria still faces significant challenges, including foreign exchange shortages, disruptions in fuel supply, power shortages, and insecurity in some parts of the country. Revenue mobilization efforts are insufficient; at 5%, value-added tax rates are among the lowest in the world, and revenue administration is inefficient. Poverty is unacceptably high; nearly 80% of Nigeria’s 190 million people live on less than $2 a day.”

This indeed is unacceptable as presiding over a poverty-stricken citizenry never carries a batch of honor, and the good people of this country must reverse this shameful record by holding those in positions of authority accountable for their actions and inactions.

As pointedly identified by the report, our politics, political and bureaucratic systems have been desecrated over time with no consequence whatsoever to the abusers. This, in turn, has reduced them to mere personal and clannish instruments rift with inefficiencies in scope and operations.

Consequently, depriving the state (by default) the capacity to unleash development across the Nigerian space.

Ordinarily, the Nigerian state has no business being home to 152 million poor people as a result of our abundant human and natural resources. Unfortunately, development will always elude a country where the government as an agent of the state that suppose to engender such development is struggling under the weight of internal contradictions such as ethnocentrism and religion. Poverty knows no ethnicity or religion as it cuts across the length and breadth of the land, and so also should development be deployed across the length and breadth of the country to counteract poverty.

This latest human development prognosis from the AfDB is a wake-up call to the All Progressive Congress (APC) led government to redouble its efforts towards making Nigeria great again.

Indeed the APC as an opposition party prior to May 2015 had a clear articulation of the development trajectory it intends taking Nigeria to which was aptly summed up in their popular mantra: change, but two and half years down the line, little has changed and poverty is now ubiquitous in all six geopolitical zones of the federation.

As a way going forward, the government must learn to LEAD first and foremost. Leadership is a prerequisite for unleashing the potentials of the development state, and as a well-intended consequence, national discourse will henceforth be based on persuasive reasoning rather than agitated and abusive fits cuffs. This in turn like a healthy symbiotic relationship, will further deepen our political culture and promote greater development.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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