Though democracy day is now June 12 in honour of late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola but swearing-in day remains May 29. As expected, most governors and other elected leaders in the country on Saturday addressed the press on their activities and achievements in their respective states.
This reminds POLITICS NIGERIA of 22 years ago when a colourful ceremony was held in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. At the event, military heads who have governed the nation for the previous 15 years handed over to elected President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The ceremony, which was applauded by locals and international communities, was attended by heads of state and representatives from more than 40 countries. In his address, Mr Obasanjo told Nigerians to be hopeful, assuring that things would be better than they were during the military era.
Those who were privileged to be at the event were delighted and those unlucky to be there watched on their televisions, and expressed optimism for a better nation. But 22 years after that remarkable day, how far has Nigeria gone?
The crisis rocking the country varies across all sectors. The country has over 43 percent of its population either unemployed or underemployed. According to the Washington-based Brookings Institution, over 87 million Nigerians live in dire poverty, and since 2019 overtook India, a country of over 1.3 billion people, as world poverty capital.
POLITICS NIGERIA understands that corruption is one of the factors negating Nigeria’s growth. As of the last check, Transparency International ranked the country 144 out 180 in its corruption perceptions index. This has greatly affected basic infrastructures in rural and urban communities across Nigeria as several newspapers including this paper have in the past reported the corrupt practices of government officials.
Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a global auditing firm in its 2019 reports said if corruption is not dealt with immediately in Nigeria, it could cost up to 37 percent of its GDP by 2030.Even though fighting against corruption was one of key manifesto promises of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, corruption still remains a huge problem.
More so, no one dares sleep with his or her two eyes closed in Nigeria today. Boko Haram insurgents seem not to be as dangerous as bandits and unknown gunmen who are currently holding the country to ransom. The insecurity in the last few years has killed thousands of people and forced millions from their homes.
School children are no longer safe like their parents in their respective places of work. All regions of Nigeria are in danger. It was reported a few weeks back that ISWAP had taken over Sambisa forest from Boko Haram which signalled that more needs to be done to protect and preserve basic human rights in the northeast and other parts of Nigeria.
No doubt, infrastructure has improved but how well are they maintained? It is a serious question begging for an answer.