By Augustine Ehikioya
Besides the numerous challenges facing Nigeria including kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, fuel scarcity, rising foodstuffs prices, there are good numbers of Nigerians that believe there are still reasons for celebration in the country.
To these Nigerians, the giant of Africa has been recording some silent progress in some areas.
As monitored by Security Watch Africa (SWA), they backed up their assertion with many marvelous revelations.
One of the areas of progress noted was the announcement by the Global Terror Index declaring year 2021 as the lowest in terror for Nigeria since 2011.
The credit for this, they said, goes to President Muhammadu Buhari, providing the political will and the security agencies in the country.
According to the report, Boko Haram killings in the country reduced by 72%.
Nigeria, from the report, also moved from world number three to number six, a major jump considering that Nigeria was at one time named to have the world’s number one terror group.
The observers also pointed out that the Russia / Ukraine War, has made Nigeria the most viable alternative as Europe is now turning to Africa for gas.
As if Nigeria has been preparing for a time like this with visionary thinking, they noted, that Nigeria has been busy with the multi billion dollar AKK pipeline which runs from the gas fields in the South to the North and eventually onwards Morocco and Europe.
They also noted that instead of going broke as many economists predicted, Nigeria stands to rake in billions of naira every day owing to increasing crude oil prices.
Recalling that Nigeria’s 2022 budget was passed and signed into law with a $62 per barrel benchmark, they pointed out that oil prices, as at today, have doubled that amount.
According to them, from this surplus, things will start looking up for Nigerians as more money will now be available for more development in infrastructure, which will in turn create more jobs and more opportunities.
With this increase, they submitted that Nigeria will soon be a better place to live in given the government’s recent history of commiting over N8 trillion to infrastructure projects and over $50 billion of infrastructure development out of its past meager incomes.
The observers also based their new belief for turnaround in the country on the report of the International Maritime Bureau which removed Nigeria from the list of global piracy hotspots.
The report had noted a 77% improvement in maritime safety in Nigeria.
They gave the credit for this to the direct effect of the Israeli coastal maritime security initiative and the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces and social institutions.
At 3.4% growth in 2021, the observers pointed out that the Nigerian economy has had its best growth since first quarter 2014.
This growth result, they noted, beats IMF estimates of about 2.7% for year 2021.
Another welcome development, they said, was the rating of the Nigerian Armed Forces among one of the most improved globally, ranking very high on the acquisition of new equipment, training and capacity building.
The observers also said that Nigeria, for six years, has not had a commercial air crash.
This, according to them, is a major shift from plane crashes that used to happen multiple times yearly.
This change, they said, is a result of over 153 strategic projects done by the Ministry of Aviation, including highest global safety standards now visible in some Nigerian airports.
As part of the progress in the Aviation sector, they said a Nigerian airport recently won an international award in its category.
From the world poverty clock, they also noted that Nigeria has relinquished the obnoxious toga of world poverty capital.
They pointed out that from the report, Nigeria moved down from 87 million to 70 million people living in abject poverty.
As a point for celebration, the observers also said that the latest reports showed that the Second Niger bridge was officially linked from end to end.
This, they noted, is the largest project in the history of the South East of Nigeria and one of the largest in Nigerian history.
Stressing that it fills a 55 year need, they said that the bridge is one of Nigeria’s most important and strategic projects considering the regions it connects and the volume of trade, investment and social traffic it facilitates.
They also gave kudos to Nigeria for introducing a program for Nigerians in the Diaspora to get mortgage loans and buy home in the country.
The observers believed that these giant, silent progress will benefit the Nigerian masses in a very short time to come.
It is hoped that Nigerians, in whatever hardship they are presently going through, will hang in there for a little while as God again is showering His blessings on Nigeria.
But the government should keep its anti corruption fight high in order to ensure that these coming gains are not siphoned and wasted like the great resources Nigeria has been endowed with from inception.
This time around, the common man on the street must smile and be happy as a result of these gains.