NIGERIA'S DESCENT IN ECONOMY, POLITICS AND SPORTS

 Last week, I read the news that Nigeria has officially lost its position as the largest Economy in Africa,now humbled to the 3rd position, behind Egypt and South Africa. Our GDP climbed down from $ 568Billion in 2014 to $481 in 2015 and then $296B as at July this year.This is hardly surprising given the official massive devaluation of the Naira and the steady decline of the GDP from 2014, quarter after quarter till date. It has been established that our economy is in recession with evidence starring us all on the face. The macro-economy is in turmoil with inflation exceeding 17%, interest rate galloping ( 14% MPR) and the Naira depreciating everyday both at the interbank(N365/$) and the parallel market( N400/$). Companies are off loading excess staff to keep afloat, fuelling unemployment and underemployment which have reached 45% among the Youth, worsening poverty and social malaise. Nigeria's misery index has climbed to 47.7%, becoming the Country with the 5th highest misery index in the World for the first half of 2016.
After reigning for over 40 years as the biggest oil producer in Africa and the 6th largest in OPEC, we have been displaced by Angola and may go further down, despite the recent oil findings in Badagry-Lagos State, if the current militancy and sabotage across the Niger Delta is not fundamentally and amicably resolved. The frantic efforts to discover oil in the Chad Basin or the Benue Basin gives little hope as these areas may turn into theaters of militancy and sabotage as long as the current unhappiness and discord persist across the Nation.
 In politics, Nigeria's descent is palpable. Last week I was sad to see what was happening in the PDP. A second attempt to hold a National convention failed as the courts gave seemly conflicting judgements and typically the government choose which judgement to uphold in the most partisan manner, using the police to frustrate the convention. I was just hoping that President Buhari would rise above the pattern of using the State apparatus to frustrate the opposition . How mistaken I have been. The Government has been using the EFCC to terrorize and intimidate Governor Fayose, just because he is the only voice of opposition left, after Metuh and Femi Fani-kayode seemed to have been silenced. And we are just watching the escalation of impunity! Even in the ruling Party, the level of political conduct has left me perplexed . The effort to remove Saraki and Ekweremadu from the leadership of the Senate has virtually stiffened legislative productivity. And rather than abate, one Honorable?Jibrin is being used to destabilize the House of Representatives with tales of budget padding. Is there any consideration for the electorate or is it just about selfish partisan interests?
 I watched to see if under this government, our preparation for international sporting competitions would be any better. Painfully it has taken a turn for the worse. My heart ached when I saw our Rio Olympic team March pass in their sports attire instead of the National cultural dress but I got completely heart-broken to read last week, that their sports kits arrived just three days to the end of the games! What a National disgrace and embarrassment. I was told that Mikel Obi had to lend money to the Nigerian contingent to buy kits and other needed accessories to be able to take part in their scheduled sports.
Some times I think that we are past feeling shame. What is the change we are expecting? Simple administrative procedures and processes are mirred in obstinate bureaucracy all in the name of financial control. The date for the Rio Olympics was set several years ago and there was enough time to do all the controls and the treasury single accounting. To send our ill-prepared, poorly-equipped sportsmen to Rio de Janeiro without kits and money while expecting them to do miracles and beat well trained, well-equipped and well-motivated men and women from serious countries is clear manifestation of insanity. It has not been this bad for Nigeria in modern Olympic history. Thank God for the 'concessionary ' Diamond-priced Bronze medal  won by the Dream Team Six, Nigeria, the Giant of Africa's name would have been missing completely on the Rio Olympics medal table. We came 78th on the medal table, behind Tunisia & Egypt( 75th), Niger( 69th), Algeria( 62nd), Côte d'Ivoire (51st), Ethiopia(46th),South Africa( 27th) and Kenya( 16th). This should actually call for a national enquiry and mourning; instead I find our leaders smiling and going about their business as if this was not a national calamity.How I wish that President Muhammadu Buhari can do something to reverse this worrisome and unwholesome descent in every sphere.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR 

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