Hardship: Tinubu, please listen to AEF

Nigeria’s current economic woes are not isolated incidents but rather the peak of years of systemic challenges and policy missteps. From the decline of industries in the 1990s to the era of military rule marked by corruption and mismanagement, the nation has weathered numerous storms on its path to progress. 

In the vibrant tapestry of Nigeria’s economic history, the 1980s stood as a golden era, marked by robust growth, industrialization, and promise. However, the echoes of prosperity have gradually faded into the stark reality of economic downturns, leaving the populace grappling with unprecedented challenges.

The 1980s witnessed Nigeria’s emergence as an economic powerhouse, fueled by oil revenue and ambitious development projects. With a thriving manufacturing sector, a stable currency that cannot be competed with and strategic investments in infrastructure, the nation seemed poised for enduring prosperity. 

However, the dawn of the new millennium brought with it a stark reality check, as the nation grappled with a series of economic setbacks that threatened to undo decades of progress. Mismanagement, corruption, and global market fluctuations emerged as formidable adversaries, eroding confidence in Nigeria’s economic prowess and exposing deep-seated vulnerabilities. 

The decision to remove fuel subsidies, while well-intentioned, proved to be a double-edged sword, unleashing a torrent of consequences that reverberated throughout society. The subsequent free fall of the Naira sent shockwaves through the economy, triggering a cascade of hardships that tested the resilience of the populace. 

Hyperinflation ran rampant, rendering incomes inadequate and purchasing power a distant memory. In the face of dwindling resources and mounting uncertainty, Nigerians found themselves thrust into a desperate struggle for survival.

To understand the gravity of Nigeria’s economic predicament, one must delve into its root causes, which are as deep-seated as they are complex. Corruption, a scourge that has plagued the nation for decades, continues to gnaw away at its foundations, siphoning off resources meant for public good and fostering an environment of impunity.

Inefficiency and a lack of diversification further compound the problem, leaving Nigeria’s economy dangerously reliant on oil revenue—a precarious position exacerbated by volatile global markets and shifting geopolitical dynamics. 

Despite ample opportunities for growth and development in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, inadequate investment and strategic planning have stymied progress and perpetuated cycles of poverty.

The failure to address these systemic issues has left Nigeria vulnerable to external shocks and internal instability, undermining efforts to achieve sustainable development and improve the lives of its citizens. Without decisive action and a concerted effort to address the root causes of its economic woes, Nigeria risks being trapped in a cycle of decline, with far-reaching consequences for generations to come.

Amidst this economic quagmire, the Arewa Economic Forum (AEF) emerges as a beacon of hope, advocating pragmatic solutions to stem the tide of despair. In a recent press briefing that took place at PRNigeria Centre Abuja, Chairman Ibrahim Shehu Dandakata delivered a compelling call to action, urging a rethink of subsidy removal policies and proactive measures to address the pressing issues at hand.

The AEF highlights the adverse effects of fuel subsidy removal on the populace, citing the widening gap between state allocations and tangible improvements in livelihoods. Calling for a reversal of the subsidy removal policy, the forum emphasizes the need for accountable governance and targeted interventions to alleviate the suffering of the masses.

In a comprehensive approach to economic revitalization, the AEF advocates strategic investments in agriculture and artisanal mining. By harnessing the potential of these sectors, the nation can unlock opportunities for job creation and sustainable development, empowering local communities and diversifying the economy.

Recognizing the detrimental impact of forex crises on the economy, the AEF calls for decisive action to stabilize the Naira and curb illicit financial practices. Proposals include banning the use of dollars for domestic transactions and cracking down on currency hoarding, signaling a commitment to restoring confidence in the nation’s currency.

At the heart of Nigeria’s economic resurgence lies a renewed focus on education and skills development. The AEF emphasizes the importance of equipping the youth with practical skills and knowledge that align with market demands, fostering a generation of innovators and problem-solvers poised to drive sustainable growth.

To President  Bola Tinubu, as the leader of our great nation, the burden of Nigeria’s economic hardship weighs heavily on your shoulders. In these trying times, we implore you to remain steadfast in your commitment to steering the country towards prosperity. The recent press briefing by the Arewa Economic Forum underscores the urgency of the situation and the need for decisive action.

The removal of fuel subsidies has inflicted untold suffering on the populace, exacerbating inflation and widening the gap between the rich and the poor. We urge you to heed the call for policy reversal and prioritize the welfare of the Nigerian people above all else. Your leadership in this critical moment will determine the trajectory of our nation’s future.

Solving Nigeria’s economic woes is not the sole responsibility of the government; it requires collective effort and sacrifice from all stakeholders. Citizens must hold their leaders accountable, demand transparency, and actively participate in nation-building initiatives. Only through unity and collaboration can we overcome the challenges that lie ahead. 

As Nigeria stands at a crossroads, the imperative for decisive action has never been clearer. The Arewa Economic Forum’s impassioned plea for reform resonates across the nation, igniting fervor for change and renewal. It is a call to reclaim Nigeria’s economic destiny, guided by foresight, resilience, and a shared commitment to prosperity for all.

In conclusion, let us remain prayerful and hopeful that Nigeria will emerge stronger from this economic downturn. With resilience, determination, and a shared vision for a brighter future, we can overcome adversity and build a nation where prosperity is accessible to all. God bless Nigeria.

Haroon Aremu Abiodun is a youth corps member with PRNigeria Centre, Abuja.