Nigerians’ plight: Why l refused to write President Tinubu

 Nigerians’ plight: Why l refused to write President Tinubu

By Ernen Kaanti

Let me start by saying that when plunder is allowed to reign for a significant period of time restitution requires greater sacrifices and when the drumbeats of self-centeredness, half-truth and apathy finally fade, the beautiful melodies of unity and progress rise painting a brighter future where honesty, dialogue, and shared dreams find the best climate to infiltrate and expand for national prosperity.

Dear reader, this is a plea for national reflection. It is an urgent call to move from apathy to action, confronting corruption and embracing unity of purpose for nation building.

I have been in Nigeria for several years now and since my adulthood I have seen and heard many people leaving Nigeria to other climes which have been put in order by human beings just like Nigerians. Some of the people ran away because they were starving while some were smuggled out by greed.

It is disheartening but not quite important to dwell on the issue of the stunning population of those our brothers and sisters who are well representing our country in those countries as one the lesser developed, lesser civilized and most conscienceless bunches of human population on earth. If not so, why did they run instead of standing and developing their land? Oh, maybe they thought that even the tiniest hope is not there but l can tell them there is a big hope for Nigeria.

Nigeria seems to have been in serious trouble for some time now and I don’t think the country has any proper justification for that. Let me quickly mention that it irritates me when I hear people bring up the most inattentive argument saying the West, whom they are still running to, contributed mostly in complicating Nigeria’s destiny. They bring such arguments citing colonial exploitation as how the European colonial powers exploited Africa’s natural and human resources for their own benefit, extracting valuable minerals, agricultural products, and labor. They harp on the exploitation often mentioning forced labor, unfair trade practices, and the imposition of cash crop economies that disrupted local food production and traditional economies.

In as much as such argument may sound valid, the fact that Nigeria has been on her feet since 1960 when the Europeans left it as a sovereign state, the country ought to have surmounted certain problems that are still bedeviling it.

Abysmally, the human and material resources we complain the West extracted so much are still much available in our land, we still beg these same people we complain about their insensitivity towards our humanity to come and develop our country most unfortunately using our own people and our own material resources.

For instance, some time ago in Lagos, I happened to work with a Chinese company where our own rubber was being utilized to produce different items using young Nigerians. Not only was the working environment harsh and terribly unkept, but the monthly payment was also insufficient to keep one afloat for the rest of the month. That was just one place out of many private industrial sites in Lagos and all over Nigeria. I was convinced that something was wrong in Nigeria, either due to heavy taxation on the companies or because Nigeria does not adequately check the welfare of its citizens employed by the private sector. Imagine a significant number of the citizens being enslaved in their own land and the government is not aware or probably less concerned about it.

I would have rather written a short note and put it in an envelope and sent it to president Bola Tinubu concerning my worries and fears as I ponder the condition of things in Nigeria because he is the number one citizen and the country’s anchorman.

In that letter, I may have maybe in effort to speak on behalf of those who share with me in this line of thought and simply said, Mr. President, we the people of Nigeria are dying because of inflation, we are starving on account of lack of payable jobs, we can’t access our ancestral lands for farming and are tired of running on account of herdsmen attacks, banditry and our energy might not carry us further than this.

However, I felt that my concerns about these compounding issues cannot be solely directed to Mr. President alone but also members of his government and by extension, every single citizen in Nigeria so I decided to throw the whole thing open in this artform for our individual references.

One may ask, are we aware that the brand name, ‘Giant of Africa,’ with which we have been priding ourselves as a symbol of elation, is fast eluding us as a country? Is it not worrisome that Nigeria is rather shrinking into a society with loose edges of almost all the joints of the socio-economic and political mechanisms that hold the country?

I don’t feel comfortable repeating the song about overemphasized ethnic backgrounds, faltering commitment to nation building, greed, mediocrity, economic sabotage and crises even as the ideals of democracy and national growth are being faced out and how the country is fast becoming unlikely to achieve its loftier status in such conditions. Every single citizen must be worried.

Someone once posted on his social handle that, “Today, it seems as though all hopes have gone forlorn and  everyman is for himself. Producers with daily consumables no longer care about the buyer and all they need is the money to secure a better life for themselves and families abroad.

The rate at which the quantity and quality of products have drastically reduced with prices skyrocketing is unimaginable. Again I ask, how do people survive? Helpers are gradually becoming helpees, givers are becoming stingy and humanity is fading.”

Imagine on the 19th of April, 2024, the International Monetary Fund forecasts predicted that Nigeria, once dubbed Africa’s largest economy, is set to relinquish its crown and slide to fourth place this year. According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, Nigeria’s gross domestic product is estimated at $253 billion based on current prices this year, trailing Algeria’s at $267 billion, Egypt’s at $348 billion, and South Africa’s at $373 billion.

South Africa, Africa’s most industrialized country is projected to retain its position as the continent’s largest economy until Egypt takes over the top spot again in 2027, according to Bloomberg. Nigeria, on the other hand, is expected to remain in fourth place for the foreseeable future.

According to the World Bank Poverty Rate report 2024, inflation in Nigeria is expected to gradually decrease only on the back of monetary policy tightening and exchange rate stabilization. As a result, poverty rates are expected to increase in 2024 and 2025 before stabilizing in 2026 stating that risks to Nigerias outlook are substantial, especially if reforms lose momentum or are reversed. Such risks include relatively weak monetary policy tightening, failure to address imbalances in petrol pricing and to raise non-oil revenues. Rising insecurity, adverse climate shocks, and popular discontent with inflation.

Relatedly, corruption, the hydra-headed monster, seems to find so much ambience in our dealings both at individual and organizational levels. The 2024 Corruption Perception Index by the Transparency International reported that Nigeria ranks 145 out of 180 countries.

As of recently in 2024, a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, which ranks countries based on their electoral processes, civil liberties, government functioning, political participation, and political culture, classified Nigeria as a “hybrid regime.”This category includes countries where electoral fraud is common, the rule of law is weak, and political opposition faces significant pressure and Nigeria ranks 104th out of 167 countries with a score of 4.23.

The Democracy Matrix, another prominent measure of democratic quality, places Nigeria in a similar position, ranking it 100th out of 160 countries and also categorizing it as a “hybrid regime”in 2024. These assessments highlight ongoing challenges in Nigeria’s democracy, including issues with electoral integrity, civil liberties, and effective governance. Do we need a magic wand for our democracy to grow? The answer is simply no-Attitudes.

I decided to take these concerns to every Nigerian and call for sober reflection with sincerity of purpose at this very moment that the country’s political and socioeconomic temperatures seem yet unfriendly like never before. I see the need to publicly advocate for the need for us to become tough-minded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truth, half-honesty and apparent apathy towards the national agenda. For these ill practices and our continued resistance to the right overhauls will only make us more vulnerable to the judgment and condemnation of God and our children even yet unborn.

The infiltration of apathy, bigotry and political rivalries we watch today is gradually opening the nation to more vulnerabilities hence giving the opportunists more liberties to exploit us even as the less patient are being pushed to a battle for survival.

African elders say, when a child is not embraced by the village he burns it down to feel its warmth. We cannot allow Nigeria to continue to glide into a survival of the fittest because when the people feel abandoned something within them reminds them of their birth rights and something without them assures them they can regain it and most of the time the result becomes ill innovations to accomplish such.

I am not by any means justifying plunder, violence or any unscrupulous or contemptuous means for survival, no, not all. What I am trying to say is that for any human society to become peaceful and habitable the people must do more in addition to injecting billions of naira into the armed forces. We must harness the resources by way of industries which shall create jobs and boost the economy of both the employees and the producers of some of these resources in various domains of the country. And this we must become single minded to achieve as against individualism.

Our people in elective positions must learn to embrace the sense of responsibility and focus on people-oriented pursuits as against the routinely apparent personal vendettas over state’s interest. Time is apt to root out exacerbation of sociopolitical otherings based on political party, ethnic, religious and consanguineous lines against the needed classic governance. For things like this weaken democratic cohesion and effectiveness.

For Nigeria to grow, the spirit of desperate power struggle must also be kicked out of our politics. It is unfortunate that at some point we allow power struggle and infighting to thrive without remembering there is a risk of neglecting governance and the needs of the people of the state. Political infighting in any society distracts the people from addressing pressing issues and fulfilling electoral promises and this is what we must always avoid in Nigeria if we must allow our nascent democracy to thrive.

Nigeria is old enough to have ridded itself from old problems but is rather fast devolving into the chaos apparently due to laxity where demagogues take advantage, pushing the populace to internal conflicts in their various constituencies creating resentment, conflict and restlessness to the already exhausted grassroots.

Just take for example, a top elected political official in this country citing insecurity as barrier to his impacts on the constituents. I knew the official and l knew his constituency and when I read his statement in the news l wished someone reminded him that the insecurity in his place came as a result of poor representation.

These insincere approaches to governance and flimsy excuses as cunningly presented by this political officer reminded me of the cargo cult mentality that anthropologists sometimes speak about. You do not expect good to appear without putting in efforts towards achieving it. Attitudes such as this will make the calamity of the people appear more trivialized and continue to breed staggering atrocities and crimes like looting, crimes and social vices in the society. We must think now.

We must acknowledge that in the sense of true democracy honesty and truth are the only sure weapons and this is the time to probe our minds and interrogate ourselves with respect to the mandates given to us as leaders and citizens.

As leaders, Nigeria is at the boiling point and there is an urgent need to sanitize our minds so we can come clearer and present our arguments to Nigerians and the entire world. It is time to embrace deliberative democracy, which prioritizes open dialogue among citizens to reach informed decisions for the common good thus encouraging everyone to engage in sober reflection and sincere introspection to promote the democratic ethos of inclusivity and active citizenship where collective good shall thrive.


It feels important to send this appeal to the digital youths in Nigeria on media literacy/orientation development.

Information is a magic bullet. It is therefore important for youths to develop full capacity to adeptly navigate, scrutinize, appraise, and engender media manifestations across diverse platforms, encompassing the realms of print, digital, and the social media.

This proficiency entails a comprehension of the intricate mechanisms underpinning media narratives, the underlying motivations propelling them, and their reverberations on both the individual psyche and the societal fabric.

Nigeria youths must appreciate the importance of cultivating these media orientations to empower their minds so as to judiciously interrogate media discourses delineating veritable insights from spurious fabrications, and orchestrating discerning choices regarding their media engagements and involvement.

In those days when there was limited media of ubiquitous communication like the radio, newspaper and the television, information exchange was not as easy for everyone as in the contemporary society where the internet has reduced the entire world to a sitting room breaking several communication barriers.

Grace has given us the opportunity to witness the dramatic changes in the communication sector in human history where several boundaries of interaction have been expanded; in this age, you send or receive all sorts of information in your bedroom.

Unfortunately, consequent upon this reality ,some of our youths abuse this privilege of playing the smooth tracks of the digital world as they resort to publishing unprintable contents that have rather caused anxiety, aggression and bred disintegration in the country. These are bad practices. It is a common reality that when you cast your seeds you do not expect each and every one to germinate. However, for those who may listen, I wish to advise that in as much as the information flow has exploded and become difficult to control, our action is what we still have a great control of.

Let us remember that Nigeria is pregnant with our future and we must be sober in order for the protection of the delicate future lest we be like the lizard in the fable that ruined its mother’s burial with its own tail.

Time is apt to develop two skills; listenership/readership and an analytical mind towards these contents. We must not take so much pleasure in creating inciting contents against governmentsnts, groups or individuals nor should we learn to promote such so as not to create confusion. We can rather learn constructive criticism to react to government policies and other societal issues using the media.

Indeed, democracy entails the role of an informed and engaged citizenry holding power to account and safeguarding democratic values but aligning it with the democratic ideal of an educated and vigilant mind capable of discerning truth from misinformation shall do us better.

Nota bene: Care not taken, the beguiling technological transformation will do more harm than good to the required youth collaboration for progressive governance in Nigeria. Let us never touch the orb, even though its mysterious glow seduces and beguiles.

About the Author

Ernen Kaanti holds B.A Mass Communication from the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka. He also holds a diploma in Mass Communication from the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo. He has interest protecting democracy. Ernen has interest in sociopolitical, economic and human rights affairs. He has flair for both fiction and nonfiction writing and has been publishing with media platforms including

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