“It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail’–Lech Walesa

In the heart of Nigeria, a prevailing sense of despair lingers as hunger tightens its grip on the nation, casting a dark shadow over the lives of millions. Today, the ominous prevalence of hunger can be directly attributed to a confluence of factors, chief among them being the feeble, ill-advised and hastily implemented economic policies of the government. The lack of clear and strategic thinking before the implementation of these policies shows an apparent lack of preparedness for the daunting task of governance.

At the epicentre of this crisis lies the unprecedented depreciation of the Nigerian Naira, a currency whose value now languishes at historic lows. This economic downturn is intricately linked to the country’s shift towards a dollarised economy. While nations like Egypt have adopted pragmatic measures to safeguard the value of their currency, Nigeria seems to be steering in the opposite direction, embracing what many view as anti-people policies dictated by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Unlike proactive nations that are safeguarding their economic sovereignty, Nigeria appears to be entangled in a web of policies that prioritise external interests over the well-being of its citizens. The Naira has succumbed in an unprecedented manner to the pressure of misdirected policies, with sharp practices by bankers and politicians exacerbating its free fall. As a result, the common man and woman across the length and breadth of the country find themselves caught in the crossfire, crying out against the pangs of hunger and the spectre of insecurity that looms large.

The government’s response to this crisis has been lacklustre at best, as there seems to be a vacuum of clear direction in navigating the economic quagmire. While other nations are forging ahead with resilience and innovation, Nigeria risks descending into chaos and anarchy if concrete steps are not taken to reverse the current trajectory.

It is imperative for the government to break free from the shackles of external influence and chart a course that prioritises the welfare of its citizens. Economic policies must be recalibrated to address the immediate needs of the people, ensuring that the basic necessities of life are not elusive dreams but tangible realities. Furthermore, the government must engage in a dialogue with experts, stakeholders, and the populace to formulate comprehensive and sustainable solutions. This is not merely a plea for change; it is a call to action, a call for a new economic paradigm that places the interests of the Nigerian people at its core.

In the face of Nigeria’s profound economic challenges, the vast majority of state governments/governors have shown that they have no concrete plans to help address the mirage of problems confronting the ordinary people! However, a recent announcement by the Lagos State government has raised eyebrows, as it appears to be a short-sighted, politically motivated move rather than a sustainable solution to the burgeoning hunger crisis. The Lagos State government recently declared its intention to allocate funds to food canteens with the aim of providing meals for 1000 hungry citizens in each local government area over the next two months.

While on the surface, this may seem like a well-intentioned effort to alleviate immediate hunger, a critical examination raises pertinent questions about the long-term impact and sustainability of such a policy.

The primary concern lies in the apparent lack of foresight and strategic planning. Feeding programmes, while offering immediate relief, do little to address the root causes of hunger and unemployment. Instead of engaging the teeming unemployed population productively, the government seems to be opting for a temporary solution that may only serve as a band-aid on a deeper socio-economic wound.

Furthermore, the question looms large: what happens after the two-month timeframe expires? The absence of a concrete plan for the sustained well-being of the citizens raises doubts about the effectiveness of this approach. Such seemingly impromptu policies risk creating a cycle of dependency, where citizens become reliant on periodic handouts rather than contributing to a thriving, self-sufficient society. It is crucial for state governments to adopt holistic and sustainable strategies that address the root causes of unemployment and hunger. Investments in skill development, job creation, and agricultural initiatives could offer a more enduring solution, empowering citizens to break free from the shackles of poverty and dependence.