With three days to the presidential election, job creation, improved infrastructure and a better economy are the major desires of voters which they expect the next government to proffer prompt solutions to, a new survey has shown.
According to the survey conducted by Political Africa Initiative (POLAF), these voters also want the government to address issues around rising poverty, the health and education sectors.
“Most concerning among respondents are high rates of unemployment, insecurity and poverty nationwide; also ranking as a concern is the economy,” POLAF said.
According to the World Population Review, Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, with over 221 million people, but it lacks adequate resources to meet the needs of its teeming population.
At least 133 million people are experiencing multidimensional poverty in health, education, living standards and work and shocks, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria has 170 universities and is able to churn out millions of graduates annually. In 2020, Africa’s most populous nation recorded an all-time high unemployment rate of 33.3 percent. Although new figures are yet to be released, analysts have projected that it may have grown well above 40 percent.
The country’s inflation rate rose in January 2023 to a fresh 17-year high after slowing down in December as it quickened to 21.82 percent in January from 21.34 percent in the previous month and 15.60 percent a year earlier.
The rising inflationary pressures also increased the cost of doing business, even as businesses struggle to survive in a tough operating environment, which also impacts job availability.
Insecurity in Nigeria has increased significantly, especially in the northern part of the country, with data from the Global Terrorism Index showing that Nigeria is the third most terrorised country in the world, after Afghanistan and Iraq, with a record terror-related deaths estimated at 1,245 in 2019 and 1,606 in 2020.
Onuoha Nnachi, managing partner at Deutsch Partners Holding, while speaking at the 2022 Infrastructure Dialogue, said infrastructure deficit was one of the biggest factors holding back Nigeria’s growth and development.
He said the value of the country’s total infrastructure stock represents only 35 percent of the GDP, which is significantly below the 70 percent average for an emerging economy, adding that it had affected the global competitiveness ranking of the country.
These unfavourable macroeconomic conditions in Nigeria have forced many Nigerians, especially youths, to leave the country in search of greener pastures through study and work visas, leading to a surge in brain drain.
For instance, data from the British government shows that the number of Nigerians granted sponsored study visas by the UK increased by 222.8 percent to 65,929 in June 2022 from 20,427 in the same period of 2021. The number of Nigerians with skilled work visas grew by 109.1 percent to 15,772 during the review period.
Concerns have been raised, with a projection from the World Bank stating that Nigeria will suffer increased poverty, more debt, food insecurity, and lower per capita income, among other challenges in 2023 as global crisis, rising rates and inflation stall global economic growth, with an estimated growth of 2.9 percent.
Anita Edewor, a graduate of Economics who delved into drop-shipping after she was unable to get a suitable job, told BusinessDay that the government needs to pay attention to the plight of Nigerians.
She said that with the availability of necessary amenities, the country will grow and develop as it should.
“Nigeria has a lot of hardworking people who need jobs as well as many innovative entrepreneurs who need an enabling environment to create jobs. Once we have necessary infrastructure, a better economy, even the government will be relieved because there are more revenue sources to utilise,” she said.