By: Jummah Mujeeb
[Analyses]–It was someday in August 2016 that the ugly news came knocking on our doors. The minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, had announced the official birth of our economic dearth; recession. To the lay man, it meant nothing but the sudden hike in prices, the fall in the value of the Naira compared to other currencies, and the general increase in the means of livelihood. This was no doubt one of the toughest moments for the citizens and for the political party that made all believed in the change it was ushering in.
This economic monster, as it was officially defined, is as a result of two consecutive years of deficit in the national budget and it takes nothing less than one and a half years to pull through such situation.
Even with the masses complaining bitterly of its debilitating effects, some elites from their extravagant spending seem not to be affected. Perhaps, they just don’t care what the economic situation preached. A vivid example is our lawmakers who pressured their selfish interest into the 2016 budget which was later termed “budget padding”. Another was the case where they all wanted new and imported cars despite the ones already available. It only painted the sorry state of our affairs.
However, gradually we explore, endure and evolve through the recession. The provision dealers next door increased their prices as a consequence of increase in the prices of inputs. The government suddenly realized that the era of an oil-driven economy is swiftly fading away and the idea of economic diversification was no more a debate but priority. As the citizen at the lowest cadet of our system started evolving means to meet the ends demanded by the present situation. Those at the helm of affairs thought it wise to plan for the future. Thus, the Economic Recovery Growth Plan was birthed to serve as Nigeria’s messiah where we needed more than just prayers and fasting.
It is noteworthy to mention that the economic recovery was to be spurred by economic diversification and investment in domestic firms. This is coupled with a masterplan to ensure social inclusion, unity cohesion and similar programmes as contained in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan document. These kicked off in reality, a rare phenomenon in Nigeria’s over-theorized policies, with massive investment and public awareness of the need to go back to our farms. The future projection being the achievement of self-sufficiency in food production. There were also practical steps in achieving full employment through the N-power program.
Over 20 months have gone before the economy bounced back and the damage had been done which served as a big lesson to all. In a different light, it could be seen as a blessing in disguise as it opened our eyes to reality. The mess our leaders got us into for their greedy guts served as a motivation against political apathy. Perhaps, we could say the not-too-young-to-run initiative stemmed from it. Nevertheless, we must come to ask ourselves some unwavering questions. Since the recession that opened our minds is now out of the picture, what is the next step from here? Are we going back to the days of overlooking injustice and letting cabals get away? Or are we taking the bull by the horn and try to turn our destinies around for good?
The answer to these questions is rooted in our character. If the pepper seller who increased the prices of her provisions refuses to bring the prices down long after the effects of recession has faded away, then she has no right to blame inflation on the government. If the bricklayer keeps smuggling some of the building materials to his personal house construction project, then he has no moral right to point fingers at the government for infrastructural failures. If the teacher keeps allowing the students cheat their way up the educational system, there is utterly no need to blame a politician who cheated his way to the top for not paying salaries.
The economy is like a network of fragile webs built by the spider. The change of something as small as a strand of hair generated a spiral effect. In the end it comes back to all.
Jummah Mujeeb is a penultimate student of the University of Ibadan. He is a lover of art, especially cartoon illustrations. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease Follow Us @ThePageNg