*Expect more disappointment – Junaid Mohammed
With two years to 2015 elections , many Nigerians wonder what the regime of President Goodluck Jonathan will present as its feats for four years going by the current indices of development. To help the government, eminent Nigerians in this edition give clues on what the government should do this year to win the confidence of the masses. Saturday Vanguard’s JOHN BULUS in this report compiles the demands.
His campaign in 2011 Presidential elections was laden with promises of hope and transformation. He promised not to let Nigerians down. But one year down the line after he won the Presidential election and assumed office, President Goodluck Jonathan, in the estimation of many keen analysts, is yet to convince Nigerians that the nation is on the path of greatness. Although his allies can quickly refute this assertion, his critics are also wont to say that the administration is snail-pacing and therefore, slow in giving the country the needed face-lift.
Alas, the country’s social infrastructures have remained in comatose. There is much hunger in the land. Unemployment rate has remained high. Corruption has become pervasive. Insecurity dots the country and the standard of living has continued to declined . Indeed, the out gone year, 2012, started on a very challenging note. The removal of the fuel subsidy and the unprecedented nation-wide protests that followed suit prompted some ill feelings towards the present administration.
And since then, the country has had to grapple with the severe economic challenges that stare the nation in the face with little effort from the government to ameliorate the situation. Meanwhile, it is a new year and Nigerians are making various demands from the government who pledged never to disappoint them. Amongst these demands is the decision of the government to tackle head on, the pervasive insecurity. Job creation and proper national budget implementation are also part of these demands.
Corruption is yet another issue the people would want the government of Dr. Jonathan to develop the fiber to fight and eradicate completely or be brought to the barest minimum. With the array of demands from the government by Nigerians, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has surely got more work in his hands. The opinions below summed up the aspirations of most Nigerians from the government as 2013 dawns.
Nigerians deserve a better deal in 2013— Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Former Lagos State Governor
In the face of many opportunities to actualize her potentials to the benefit of the people, Nigeria is held down by a leadership that is indecisive, insensitive and clearly incapable. Nigerians deserve a better deal than they are now getting. Nigerians deserve better roads, better health delivery services, better security, better jobs and better power supply. Unless the government of President Jonathan steps up and applies itself to the challenge of running the country properly, Nigeria will remain lost at sea.
Fight corruption — Chief Chekwas Okorie, National Chairman of United Progressive Party (UPP)
Two major things: one is to fight corruption with every sincerity and every fiber in the President because the buck stops on this table. He has never played that leadership role of fighting corruption especially in high places. Because even criminals, when you read their confession, they seem to think they are deriving their motivation from what the people at the top are doing. That is one.
Again is the sincerity in the implementation of the national budget which is one area that government after government has failed in Nigeria. Even the presidency has started giving pedestrian experience on why his government is slow. So, my take is that if there is an estimate that comes by way of budget, you follow it faithfully and aim at 100 percent implementation. If it is not entirely 100 percent because it is a human factor, you would have met most of the requirements for that particular year. The issue of being slow will not arise. Budget implementation is important and if it is done, then you can be rest assured that jobs will be created; other things will be in place.
Tackle insecurity and corruption— Alhaji Shetima Yerima, President Arewa Youth Consultative Forum
The major issues the government must have to look at critically are corruption and insecurity. But I know the major case here is corruption because, we have been in this over and over again. I think the government at this time must have to be seen to be up and doing, be committed to fight corruption. But I think the government also; being a product of corruption cannot also completely erase corruption.
But at least, to some extent, this administration can do something about it because it is getting out of hand and the issue of corruption now is not just only the government but also the masses. Most of them are so corrupt- minded. So, the entire system has a serious problem that the government will have to do its best. I think we still have a long way to go in fighting corruption. That is one side of it. The second side is insecurity.
The issue of insecurity must be seen to be fought tooth and nail by this government. The issue of government compromising the primary responsibility of protection of lives and property shouldn’t be. And if that fails, it shows clearly it has become a defeat on the part of the government. So, I think, this government of the day must be willing to deal decisively with anybody who is found wanting, who in any way wants to threaten the co-existence of this nation or who wants to cause certain misgivings no matter how highly placed the person is. Those are the two key issues I want the government to look into thoroughly.
Nothing is working in Nigeria-Yinka Odumakin, Public analyst and social crusader
There is nothing that is working at the moment. Is it power that we want to talk about? It is a shame that Labaran Maku (Minister of Information) is celebrating 4000 megawatts for a country of 150 million people. And people live in virtual darkness. Business cannot function. The question of the other sector that is very critical is our infrastructures. Year in, year out, billions of Naira are voted to do roads that are not done and people are dying like fowls on these roads. Look at the state of our education. It is in shambles.
We are almost getting to a point where graduates will not write their names correctly. And yet we vote so much money for education. Look at the hospitals. As it is right now, some of our governors are in hospitals abroad. So, what are we doing with net budget? The most frightening now is the security situation. Most people sleep with one eye open. They don’t know where the next bomb will come from and government continues to say we are looking into it. So, government has to sit up. The President has said that Nigerians are going to applaud him in 2013, let us see that happen.
Other Nigerians who spoke to Saturday Vanguard also submitted that the government needs to sit up and take governance seriously.
Improve on power generation—Peter Eselu, National President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC)
Our expectations are clear. We need to improve our energy generation and distribution because power is pivotal to any meaningful planning. Steady power supply if guaranteed in 2013, would enhance investment and it would make employers and manufacturers to invest more. Without improved power supply, all the talk about foreign investment would amount to a mirage. Nobody will invest in a state of war like we have in areas that are experiencing high rate of insecurity.
Nigerians should pray harder—Balarabe Musa, former Governor of old Kaduna State
I am not expecting anything good from a government that has appeared incapable of addressing the state of the nation. This is a government that cannot cope, so I am not expecting anything from them. As it is now, Nigerians should rather keep praying for the nation in 2013 because the government cannot do anything. People should resort to prayers.
Jonathan’s government is a disappointment – Junaid Mohammed
My expectations from this Jonathan government are disappointments upon disappointments because there is hardly anything they promised at the beginning of their term that they have achieved. In the first place, President Jonathan is not a presidential material, so Nigerians should not actually expect anything extraordinary from him.
Implement the new minimum wage —Abdulwaheed Omar, President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)
Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, national president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) says his greatest desire this year is to see the government at all level implement the full minimum wage. “It is rather sad that a National Minimum Wage, which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the President since March 2011 is being observed in the breach by some state governments.
“More worrying is the position of the Federal Government, which should defend its law, allowing state governments to use its security forces against protesting workers, who are only standing up for their rights as protected by the law. Such unprecedented impunity is not only malicious but anachronistic to cherished democratic values. The much touted social dialogue, which should be the basis for resolving industrial disputes, has no meaning to some governments and most employers”.
The President speaks
The President in his address to mark the New Year admitted that Nigeria faced challenges in the previous year. But he promised that 2013 will be a better year.
“I join you all in giving thanks to God Almighty for bringing us and our beloved nation safely through the past year to the beginning of 2013 which, by His Grace, will be a better year for us and our country. In keeping with tradition, it is usual for individuals, institutions and organizations to make resolutions and set agenda as a new year begins to guide their actions in the coming months.
“Our objective for the year is to ensure by all possible means that more of the programmes and projects envisioned by this administration, and which are already being embarked upon are further brought on stream within the next 12 months to meet the yearnings of our people, and raise the quality of life.
“We have in the last year achieved a lot in terms of the positive transformation of vital sectors of our national life such as public infrastructure, power supply, oil and gas, transportation, education, health and agricultural development. We will continue to work diligently in 2013 to ensure that our efforts in these areas are carried forward to fruition in fulfillment of our promise of better public services and improved living conditions for all Nigerians.
“We will give priority attention in the coming year to flood and erosion control, the rehabilitation and expansion of existing federal roads, improved power supply, as well as the continued rehabilitation, upgrading and reactivation of the national rail network.
“Employment generation and wealth creation will also remain a primary objective of our socio-economic agenda for 2013.
“Creating more employment opportunities for our youth and graduates of our universities is an imperative that will continue to underpin our drive for massive economic growth, the rapid expansion of our manufacturing and industrial base, and the productive diversification of our national economy. In this regard, we will continue to provide the necessary enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.”
“As peace and security remain pre-requisite conditions for the full realization of our objectives, we will also do more in 2013 to further empower our security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with our friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria.”
“We remain resolutely committed to the rule of law, due process and fair play in all circumstances. Our democracy continues to grow, and the scope for human freedom continues to expand. It is an achievement that we will continue to build upon”.
Meanwhile, it is only a question of time for 2013 to come to an end when stocking taking will be done. But until then, Nigerians are watching and waiting with bated breath to see the success or otherwise of Jonathan’s administration.