The planned nationwide protest by Nigerians against the government, spearheaded by 2face Idibia, which is a first in the country, seems like a new awakening for Nigerians.
Currently, Nigeria is rated the third highest country with misery index, only behind Venezuela and Iraq, for obvious reasons as evident as the recession which has worsened our condition.
The Nigeria Economic Transformation Map reveals that the country’s misery index has reached 50 percent, meaning that more than half of Nigeria’s more than 180 million people “are miserable.”
The Misery Index is a measure of unemployment in line with inflation rate — the average rate of increase in prices of good and services.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Lagos Business School recently said the country is sitting on a ‘time bomb’ given that Nigeria’s rising youth unemployment is now a major source of worry, even though the government says the situation is under control and efforts to curb joblessness will pay off in 2017.
Earlier this week, 2face took to social media to campaign for all Nigerians to join him on February 5th for the nationwide protest, stressing the need for all to come out en masse and speak for the future of the nation. Some other entertainers have since joined him in the solidarity call.
The pop singer argues that Nigeria’s corrupt leaders, especially those leading from past years till date, has stunted the growth of the country and it’s about time for a change through the nationwide protest. In his call, the singer identified a lot of things which had gone wrong with the current government ranging from;
- Being subjected to living without the privileges of government allowances and remuneration.
- Workers not being paid their salaries.
- Ceaseless power failures without explanations.
- The Niger Delta, Fulani herdsmen and IPOB crisis to the
- Current price of petrol
2face stressed the need to quit with a system and government that is not working but afflicting the people. He asked Nigerians to come out for the nationwide protest and kick against government’s obnoxious and baseless policies as well as their excuses.
Similarly, just like a host of other concerned Nigerians who have lent their support to the nationwide protest, Nigerian rapper, Ruggedman has expressed his anger with the President Buhari’s led administration by writing a poem on the premise Mr. President’s vacation in the UK, while the country he left behind suffered.
In an Instagram post, Ruggedman penned a poem titled “Our president is on vacation.” He wrote;
“Our president is on vacation . . . Nigerian illegal immigrants are allegedly being killed in Libya…
“Our president is on vacation . . . A bottle of kerosene that used to sell for N100 now sells for N550…
“Our president is on vacation . . . We still do not have light but…
“Our president is on vacation . . . Herdsmen are killing innocent people.
“Our president is on vacation . . . Schools are on strike…
“Our president is on vacation . . . Gas is N490 now and…
“Our president is on vacation . . . #OURPRESIDENTISONVACATION.”
Critically examining the current state of the economy, we bring to mind a major source of worry for the Nigerian youth, a fact which remains true.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ Unemployment/Underemployment Report released in October last year, the country’s unemployment rate rose from 13.3 percent in the second quarter of 2016 to 13.9 percent in third quarter.
The NBS said the number of unemployed in the labour force, increased by 555,311 persons just as the underemployment rate rose from 19.3 percent in the second quarter to 19.7 in the third quarter.
Nigerians aged 15 to 64, who during the reference period were available and actively seeking work but were without work were categorised ‘unemployed,’ while underemployment occurs when a person works less than 40 hours but works at least 20 hours a week. The NBS also explained that underemployment could occur when a person works full time but is engaged in an activity that underutilises his skills, time and educational qualifications.
The rising rate of unemployment will enlarge existing risk of insecurity and militancy in major parts of the country and undermine government’s efforts at fighting insurgency in the North-east, uprisings in the South-east and other serious crimes in parts of the country.
In agreement with the WEF/LBS’ report, the past President of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said Nigeria is experiencing insecurity largely due to joblessness and perceived marginalization.
He added that unemployment rate has been rising consistently since 2014. Ohuabunwa explains that gross unemployment rate when factored with under-employment rate in the third quarter of last year, for example, puts the unemployment rate at 50 percent.
The Nigeria Economic Transformation Map co-curated with the Lagos Business School (LBS), insists that the high rate of unemployment “can be attributed to many factors such as high dependence on oil revenue and limited diversification of the economy,” and called for urgent action by the government.
The impact of unemployment is already evident, as we look at general levels of militancy in the South-South, the problems with the Boko Haram and even some of the eruptions in other parts of the country, especially the IPOB and the MASSOB.
Although the government has again said it already has a lot of programmes to address unemployment this year. It should bear in mind that addressing youth unemployment is not only important but also most urgent given the link between unemployment and other social problems such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, which are unfortunately becoming more common in Nigeria.