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  • News - South West - Osun
  • Updated: February 24, 2024

Economic hardship: Osun opinion leaders lament crisis, proffer solution  

Economic hardship: Osun opinion leaders lament crisis, proff

With the economic situation and hardship currently confronting Nigerians, opinion moulders in Osun State have started to bare their minds.

This is as Nigerians have generally lamented that the failure on the part of leadership is one of the issues leading to the current economic downturn.

Recall that the current hardship has led to two protests in Osogbo, the Osun State capital. The protests were led by organised civil societies organisations with the recent one which was held on Thursday, February 22, 2024.

During the protest, Waheed Lawal, the chairman of the Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC) called on President Bola Tinubu to look beyond giving millions of Naira as palliatives to governors to address their hungry subjects and rather find a lasting solution to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians.

"Osun State, like the rest of Nigeria, faces an unparalleled economic crisis marked by a plummeting Naira and soaring living costs. Official statistics by NBS reveal a staggering 35.41% food inflation rate, though the true figure likely surpasses 50%. 

"The drastic depreciation of the Naira emerges as a primary cause, eroding citizens' purchasing power and disrupting businesses. The escalating cost of living, exacerbated by the removal of the fuel subsidy, places an unbearable burden on households, pushing many into poverty. 

Waheed Lawal

"Families grapple with difficult choices, sacrificing essential needs to cope with rising prices, resulting in increased poverty levels. The food inflation crisis, with severe implications for food security, adds to the societal challenges."

Lawal called for urgent measures to be taken which include subsidising transportation costs and implementing drastic cuts in governance expenses. 

"The administration must prioritise restoring confidence in the economy, attracting foreign investment, and creating jobs to address the pressing issues faced by Osun State residents. In the face of adversity, the call is for pragmatic solutions that will alleviate the economic burden and pave the way for a resilient and prosperous future. 

"What Nigerians deserve now is the best. They promised us renewed hope, but what they are giving us now is renewed hardship. We reject renewed hardship in our lives and in our economy because Nigerians deserve the best."

Waheed Saka, the convener of Dialogue 360 described the current economic hardship as unprecedented.

Saka attributed this development to the harsh economic policy of fuel subsidy removal of President Bola Tinubu.

He told Allnews.ng that, "The economic hardship on Nigerians most importantly Osun people is unprecedented because of the harsh economic policy of removal of fuel subsidy by President Tinubu which led to astronomical increase in prices of food and consumables. 

"It is sad that rather than ameliorating the effect based on the money given to the state from subsidy removal, governors across the federation chose to use the money for constructions with little or no effect on livelihood.

"With reference to Osun, even, the governor believes without any consultation with the people or any economic empirical evidence that construction will on a longer term ameliorate poverty and reset their livelihood.

Waheed Saka

"It is sad that our people are at the unfortunate receiving end of a lack of accountability of the tiers of government. I pray and hope they won't push our people to the precipice because a hungry man is an angry man. 

"I will equally pray the government to embark on genuine investment in agriculture in the long term as only abundance of food can save us from economic collapse."

For Emmanuel Olowu, the Osun Chairman of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), he accused the government at all levels of lack of care for the people.

"The information made available to the public by the Federal Government stating that 30 billion has been allocated to every state in Nigeria as a result of fuel subsidy remover as of February 2024 is an indication that political leaders in Nigeria from the federal, state, and local governments are callous individuals who care less about the people's welfare. 

"Governors have continued to remain silent over such a huge amount they have collected.

"It should also be noted that last week, a video surfaced over the spoilt federal government grains that the Osun State government hoarded, but commenced its distribution after the federal government's declaration over what the state has earned in the last few months.

Emmanuel Olowu "It should be noted that the Osun state government has expressed laxity towards the welfare of the people because it has failed to address the challenges of the provision of food even though the Osun state economy is based mainly on agriculture and its major crops include yams, cassava, corn (maize), beans, millet, plantains, cocoa, palm oil kernels, and fruits.

"It is worthy of note that Osun State under the leadership of Sen. Ademola Adeleke has not embarked on any full agricultural project towards food production.

"Conclusively, Osun is not left out of the challenges and economic hardship the administration of Bola Tinubu is meting out on the Nigerian people which I think the only alternative is that the citizens should keep mobilizing and organizing themselves towards a mass action to stop this hardship and end bad governance in Nigeria."

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