…Adopt new strategy in tackling insecurity
…Address economic problems frontally
…Check collapsing infrastructure
…Many homes no longer safe
By Dayo Johnson; Vincent Ujumadu; Ola Ajayi; Chidi Nkwopara; Samuel Oyadongha; Demola Akinyemi; Egufe Yafugborhi; Festus Ahon; Peter Duru; Tina Akannam; Marie-Therese Nanlong; Peter Okutu; Rotimi Ojomoyela; David Odama; James Ogunnaike; Abdulmumin Murtala; Chioma Onuegbu; Shina Abubakar; Femi Bolaji; Ozioruva Aliu; Ibrahim HassanWuyo; Chinenye Ozor & Chinedu Adonu.
The year 2020 had been a turbulent one for the entire country. The groans were loud and clear. Residents expressed their frustrations and pains.
From insurgency, to banditry, kidnapping, killings, deplorable roads, in the midst of ravaging coronavirus pandemic that has claimed several lives, many believed the country was sliding towards a failed state.
The Federal Government, in the estimation of some, didn’t exude confidence when President Muhammadu Buhari declared that he had given the security agencies all the support they needed to secure the residents and the nation. However, insecurity appeared to be getting worse even as the Federal Government kept assuring the populace that it would continue to do its best to secure the citizenry.
In the midst of all these challenges, Nigerians are demanding more action from the Federal Government.
In their new year message to President Muhammadu Buhari, they spoke of their expectations in the new year. Excerpts:
Father Joseph Opelema, Parish Priest and Vicar General, Catholic Diocese of Bomadi and Vice chairman,Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN Bayelsa State chapter said: “Before this government came into power, the expectations were high but five years down the line, what we have is despair. 2020 has been a disaster occasioned by COVID19 and bad governance. Things have gone so wrong and so bad that Nigeria has been described in some quarters as a failed state. Government has a lot of work to do in 2021 to redeem itself.
I want to see an improved security situation in the country. The economy is sinking deep and unemployment rate is higher than ever before. Government should take proactive steps to reverse the situation. Government should do everything possible to return our children to school. They should permanently end the feud with ASUU. Unfortunately, while expectations are high as always, I do not have the confidence that this government can change anything.
Eric Omare, rights activist and immediate past president, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, said: “To be honest, having regard to what Nigerians have gone through in the past five years and six months under President Buhari, it is very difficult to place expectations before the present government. This is so because I feel that this government neither reads nor listens to any public opinion.
However, despite the near hopeless situation of Nigeria, I think that considering the present total collapse of security of lives and property in Nigeria, I expect the federal government to reconsider its security strategy. In this respect, my take is that security should be a responsibility of local and state governments in a restructured Nigeria. This is the only way we can tackle the current security challenge because obviously the federal security agencies are overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. Above all, the Federal Government should summon the courage above sectional interest working with the National Assembly to embark on the all important constitutional amendments to devolve power to the federating units as advocated by many Nigerians.”
Amaebi Clarkson, legal practitioner said: “One is so disillusioned that one cannot expect any positive impact on the country from the Federal Government. The country cannot continue to use same approach in tackling our many challenges and expect different results. Take for instance, security in the North, there have been cries to change the service chiefs but the president has been adamant. What innovation can come from these exhausted brains to handle the insecurity? The only changes I expect in 2021 is in the political sphere. The heat for 2023 will be intensified and any semblance of development will be abandoned for politics. Our challenges have made even the most conservative among us to see the need for restructuring of the country along federating lines. The discussion for a true federation will be intensified and may be the pivot or selling point for the 2023 presidential election.”
Miss Titilayo Oladunjoye, unemployed graduate: As for me, I don’t think we have government. If we have a government they should please provide employment for us. In respect of power supply, in my area,we used to have regular power supply but it is no longer the case. The government should do something about electricity.
Taiwo Okoro, painter/barber: This government has been very unfair to many Nigerians. I’m a graduate, after several years of searching for job and I couldn’t get one, I learnt painting and later barbing. In 2021, the government should take the problem of insecurity very seriously before it consumes all of us in Nigeria. Without security, nobody can do anything freely. In fact today many people are scared of travelling by road for fear of being kidnapped. This is not fair in a country where we have law and order. Everybody in government is sleeping, they should all wake up in 2021 before these terrorists,bandits and kidnappers send us out of Nigeria.
Adesina Adesegun, Secretary, TAMPAN, Ogun State chapter: As a nollywood actor, I will be very glad if the federal government can invest hugely on promotion of theatre-arts. Government should dedicate a special fund for the industry, build film villages across the six geo-political zones of the country and the film villages should be equipped with up to date facilities. Also, the federal government should do more by enforcing the anti piracy law and as well create an enabling environment that will motivate investors to invest on the entertainment industry.
Ola Animasaun, Public Affairs Analyst: My expectations from the current federal government for 2021, will not go outside the Tripod-Stand Framework, continuously promised Nigerians till date; security, economy and anti-corruption crusade. In any case, since security of lives and property is paramount for any government, then; it is mandatory that we get a guarantee for peace, growth and development than otherwise in 2021.
Peter Adigun, Teacher; In 2021, the masses’ expectation is very high in the area of infrastructure, healthcare services to reduce mortality rate and effective fight of covid -19. The nation is plagued with many social and economic vices such as high rate of youth unemployment, strikes by various institutions and organisations. The Nigerian economy is in comatose and needs urgent genuine attention. The level of insecurity is alarming. The federal government should adequately fund the nation’s security apparatus and get modern equipment for security personnel. Nigeria is tending towards a failed state as nothing seems to work. Urgent and honest intervention is required to get back on track.
Balarabe Ishaq: The federal government should look into the current economic hardship Nigerians are facing especially the rate of inflation in the country. The cost of food stuff is rising, the value of the naira is diminishing everyday. The federal government should also look at the issue of insecurity in the country. The government has to be sincere in its fight against corruption in 2021 because it is part of the reasons things are not working well in the country.
Lamido Dandollaz Mustapha: As a youth, it will gladden my heart if the federal government gives special attention to empowering youth in 2021 by providing vocational training and also assist them with fund. Millions of Nigerian youth are idle, including the educated and the unskilled ones. No youth will like to join kidnap group or any criminal group if they are employed.
Chief Prosper Omoefeh Akete: As a community leader in the north, our major concern is security. The President should give security priority attention in 2021. The government should put in more effort in tackling security challenge across the country especially in the north. The federal government should also create more job opportunities for our unemployed youth and ensure that schools are re-opened at all levels because our children have been out of school for too long.
Hajiya Hauwa Ali: The federal government should improve on security of Nigerians. Nobody is safe again in this country, I wanted to travel to Kaduna for a wedding in December, but I had to shelve the plan for fear of kidnappers.
Aliyu Shehu Limawa: In 2021, the government needs to do more in the area of security as many citizens can no longer sleep with their two eyes closed. There is too much blood shed on daily basis, even highly placed people are not free from kidnapping and bandits are operating freely and in some areas people can not cultivate their land because of bandits or terrorists. The economy is another area I want the government to do more as prices of food items are becoming unbearable for the ordinary citizens.
Bello Sani, Information Technology specialist said, “Cost of production keeps rising due to lack of electricity, water and good roads, making it impossible to compete in the market. The health sector has always been a cause for concern to me which has its root in education sector.
Hauwa Yusuf, business woman, wants “the government to take stringent measures in reviving the economy. My hope for next year is to have a robust economy that will give rise to more employment opportunities for our teaming youths in the country. Insecurity should be tackled to curtail incessant banditry, kidnapping and all sort of vices that have become a daily occurrence in the country”.
Samira Abdullah, house wife, said ”my expectation in 2021 is for insecurity to be tackled with all seriousness and put an end to kidnapping and banditry.
Prince Wiro, Secretary, Board of Trustees, Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign, said, “I expect Federal Government to adequately address the insecurity ravaging most parts of the country especially northern part of the country. I expect FG to tackle banditry, BokoHaram killings, terrorism etc.
Uchechi Nziwu, Journalist said, “FG should reform the nation’s educational sector and the constitution needs some rejigging. Lawmakers’ salaries should be slashed. A law should be passed that after eight years anyone occupying either elective or appointive office should quit to create opportunities for others. Government should ensure that allocation of federal job opportunities should be fair and transparent, based on merit, not on who you know.
Ese Komone, youth activist, said, “Nigerian government should go back to the 1963 constitution. And the ethnic nationalities within the geographical space should hold their respective regional conferences to determine how they will live together or have their respective autonomous systems of governance.”
Dr Akpor Mudiaga-Odje, Human Rights Activist said: “Our expectations from the Federal Government in 2021 will be in the realm of security and power in terms of priority. The security situation in 2020 was to say the least frightening; the avalanche of kidnapping and armed banditry assumed frightening dimensions that require prompt and enormous reactions from the Federal Government. We expect a comprehensive overhaul of the security architecture including sweeping reforms on same from Service Chiefs to GOCs to IGs, we need a total renaissance. Vigilante need to be more incorporated and nationally synchronized. We are simply tired of the recurrent decimal of kidnapping and armed banditry in Nigeria in the Covid 19 riddled 2020. The horrendous murders in Southern Kaduna is despicable and alarming.”
Chief Sunny Onuesoke, former Delta State governorship aspirant, said: “Nigeria as a country is already a failed state. We are in a country where a Minister will do one thing and the Presidency will say another thing. The world is watching us as a failed state. No serious foreign investor will put his investment fund in this horrible insecurity clime like Nigeria for now. So, I expect the Federal Government to make deliberate efforts towards addressing the security challenges being faced in the country and also take bold steps towards revamping our economy and create jobs for our teeming unemployed youths.”
Dr Anny Asikpo, Chief Executive Officer, Arise and Shine Educational Publishers said “As a Nigerian I expect the Federal government to defeat Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping. The Federal government should also fight corruption in its entirety and not selective fight of corruption. If the federal government could do all these things, if it can reduce corruption at all strata of government to at least 75 per cent, we will see a better Nigeria in 2021 and beyond”
Comrade Joe Jackson, National President, Niger Delta Youth Movement (NDYM) said he expects “the Federal Government to end restiveness among the youths through creation of massive job opportunities and sustainable empowerment. Also, I expect the Federal government to address the problem of infrastructure in the country especially in the Niger Delta region.
On his part, Reverend KufreAbasi Essien of the Department of Physics, University of Uyo (UNIUYO) said he could not raise any expectations from this government because he would not want to be disappointed. Essien lamented that the refusal of the federal government to address the lingering issues that led to strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as well as its failure to respond to rising insecurity across the country, already showed that it is a failed government.
“I do not have any trust in this government. If you want to destroy a country, you don’t need to fire a shot, all you need to do is to cripple the education system of that country. They have failed to keep all their campaign promises. So I don’t expect anything from this government because if I raise my expectations now and they fail me again I will feel disappointed. For now I don’t have any expectations from this government because it has failed us.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi said “while we hope for a better economy in the year 2021, the current economic reality in the country is disheartening and we need a clear economic policy to revive the country. We started this year 2020 with a lot of hopes and aspirations that the country will get it right economically towards the prosperity of the entire citizenry, but unfortunately the pandemic Covid-19 crept in, sinking the economy into yet another recession.
It has happened this way and the only way out is for the government to take responsibility. Government policies must be executed in a way that standard of living of the citizens, particularly the youths is upgraded which will in turn reduce the crime rate in the country. FG must also ensure it prioritise the unity of the country and peaceful coexistence among the citizenry.”
Mr Oluomo Sunday Akere, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Osun State, said the Federal Government should address the issue of security challenge across the country in the year 2021. The primary responsibility of the government as enshrined in the constitution is the security and welfare of the people but unfortunately, the year 2020 was marred by insecurity, apart from the challenge of Coronavirus pandemic. The whole country appears unsafe for the citizenry from Boko Haram insurgency to banditry, kidnapping and ritual killings which has crippled the economy because it is only in secured environment that welfare of the masses could be adequately catered for. Another important issue the federal government is expected to tackle headlong is that of food scarcity. I expect government to draw up policies that will encourage farming and enhance farming activities across the country, especially dry season farming.
According to Hussaina Ibrahim, “I pray and hope the APC government in 2021 will regulate the prices of goods and services in order to favour all classes of the people of Nigeria.”
Favour Ogbemudia in her submission said, “my expectation from the federal government in 2021 is to see a downward review of taxes, ensure food security and mass employment of youths across the country to address growing poverty.”
For Nahum Sule, “I expect the FG to tackle wide spread insecurity with all seriousness, restore sanity in the market place by subsidizing cost of food items, and also ensure that the naira becomes buoyant in the FOREX market.”
Usman Maikano, asked for a tougher handling of the security situation in the country. He said, “My expectations in 2021 are that the federal government should tackle the hydra headed insecurity with all seriousness. Confirmed criminal elements should be severely dealt with to boost citizens’ confidence in the ability of government to protect them.”
According to Utiyos Mallo ”I expect the federal government to address the general failure of the system and heed genuine advice. People are frustrated, there is no money, people are being kidnapped, the homes are not safe any longer, everyone is agitated, insecurity should be tackled so that people can be free to go about their businesses.”
To Stella Ogbonna, “Our expectations are that the federal government will stop paying lip service to the fight against corruption but should carry citizens along in governance. Placing one tribe or religion above others is a major problem that should not be allowed to continue in 2021.”
Filimon Hwere expected the federal government to “address the issue of herdsmen sacking and occupying people’s farmland and even killing the landowners with impunity. Government should take this aspect of insecurity serious because it is fast spreading among communities and leaving such unchecked will spell doom for the country.”
Walkyes Isaiah’s expectations are that “the economic team should bring fresh ideas to tackle unemployment. Giving N10,000 or N20,000 to people to start a business in a harsh economic environment is like pouring water into a basket. There should be provision of enabling environment for small businesses to thrive and the issue of collapsed public infrastructure should be addressed to improve the living conditions of the people.”
Dr James Adanini, President, Etuno Solidarity Forum (ESF) said: “it is the same story of insecurity everywhere in the country. Kidnapping has become a daily occurrence in all parts of the country, people are scared of travelling by road yet that is the most affordable means of transportation in the country. So, we expect the government to do more for the people this new year because Nigerians have become prisoners in their houses”
On his part, Douglas Ogbankwa, a legal practitioner, said: “Government should abide by the rule of law, they must obey court orders at all times and government has to also rejig the security architecture as it seems as if most of the kidnappings that take place in the south are allegedly being perpetrated by persons believed to be Fulani herdsmen and it looks like they are treated with kid gloves. In 2021, government should be able to rejig the economy of the country. Government should be able to make policies that will increase the welfare of the people in the New Year”.
On his part, Osazee Edigin, activist and Coordinator, Action for Socio-political and Economic Change (ASEC), said Nigerians have lost faith in the anti-corruption fight of the government and expect fresh blood to bring back Nigerians’ confidence in the government. He said “Government must ensure the people enjoy their rights as citizens and to also ensure that provisions are made to cover for the challenges that came with 2020 so as to assuage the pains and sufferings of Nigerians. Government has not been treating Nigerian people as it should do, governance has been far from the masses so the government should be open to the people, let the people understand what they are doing at any point.
In terms of security, I think the government should step up its efforts of protecting the lives and properties of citizens because the level of insecurity is very high in the country and it is worrisome it appears the government is not doing enough in addressing the issue of security. On corruption, people don’t believe that the government is fighting corruption. People have lost faith in the mantra of fighting corruption by this government”.
Mr. Emma Nnaji who condemned the rising cases of kidnapping and killings across the country, said, “I expect the President to rejig the country’s security architecture. After the EndSARS protests, it seems the security forces went to sleep. Killings and kidnappings are now very rampant unlike before. Protection of lives and properties is very important and any government that cannot guarantee such has failed to uphold the Constitution it swore to.
Another resident, Mr. Godwin Offor argued that food and health should be given paramount attention.
“I expect the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to come up with policies that will engender production of food in large scale and preservation of the health of Nigerians.
Respondents in Anambra State said Nigerians had a raw deal in all aspects of life in 2020 and hoped that there should be a change of attitude by those entrusted to govern the people in 2021. Areas they want the government to pay more attention to include the welfare of the people, provision of social amenities, job creation, youth empowerment, implementation of the new minimum wage for workers in the state and payment of gratuities to retired workers.
Mr. Chidiebere Nwagu, a resident of Awka said, “nothing appears to be going on in all parts of the state and it looks as if government is at standstill. The governor should continue with his work the way he started when he took over, otherwise the people will score him too low at the end of his tenure”.
Comrade Anthony Ugozor, President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, urged government to take the welfare of workers and their retired counterparts seriously, adding that a situation whereby people spend all their productive years working for their country, only to be abandoned without receiving their benefits was not fair.
Mr. Marcel Okafor, a civil servant urged the federal government to ensure the completion of the federal highways in the South East in 2021, adding that doing so would make the people of the region to support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari during the next general elections.
Dansaaki Samuel Adeleye Agbede, member, Senior Elders Forum of the Yoruba Council of Elders, said he expects President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the security issue and re-strategise so that Nigerians don’t find themselves in troubled water. To him, the best option to address the security breaches is to allow state policing.
Also, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin, Balogun of Ibadanland, said “it is difficult to suggest anything because I’ve been hearing that it is the cabal that has been ruling us. If the cabal can leave President Buhari alone and allow even distribution of political office to all the ethnic groups, that will be fine.”
John Ogenyi, retired civil servant, said: 2020 was very challenging, we expect the government to take proactive measures to tackle the very harsh economic situation we have found ourselves. We expect that measures should be taken to get the country out of economic recession which has made life very unbearable for Nigerians.
Hassan Yusuf, petty trader, said, “we expect the federal government to take steps to reposition the economy of the country because Nigerians are going through hard times and the rate of inflation in the country has completely devalued our Naira. Those of us that do business are not finding it easy at all. The cost of transportation is killing our businesses due to the high cost of petrol.
Uche Nnorom, Journalist: My expectations are very high. In the area of the economy there should be seen to be a remarkable improvement in the economy to improve the standard of living of Nigerians.
Nigerians are going through hard times occasioned by the increase in the cost of living. In the area of security, the government should take drastic measures in curbing the security challenge. The issues of kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry should be tackled headlong. These are the two major areas that require urgent attention.
Scholastica Ndei, petty trader: “We expect that the government will do something about the economy and it should start by ensuring stability in the exchange rate. The exchange rate as it is today has left our economy in comatose. We cannot carry on with the present exchange rate because our currency has become very weak when compared to those of neighbouring countries and something urgent has to be done.
Mrs Bosede Nap lsaac- Business woman: ”I expect the federal government to wake up in 2021 by creating an enabling environment for entrepreneur. We also expect improvement in areas such as security, health, roads and create jobs for our teeming youths. The interest rate should be reduced drastically. The economy should be a top priority in the new year.
Alhaji Ali Oladeji- Vulganiser: ”Government should please provide jobs for our youths who are roaming the streets after graduation. Loans should also be given to small business people like us to expand. The security situation in the country should be looked into urgently.
Miss Bolaji Atere, Student: ”Government should ensure that the academic calendar is not disrupted in the coming year because we have lost a session already following the face-off between government and ASUU. I expect government to create job opportunities for the teeming youths roaming the streets. The security situation should be improved to stop all these unnecessary killing across the country.
A traditional ruler, Igwe Chukwuma Eze of Ishi-Obere Amifie autonomous community in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, Enugu state said “the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed. 2021 is a year of correction considering what happened in 2020. We expect that the federal government should use what happened during coronavirus pandemic and invest heavily on the health sector across to country. Nigerians are yearning for access road to move their agricultural produce. The South East does not have access road at all. Insecurity/insurgency in the country has crippled the economy of Nigeria.
Dr Godsmark Eddy Ugwu, a senior lecturer at Institute of Management and Technology IMT Enugu and former member of the1999 constitutional conference, said Nigerians went through a lot of hardship in 2020 and therefore need a change for the better. Ugwu who was also the former chairman of Igboeze South local government area lamented the cost of living in the country
Also, the traditional ruler elect of Agbor Alor Uno proposed autonomous community in Nsukka local government area, Enugu state, High Chief Ezugwu Sunday said that the federal government has not been fair to the South East geo political zone as it has the highest number of dilapidated roads in the country. He called for a general improvement in governance by the Federal Government in 2021.