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Tension Heightens, Business Activities Decline

It is exactly three days after Nigeria’s Presidential election. Tension is high; uncertainty persists in the country. The long wait for the final result creates anxiety, especially among business owners.

The major contenders are Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.

As results continue to trickle in, there is opposition from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Labour Party, LP.

The development has created fear of possible violence in the minds of investors and a cross section of Nigerians.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other leaders have also warned of dire consequences over alleged manipulation of the exercise.

Businesses in Wuse II, Banex shopping complex, Area 1 UTC, Garki Market and Wuse Market did not record the usual flow of customers.

Also, a check at Federal Secretariat Complex in Abuja showed that most civil servants were yet to resume work.

It is a similar situation in Nasarawa, Niger, Edo, Delta, Kogi and other states as businesses are partially closed.

Mr Chijioke Egege, a business owner at Area 1 UTC market, confirmed a low customer turnout.

He said, “Abuja was practically dry today for the obvious reason- the presidential election. There is tension everywhere, so customers are careful not to go out.”

Helen Adamu said “the situation is not only in Abuja; other states are experiencing an economic shutdown because of the election.”

“My family in Benue and River states mentioned that business activities were slow on Monday due to the election. The tension of possible post-electoral violence may have taken most people away from the street”, she said.

Mr Kabiru Abubakar, a resident of Karu, said the road is scanty, same with offices today.

“It is not a good thing for

businesses to shut down, whether partially or totally. There should not be a decline in economic activities because Nigerians have suffered much from cash scarcity,” he said.

In a chat with the DAILY POST, the CEO of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, Dr Muda Yusuf, said the anxiety arising from the ongoing declaration of Presidential election results would send a wrong signal to the business community.

“It is not right for the economy, but people are being cautious again. This highly contested election has created huge anxiety; the collation process has heightened the tension. The report of violence is also sending terrible signals to people in business”.

Also, a Professor of Management and Accounting at Lead University, Ibadan, Godwin Oyedokun, said the country is economically in a mess.

“Only a few can afford to eat without knowing the prices of food in the market. Politicians do not care about the country’s state,” he said.

On his part, An economic expert, Idakolo Gbolade, urged the incoming president to prioritise the country’s economy.

“The incoming government should first look at the CBN policies in taming inflation with a view to making some fundamental changes in the Naira redesign policy. The exchange rate policy allows market forces to determine the rate and encourage CBN to look at the

continuous increase in the MPR, which has not tamed inflation.

“The incoming government should set up a committee to look at the removal of fuel subsidies with palliative measures put in place to alleviate the suffering of the people.

“There should be an immediate stakeholders’ meeting in the energy sector to look at the issues affecting the adequate delivery of energy to the industrial sector and the high electricity tariffs imposed on Nigerians.

“The incoming government should organise a think tank session addressing the mass exodus of Nigerian professionals leaving the country in droves.

“Finally, the incoming government should critically review our agricultural policies because we have not achieved much success that can boost the economy and reduce poverty in the land,” he said.

As the declaration of the result becomes clearer, Nigerians await the magical ideas the country’s next president would bring on board to tackle its ailing economy.

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