As elections approach, Nigerians struggle with rising living expenses.
Rotimi Bankole, a fellow Nigerian, says he intends to use Saturday’s presidential elections to advocate for a better living in his oil-rich but troubled nation.
When voters choose a replacement for outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari on February 25, they will be primarily concerned with double-digit inflation, sluggish economic development, and rising insecurity. Buhari is scheduled to resign after serving the maximum two years permitted by law.
Nigeria has been quite challenging to deal with and live in, according to Bankole. “Surviving has not been easy.”
The 54-year-old struggled for years to support his five children while working two jobs.
He recently started working a third job, driving a cab, but it only increased his income by N5,000 ($11), which is scarcely enough in a nation where the cost of living has reached record highs.
Nigeria, which has resources and riches and is the top oil producer on the continent, was severely impacted by the global pandemic and the economic effects of the Ukraine War during Buhari’s first term.
The World Bank reports that more Nigerians are now living below the poverty line, inflation is at 21.8 percent, and the value of the naira has declined.
Fuel shortages and a lack of cash as a result of the central bank’s start of replacing old naira notes with new ones have added to the nation’s economic woes.
Even though the central bank claims the strategy is necessary to reduce the quantity of cash outside the banking system, a persistent shortage of cash has led to protests and long lineups outside banks in several towns.
Bankole began operating a cab service two months ago, but the recent severe gasoline and money shortages have made his situation even worse.
He waits in line for hours at gas stations, spending up to N330 for a litre as opposed to N165 previously.
Even managing his school has been challenging because parents find it difficult to pay tuition and his printing company is having trouble.
The battle for the presidency in this weekend’s election has tightened up to a three-way contest, with the front-runners each promoting their background in business and government.
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, a surprise third party candidate with strong appeal to young voters, will compete against former Lagos governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Despite the fact that Nigeria’s economy recovered from the COVID-19 epidemic and expanded by 3% in 2022, some claim that the majority of Nigerians have not benefited from the recovery.
Dropping oil prices, rising gang violence, severe flooding that damaged farmland, and the effects of the Ukraine war have all contributed to the situation getting worse.
According to the national statistics office, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is at 33%, and 133 million Nigerians—or 63% of the population—live in poverty as of 2022.
The current rate of youth unemployment is 43%, up from 10% before Buhari’s first term in office in 2015.
From an average of N200 to a dollar in 2015 to almost 750 now, the naira has decreased in value.
The poor operating climate in Nigeria, which is defined by inflationary pressure and limited purchasing power among other things, will continue to worsen, according to Sola Oni of Sofunix Investment.
Nigerian businesses have issued a 25 percent output shortfall warning due to the country’s chronic cash and fuel constraints.
Segun Ajayi-Kabir, the head of the nation’s manufacturers organization, said, “This situation is not beneficial for anyone, the industry, the government, and the average citizen.”
“You would have a compounded devastating lack of support for the local manufacturer; the withholding of government money that would have resulted from consumption taxes; and the disturbance of everyday life and requirements of the typical Nigerian.”