2021, And All We Cannot Leave Behind (3) By Igboeli Arinze

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One notable act of President Buhari was  his decision to ban the microblogging service, Twitter from functioning in Nigeria. The president had taken this route following Twitter’s deleting of the president’s tweet in which he had promised to “Deal with the secessionists in a language they understood”. The presidency viewed such an action by twitter as an affront to the nation’s sovereignty and banned the platform citing that it had been used by separatists and a number of persons to spread fake news which could undermine the corporate existence of the nation.

Eventually, the government after meeting with representatives of the microblogging service, set conditions for the unbanning of Twitter which the microblogging service had just recently met.
The year also witnessed the presentation of a number of  political memoirs, most notable of these memoirs were those of a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and former Governor of Osun State as well as one time Chairman of the Action Congress and the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande. These memoirs  which bore the titles ‘Standing Strong: Legislative Reforms, Third Term and Other Issues of the 5th Senate’ and ‘My Particpations’  respectively did not only refresh the memories of Nigerians on a number of sordid events that had once occurred in our nation, they also made a number of startling revelations. Such revelations were surely bound to create a stir and if Nnamani’s book proved to be contentious, that of Akande simply stirred the hornets nest.
On the economic front, the nation’s  fortunes also wavered, and while President Muhammadu Buhari made thw lofty  claims that his government had lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years, the prevailing economic realities largely sought to disagree .
For example, even though the nation was alleged to have exited recession as at December 2020 with its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing by 0.11 per cent in the three months between October to December, 2020, and 4.03 percent in the third quarter of 2021. Indices like inflation and unemployment witnessed a surge and reached its highest of points in nearly four years , rising to 18.17%  in March from 17.33%  as witnessed in February 2021.
This in turn, led to a rise in food prices galloping to more than 23 percent since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the challenge of feeding oneself became worse talk less of feeding one’s family.
Such rise in the price of staples which are required by a majority of households in Nigeria for their daily nourishment did not only take such staples away from reach of the ordinary Nigerian but also dealt a blow on their nutritional needs as well as pushed millions of Nigerians ( About 6 million Nigerians) below the poverty line.
The Unemployment rate also took its toll on the Nigerian economy in 2021. As at March 2021,  our unemployment figure stood at the 33.4 per cent, the highest in 13 years.
The nation’s debt profile was another cause for concern, like the previous years the nation’s debt jumped to N44.5trn  and this is not inclusive of the recent approval of fresh debt requests sent by the presidency to the National Assembly. As at September, the nation had spent N2.49 trillion in the first nine months of 2021 to service our debts, a whooping 13.1 percent of our 2021 budget as well as 97 percent of the accrued revenues to Nigeria.
Another sticking sour point was the continuous struggle of the Naira against the Dollar that by the second quarter of 2021, the CBN had to further devalue the Naira from N379.8 to N410. This represented a 14.40 percent decrease in the value of the naira.
Later on, the Central Bank of Nigeria imposed a ban on the sales of forex to Bureau De Change operators as well as limited the applications for its licenses, accusing the parallel market as a conduit for illicit forex flows and corruption.
The apex bank rather stated that it would deal with commercial banks and ordered these banks to deal with customers or face a number of sanctions.
Yet, it was not just doom and gloom on the economic front as the nation attempted to reduce its infrastructural deficit by delivering on key mega projects all over the country.
Rail, power, road and airport projects stretching across Nigeria had reached near completion stage or had taken off.
There was also the master stroke in the establishment of the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCo), saddled with the responsibility of raising $36.7bn for a number of projects.
InfraCo’s would also see to the financing of  is public asset development, repair older infrastructural assets whilst constructing  new ones.

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