Nigeria’s Epidemic of Suffering

Ezinwanne Onwuka

Ezinwanne Onwuka

As our economy nosedives as a plane that has lost control and is about to crash, unprecedented economic hardship and suffering has befallen the nation. Sadly, at the receiving end of all that happens or does not happen to Nigeria is the average Nigerian. Life in Nigeria has become all about survival of the fittest for the average Nigerian, who has to face the good, the bad and the ugly.

It has become a tough job to be a Nigerian as life in Nigeria is strongly shaped by many challenges. There is an increase in inflation and unemployment. The naira keeps falling like a weak-kneed aged creature. There is power outage amidst teething fuel scarcity. Insecurity has become rife. Being a Nigerian has never been harder than it is at the moment. Little wonder Nigerians are seeking salvation in other countries.

If anything has changed since President Buhari took over the reins of power, it’s been for the worse, not better. It has been suffering spree for Nigerians since 2015 and we have never had it this bad: the security architecture of the country is in a sorry state; health sector is in shambles; education is dwindling and the economy is sinking beneath us all.

The standard of living of the common Nigerian continues to drop daily while the cost of living is at an all-time high. The depreciation in the value of the Naira has resulted in an alarming hike in prices of many consumer goods, pushing more people into poverty. As a result, most families can no longer afford a square meal a day.

The health care sector is nothing to write home about. The frail health care system in Nigeria makes it difficult for people to receive the best medical care and it is no secret that Nigerian elites prefer to travel abroad for treatment rather than fix the ailing system. Accessing the government hospitals implies facing long, winding queues and an up-front payment before receiving treatment. Though there are a number of private hospitals with fully equipped facilities, the cost is exorbitant for the average Nigerian.

Insecurity has peaked at an all-time high. Recent activities by money ritualists, kidnappers and bandits have made the country unsafe for everyone. Internet fraudsters, a.k.a yahoo boys, are on the prowl, with their new trend being money rituals, subtly termed yahoo plus. More so, travelling on Nigerian roads have become a nightmare, as the rate of robbery, kidnapping and killing has geometrically increased. Even boarding vehicles from government-owned transits is no longer a guarantee of security, as hypnotism and diversion can take place, leading to sales of human beings or their parts by driver-kidnappers.

The reality of education in Nigeria, too, is less rosy. Due to underfunding and incessant strikes actions by pressure groups, the state of many schools and the general quality of education are rather poor. Sadly, the brunt of this falls on the poor whereas the elites send their children abroad to study, in a bid to make sure they get quality education rather than address the challenges.

Indeed, nothing is permanent in Nigeria, except suffering, economic hardship and a state of hopelessness.

When Buhari leaves office in 2023, his legacy will be how he turned things upside down in Nigeria. Under his leadership, Nigerians have been subjected to agonising fuel scarcity, frightening food inflation, hikes in the price of diesel, the free fall of the Naira and power outages, and he seems unperturbed.

Funny enough, amidst these economic challenges, he advised Nigerians to venture into agriculture and to leverage the opportunity that it offers in order to find a lasting solution to the current economic crisis – an indication that his government lacks ideas on how to solve the problems he brought upon the nation.

 

Ezinwanne writes from Abuja via ezinwanne.dominion@gmail.com

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