Esther Mmesoma Arinzechukwu is a warri based legal practioner and an associate with Nichols Ichekor & Co. In this exclusive interview with The Economic Times, the Second Class Upper law graduate and alumnus of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, bares her mind on the prevailing high inflation rate, the recent hike in Petrol price and electricity tariffs in Nigeria. She is also of the view that renaming Nigeria may bring about the new dawn Nigerians have been praying and hoping for. Excerpts:
Tell us about your self?
I am an optimist, purpose driven and conscientious “gentleman” who also respect human values. Iam also an associate lawyer at Nichols Ichekor & Co, Warri, Nigeria. An avid volunteer with the Sexual Abuse Awareness & Forensic Intervention (SAAFI) project aimed at curbing sexual violence in Nigeria.
Have you always desired to study Law from the beginning?
No, studying law was never in my thought in the early years of my education because I was so good in basic sciences and mathematics. My siblings were all interested in sciences and technology and I wanted to make a difference by exploring other options. The chronicles of my story as a lawyer will be incomplete without my father who played a major role by indirectly influencing my choice of career. He engaged me in reading newspapers, Magazines and watching world news. At that stage I started developing interest in economics, politics and policy implementation.
What area of Law most interests you?
The areas of law that interest me are Finance law, corporate law, intellectual Property Law and taxation law.
What’s your view on the prevailing high inflation rate, the increase in Petrol and electricity tariffs in Nigeria?
Inflation is not novel in Nigeria. The public grouse about inflation seems to have abated due to citizen’s assertive effort to strive and thrive to cope with the fluctuating nature of the Nigeria’s Economy. When government fails, citizens have to work their fingers to the bone to afford the basic amenities of life.
It is pertinent to note that Oil and Electricity which is a generator of power/ energy is a driving force in the wheel of production and services rendered in Nigeria. However any increase of price of any source of power, electricity or oil whatsoever will inevitably lead to inflation, because it will adversely affect the production and transportation of goods, and agricultural produce and services rendered. Thus, this goes to the root of increasing the price of goods and services in general.
It is an unarguable fact that the year 2020 has not been easy with many Nigerians. The force of business has been slowed due to the Covid 19 pandemic. This has led to loss of jobs. The lockdown effect has posed a lot of challenges to bear and the government’s duty at a time like this is not to add more hardship to her overburdened citizens. Otherwise, this will be viewed as making death as a weapon of survival. The recent increase in electricity tariff and hike in oil price by the Federal Government of Nigeria is inconsiderate, insensitive and devoid of empathy.
In my opinion, if removal of subsidy is the best laid plan of the government for sustaining the economy, it is advised that these funds hitherto used in subsidizing petroleum products be channeled to relevant and critical sectors like Agriculture, Health and Education which will not totally rob the common man in the streets of Nigeria.
In less than one month Nigeria as a country will be celebrating its 60th year of independence. But to many citizens there is nothing to celebrate, if not the gift of life of the Nigerian citizens. Nigeria as a nation is blessed with natural resources and has all it takes to stand out as the so called ‘Giant of Africa’. However, the instability of our economy is caused by corruption and poor management/ utilization of funds. Nevertheless, this has posed the country on international blacklist. The brunt of this accursed situation is born by innocent citizens of Nigeria across the continent seeking for greener pastures.
It is also scornful and likewise befitting to say that if government efforts have proved abortive in rescuing the country from this putrid and accursed condition, then our last hope is need for change of name of our country and restructuring. This may bring the new dawn Nigerians have been praying and hoping for.
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
In the next few years I see myself impacting lives and fulfilling my Divine purpose in all my endeavors.