How does the election in Nigeria affect us in the Diaspora?
Since 1999, the People’s Democratic Party has controlled Nigeria but more than half the country’s youth are out of work
IN THE RUNNING: Goodluck Jonathan is expecting another victory in this tight Presidential race
Why? Because, unfortunately, many of these relatives – even those who are graduates and can decorate entire walls with their qualifications – are out of work.
They are unable to work because they cannot find a job.
Who else can we blame but the political party that has ruled Nigeria for 16 years: the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), otherwise known as the ‘People’s Destroying Party’ by many of the country’s citizens.
The World Bank put the unemployment rate in Nigeria at 22 per cent in 2013, while the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has youth unemployment at an unacceptable 54 per cent in 2014.
When translated to an actual human figure, the latter statistic means that at least 64 million out of 170 million Nigerians are unemployed. It’s ridiculous!
Believe me, unemployment has always been an issue in Africa’s most populous country, but it is now at a record high.
Take a moment to think about the sheer amount of people who are unable to sustain themselves. It is no wonder that they depend so much on their relatives living abroad.
As many of us know, Nigeria is a resource-rich country. Why then, can’t its people find jobs? The answer is down to corruption.
Remember Governor James Ibori of the country’s oil-rich Delta state who in 2012 was sentenced by a London court after pleading guilty to fraud and money laundering?
His daughter Erhiatake Ibori will be running as a PDP candidate in the same state as her disgraced father who, according to a judge, acquired his riches “at the expense of some of the poorest people in the world”.
Ibori is one of those people who have participated in the decimation of Nigeria’s economy.
Yet he is currently being considered for extradition under the prisoners transfer programme which the UK government signed with Nigeria.
If this goes ahead, Ibori – perhaps like Diepreye Alamieyeseigha in 2013 (you know, the governor who jumped bail in the UK by allegedly dressing as a woman) – will get to Nigeria and be pardoned by the president.
It leaves many ordinary Nigerians wondering when favours for those with powerful friends will end and a pathway to prosperity for all citizens will begin.
ANTI-CORRUPTION: General Muhammadu Buhari with Professor Yemi Osinbanjo
President Goodluck Jonathan has promised to create two million jobs each year – a pledge I think is unachievable considering his record.
Figures released by the at National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that 500,224 jobs were created across the country in the first six months of 2014.
President Jonathan will fall very short of his target if things follow the same path this year.
For his critics, it is too late.
Two million jobs a year do not solve the backlog of 64 million jobless youth at present and the additional 1.8 million graduates who join them every year.
I’ve done the maths and the numbers don’t add up.
The image of our beloved country is in tatters abroad.
We, who proudly claim to be the giant of Africa, have become the laughing stock of our continent.
The presidential candidate for the opposition party, Muhammadu Buhari, has promised to fix the many problems Nigerians face both at home and abroad.
As an ex-military man who has dealt with insurgents in the past, he and his vice-president, a professor of the law and a former Attorney General of Lagos state, Yemi Osinbajo, pledge to deal with Boko Haram.
They have pledged to eliminate corruption and will also do the same with unemployment by making us less dependent on oil as an income. Oil prices, as the financial markets show, are tumbling.
All things considered, better governance, more transparent and with greater accountability in Nigeria, is beneficial to us in the diaspora.
A safe Nigeria might mean some of us might want to invest in Nigeria. We might want to return back home.
Where there is labour, there will be need for manpower and that means jobs.
If Nigerians want things to change, we cannot do what we have always done. We cannot stay loyal to a political party that since 1999 has held on with little progress to show for it.
Perhaps a change of government is the change Nigeria needs. Maybe, we will see a reverse in fortunes. Instead of us sending remittances back home, our relatives can be in a position to help us here in the UK.