Many passengers living in Metropolitan cities in Nigeria know there is a higher probability of not paying the same amount of transport fare in the morning while going to work with what you will pay while taking return journey back home on the same route. The excuse one sometimes hears is that there are often traffic jams along the route. If there is traffic jam, passengers are made to bear the brunt. This is with the exception of Government supported transport corporations.
In one of such returning journey back home, the passengers started a conversation along the last Nigeria rebase economy. Discussions freely flow from the ills in Nigeria regarding leadership, followership, corruption, epileptic power supply etc. While the discussion was going on, I became lost in thought and started imagining what Nigeria will have been like with a functioning system and stable power supply. I also thought about Nigeria being among countries predicted by Jim O’Neill (The former Goldman Sachs economist) as the emerging economic powerhouse in the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey).
The first time i read about Nigeria being rebased and being among the MINT, it wowed me. Meaning we have catapulted from being the 3rd largest economy after Egypt to being the current largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest economy in the world. The reality on ground remains that larger part of Nigeria population are debased. In a healthy society, on the hierarchy of distributed wealth, the average Nigerian should be more than other poor people but in Africa and other developing world. But the reality in Nigeria today is the opposite. The poor people are more than the average people with a very minute population enjoying the wealth of the nation.
Our government officials tends to believe that the standard of living of most Nigerians living in some part of Abuja, Lagos, Portharcourt, Kaduna and most state capitals are what is obtained in other parts of the country. It is a known fact most citizens of this country provide the basic amenities for themselves (borehole for clean water, generator to supply electricity and sometimes they hire security men to safeguard them and their properties). In a country with population over to 160 Million, Nigeria still ranked among the five poorest countries in the world (World Bank). A nation should not be ranked economically rich when her citizens are so perpetually poor. In 2006, the United Nations Human Development Index ranked Nigeria at 159 out of 177 countries with 70.8% of the population living on less than one dollar a day.
The largest economy in the world, U. S. A., has a slight unemployment rate with high levels of research and capital investments. But what does the largest economy in Africa have to boast of? In 2013 RISE networks released the statistics of unemployed youth from 2011 to 2013. Nigeria unemployed rate grew from 23.9% in 2011 (with youth unemployment rate at over 50%) to about 60% in 2013. Unemployment is usually use to ascertain the health of an economy. Our governments should only come out to boast of Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa and 26th in the world if they can reduce the rate of unemployment in this country, provides the basic amenities that aids development of any economy with a functioning system.
Regardless of a rebased economy, the larger population of a country is likely to remain debased without a functioning system and necessary basic amenities on ground which aids the development of a nation.
-Safriat Yussuf owns her personal opinion