By Hakeem Baba-Ahmed
ECONOMY: The economy, already in deep depression, will perform very poorly. Public spending will reduce owing to restrictions in revenue bases, reductions in foreign direct investment and poor management. Cost of living will rise along with unemployment.
Informal sector of the economy will suffer from effects of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and lower spending and reduced investment. Declines in internally-generated revenue will affect state governments, leading to rise in poverty levels.
COVID-19: The pandemic will take more Nigerian lives and damage the economy more than it did in 2021. Governments lack the political will, capacities and trust of the population to introduce and impose preventive measures against wider spread of the virus. Treatment of infected people will be very expensive, and will only be available outside public infrastructure.
Vaccines may find their ways into the country from sources like China and India, but these will only be available to the wealthy and the well connected. Popular cynicism over the existence of the virus is likely to be replaced by popular anger by the poor who will feel abandoned to die in large numbers. A combination of rising poverty, the pandemic and increased insecurity will increase the likelood of restiveness among the population and scattered uprising against the state.
Security: Nigerians will experience higher levels of insecurity as organised crime in particular takes advantage of weakened capacity to protect populations. Boko Haram insurgency and banditry in particular are likely to be bolstered by weaknesses of the state to fight them.
Other threats like IPOB, piracy and cultism will pose more serious challenges as they perceive weaknesses on the part of the state to contain them. Pressures from communities to protect themselves wIll rise, creating more insecurity for larger numbers of the population.
The police will continue its low-level protest against its conditions of service and experiences during the #EndSARS protests. This will leave larger numbers of people and communities exposed to crimes and violence. Clamour for creating sub-national police will intensify, but will be resisted by the Presidency and the National Assembly. This will pitch governors against the president.
Politics: Arguments over rotation of the presidency will cause major crises in the two major parties. Related sources of conflict will be the emergence of of part leadership and the fate of arguments over restructuring. Regional, ethnic and religious factors will become more pronounced. These will spill over and feed the political context under which, substantially, the 2023 election will hold.
Protests: Another major protest, or number of protests should not be ruled out. They could be triggered by widespread insecurity, consequences of poor governance such as rising poverty levels, absence of accountability and transparency, corruption, failure to address endemic ASUU-Federal Government disputes, frustrations among young people and political grievances. Protests will weaken a state that suffers from widespread poor perception, and cause major divisions within the ranks of the leadership.