On Saturday, 6th May 2023, the Board of Trustees of ActionAid Nigeria reviewed the State of the nation at her 49th meeting in Abuja.
The Board acknowledged that the nation has been through turbulent times within the last few months. Noting that apart from the rancorous and disempowering nature of the politics that characterized the just-concluded elections, Nigerians also had to put up with socio-economic disruptive challenges. These include but are not limited to the poorly thought-out, badly timed, and poorly implemented Naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and a combination of insecurity and high inflationary rate, occasioned by banditry, killings, and activities of herdsmen, including abductions.
The rise of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation, which were extensively deployed for political propaganda was accentuated by an ineffectual presidency that was content with condemnations after the fact of every situation. In particular, the inept handling of the Naira redesign policy created serious socio-economic waste and gridlock that will take many Nigerians and many businesses some time to recover from.
ActionAid Nigeria’s Board of Trustees hereby recommends that:
- The Federal and State Governments, INEC, CSOs (Civil Society Organisations), and all stakeholders involved in Nigeria’s electioneering must work together to audit the entire election process from the beginning to the end. This must include a national debate to address all the critical challenges that still confront our electoral process to ensure more transparency and help to build peoples’ confidence in the democratic process.
- In the short term, the president-elect is advised to take measures such as improving the distribution infrastructure, crack down on fuel hoarding and diversion, and increasing fuel importation. In the long term, Nigeria must invest in domestic refining capacity, diversify the economy to reduce dependence on oil, and promote alternative energy sources.
- The Federal Government must backtrack on her borrowing spree and proffer workable & sustainable solutions to grow the economy rather than a fixation on distributing $16 per person for 2 years which will have minimal or no impact in lowering the cost of living and poverty. The fresh request of President Muhammadu Buhari for a loan of 800million dollars days to his exit from office is appalling and the Senate must reject this in its entirety.
- The incoming administration under the leadership of President-Elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should prioritize the conduct of a national census because the data so sourced is crucial for policy making, planning, and resource allocation. A successful census will be critical for Nigeria's development. Hard-to-reach communities and locations with security threats must be adequately planned for.
- Ahead of the December 31st, 2023, deadline for the validity of the old naira notes, as declared by the Supreme Court, the Central Bank of Nigeria, should focus on not just reducing the number of naira notes in circulation to control inflation, it must also make the currency difficult to counterfeit. The CBN must plan to prevent subjecting Nigerians to the level of hardship experienced in the 1st quarter of 2023.
- The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) must be pragmatic about working with state and local governments and communities to develop flood response plans and promote awareness of flood risks. Additionally, government agencies must provide training and capacity building to relevant stakeholders to enhance their ability to respond to flooding; the Federal and State emergency interventions must be commensurate with the level of flood impact; governments at all tiers must increase their investment in infrastructure and technology and enhance coordination and communication among relevant stakeholders; All concerned stakeholders must promote community participation and awareness of flood risks and integrate early warning systems with broader disaster management and climate resilience strategies.
- The incoming government must prioritize funding to all security agents in Nigeria to enhance intelligence services and improve infrastructure through training and standardized equipment. This should also include strengthening community policing initiatives.
Dr. Jummai Umar-Ajijola
Board Chair, ActionAid Nigeria
ActionAid Nigeria, a social justice non-governmental organization working to eradicate poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria. We are an affiliate member of the ActionAid International Federation with a presence in 45 countries. AAN works in solidarity with people living in poverty and exclusion to achieve social justice, gender equality, and poverty eradication towards achieving a just, equitable, and sustainable world in which every person enjoys the right to a life of dignity, freedom from poverty and all forms of oppression.
Oluwakemi Akinremi-Segun | Communications Coordinator | ActionAid Nigeria