Nigerians from different spheres of life in the South-East have blamed the parlous state of the nation’s economy on corruption and insecurity.
The people spoke in separate interviews by The Tide’s source to evaluate how the economy has fared as the country marks its 62nd independence anniversary.
An economist in Abakaliki, Mrs Joy Ekwe, expressed worry that corruption had become deep rooted in the country since it gained independence on October 1, 1960.
She lamented that it had “eaten up the fabrics of our national life”, while integrity no longer counts.
According to her, “corruption has elevated mediocrity above merit and competence, while godfatherism, nepotism and favouritism have become the order of the day”.
She said the development had discouraged hardwork, with far more negative implication on the country’s economic development.
Ekwe also spoke on the impact of insecurity on the economy and urged government at all levels to deepen the fight against the phenomenon.
She said winning the war against insecurity would put the country back on the path of sustainable economic growth and food sufficiency.
“If we must achieve food security, briefcase farmers should not be allowed to manage the distribution of farm inputs,” Ekwe said.
An Abakaliki-based legal practitioner, Mr Chibuzor Onwe, said the widespread terrorism and banditry had made the country unsafe for foreign investors.
“Insecurity has drastically slowed down socio-economic development of the county,” he said.
“The nation has come of age, 62 years is not a joke. It is high time Nigerians collectively fought corruption to a standstill and uphold the principle of honesty and integrity as a way of life”, he said.
On his part, a political analyst, Mr George Nworie, urged the Federal and State Governments as well as the citizenry to embrace the spirit of doing the right thing at the right time in order to return the country to the path of sustainable growth and development.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Enugu State, Mr Virginus Nwobodo, said development in post-independent Nigeria had been very slow and uninspiring.
“Our development as a nation has been sluggish. When I say sluggish, I mean that the pace is below the expectations of Nigerians.
“Looking at our democracy over the years, one cannot say that we are practicing true democracy because the gap between the leaders and the led is still very wide.
“Class consciousness still exists and our leaders are not committed to addressing the country’s infrastructure deficit,” Nwobodo said.
He said that the colonial administration provided public utilities like roads, housing and other amenities that made life easier for the people, “but that’s not the case today.
“In those days, once you are employed, there is official quarters ready for you. But today, Nigerians are still grappling with infrastructure deficit at all levels,” he said.
The labour leader said that under the colonial system, successive administrations improved on the performance of their predecessors, with a strong policy for continuity in governance.
“Today, every administration wants to initiate its own project and abandon what the previous government initiated but could not complete.
“That is why we have a lot of abandoned projects nationwide, some of which are very important projects,” Nwobodo said.
In Abia, a business coach, Mr Godson Adiele, said that the economy was strong and prosperous immediately after the country gained independence due to the prevailing government policies.
Adiele said that the economic policies supported productivity, competitive growth along regional line and job creation in the country.
With the emergence of new governments, he said, the economy began to nosedive due to poor policy implementation and ever-changing economic policies.
He advocated for effective implemention of policies that encourage diversification of the economy, support production, increased patronage of local products and eliminate multiple taxation.
He said that government at all levels should initiate policies that promote the ease of doing business in order to encourage investment and enable small businesses to thrive.
“Our passion for foreign products over the years has helped to deplete our economy.
“Nigerians must understand that the one you patronise you empower and we have built other economies to the detriment of ours.
“Nigerians now transact their businesses at home in dollars, which is not our legal tender.
“Unfortunately, this has resulted in the decrease in the purchasing power of the naira,” Adiele said.
2023: PWDs Seek Inclusion In Election Processes
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the International Day of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD), Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) have tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other electoral stakeholders on accessibility of polling booths and election materials
The PWDs also urged the INEC to ensure that the over 30 million PWDs are not disenfranchised in the 2023 general elections.
The disabilities community also called on presidential and governorship candidates to come up with tangible roadmap of policies and programmes that will alleviate their sufferings in the country..
They spoke separately with journalists on the IDPD, a day set aside by the United Nations (UN) to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
The theme for this year’s IDPD is ‘Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: The Role of innovation in Fuelling An Accessible and Equitable World,’ with focus on the overarching theme of innovation and transformative solutions for inclusive development, covering three different interactive dialogues.
The first dialogue is innovation for disability inclusive development in employment, discussing the linkages between employment, knowledge and skills required to access employment in an innovative, rapidly changing technological world.
Another dialogue was the innovation for disability inclusive development in reducing inequality, focusing on innovations, practical tools and good practices to reduce inequalities in both public and private sectors.
The third dialique was the innovation for disability inclusive development with sport as an case, a sector where all of these aexemplarspects coalesce.
Explaining the importance of the day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is important for governments and all of society to include PWDs in decision-making about their health and lives.
“WHO calls for more inclusion in the health sector and society, in line with the newly adopted ‘WHO framework for action to achieve the highest attainable standard of health for persons with disabilities 2022–2030’.
“The framework is an ambitious strategy that calls on countries to ensure that people with disabilities can access the care they need, and outline ways for countries to build inclusive and enabling health systems and environments.”
The Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), David Anyaele, said issues that deal with PWDs ahead of the general elections give them cause for worries, as the campaigns of the leading presidential candidates are low on welfare for them.
Flooding: 600 Persons Died, 1.3m Dsplaced-UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said about 600 persons died and 1.3 million were rendered homeless as a result of the floods that ravaged most states across the country.
Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, Juliet Chiluwe, stated this on Saturday, during an official handover of supplies for Anambra State Flood Response from UNICEF to Anambra State Government.
Chiluwe said the figure was obtained according to available data it received from government.
During the visit by the UNICEF, the first set of supplies of 100 drums of chlorine for disinfection of water sources, 40 cartons of Aquatabs for household water treatment and 320 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic food were handed over to the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who was represented by his deputy, Onyekachukwu Ibezim.
In her address, Chiluwe said, “We bring you greetings from UNICEF, Nigeria and sympathise with the government and people of Anambra State on the recently encountered flooding experience, especially with the women and children who remained vulnerable during these times.
“We acknowledged that since September 2022, the worst floods in a decade affected 2.8 million people, of which an estimated 60 per cent are children, across 34 of the 36 states in Nigeria. Of those affected, 1.3 million people have been displaced, and over 600 people have died in relation to flooding according to government data.
“Continuous heavy rains have collapsed hundreds of public health facilities, water systems and sanitation facilities, increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, diarrhoea, and malaria.
“To contribute to the effort of government and other development partners, UNICEF, with funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund, has initiated a multisectoral response comprising Health, Child Protection and WASH sectors, to mitigate the impact of the floods support the early recovery-phase of the affected population in Anambra State.
“For child protection, the response will focus on protection concerns in three key areas: the provision of psychosocial support for flood-affected children; the prevention of family separation and the reunification of separated and unaccompanied children, as well as the strengthening of community-based protection systems.”
She added that as part of the response, UNICEF would make available, essential medicines and health supplies, sexual reproductive kit, chlorine for disinfection of water sources in health centres, schools and communities.
In his response, governor Soludo assured UNICEF of continuous collaborations, adding that the state government was working out modalities to mitigate the effect of the flood on victims as well as put proactive measures to checkmate such emergencies in the future.
He commended UNICEF’s interventions in the state, especially as it concerned women and children.
Minister Tasks Examination Agencies On ICT, Others Against Malpractice
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has called on examination and assessment agencies in the country to adopt the use of ICT as best method to prevent malpractices and build a multi-dimensional approach to address the menace.
Adamu made the call at the opening of a One-Day National Sensitisation Workshop, tagged: ‘Role of Education Stakeholders in Tackling Examination Malpractice’, organised by National Examination Council (NECO), in conjunction with the National Assembly, held at Marriott Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
Represented by the Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, Adamu noted that malpractice was a major problem affecting examinations, not only in Nigeria but also in other countries.
“This is a threat, and many of us are directly or indirectly involved in exam malpractices. We must be creative in adopting strategies and putting in measures to fight and stand against malpractice,” he said.
Adamu stated that the Federal Ministry of Education would continue to ensure a high standard of education to reduce malpractices.
NECO Registrar, Ibrahim Wushishi, said it waa time to reorient youths, community leaders, parents and teachers concerning the issue.
“No doubt, examination malpractice has the tendency to discourage hard work among serious students, lower education standards and discredit certificates. We have a collective responsibility to stop this bad habit.”
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Education (Basic/Secondary), Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, stressed the need for stakeholders to work together to boost the education sector.
He also expressed disappointment that children no longer fear to indulge in examination malpractice because sanctions are lacking.
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