“To serve our fatherland, with love and strength and faith.”
We sang these words joyfully as we recited the Nigerian National Anthem, but the country is going places that not many of us can dare to follow.
We thought we saw shege when ‘Sai Baba’, our beloved ruler of eight years (2015-2023), was in power, but little did we know that we were to be moved from frying pan to fire.
Jumping from a frying pan to fire is a reality no one hopes to encounter. Still, for Nigerians, our politicians have built a unique playground for us that makes the average Nigerian think they were born in hell with no idea what heaven may ever look like.
From 2010 to 2015, Nigerians described the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s regime to be one of the worst since Nigeria got her independence. The country was riddled with terrorism (Boko Haram) and corruption, and the price of petrol was presumably high for its time.
The people blamed Goodluck Jonathan for not prioritising the need for power supply, his weakness against Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, his incapability to provide cheap fuel and many more.
The world assumed that Muhammadu Buhari would bring change and order to Nigeria as he had once ruled the country with an iron fist during the military regime (1983-1985).
We all assumed ex-President Buhari had an inkling of how to rule the country best as he would fight for the safety of the civilians in the country. It wasn’t long before we discovered that we may have handed our fate to the one who would lead us down into the fire.
Comparison Between the Past and the Present Nigeria
Although there were several speculations that the ex-president was a clone, this was leveraged as to why the rulership of the nation was toyed with like a box of Lego.
The ex-president ruled the country however he saw fit, disregarding economic, bureaucratic and political corruption, which proved harmful to the citizens of Nigeria, leading to one of the largest 21st-century protests ever to happen in the country (The 2020 EndSARS protest).
Under Buhari’s administration, the national growth reduced in real-time to 2.35% in the second quarter of 2015 from a record of 6.54% in the same quarter of 2014.
According to a report by BudgIT, 33 out of 36 States could not meet their criteria in serving the state and owed the state workers. The state economies withered slowly due to inadequate infrastructure and funding.
The price of fuel in Buhari’s administration rose from ₦87 in 2015 to ₦210 in 2023 by the time he handed over power to the present President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who then introduced the fuel subsidy removal, allowing the price of fuel to rise to ₦600/litre.
The devaluation of the naira against the US dollar in Muhammadu Buhari’s regime was often called cruel by the people who had no idea that they would soon meet their worst nightmares in the following years to come under the rule of another All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
As of 2015, the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar was at ₦197/$ at the official rate and sold at ₦465/$ in the parallel (black) market.
This was a staggering difference between how Buhari left the government in 2023 and how Bola Tinubu managed to lead Nigerians from the frying pan into the fire.
2024 recorded the lowest depreciation between the naira and the US dollar as a dollar sold for ₦1,348 in the official market and ₦1,450 in the parallel market.
How Far Are We Going With Nigeria?
The idea and dream of japaing is a fantastic notion that keeps us warm at night as we toil daily to survive the Nigerian economy with a minimum wage of ₦33,000.
The country is in disarray as complaints, laments, and speculations are drawn up daily on social media. In 2023, we witnessed lawmakers spending hundreds of millions of naira to purchase SUVs, using the excuse of the country’s bad roads as justification.
The government has chosen to blindside the people with petty and shiny objects as they take from us the good, leaving us temporary solutions that cannot solve the problems we have been saddled with.
According to the NBS report, the prices of food items have surged and left some Nigerians unable to afford them and cut down on eating staple foods.
We all dream of escaping Nigeria, falling out of the singeing fire and landing in an icy wonderland where the government functions and life is less tedious.
How far are we willing to go in Nigeria? We have been forced to see the frying pan as a tolerable circumstance, but we only ask for an active and accountable country.
The average Nigerian can barely feed themself and their families and still keep some change for savings. A Twitter handle once said, “The cost of living don dey cost the living”, and this means that we can barely afford the basic amenities we once enjoyed in Nigeria.
“The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain,” we chant these lines daily, but our current leaders leave whatever image of our past heroes in our memories to rot as we curse the ruling administration and hope for a better future.
Ayomitide Adeyinka is a content writer, crypto journalist and editor with a Bsc in Political Science. He is also an egalitarian.