Special Report

December 30, 2018

Common man laments on 2018: This is one of the worst years in recent history

FG to guarantee 1.5m Nigerian families to own low-income houses under ESP

…put economic hardship behind him, optimistic despite looming uncertainty ahead of 2019

By Emma Amaize (Editor, South-South), Dayo Johnson (Editor, South-West), Sam Oyandongha (Yenagoa), Festus Ahon (Asaba), Gabriel Enogholase (Benin-City), Emmanuel Unah (Calabar), Hari-Okon Emmanuel (Uyo), Chioma Onuegbu (Uyo), Emem Idio (Yenagoa), Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu (Benin-City), Ola Ajayi (Ibadan), Rotimi Ojomoyela (Ado- Ekiti) and Gbenga Olarinoye (Osogbo)

MOST of the respondents, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard in the South-South and South-West, described the ever-increasing unemployment and agonizing poverty situation in the country in 2018 as staggering, declaring that the Federal Government failed Nigerians.

With the benefit of hindsight, many were doubtful that 2019 will be better whereas there were those who thought government did its best under the circumstances and expressed optimism that 2019 will be healthier.

Poverty rate got worse – Ekwere, businessman

In Akwa-Ibom, Uyo –based businessman Idongesit Ekwere, a businessman, said, “From my experience, poverty rate has worsened, and the loss of jobs in 2018 is alarming, but it is still better than what we experienced in 2017.”

Ekwere went on: “I am particularly saddened that the Federal Government did not meet with my expectation of providing jobs and alleviating poverty among Nigerians.   And I am only hoping that things will get better next year, 2019.”

Nothing good about 2018- Mrs. George, citizen 

A citizen, Mrs. Eunice George, asserted, “There is nothing good to say about 2018. I only thank God for keeping my family alive. There is no money. I am disappointed with the current leadership of the country. In fact, things have worsened since this government came into power.

“They failed to keep the promises they made when were coming in three years ago. I am only praying to God to touch their hearts so that they will ensure that things improved next year. I want them to live up to our expectation of improved cost of living”

Promises not kept – Umo, entrepreneur 

An entrepreneur, Mr Michael Umo, stated, “All I can say is that government failed on its promises to the people, particularly Akwa Ibom State government. At the federal level, I can score them high in fighting corruption, but in other areas, I do not think they have performed to expectation.

“For instance the Federal Government has not been able to fix electricity despite promises and assurances to Nigerians. Their effort in that sector is very poor. For the coming year, I expect them to live up to their billing, to wake up from their slumber, and try to satisfy the yearnings of Nigerians they are representing”.

Cost of living went higher- Chief Udoh, public servant   

A public servant, who simply identified himself as Chief Udoh, lamented: “The cost of living appears to be higher this 2018 than the previous years. I think this is due to the ban on the importation of some consumable goods. That has negatively impacted on the economy.

“They said Foreign Direct Investment is increasing, but there is no correlation on the cost of living, the impact is not felt by Nigerians. And you know that there has been a raging controversy over the national minimum wage, and government appears less concerned about that, it is also affecting the masses.

“So I expect both state and federal governments to do something about that soon. In 2019, we expect that measures should be put in place to alleviate the suffering of the masses. From my experience, any year we experience bad conditions, the following year is always good, and brighter. So I am expecting an improved economy next year.

“And, politically, as we look forward to the general elections next year, I am appealing to politicians to eschew violence to ensure that the elections are peaceful, and fair. Nigerians do not want to witness bloodletting or war. Let the polls be conducted in a transparent manner”.

Life not fair – Bartholomew, security guard   

Kennedy Bartholomew, who works with a security firm, told Sunday Vanguard: “For me, 2018 has not been fair; there has been so much hardship. All the same I thank God because once there is life, there is hope. Akwa Ibom State government to me is doing its best. It cannot satisfy everybody at the same time.

“In terms of infrastructure, youth empowerment, agriculture, security, this government is trying. I have lived here for over two years and I will not say that I am satisfied with the situation of the economy but I expect better things happening in 2019. I want government to do more to better the lot of the common man. I expect them to go beyond what they have been able to achieve this year”.

EKWEREMADU: What we need to explain to our Northern brothers

There’s no money- Emedion, job seeker 

Emedion, a graduate and job seeker, said, “I am particularly impressed with the reduced crime rate in Akwa Ibom State. The state is peaceful; development of infrastructure, especially roads even though people are lamenting that there is no money, is on course. Yes there is biting hardship, but I believe that cost of food items, especially garri, rice is fair this year unlike the past two years.

“Based on what the governor is doing today, my expectation next year is that things will be better. At the federal level, I am not satisfied with the style of fighting corruption. It is a good policy, but I expect that government should be more proactive and unbiased in the fight”.

PMB needs time to fix things – Azikoro, youth leader

An artisan and youth leader in Akwa Ibom, Ben Azikoro, spoke on an optimistic note, saying:   “The present administration of PMB is really doing a lot for our people. For instance, we are not experiencing fuel scarcity during this Yuletide compared to previous PDP government where fuel scarcity was the order of the day. Compared to the rot inherited from the previous administration, I think the current government needs time to fix things.

“PMB has promised that he is taking us to the next level, next year. So it behoves on us, Nigerians, to rally round and give him our support so that he will deliver on his promises. I think the government is trying and, given the right atmosphere and support, they can do more.

“However, there are still areas for improvement. There are grey areas that need to be attended to, and I think the President should do more in the areas of education, the economy and the Niger Delta, but, overall, they are trying and need to be commended”.

We‘ve suffered enough – Udoh, vendor

In Cross River State, Nelson Udoh, a vendor, said, “The economy in 2018 was too bad and the security situation in the country was really a threat to everybody. We witnessed a lot of kidnappings, armed robberies and killings in the country. In 2019, politicians should give peace a chance. Let the elections be peaceful and there should be no use of thugs and security agents to intimidate the people who go out to vote.

“Those who emerge victorious in the elections should introduce policies and programmes that would improve the lot of the ordinary people. We have suffered enough”.

Too much affliction – Chief Edem Akparika, traditional ruler

A traditional ruler, Chief Edem Akparika, said: “There is so much suffering in the land. Those in authority should address the issue of poverty because the ordinary man cannot afford a square meal in a day.

“During the polls in 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission should be fair and ensure credible elections to avoid plunging this country into anarchy. Because if there is crisis, the ordinary man would suffer most; as such, we reject any form of trouble coming from the outcome of the elections. Those who win should be declared winners”.

Hard-hitting year – George Obot

George Obot, trader, said, “This year was really tough for us. We pray God should touch the hearts of our leaders to reduce the suffering in this country in 2019. They should make the economy better and provide employment for youths. I have three children, who have graduated from the university and they do not have work to do. They are still depending on me which should not be the case”.

Too many troubles – Mercy Ekpe, student

Mercy Ekpe, a student, said: “This country has seen a lot of troubles in recent times. The Academic Staff of Universities, ASUU, has been on strike for months now and government is doing nothing. We expect the government to negotiate with them to call off the strike and also the infrastructure in the universities should be improved upon”.

2019: Archbishop of Lagos urges Nigerians to elect only credible leaders

Insensitive government – Okoro, legal practitioner 

Bonaventure Okoro, lawyer, for his part, said: “We have seen enough of the change these past years. I dare say that 2018 is one of the worst years in this country. Inflation went up, the number of unemployed youths also rose.

“In 2019, we want a return to the pre –change era. We want to go back to 2015 when a bag of rice was N8, 000. This government is very insensitive and one-sided, we cannot continue like this. Imagine the killings in all parts of the country and those in power are so insensitive such that they have refused to do anything about it.

“We are really tired and want a change. We have seen both sides of the coin and want to return to the past. Imagine a whole Christmas, no fireworks and even to buy a chicken is a big task.   They tell us there is no fuel scarcity, but at N145 per litre, how many people can afford it. The whole place is so quiet like we are in mourning when we should be celebrating”.

We’re worn-out – Nkata, trader 

Beauty Nkata, a trader, opened up: “We are tired of the situation in the country. There is no money. Imagine that during this Christmas, there was no rush for goods because there is no money. The fish I sell, there was no difference between Christmas and an average weekend sales. We are praying that God should help those in power so that they too can help us in 2019; if not the situation will be terrible.”

Neophytes managing economy – Asu Beks, veteran journalist 

In Bayelsa State, activist and veteran journalist, Asu Beks, told Sunday Vanguard: “Our priority is a free and fair electoral process. This means Mr. President must sign the new Electoral Bill presented to him by NASS. Anything short of that means he is not committed to free and fair elections in which case Nigerians would have no option than to seek self-help, a development that would not be good for our democracy.

“Nigerians have this feeling that the EFCC, DSS , IGP and other security services have been conscripted to work towards the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari. The signs are there for any discerning Nigerian to see. “As for the economy, there are no signs that the present economic team are thinking outside the box to fix the economy.

“There’s no one in the present government in the mould of the likes of former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, that has what it takes to fix the economy. If I were Mr President, what I will do in the New Year is to rejig the Economic Team and inject renowned experts, who would move us out as the poverty capital of world. And lastly, Mr President must sack the current Service Chiefs, including the IGP because they have all failed woefully in the fight against terrorism”.

Nigerians should rise against election manipulation – Ijomene, medical doctor 

Fejiro Ijomone, a medical doctor, said: “My expectations for the New Year concerning Nigeria are bleak considering the state of the nation. I doubt that the 2019 elections, which will hold next year, will change anything, as I suspect the will of the people might be sabotaged by INEC and the security forces that we had hoped will help Nigeria have successful elections. Nigerians must rise up and stand against the manipulation of the outcome of the elections as we witnessed in the recently concluded Osun State governorship election.”

Virtual artist and entrepreneur, Paniebi Jones, who spoke in the same vein, pointed out, “2019 is an electioneering year and there are expectations that politicians will do a lot of make – believe, momentarily, to our advantage. But I think Nigerians are getting fed up with this ‘our turn syndrome’ such that the new government will have to be forced to concentrate on the economy to make life more meaningful for Nigerians. 2019 will be better than this year in terms of productivity.”

Nigerians had traumatic experiences – Morris, environmentalist 

Environmentalist, Comrade Alagoa Morris, stressed: “Actually, from the grassroots to state, regional and national levels, Nigerians went through harrowing experiences. Some even committed suicide due to recession, health challenges and other economic issues. Crimes rate, unexpectedly, soared and, as attested to by Mr President, the nation experienced unprecedented deaths traceable to the violence unleashed by Boko Haram.

“As we are in another period of campaign, l expect that those presenting themselves for public offices should know that Nigerians are getting wiser and should prepare themselves to work when elected; including whoever emerges as President.

“The electorate too should be more alive to their responsibility as catalysts in the democratic process of getting representatives in government…because any mistake cannot be corrected until another four years”.

The problem with Nigeria

– Atasi, civil servant 

Doubara Atasi, a civil servant, said, “Despite the myriad of challenges confronting our dear country, I want to seize this opportunity to encourage my fellow compatriots never to despair. God has endowed us with virtually everything we need to overcome our socioeconomic and political problems.

“I have always said that our problem is attitudinal. The moment we (leaders and followers) get our attitudes right, it is then we will have the Nigeria of our dream where there will be equity, fairness, peace, stability and appreciable development and prosperity. On the economic front, we rank among countries that have the best of plans or policies. Our problem has been that of lack of the much needed political will to follow through the sound economic policies and models we fashion out from time to time.

“I, therefore, plead with those saddled with the responsibility of managing the national economy to show more patriotism by being apolitical in the implementation of the country’s macroeconomic policies. To this end, I appeal to all arms of government, particularly the legislature and executive, to sink their differences with a view to expediting work on the 2019 budget to ensure its early passage, signing and effective implementation”.

Buhari doing his best- Igbapike, lawyer 

Legal practitioner, Osteen Igbapike, said: “Nigeria will gradually get better though I already have an earful of the disparate outcry of politicians seeking power in 2019 that the government of the day is causing hunger, tears, sorrow and death for Nigerians.

“Most of these allegations are politically motivated to confuse voters, but thanks to social media. Some of these allegations are easily verifiable. At the centre, corruption is having a good fight and with oil barely at 60 dollars per barrel, it not the same thing as when it was almost 180 dollars a barrel when PDP controlled the centre.

“Though there are shortcomings here and there, President Muhammadu Buhari is doing his best for Nigeria. Fuel supply is, as at today, gaining stability. The thieves of our destiny are the ones shouting most against the government of the day. The avenues for looting are currently limited and far-fetched”.

Economy in bad shape – Kramar, trader 

Differing with the lawyer, a trader, Mr Kramar, said:   “The outgoing year has not been very well; people have not fared well basically because if you consider the economy things are not going well. The ban on importation has really affected the economy particularly the lower class, things are very difficult.

“On the issue of corruption that the government is claiming to be fighting, I do not see any good thing coming out of it. So much has been realized from the so-called looters, but no tangible thing has been done with it. We in the Niger Delta we are not faring well because there is no employment.

“From their past records, I cannot see any good thing coming out next year. Basically from what we have seen, we are supposed to judge from their records and, in any election year, a lot of expenditure will be made, I wonder how they are going to manage the economy for us”.

People are suffering, but – Timi Usman, labourer 

Also ventilating his opinion, a labourer, Mr. Timi Usman, said: “I know that the present Federal Government is trying but we are suffering. The people working with the President are making things difficult for the masses; they are sabotaging the President with their selfishness. The ministers, National Assembly members and even the governors are working against the good intentions of the Federal Government, and are deceiving the masses.

“ However, I am very hopeful that PMB will reposition himself and the country, next year, things will be better by God’s grace”.

FG fell short of everything – Otu, journalist 

Mr. Dennis Otu, Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, was direct in his opinion: “I must tell you that my expectations and those of majority of Nigerians were not met in 2018 by the Federal Government.   I was expecting massive creation of jobs, but this never happened. Instead more Nigerians were thrown into the labour market, leading to increase in criminal activities.

“There was no improvement in power supply in the country too in the outgoing year.   The year witnessed killings. The Federal Government failed to protect lives and property.

“In 2019, government must do everything to meet the expectations of the people. The Federal Government must ensure credible, transparent, free and fair elections and do the needful to avert electoral fraud and violence.

“Killings across the country must be addressed. The grinding poverty in the land must be tackled by government if Nigerians must know peace “.

Year of missed opportunities – Ovedje

A concerned citizen, Steve Ovedje intoned: “The waning year could best be described as a year of missed opportunities. The failings of the present administration abound in every sector. From the ever escalating violence in all parts of the country, to the speedy evaporation of hope on the part of the led and the disturbing ability of government to spin barefaced lies to cover their numerous failings, we are stuck.

“The reasons President Buhari gave for not signing the amended Electoral Bill is not only laughable, but also clearly demonstrates the shameless degree of President Buhari’s insincerity.

“How can a President who refused to honour ECOWAS Court judgment on Dasuki rely on ECOWAS Protocol as reason for not signing the amended Electoral Bill that would have significantly strengthened the electoral process? We have a huge task ahead of us”.

Year of good and bad- Oguma, peasant farmer 

A peasant farmer in Igarra, Akoko Edo local government area of Edo State, Onobere Oguma, described 2018 as a year of good and bad experiences.

He was however full of encomiums for the State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR), a World Bank scheme which engaged him under its employment scheme for the better part of 2018.

His words: “It has been a year of the good and the bad. The economy was not very buoyant. I have to dedicate more time to my farming. However, I was also lucky to have been engaged by SEEFOR through the Chief of Staff to Edo State governor and that went a long way to cushion the hardship I would have faced.”

On his expectations for the New Year, Oguma said he expected the Federal Government to cushion the economic hardship of the people, adding, “We are preparing for elections in 2019, I expect that things should be better economically for the common man. “Government should do more to improve power supply which will go a long way in helping small business people.”

I’m worried- Erabhor, petty trader 

A petty trader in Benin-City, Johnson Erabor, asserted: “I am disturbed going by what I read in newspapers everyday and what I watch on television. It is always killings in various parts of the country. Boko Haram is still terrorizing parts of the country in the North-East and, just now, we are hearing of bandits attacks in Zamfara State. The IPOB challenge in the South-East is still there and we are still witnessing cult- related killings in some states in the South-South.”

My grievance is there’s no power – Flavour, barber 

A barber, along Erediauwa Street, off Ekenwan Road in Benin-City, who simply gave his business name as Flavour, said his major challenge is power and expected the Federal Government to do something in 2019.

“We spent two straight months here without electricity and I have to resort to using generator. How much am I making that I have to spend more than half of my earnings on buying petrol before I will now pay my rent for the shop? I believe President Buhari should do something about light; otherwise those of us in small-scale business will have to close shop.

“This issue of light I learnt is very bad in Edo State and not the same in other parts of the country, especially in the North, so what is BEDC doing about electricity in Edo State?”

On the 2019 elections, Flavour said: “The beauty of democracy is that the people will decide who they want and that is what I expect INEC to do. I am a card – carrying member of a party and I believe that we as Nigerians should be allowed to decide who wins and our decision should be so respected.”

Present govt bereft of ideas- Omaka, unemployed graduate 

An unemployed graduate, Miss Chinwe Omaka, who spoke to one of our reporters in Benin-City, stated: “Government both at the federal and state levels has not met my expectations in the outgoing year, especially in the areas of unemployment, the economy, provision of stable power supply for small entrepreneurs and security of lives and property.

“ As far as the present leadership in the country is unable to meet the expectations of Nigerians in the past three and half years, voting for it again will worsen the plight of Nigerians. So it is time to try another as they are bereft of ideas on how to move the country forward”.

Vote out this hopeless govt- Ayokhai, media consultant 

Media consultant, Dada Ayokhai, said: “The government did not meet the expectations of Nigerians in the year 2018. For 2019, my expectation is for Nigerians to vote out this ineffective government.”

Dashed expectations – Ighodaro, student 

Victory Ighodaro, a student, asserted: “My expectations for this year were not met by government, especially in the areas of education, power supply, cost of foodstuff, security, war against corruption, etc.

“My expectations for 2019 are that a reliable government should be voted in by Nigerians, that the elections should be free, fair and credible. There should be transparency by those in government.

I’m disenchanted- Obosa, activist 

Civil rights activist, Agho Obosa, pointed out: “My expectations from government were never met in all ramifications. I am very disappointed that the issues of insecurity, poor power supply, unemployment, cost of foodstuff and war against corruption, which has become a one- sided affair has not been resolved by government. “For 2019, I expect free, fair and credible polls and there should be transparency by those in government.”

Ordinary Nigerians suffering – Foluke Osatuyi, secondary school teacher 

Foluke Osatuyi said, “In terms of corruption, the administration has probed the deals and activities of the last administration, especially in the area of security where billions of naira are said to have been embezzled. The administration through the EFCC is trying to prosecute corrupt officials and send a strong signal to corrupt officials in Nigeria, with the probe of various sectors. Huge amounts of monies have been recovered, though many see it as a witch-hunting claim it is one-sided, the focus on people from the opposition party.   This anti-corruption war, however, has not improved Nigeria’s economy one-bit or Nigeria’s image in the international community. The ordinary Nigerian is suffering still, and the exchange rate of dollar is high, therefore, making importation difficult and expensive and even the so-called home made goods are inaccessible as there is no adequate support from government. The little support that should come to our local farmers and manufacturers are being sabotaged by those at the top meant to overseer such gestures.

“The government claims it has subdued Boko Haram, but there are still bombings here and there. The government has so far shown that it cannot fully respect court orders. There are unwarranted arrests and detention of suspects without evidence. The freedom of speech enjoyed during the Jonathan administration cannot be compared to that of ‘Sai Baba’.   There has been loss of lives of peaceful protesters and believers of doctrine, and this shows no care for the value of human lives, not to mention the havocs caused by herdsmen and kidnappers. The economy of the nation is falling apart, and although it is a worldwide problem, the government needs to do something about the bad economy.

“The government has not acted too poorly really but it is far from meeting my expectations with the promises of change it made during electioneering. I wish to see a government that is more proactive in delivering her campaign promises, a government that is transparent and reflects equity, a government known for integrity with economic policies that will help alleviate poverty and other policies that will ensure security of lives and property. A government that cannot provide the basic amenities of food, health care and security is no government at all”

We can’t run away from restructuring — Idada

We are going backward – Sunday Menukuro, student lawyer

Sunday Menukuro, a student lawyer resident in Akure, said, “Nigerians situation in the outgoing year has been the worst ever, no thanks to the government of the day, especially at the central, which has made Nigeria unbearably pathetic since it got to power. Things are from bad to worse this year because Nigerians expected that by now what those in government promised Nigerians at the time they were struggling for power in 2014/15 would have had positive effects, but unfortunately, Nigeria has gone backward almost in all spheres of life. None of their promises has come to reality. Talk of security, more innocent Nigerians have been killed by Boko Haram and killer herdsmen. Kidnappers and ritualists are on the increase, and they perpetrate their dastardly acts on daily basis.

“Our military and police who are supposed to provide security have been killed by these terrorists. Fear is everywhere in Nigeria. Nobody sleeps with his two eyes closed again. When you talk of economy, most people in Nigeria have become companions of hunger as a result of the economic policy of the government of the day. Prices of commodities have gone to the roof top. No money, no job. Even those who have little amount of money to buy foodstuff, which is the basic need of human beings, would get to the market to be confronted with high price partly as a result of herdsmen whose cows have destroyed plants or the killing of farmers. Hike in the pump prices of petroleum prices does not help matters. No significant improvement in electricity supply, our roads are bad. Lecturers go on strike incessantly. All of these and many that I have not mentioned are as a result of the cluelessness of the current government. Nigeria needs a man or woman who is experienced, who understands Nigeria”.

 

Year of the good and the bad -Michael Adeyeye, public analyst 

Michael Adeyeye, a public analyst , said, “2018 has been one of mixed fortunes for Nigeria. One might be tempted to say it is a seemingly blend of the good and the bad. It is a known fact that there is prevailing poverty in the land and this confirms the current rating of Nigeria as the headquarters of poverty in the world. And we appear to be more divided than before.

“Let me say that the expectations of Nigerians at the inception of the current government were high especially with the change agenda of this government. Nigerians are really tired of the blame game, the government must wake up to reality and take the bull by the horn to deliver on its promises rather than engage in blame trade

“The year 2018 was full of crisis that threatens the unity of this nation. I don’t think we have gotten it right as expected. The technically defeated Boko Haram had suddenly resurrected and now wreaks more havoc by weakening our military through coordinated attacks. This portends a greater danger to the nation. I wonder where an ordinary citizens would go to seek refuge if our military and IDP camps can be attacked with little or no resistance.

“Despite the war against corruption, the country still ranks among the most corrupt nations of the world. “Our budget performance with respect to capital budget is worrisome and nothing to write home about. With 2018 winding off and even a possible extension of the life span of the 2018 budget, it is uncertain whether much will be achieved that can guarantee a solid foundation for a better economic growth.

“It is disheartening that we will be entering 2019 with the imbroglio between the Federal Government and ASUU.

“On the other hand, I must commend the NNPC for a good job especially at this Yuletide period. “Nigerians are happy that the perennial fuel scarcity and long queues in our filling stations have suddenly disappeared. This is a welcome development and a good gift to the nation.

“On 2019, Nigerians expect and deserve nothing but free, fair and credible elections that will be acceptable to everyone. “Government must re-strategize and possibly overhaul the current security architecture of the country. “It is an understatement to say that the prevailing security situation in the country may derail the 2019 elections if not checked. Above all, we look forward to a better and prosperous nation in 2019”.

We are at a crossroad – Leke Adegbite, unionist

Leke Adegbite, a unionist based in Akure, said, “In 2018, government has failed economically. Prices of products are going up daily without any policy from government to curb it. “Government increased pump prices of petroleum products two years ago with a promise that there is no more subsidy, and there was hope that they will have money for infrastructural development. But huge amount of money is still being committed to subsidy this year.

“I am also disappointed that government is yet to resolve industrial crises in our tertiary institutions. As at today, ASUU and ASUP are on strike while COEASU just returned to class from a long strike.

“Failure of FG and state governments to honour their agreement with the organised labour on minimum wage is another way government has not met my expectation.

“Politically, internal democracy is still very far in our political parties especially the popular ones. They held terrible primaries and my expectation is that INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders will ensure credible 2019 polls while the judiciary should decide all pre-election litigations before the general elections”.

Oduola Tunde Olatunde, an aggregator at Oluwabamiduro Agricultural Company, in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, said leaders displayed a high level of insincerity at all levels in the outgoing year. According to him, insecurity of lives and property was at its peak with Nigerians unsure of what next would happen. He said, as we move to election year, whoever is elected as President should ensure that lives of Nigerians are safe.

Miss Mary Thomas, a Secretary at a private company, felt if the issue of unemployment is not addressed, there will be a serious pressure on the economy and this will increase insecurity.

While admitting that 2018 is a challenging year which actually stretched the economy to the limit, Comrade Okon Ofonime, a marketer and maintenance operator, said the most challenging thing that actually threatened the foundation of the country is insecurity especially in the North-East.

Mr Adeleke Adegoroye Witty, a farmer in Ibadan, said the most daunting challenge facing the country is inability of the leaders to provide food for its citizens. “Food is very scarce. For example, the price of rice is now N18, 000. How many people can afford that? It is not convenient for a common man to feed himself”, he said

“Self employed people have no patronage because government is not paying salaries of its workers. You know most of the customers of these artisans are civil servants. “What happens when workers are not paid their salaries and entitlements? Of course the effect would spread to other sectors of the economy.

“Any political party that wins the 2019 polls should improve on food production and open the borders to allow minimal importation of rice. If we want to stop importation, do we have enough to feed our people? “Government can give license to companies to import food that we are not producing enough? Then government should call farmers for town hall meetings in rural areas. “Youth Corps members serving in various states should be introduced to farming. Whatever they produce will help the economy.

“Also, inmates of prisons should be made to farm. Government spends a lot of money on them. The take home pay of the members of the National Assembly should be reduced. Their allowances alone can employ several youths loitering the streets.”

Deji Ogundaunsi, a final year micro biology student of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, said the situation in 2018 was so bad such that he was a victim of kidnapping. “If the security approach of government had been excellent, vices in the country would have been curbed”, he said.

“The economic policy is bad and the outcome felt everywhere”.

On his expectations for 2019, he said: “We hope to see a turnaround in the economy. We expect to get foodstuff at cheaper rates and land borders should be reopened”.

Ogunrinde Blessing, an unemployed graduate of industrial chemistry resident in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, on her part, said, “2018 has been tough and rough for most families in the country, especially where the husband and wife are civil servants and salaries were not paid as and when due.

“The Federal Government has too many irons in fire and no particular policy was given attention. With this approach, most of the projects in vital sector of the country suffered neglect or were haphazardly and shoddily done”

“My expectations in 2019 is simple: Let the Federal Government complete all on-going projects in the transportation sector, roads and rail, complete all the power projects, give more loans to small scale industries and revive the textile and paper industries, these will create more jobs”.

Babawale Afeez Olanite, a public servant in Osogbo, Osun state capital, asked government to reduce unemployment in the country.