In addition, about 8,000 Nigerians live in Ukraine, including 5,000 students. Last week, the federal government evacuated Nigerians and gave them $100 for transportation. President Muhammadu Buhari had approved $8.5 million for the immediate evacuation of at least 5,000 Nigerians from Ukraine. The government had not followed many other countries that evacuated their citizens in a timely manner when rumors of war were high. Nevertheless, we must congratulate the federal government for finally taking responsibility.

If the government could also address other issues plaguing Nigerians diligently, patriotism will be the middle name of many Nigerians. I even pray that these returnees have no reason to think of returning to the war zone now due to the challenges they are likely to face in Nigeria.

The challenges are quite enormous. And that is why some of our compatriots want to flee to Ukraine under the pretext of fighting, despite the dangers. One of the volunteer fighters, Monday Adikwu, reportedly said he was fired from the Nigerian army for visiting his pregnant wife without permission. He said he wanted to join the fight so he would use his salary to take care of his family, including six children. A candidate from Anambra state who attended a Russian military academy in 2007, Nkem Ndueche, reportedly said he was 101% ready to fight for Ukraine. Can you beat that?

These people would not think of going to Ukraine if they had stable and lucrative jobs in Nigeria. According to recent statistics, about 33.3% of Nigerians are unemployed. This is why there is an upsurge in crime in many parts of the country. Bandits and terrorists rob, kidnap and kill people at will. Others resort to all sorts of rituals to earn money. How I wish those gunmen who terrorize innocent people in the Southeast would come to Ukraine to show off their prowess.

Those without the guts to commit crimes find it extremely difficult to survive the tough economic environment in Nigeria today. Even some of those who have a job are finding it difficult these days. The inflation rate is quite high. People suffer from rashes because electricity is epileptic. The fuel queues are back. And in a place like Lagos, you might have to spend all day refueling and another full day getting your vehicle roadworthy. The suffering is simply too much for many Nigerians to bear.

I am happy that President Buhari has signed the Election Law Amendment Bill. This is just the beginning of the journey to enthrone an egalitarian society in Nigeria. The ball is now in the court of the Independent National Electoral Commission to organize elections that will give Nigerians what they want. If Party A knows that they could be easily eliminated if they get it wrong, they will sit down and give Nigerians credible leaders who will govern with fairness, accountability and efficiency.

Essentially, effective leadership is what will lift Nigeria out of the abyss of its socio-economic and political problems. The current leadership in the center is poor. As the 2023 general elections approach, Nigerians must be vigilant and vote according to their conscience. We have to vote for someone with a track record of performance and pedigree. If we make the mistake of electing another ineffectual leader next year, Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria could be added to Ukraine as favorite destinations for Nigerian youth.