Since the beginning of this week, Nigerians from all works of life have converged on streets across the country to protest against what they believe are the failings of the present government – inability to bring down inflation, insecurity, economic hardship, among others.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo responding to the protests said: “We hear you loud and clear, those who are on the streets protesting the economic situation and even those who are not, but feel the pain of economic hardship. We hear you loud and clear. You deserve a decent life and we are working night and day to make life easier.”
The Ag. President also quoted recent related remarks by President Buhari, to back up his message, as follows: “I know that uppermost in your minds today is the economic crisis, the recession for many individuals and families is real. For some it means not being able to pay school fees, for others it is not being able to afford the high cost of rice, millet, or of local or international travel. And for many of our young people the recession means joblessness, sometimes after graduating from university or polytechnic.
“I know how difficult things are, and how rough business is. All my adult life I have always earned a salary, and I know what it is like when your salary simply is not enough. In every part of our nation people are making incredible sacrifices.”
Osibanjo’s comment have since become a subject of debate among Nigerians with many wondering if the government can really claim it hears and feels the pains of Nigerians given present realities.
This has prompted the question: do the actions of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration commensurate to its words since it came into office in 2015?
Does the government hear Nigerians “loud and clear” when:
The price of fuel skyrocketed from N85 to N145
When young Nigerians suffered massive job losses
When the ‘budget of change’ suffered huge padding and failed to solve any of the country’s problems?
Yes, things are really tough and given what the administration met on ground when it came into office, it is expected that Nigerians need to be patient for the government to revive the economy and fulfill its campaign promises. However, critics of the government believe that the actions of the government thus far has shown that it is solely interested in pushing the burden of economic recovery on the citizens.
For instance, many have wondered when the government’s promise to reduce the cost of governance will come into effect given that most of the expenditure of the government in the 2016 budget was mostly doubled in the 2017 appropriation bill.
People have called into question the continued operation of a bi-camera national assembly when the country is trying to cut cost. Some have also wondered the use of ministers of state. Whereas the government continues to look for ways to raise money and has increased duty on goods coming into the country and by leveling different taxes on the citizens, the government has failed to purge itself of unnecessary wastes.
The government need to explain to Nigerians why they are passing through hardship, why they need to endure, when the hardship will end and what measures it has put in place to alleviate the people’s suffering during the duration of this trying period.
For instance, how are the people supposed to believe there will be steady supply of electricity in 2018, when they hardly get 30 minutes of power daily in 2017?
Although it is a good thing that the Ag. President has acknowledged the protest, the government must as a necessity go the extra mile to implement workable policies to stabilize the economy.
The stark truth is that Nigerians are losing trust in the government and words alone are no longer enough to assuage voices of protesters. Beyond words and rhetoric, government need to win back the trust of Nigerians by putting alleviation programmes in place in the short term while dealing with the bigger picture.
So long the current problems Nigerians are experiencing continue with no sort of solution in sight, the government’s promises will continue to fall on deaf ears. It is time for action!
Got a news tip/information for us? Email email@example.com
Follow us on twitter @thesheetng
Like us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com / The Sheet
This is a 2017 Copyright of thesheet.ng. You may wish to request express approval from thesheet.ng to republish