Nigeria’s new government has settled down. Here are some critical Issues they must now resolve. The Supreme Court judgement on October 26 affirming the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu appears to have closed the chapter on the controversies trailing the new APC-led government. And as Nigerians continue to debate and set an agenda for the government, many are suggesting that for things to normalise as soon as they should, the government must, as a matter of urgency, focus on resolving some critical issues that have been negatively impacting the economy and citizens.
Some of these critical issues are:
1. Asphyxiation of the media industry
The asphyxiation of the media industry in Nigeria is a growing concern that demands attention. The industry faces several challenges that hinder its ability to function effectively and independently. Without an independent media allowed to freely carry out its responsibilities, there can be no country where everyone is accountable.
An unfortunate aspect of the media industry’s asphyxiation is the issue of media freedom. Journalists often face threats, harassment, and even violence while carrying out their duties. This not only compromises their safety but also curtails their ability to report objectively and hold those in power accountable. It is now time for the day’s government to show its full commitment to democracy by protecting the rights of journalists and putting a stop to media gagging.
No matter how beautiful or high-quality infrastructural edifices may be, their true value diminishes when lives and properties are under constant threat. Regrettably, between July 1 and October 6, 2023, a distressing total of 521 individualsreportedly lost their lives due to acts of terrorism, banditry, and various criminal activities.
The new government must make safeguarding the lives of Nigerians in all regions a top priority.
3. Multiple bank charges
The issue of excessive and often opaque bank charges is a persistent concern for Nigerian consumers. Many businesses and customers have been subjected to a multitude of hidden fees when conducting various banking transactions, and it’s increasingly, and unsurprisingly, reducing general trust in the banking sector.
A focus must now be placed on protecting the interests of businesses and banking customers to promote transparent and fair financial practices.
4. Primary health care
This is one sector that the government must show its willingness and determination to fix. Available, accessible, and affordable primary health care is necessary to significantly reduce avoidable deaths in Nigeria and President Tinubu’s government has a unique opportunity to prioritise and invest in such.
It’s a special time to rewrite the script and turn the tables on the usual habit by Nigerian politicians to gallivant around the world for treatments of ailments as minor as an ear infection.
5. Federal road infrastructure
Numerous Nigerian roads are in such deplorable states it’s embarrassing. Poor roads lead to accidents, injuries, and even loss of life. From January to June 2023, Nigeriawitnessed a tragic loss of 4,387 lives due to road traffic accidents, resulting in an average of 731 fatalities each month or approximately 24 lives lost daily. Addressing road infrastructure issues is a fundamental step toward improving road safety.
Better roads will also mean easier access to education, healthcare, and other essential services, contributing to an improved quality of life for Nigerians while boosting economic activities.
6. Economy diversification
It is no longer news Nigeria’s overreliance on oil revenue has left its economy vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices. With the drastic economic downturn and increasing currency devaluation, it has become more critical than ever in Nigeria’s history to diversify the economy and invest heavily in other sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, and technology.
When these critical issues are resolved, Nigeria can begin to set its sights on achieving long-term stability and sustainable growth. President Tinubu’s government must, therefore, urgently prioritise initiatives that promote economic diversification, create jobs, and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil.