In recent weeks, our screens have been flooded with distressing videos depicting crowded palliative centers across Lagos State and some states across the nation. These scenes are hauntingly reminiscent of the fiasco that unfolded during the COVID-19 pandemic, as government aid meant to alleviate suffering was mismanaged, pillaged, and concealed. Sadly, it seems that the powers that be have failed to learn from their mistakes, leaving us to grapple with the consequences once again.
As the economic woes deepen, jobs vanish, and businesses resort to unscrupulous tactics to survive, the real question lingers: Can the so-called palliative measures rolled out by the Tinubu-led APC administration truly address the underlying issues? It is a harsh reality that these piecemeal solutions do little to address the fundamental challenges confronting our nation.
Ironically, this narrative might become the government’s very foundation for crafting further propaganda and excuses. We can already foresee the assertion that the crowds at these palliative centers pose a health risk, thereby diverting attention away from their own mismanagement and ineptitude. Yet, it is clear that our leaders, both at the federal, state and local government levels, continue to display an alarming lack of capacity to effectively govern and uphold principles of transparency and accountability.
The much-touted fuel subsidy palliatives, on closer inspection, fall short of delivering on their promises. They do not uplift living standards, empower workers to have more purchasing power, or inspire struggling manufacturing industries to rekindle their productivity. Instead, they serve as a smokescreen, shielding us from the larger demons of inefficiency, administrative misconduct, and corruption that have plunged our beloved country into its current state of disarray.
In light of these distressing revelations, it is a clarion call to the esteemed Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to rise from their slumber. Our nation is rich in both human and natural resources, yet we allow it to be led astray by self-serving politicians and unscrupulous business figures. The time for complacency has passed. We demand action, accountability, and change.
There is no excuse for the continued non-functionality of refineries, nor can we accept the notion that borrowing exorbitant amounts to defend the naira is a sustainable solution. It is only through an economy driven by productivity, democratically managed, and controlled by the workers who fuel its growth that we can overcome our current predicament.
As we navigate these trying times, let us remember that the power to reshape our destiny lies within us. Let us stand united, resilient in our resolve, and committed to forging a new path. The call is clear: Nigeria’s workers must assert their influence and create an economy that works for the many, not the few. It’s time to dismantle the façade and demand the true progress that we deserve.
•Moshood Adebola Oshunfurewa, an award-winning mathematician and member of Youth Rights Campaign (YRC), writes from Lagos