Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has put forth a challenge to the Federal Government, led by President Bola Tinubu, to disclose the extent of the nation’s deficit that they inherited. This call comes in the wake of National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu’s statement on Monday, where he expressed concern about inheriting a bankrupt nation from former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Ribadu highlighted that the current government’s revenue is primarily allocated to settling debts incurred by the country. In response, Obi, through a series of tweets, emphasized the need for transparency and accountability from the government. He pointed out the failure of the Buhari government to disclose the deficit it inherited, a claim it made in 2015 against the preceding Goodluck Jonathan-led government.
Obi’s tweets expressed concern over the lack of clarity regarding the inherited deficit that led to the country’s bankruptcy status. He stressed the importance of responsible governance, which includes being transparent and accountable about the nation’s financial status. This, he believes, is crucial for the public to understand the country’s current position and future direction.
Obi criticized the previous APC government for increasing the nation’s debt from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N87 trillion in 2023, without significant improvements in key development sectors such as education, health, poverty eradication, and security. He lamented the worsening condition of the nation across various development indices, urging the government to focus on measurable and verifiable steps to improve the situation.
Obi also questioned the rationale behind certain expenditures in the recently signed supplementary budget, given the government’s admission of the nation’s dire financial state. He advocated for a reduction in the cost of governance, emphasizing that a bankrupt country should prioritize funding critical development sectors like security, healthcare, education, and poverty eradication, particularly addressing youth unemployment.
As we analyse the recent challenge posed by Peter Obi to the Federal Government, it becomes evident that transparency and accountability are not just political catchphrases but essential pillars of effective governance. Obi’s call for the government to disclose the inherited deficit is more than a political manoeuvre; it’s a demand for clarity and honesty in the management of the nation’s finances.
The significance of this demand cannot be overstated. When a government is open about its financial challenges, it not only fosters trust among its citizens but also paves the way for informed decision-making and policy formulation. The current administration’s reluctance to provide specific details about the inherited deficit raises questions about its commitment to transparency.
The issue of increasing national debt is a matter of grave concern. The leap from N12.6 trillion to N87 trillion within eight years without corresponding improvements in key development areas is alarming. This situation calls for a critical reassessment of the government’s spending priorities. Investing in sectors like education, healthcare, and security is not just a matter of policy but a necessity for the nation’s long-term stability and growth.
The government’s approach to fiscal management needs a drastic overhaul. Reducing the cost of governance isn’t just about cutting expenses; it’s about reallocating resources to areas that directly impact the lives of the citizens. The focus should be on creating a sustainable economic environment where development is not just a goal but a reality.
The government must heed Obi’s call for transparency. It’s time to shift from opaque financial practices to a more open and accountable system. This change is not just for the current administration’s benefit but for the future of the nation.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria’s Debt Profile: As of 2021, Nigeria’s total public debt stood at approximately $87 billion, making it one of the largest debtors in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Transparency in Governance: According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Nigeria ranked 154 out of 180 countries in 2021, indicating a need for greater transparency and accountability in governance.
- Economic Impact of Education: Studies have shown that every additional year of schooling in Nigeria increases an individual’s earnings by 10%, highlighting the importance of investing in education.
- Healthcare Expenditure: Nigeria’s healthcare expenditure per capita is one of the lowest globally, with less than $75 spent per person annually, compared to the global average of approximately $1,110.
- Youth Unemployment: Nigeria has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world, with over 40% of people aged 15-24 unemployed as of 2021, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue.