Nigeria: Let’s face the real issues

L ET’S face the real issues. Every now and then, we are eager to lose focus and direct our attention away from the real issues. We are now rubbing our hands in glee, expectedly awaiting the next howler that will emanate from the President’s reply to his wife’s utterances. We are losing focus. We are concentrating on the side issues.

The real issue is not what President Muhammadu Buhari will say in response to his wife’s statements, the real issue is what President Buhari will do concerning the scandalous proportion of unemployed youths in Nigeria. According to figures provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, as at June, 2016, 49 per cent of Nigerian youths are either unemployed or underemployed.

This means that about half of the Nigerian youth population is either unemployed or underemployed. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) mobilises 300,000 to 350,000 Corps members yearly. By November 4, 2016, when the 2015/2016 Batch B, Stream 2, will pass out of the scheme, at least half of that number, 150,000, will join the unemployment or underemployment statistics. Our focus should be on what President Buhari and his team will do, or are doing about that.

The naira, within a space of about eight months, has crashed against the US dollar, and $1 now exchanges for above N400. The Federal Government has told us that the Nigerian economy is in a recession, which is a euphemism for the reality that the Nigerian economy is in the doldrums. Again, statistics provided by the NBS pegs the inflation rate at about 17per cent. But you and I know that the real inflation rate which affects the masses is somewhere above 100per cent. Just look at the cost of a bag of rice as at January, 2016, and what it costs now, and then do the math. Now, what is President Buhari doing about that? What will he do about that? What is he not doing about that? That should be our focus. Our focus should be on the real issues.

The real issues are the Chibok girls, corruption, insecurity, unemployment, the ludicrous remuneration of the legislators, the soaring price of kerosene, the state of our economy, the bad roads, among others. These are the real issues.

National issues are the real issues. The domestic issues are the side issues. The real issues are on the front burner. They have been there for so long, they have cooked up so hard, and now they are burning. The side issues are not even on the oven. The side issues should not be the priority of our focus. The side issues are used as red herring, smokescreen and are diversionary. If we look too long at them, we will neglect the real issues already burning and we might have to deal with an inferno very soon. That certainly will get everybody’s attention.

If the government has developed the habit of looking away from the real issues, we do not have to jump on the bandwagon that they have procured. Let’s do what we can do by at least talking or writing about the real issues and their unwillingness or inability to deal with them.


  • Barrister Ikechukwu Nnaemeka,