One thing that has enveloped the socio-political space in the last few weeks is the demand for the CHANGE that was promised by this administration when they were campaigning for office. All the instruments used during that period included but are not limited to lies, propagandas, policy documents that were crafted and presented, promises of an utopian Nigeria amongst many others. One other instrument they used was also an appeal to the truth. The truth in question then was the mood of Nigerians and their quest for an alternative to the status quo. The APC then carefully drafted their manifestos in exaggerating formats to fit that picture.
In sane societies, we Nigerians would have moved on to the business of governance and occupied our office of the citizen by demanding that the needful need to be done NOW and not in the fullness of time, majority of those who refused to support the CHANGE agenda or if put in their own words, who refused to be fooled by the lies and the propagandas, have refused to forget that the elections are over. We are still basking in the gloating feeling of “We told you so”. One thing is certain however, if this administration fails woefully like the previous one did, All of us, the wailers, the zombies and the centrists will be worse for it.
I started the series in my last column on the metrics of change, what Nigerians should look out for and demand if they refuse to surface if CHANGE is to come to our shores at all. Rule of Law for one is the most important of the list and should be the first point of call if this administration will be the one to usher in the CHANGE that we seek. This week, we take a look at the ECONOMIC GROWTH AND FINANCIAL INCLUSION.
Any informed person could write a 150 page thesis on this particular topic and feel like there are issues that have still not been touched. But, the core of the matter is that despite the figures and the statistics that get thrown into our faces by the world bank and the IMF and the NBS and other institutions, the economic reality of the average Nigerian has not changed and has not taken any shape that suggests it would. The reality of the tale of economic growth while true is only experienced by those who have the financial clout to claim they are among the 10% of the richest Nigerians.
Don’t get it twisted, Nigerians have gotten richer in the last 10 years and Nigeria has experienced economic growth that even boils down to something they call per capita. The sad part, which is double-fold is that none of this percentage increases in whatever indexes that reflect economic growth gets to trickle down to the average Nigerian. The second fold of that is that while the economy grew, the rich enjoyed the fruits and left the masses to do what they always did, suffer while smiling, the economy is now undergoing a downward trend and it is not the beneficiaries of the growth that will suffer it but the masses again.
Jobs have been lost over and over again in the past few weeks and much more than what we see here, on the macroeconomic space, a lot is going wrong! Or maybe not going wrong but also not being favourable for emerging markets in the years to come. Global reduction in commodity prices, asset management institutions prediction of investor behaviour, lots and lots of regulation now incoming in the finance industry and the latest removal of the country from the JP Morgan Emerging Market Bond Index.
You see, all these are stories and technical jargons. The reality that is soon to dawn on Nigerians, especially average Nigerians is something like some people have been witnessing, loss of jobs, inability of governments to pay salaries of workers, slow cash flow in the rate at which businesses turnover and an increasing rate of the middle class members saving their money and refusing to invest and put that money into circulation and the so-called demands for the #Our5k is yet to begin for it will manifest in the fullness of time. If I were to be an Adam Smith or a Milton Friedman, I could very well start prophesying doom days for the country. But all is not lost.
Tough choices will have to be made by this administration with the phrase financial inclusion as top of their priorities. There’s no doubt that there’s going to be a slow return to the days of $115 per barrel of crude oil so that we can have so much that our problems will then be how to spend it, but small giant steps can be made. Free trade is one of such steps that can bring about financial inclusion. Deregulating the power, oil and gas sector is another way of ensuring that the basic ingredient of civilisation- energy is available to those who will dare to be entrepreneurs. De-bottle-necking all the unnecessary processes that hinders businesses and disincentivizes investors that would be crazy enough to invest is another and making a lot of noise about the conductivity of the Nigerian business environment (when it finally is) will be essential in seeing this country CHANGE.
I am starting to have reasons to believe that this government is nothing different from the former ones that we have had since 1960 coupled with a slight believe in their lack of an agenda and direction. In my mind, I liken them to a Mikel who after Nigerians claimed was better than a Messi got to the global stage of football and when passed the ball lacked any idea whatsoever what to do with it that he develops a relationship with the defenders. This is not to mean the former administration is to be likened to a Messi.
However, I remain optimistic in the realization of achieving the potential of this great nation, Nigeria, definitely not in these old cargoes who rebrand themselves only to sell themselves short but in my generation which is still at the moment blinded by loyalties to the oldies that we are sharply divided between wailers and zombies. When we wake up, We will deliver the CHANGE.
Until then, you should remain optimistic and prayerful too.
I TWEET @juded27
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