Nigeria with a population of approximately 174 million is currently the largest economy in Africa. Reading through the recent economic facts and figures of this great nation, I wondered if these facts and figures on paper are talking about the physical economy of this same country or some other one. The figures are at par with what obtains on the streets and markets of Nigeria.

This is obviously the kind of situation referred to as “resource curse” which according to Wikipedia is what economists explain as “coexistence of vast wealth in natural resources and extreme personal poverty in developing countries…”

This situation is fueled by corruption in high and low places, corruption in every pore of this nation.

The government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan often tells us that the economy is improving, that they are creating thousands and millions of jobs, that there is great improvement in agriculture and power generation and so on. But we the masses look for these improvements and do not see much of them, definitely not on the scale being communicated to us by the government and its agencies/agents. So is this propaganda or what? Yet, other international bodies have concurred that the Nigerian economy is on the rise with some claims that sound outrageous to some of us – that Nigeria is the third fastest growing economy for 2015 after China and Qatar (CNNMoney). Had that information originated from within Nigeria, we would have disputed its truthfulness.

If the foregoing declarations are true, then why is Nigeria like this? Why are we like this as citizens of this great nation? Why is poverty and lack ravaging Nigeria?
wpid-20141220_104715.jpgWhere is the correlation between what these economic gurus say and the economic reality of the man on the street? Are both not supposed to work in paripasuu? Maybe it is high time the government and its economic agents take further decisive actions to diversify this mono economy especially now that oil prices are dwindling.

Those aside, I still ask, why are we like this as a people? Why am I like this, why are you like this? Why are we running our own country down by ourselves? Why are we using our hands to ruin this blessed country and sabotage the little effort that the government is making? Yet we always complain, we complain about how inactive the government is, how inept President Goodluck is, blah, blah, blah. We all blame everyone but ourselves.

The federal government said it has created many jobs through SURE-P, YOUWIN and other such programmes, yet many Nigerian youths are still roaming the streets looking for job. So where are the jobs when very few people you and I know have actually testified to gaining this employment? Let me tell you what is happening, in case you are not yet aware of it. One of the branches of SURE-P is Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) whereby unemployed youths are attached to private firms and organisations where they can work for a year while the government pays the graduates a monthly stipend and the organizations enjoy free labour. But do you know what some unscrupulous Nigerians are doing? The consultants responsible for this marriage of the firms, the graduates and the government liaise with the firms to rob the graduates. The consultants and the management of the firms, if they reach a compromise, input names of existing staff already on the payroll of the firm or any name BUT the names of these graduates in dire need of the job. Then when the stipend is paid by the government, the money is shared amongst the partners in crime leaving out the graduates for whom the scheme was originally meant for. Just one instance out of the many.
The issue of ghost workers came to limelight with the government’s IPPS – Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System. Apart from ensuring more efficient and prompt payment of civil servants’ salaries, the System has been able to block loopholes in the payment system, catching those staff that collect salaries from more than one ministry or any government agency under IPPS. Why would one person receive salary from two, three or four different offices while there are people around him looking for a source of livelihood?

Recently, due to the global falling oil prices, the Nigerian government reduced the pump price of fuel from N97 to N87 but lo and behold, petrol stations refused selling petrol to consumers at that price, some closed their stations completely for days after the announcement. Had it been it was increase in pump price that was announced, I bet you the prices will soar within an hour.

Corruption and man’s inhumanity to man due to greed permeate every sphere of our daily lives, so why won’t Nigeria be this backward? The local chiefs are given employment quotas and other benefits for their communities, especially those in the oil rich Niger delta. What do they do? They sell or hoard these benefits for themselves and their families alone. Some go as far as thwarting the scheme so that the benefit doesn’t get anywhere but into their individual bank accounts. We say it is the national cake and therefore we must partake of it any way we can, even if it means ruining the good works of others and starving our brothers and sisters.

My submission; Before you cast that stone, examine yourself, once you find yourself without blemish of any sort, then go ahead and cast the stone. From that your small corner of the world where you are king, what do you do with the little power bestowed on you? How do you manage the national resources at your disposal?

Happy new week friends!