In a bid to defend President Muhammadu Buhari against reports of suffering Nigerians, the President’s special adviser on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina surprisingly said those who are complaining about hardship are in the minority. Adesina made said comments on a radio program, RayPower 100.5fm, Abuja. In his own words; “I maintain that the people who are complaining are in the minority. I can tell you that the support base of this government is still enormous. Yes, we know some people are complaining but, they are still in the minority, you need to give me the statistics of those complaining. We [government officials] are in the midst of the people and we can feel the pulse of the people”.
In a country where low income earners and those who live below one dollar per day are still in the majority. According to a UN report on human development, the United Nations Human Development Index puts Nigeria at 159 out of 177 countries, with 70.8 percent of the population living on less than one dollar a day and 92.4 percent on less than two dollars a day.
In Lekki, Lagos where I live, we experience three times more power outages than consistency. The case is worse in other parts of the state and the country at large. In the markets, there is hardly an item that has not experienced inflation in price in fact the country’s core inflation rate is 15.10 percent. Soldiers, low rank officers precisely, and civil servants are experiencing pay cuts, companies have laid-off several hundreds of staff. In the banking sector only, Eco bank laid off 1,040 staff, Diamond bank laid off 200 staff, FBN holding (parent company of First bank) laid off 1,000 and Zenith Bank also sacked 1,200 staff all in 2016!
According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s unemployment rate has increased to 9.9 percent in the third quarter of 2015, representing a fourth consecutive rise in the unemployment rate since the third quarter of 2014. About 26 states out of the 36 states in the federation are owing workers’ salaries for months. Insecurity is on the daily rise, as we have to deal with Boko Haram, the Niger Delta Avengers, Fulani herdsmen, and even religious killings.
Some of the hardships may not be the direct fault of the media adviser or the president or the current administration, they however can’t deny that the issues facing the country or complaints of their administration are in the minority. Varying polls show that the population’s confidence in the president is at an all time low, and they are not sure about the country’s economic security. In which case, the Buhari led government needs to shoulder some responsibility, crass and insensitive comments about the minority don’t lead to resolving the issues of abject poverty, unmet wage earnings, epic labor layoffs, and epileptic power supply.
For Nigerians are more interested in positive results. God bless Nigeria!