By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
The All Progressives Congress (APC), during the 2015 general elections, had cajoled Nigerians by making empty promises they knew quite well they won’t be able to fulfil, just to get enough votes into the federal seat of power. Expectations are still high for the government to wave a magic wand and make all problems disappear as promised by the ‘CHANGE’ mantra campaign.
A lot of Nigerians keyed into the APC intonation and canvassed for CHANGE, and the change has gone beyond what they bargained for with negative effects of diverse degrees. Prices of commodities have soared higher almost three times the usual price based on the empty promises the APC made to Nigerians.
The APC perceived that Nigeria’s politics was broken and needed urgent fundamental political reforms and improvement in governance more transparent and accountable, and thereby promised that if elected in March 2015, it will strengthen the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to reduce and/or eliminate electoral malpractices in Nigerian’s political life. But today, election in the country is considered conclusive if only it favours an APC candidate, else, it is declared otherwise.
The APC promised to embark on vocational training, entrepreneurial and skills acquisition scheme for graduates along with the creation of Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 5 million new jobs by 2019. According National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rate of unemployment in Nigeria has risen from 8.2% to 13.3%.
The Social Welfare Programme of at least N5,000 that will cater for the 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon the demonstration of children’s enrolment in school and evidence of immunisation to help promote family stability has long become a forgotten issue as parents can barely afford their children’s school fees, and graduates are roaming the streets in search of the unavailable jobs, while awaiting the empowerment scheme to employ 740,000 graduates across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
It also deceived Nigerians that it would maintain sound micro and macro-economic policy environment, and run an efficient government and preserve the independence of the Central Bank; restoring financial confidence in the citizens and the world, by putting in place a more robust monitoring, supervising, and regulating of the financial institutions; and make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth averaging at least 10-12% annually.
The National Bureau Statistics (NBS) reported that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth recorded an impressive mark moving to 5.94 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014 (before APC took over), but declined to 2.11 per cent in 2015 and now it has fallen massively to -0.36 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 with APC in power.
As at when the APC promised to provide One Meal a day for all elementary/primary/Almajiri schools, a bag of rice was sold for N9,000, it promised to make it N5,000, but now, rice sales for over N22,000 per bag of 50kg. Garri goes for about N19,000 per bag, and consumers are groaning on daily basis over the high cost of commodities.
The APC promised to equate N1.00 to $1.00, but now Naira, which was N199 per US Dollar as at when the promise was made, has risen to N420/Dollar. Naira stabilisation, as promised, is still hanging in the balance.
This is an excerpt of the 81 empty promises of the All Progressives Congress (APC) change mantra. Everything has unfolded that it is not all the change that Nigerians must pray for. Before we ask for change, we need to ask ourselves just one simple question: “Change from what to what? The only change that has happened from last year when the APC took over is from positive to negative – hardship, depression, frustration, etc. What we need is development not change. CHANGE has to do with PEANUT – insignificant, little importance, influence, power, and minor status. If someone promises to give you change money, forget about it because it won’t be up to N100.
***Kingsley writes in from Ajamgbadi