…Express their fears and expectations in 2019
By Anayo Okoli, Umuahia; Vincent Ujumadu, Awka; Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa; Dayo Johnson, Akure; Umar Yusuf, Yola; Bala Ajiya, Yobe; Gabriel Enogholase, Benin; By Egufe Yafugborhi & Davies Iheamnachor, Rivers; Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos; Peter Duru, Makurdi; Ola Ajayi, Ibadan; Chidi Nkwopara, Owerri; Rotimi Ojomoyela, Ekiti
The year 2018 has been a very challenging one for most Nigerians as virtually no one was immuned from the economic malaise that befell the nation. It was lamentation from every quarter in the country.
Saturday Vanguard spoke with Nigerians across the country on their assessment of the outgoing year and their expectations for the incoming year. Some of the respondents prayed never to go into the new year with what they went through in 2018. Others were pessimistic that things will be better in 2019 especially with the present crop of politicians in the country.
Mrs Catherine Onuoha, petty trader: The outgoing year has been a very hard one for us. The survival of my family of four children and the husband, a daily paid labourer was miraculous. There were days when the family was unable to have a meal. I hope 2019 will be a better year because “if we go through this type of suffering next year, thousands of Nigerians will die.
Mr. Dike Uche Isaiah, a civil servant: Life in 2018 was simply hell. The workers, traders and businessmen are going through a lot. Those of us who are civil servants were owed several months of salary arrears and if we are not paid the traders would not sell. So it has a multiplier effect. It will be suicidal to go with 2018 ugly experience into 2019.
Miss Chinemrem Glory, student: This year presented a harrowing experience for students in Nigeria. Except for students from rich homes, those from poor and average homes are going through much stress. Some of the students would go hungry for two days because their parents, especially the civil servants who are owed by the state government, could not meet up in paying their school fees let alone giving them upkeep allowance. The cost of living in the country is also high bu we hope that next year will be better for students and Nigeria as a whole.
Mrs Grace Obidinma, school principal: I have fears that 2019 will be very tough for Nigerians because the politicians will try to channel most of the funds towards winning election by all means, thereby making things difficult for the common man. The fact that elections will take place barely one month after resumption of schools is already causing fears especially as many state governments are not paying salaries as at when due.
Mr Ignatius Nwadikwa: I expect harder times in 2019 since the budget is no longer implemented in such a way that it could help alleviate the suffering of the masses. Unless the class distinction is bridged, the people will continue to complain about the gap between the lifestyle of politicians and the rest of the people.
Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor, Catholic Bishop of Awka: Unless the leaders show good example by discouraging anything that might lead to electoral malpractice, the stability of the country might be in doubt next year.
Iniuro Wills, President, Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA Homeland chapter): The lot of Nigerians in 2019 and beyond will depend largely on the electoral choices we make in the 2019 general elections. The current situation is extremely bleak. It will remain so or grow worse unless the electorate vote in qualitative leaders at all levels who can convert our age-long potentials to actual economic prosperity and social harmony through systematic and sustained strategies. There’s no other art beyond that to forecast the way our polity and economy will go.
Eric Omare, President, Ijaw Youth Council: It is true that the past 12 months just like the past three and half year have been very challenging for Nigerians and Nigeria. I do not see things to be better for Nigeria with the present status quo. I think that whether things would get better in respect of the massive killings, kidnapping, economic hardship and other challenges to a large extent would be determined by the outcome of the 2019 general elections. If the present national leadership retains power, I do not think that things would get better but if there is change of leadership, may be, there would be a new beginining and things may get better.
However, generally my expectation is for whoever is in charge of the national leadership to tackle the issue of security all over the country especially the northern part and the current economic hardship seriously. We must not play politics with the present insecurity and economic hardship.
Charles Tambou, veteran journalist: 2018 was a year Nigerians saw pain and blood. With the elections at hand and the hardening of heart by do or die politicians, Nigerians should be ready for more pains, except the elections bring about a new government.The new regime may bring some window dressing to cool the nerves of Nigerians. The fact remains that if a new government takes over power, it will amount to old wine in new bottle, except drastic and practical steps are taken to overhaul the entire system.
Amaebi Clarkson, minority rights activist: Security has been most challenging in the country this year and I do not see it getting better in 2019 being an election year. I reasonabllly think there will be more security breaches next year. The only panacea to the impending doom will be a change of government and probably the restructuring of the country as being convassed by concerned Nigerians.
Bosun Adedeji: The last 12 months have been hell on earth for Nigerians, nothing had worked in the country. Our leaders are only interested in getting to power and amass wealth for themselves and their family members. Since next year is an election year we want a total overhaul of the political system. Let there be another change but this time positive change. Our economy is in comatose, there is insecurity everywhere, living standard has dropped abysmally. Let us try another leader and if he also misbehaves we can change him. No stable electricity, poor road network, no jobs, minimum wage cannot last a week not to talk of a month. Is it corruption that they are fighting that will bring food on the table of the common man. Let us have a positive change in all sectors of the economy.
Ahmed Oladehinde: The economy under this administration has collapsed. There is fear across the country because of insecurity. Job loss had caused young people to go into various crimes, infrastructures had collapsed. We need a leader who has foresight and ready to work. Enough of this selective fight on corruption. Is that all that a government needs to do for four years?.Let us have a government that works not a vindictive government that still behaves like an opposition party even while at the helm of affairs.
All this government does is a blame game. We need a positive change, a government that will make things work, revamp the economy, halt all these killings and criminalities across the country and make Nigeria a safe place for us and investors.
Bolanle Owadasa: This government is trying except that some cabals have hijacked governance. Corruption has reduced and Nigerians are more careful with public funds. The economy is improving but the area I think our leaders need to work more is the insecurity in some areas especially in the North. They also need experts to have a critical look at the economy. The power sector needs improvement, the roads should be attended to, jobs should be provided for our graduates and living standards of Nigerians should improve.
Balaji Akindeko: Nigeria is not working. Our leaders have failed us. There is no sector of the economy that’s working. Al we hear is the fight against corruption. Other critical sectors have been abandoned.
The common man cannot even eat two square meals a day, salaries are not paid, no jobs, our graduates have taken to crimes to survive, no good roads, hospital bills have made the people to patronise quacks and they are dying daily. We need a total turn around in all sectors. We need a new leader that is younger and more vibrant.
Enough of all these old retired politicians, they are spent bullets, they have nothing again to offer. Our economy needs to be worked on, employment opportunities should be provided for our youths, our roads and hospitals should be fixed. We need a change in governance.
Ibrahim Bappa Wiziri, former Chaiman, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC: I am optimistic that better days lie ahead in the New Year for Nigerians because of the economic blueprint put in place in the next budget proposal before the National Assembly. To achieve the desired transformation, peace is the pre requisite for any meaningful development, and for Nigeria to archive the desired developmental stride we should learn to live in peace with one anther irrespective of our political, religious, ethnic or other divides.
Hajiya Fatimah Ornah, Former Acting Secretary, PDP: We should expect better change for Nigeria if the right persons are voted into power. The right persons are in all the political parties and I urge Nigerians to vote for the right candidates devoid of partisan of party affiliations .
Mr Abdul Alikali, Artisan: The change Nigerians need now can not be realized from the present crop of politicians in the country because politics has been taken as a do or die affair and the only quickest way of making money. The National Assemlby and other legislative houses should be run on part time basis to make them non attractive.
Francis Onoiribholo, Journalist: Next year is an election year and I expect all stakeholders, that is, the electorate, security agents, religious institutions, etc to play their roles in the conduct of the election. I expect them to vote for candidate(s) that have the capacity and capability of moving the country toward and with this, the country will once again enjoy peace and progress.
Miss Doreen Benjamin, unemployed graduate: The Federal and state governments failed woefully in the provision of the basic necessities of life to the people in the outgoing year. All we saw were promises that were never fulfilled. The year 2019 is an election year and the budget of that year had just been submitted to the National Assembly. My expectation for next year is for Nigerians to vote out this incompetent government for one that will provide jobs for us among others.
Miss Rachel Ogiemwonyi, business woman: I see the year 2019 as a year of success and patronages for businessmen and women. As an election year, my prayer is that Nigerians should vote for a President that will make life meaningful for them. I also appeal to all Nigerians to play their respective roles in ensuring that the election is successful and peaceful because I do not see crisis during the election.
Mrs Imelda Osayande (Vice – Chairman Edo NUJ): Our prayer is that the year 2019 should be better than the outgoing year in all ramifications especially in the provisions of the essentials of life and a reduction in the prices of food stuff. I want to see a year where the workers will be paid a living wage, a wage that can take them home. I also pray for a successful election and I enjoin the political class to co-ordinate themselves very well and abstain from thuggery and anything that will derail the election.
Bitrus Yohanna, business man: We thank God for the peace we have been enjoying in Damaturu in the last three years but we want the government to look into the price of food items that is too expensive in the market .
Hajiya Bilkisu Adamu: We want the Federal Government to improve the living condition of most Nigerians who cannot afford three square meals per day and control the price of commodities in the market in the next year. Everybody is talking about peace and security but they have forgotten that all these will be achieved when a poor man can afford to feed himself and save his family from hunger.
Salisu Ibrahim, a civil servant: The government should fulfil the agreement reached with labour by implementing the 30,000 naira minimum wage next year in order to cushion the effect of hike in price of food stuff.
Azubuike Ogechi, Student: My expectations were not met in 2018. The Federal Executive didn’t do well in education. As a student of the University of Port Harcourt, I have been at home for the past four months over strike by lecturers. I expect government and its agencies to carry out the right engagements with stakeholders at ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections. Government must avoid rigging. We are insulting ourselves by allowing vote buying, rigging or violence.
Greg Mohammed, Cab operator: In 2018, the government didn’t meet my expectation because the high confidence we reposed in President Mohammadu Buhari was met with high disappointment for majority of the people. People still say he remains a man of integrity and credibility. People are not happy because hardly has anything changed for the common man under this government. In 2019, I expect any government of the day to improve the living condition of the common man. Right now, that is not happening. The government of the day is improving lives on paper while the ordinary man is suffering.
Styvn Obodoekwe, Human rights activist: I never expected anything good from the federal government because I knew ab initio that Buhari and his team have nothing good to offer. Rather than focusing on governance, the federal government was more interested in pursuing opposition and indulged in blame game while the economy continued to deteriorate, bringing untold hardships on the masses. As we move into 2019, our expectation is for government to listen to the cries of the suffering masses.
Charity Emeriewen, Manicurist: I expect the government to end Boko Haram and herdsmen menace. I want safer Nigeria. I also expect free and fair election to usher in a government that will improve the life of the comman man.
Ezekiel Ntiem: Every reasonable person would want things to be better in 2019, my hope is not in any political party or leader but in God. Those standing for elections next year should deliver on the promises they are making to avoid the wrath of God. Politicians should be truthful and honest in dealing with the people.
Thomas Mandong: With the level of change witnessed in 2018, it will be worse if the current crop of leaders are allowed to return to power. We welcome this change in 2014 and voted for them in 2015 but personally, I really regret voting these people so I have decided to vote them out.
Abdulsalam Inusa: Things were not really rosy in 2018 but it will definitely be better in 2019 because the foundation for a better Nigeria is taking shape. Gradually, the change we want will be here, all we need is patience. This government is trying to correct the many wrongs in the system, they need our support and encouragement, once this government returns to power, things will turn around for the better.
Daniel Auta: A better Nigeria will continue to be an illusion until our leaders stop the pull me down syndrome and offer maximum support to whoever is in power irrespective of tribe or religion. If we have access to uninterrupted power supply, small businesses will grow and Nigerians in diaspora will bring their wealth of experience and grow the economy but as it is, I can not see that coming any time soon.
Margaret Dodo: I expect a better year but it will only be possible if Nigerians will see themselves first as Nigerians before seeing themselves from diverse tribes and do away with trivial divisive issues such as religion and sectionalism and join hands with whoever emerges as our leader so that this country can move forward.
Uche Nnorom, Journalist: My expectation politically is that the coming election should be credible, free and fair. In the area of security government should do more by being pragmatic and not resort to propaganda. Funds meant for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency in the country should be judiciously applied. I want to see a robust economy with a growth in the GDP. Nigeria is currently ranked one of the poorest economies of the world, we want to see government making decisive policies that will check the drift in our economy so that the ordinary man would have every reason to smile.
Ter Ajanto, artisan: For me, my number one expectation is that we must have a credible election next year. I strongly believe that if we have the right people in positions of authority it will be the beginning of good things to come to the country. I also expect that government will avail security agencies better funding to ensure proper security of our country, because it is key to our country moving forward and making progress.
Osom Desmond, student: 2018 was not a good one for majority of Nigerians because of the economic crunch. Many could not meet their needs. Government should do more to tackle the economic challenges facing the country because the ordinary man is suffering. As a student I want to see the federal government resolve its differences with ASUU as soon as possible because students cannot continue to remain at home indefinitely in a country that is so blessed by God and we all know the implication of leaving students at home.
Andy Andera, student: My expectation is that government should provide social ameneties. Security should be given more attention. We have challenges of herdsmen killings especially in Benue state. We have a law in the state that prohibits open grazing but herdsmen do not want to obey the law. We want to see the Federal Government coming out to declare support for the law and security agencies should enforce the law so as to put an end to the farmer/herders crisis to enable our people engage in their farming activities and improve their livelihood.
Adole Paul, student: As a nation we have not done very well in the last few years especially in the area of empowerment of our youths. Government must make it a top priority to empower our youths to get them engaged in meaningful ventures. Attention should be given to issues of sports because it is another way growing an economy. Apart from growing the economy, it also keeps our youths busy and prevent them from getting into anti social vices.
Dr. Olapade Agoro, National Chairman/ former Presidential Candidate, National Action Council ( NAC), With the nation wallowing in endemic corruption, insecurity of lives and property, Boko Haram insurgency, deadly Fulani herdsmen attacks which have left about 2,000 people dead, our leaders should take proactive steps to curtail these. I also want factories that are working under capacity utilization and power generation producing at abysmal low level as well as mounting debts to foreign creditors should be improved in 2019. Government should equally fix most federal roads that are due for repairs and reduce unemployment and our hospitals to be well equipped.
Elder Taiye Ayorinde, traditional ruler: Government should ensure there is tremendous improvement in economy, bring killings in the country to an end and slash the salaries of members of the National Assembly. If the take home pay of the legislators is reduced considerably, there will be no need to embark on any strike because the country can afford the minimum wage being demanded by the Nigerian workers. Also, suspects who were caught with arms and ammunition should be prosecuted, and Fulani herdsmen must be treated as terrorists.
Toye Adebesin, student: Supply of electricity leaves much to be desired, the government should increase power generation as well as improve on infrastructure like road and easy transportation system to ease traffic gridlock on the highways.
Miss Praise Oluwafunmilayo Ajayi: Irregularity in payment of salaries should not be treated with kid gloves as it happened in most states in 2018. Also, killings and kidnappings should be reduced so as to make Nigerians more secured.
Mazi Damian Nze: The business environment in Imo State, in the passing year, was anything but good. 2018 can pass as the most unfavourable year for citizens, since the return of democratic engineering in Nigeria. Virtually all the sectors of the economy has remained comatose in the past four years. Our schools, hospitals, roads, public service and the local government administration, are in very bad shape. What is most worrisome in our circumstance is that government officials tell blatant lies to justify their ineptitude.
Mr. Joe Chikere: Some government properties have, through the instrumentality of the present state administration, been converted to private use. In 2019, all government property either stolen, appropriated for personal use or misappropriated, should be fully recovered from those concerned. The citizens are looking forward to having functional health, education and civil service operations.
Our dead local government councils should be revived. Pensioners, who gave their youthful years to the state, should be catered for.
Deji Ogundaunsi, student: The security approach in 2018 was bad, I was a victim of kidnap and the economic policy was even worse. In 2019, we hope to see a turn around in the economy of the country. We expect to get food stuff at cheaper prices while the land borders that were closed should be reopened.
Akin Akomolafe, Contractor: The economic policy of the present government has not been impressive. People who are knowledgeable about the economy are not part of the decision making, and it is affecting Nigerians. Though, security is a global problem but more needs to be done on the part of the government. We also expect a change of attitude from the government because the expectations of Nigerians are high”.
Ogunrinde Blessing, unemployed graduate: 2018 has been tough and rough for most families in the country, especially where the husband and wife are civil servants. Salaries were not paid as at when due, most of our leaders are more interested in enriching themselves and the welfare of the citizenry does not make any sense to them. My expectation in 2019 is simple, the Federal government should complete all on going projects in the transportation sector, roads and rail, complete and commission all the power projects, give more loans to small scale industries and revive the textile and paper industries, which will create more jobs”