By Omoniyi Salaudeen
Excitement and euphoria that usually herald a New Year are still very much in the air. While some prominent Nigerians have expressed strong optimism for improved socio-economic wellbeing of the citizenry, others say the future is full of dark forebodings, lamenting the seeming hopelessness of the state of security, as well as economic downturn in the country.
Erudite Professor of law and Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on anti-corruption, Itse Sagay, Prof Remi Sonaiya, Chewas Okorie, Ebenezer Babatope and Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe are among the leaders of thought who spoke about their concerns and reservations for the worrisome level of insecurity in the country.
Adequate security is paramount –Ebenezer Babatope
I wish the best for my country. I want to enjoy relative peace. I want our people to enjoy freedom that will enable them to take initiative that will solve their problems. I hope that those who are ruling Nigeria will ensure that we have adequate security in the country.
I hope people who are ruling us will be able to take us out of the economic doldrums that we are in. If they can take us out of the woods, it will be a good thing for them and for the people of Nigeria. Things are very hard and very tough. As it is now, Nigerians are not finding things easy at all. I hope our country will get out of the doldrums.
State of insecurity disturbing –Prof Itse Sagay
First, the most disturbing development now is insecurity. That is the first thing I will like to see improved upon. There is too much insecurity. If it is not reduced to a very low level, other activities will be affected. People will not be able to go about with their daily lives.
The second one is reduction in unemployment. Too many of our youths are unemployed. So, I will like to see all the government programmes being put in place to reduce the level of unemployment. By so doing, it will help the security situation because if the people are fully employed, they will not need to commit crimes to survive. In fact, they will be so occupied that they won’t have time to have negative thoughts.
The third thing is continued development in infrastructure areas – railways, roads, bridges, power and communication in various ways.
On the political sphere, I want Nigerians to change their attitude and not be negatively competitive. People should not think power must come to their side at any costs. People who think that way will not use that power beneficially for the nation. They will use it for themselves at the expense of the masses, creating friction, poverty and hunger. That mentality must go. We should begin to embrace the best and put merit forward in our choice of political leaders and help those leaders to succeed in good governance, rather than helping them to share the commonwealth of Nigeria leaving the majority of us miserable and wretched.
We can only endure current hardship till 2023 –Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe
As far as I am concerned, I cannot predict what is going to happen at all because all predictions in 2019 went totally wrong. None of them was correct. Nobody saw what we are seeing today. So, anybody who is predicting 2021 may be wasting his time.
But I am begging God to lead us to 2023. There is hardly anything that can be done between now and 2023. We just have to persevere and wait until a new government comes in. I don’t see any possibility of any form of change in whatever forms because we are not addressing the real issue. The leadership cannot address the issue directly. We know the issue and the person who can resolve it has refused to act. The only person who can change whatever we want to change in Nigeria is Mr. President.
He must condemn the Fulani herdsmen that are killing people. They have turned kidnapping and killings into a big business and he is not talking about them. The world terrorist index told us that they (Fulani herdsmen) are the most dangerous terrorist group in the whole of the world. The president is not saying anything about them. Everybody is on to him or herself. Ultimately, everybody will have to carry arms so that when somebody wants to kidnap you, you fire. If you don’t do that, they will kidnap you.
If we don’t solve the problem of insecurity, there is no hope for Nigeria. Security is very important for national development. Unless we address it, we will just be deceiving ourselves. There is no way anybody can do anything without security. So, everybody should get permission to carry gun. If you are a farmer; just as they did in South Africa, where white farmers are carrying gun, you just have to carry gun when you are going to your farm. All farmers must have access to gun. By then, everybody will be equal. You attack me, I attack you. No matter how we condemn killings and kidnapping, the status quo will still remain.
They talk about corruption, but look at the dissolved NDDC interim management committee and the amount of money they squandered. What did they do for them? They just dissolved the committee even without arresting those who mismanaged the funds. Is that how to fight corruption? It is free for everybody to steal. As far as I am concerned, I don’t see any hope in the coming year. Let us just endure till 2023 when another person will come and see things differently.
Division in the country needs greater attention –Chief Chekwas Okorie
I am a very optimistic person by nature. I am hopeful that 2021 will witness a great departure from the challenges of 2020. I expect within the first quarter as predicted by the CBN and other economic experts that Nigeria will get out of recession. I also expect that food prices will experience some fall, especially with the reopening of borders, notwithstanding the insecurity in the country. I also expect that the issue of security will receive greater attention by all stakeholders, not only the Federal Government, but also the states. Most of the state governors are already beginning to look inward to solve the internal security problems in their states.
I will urge the National Assembly to do whatever it can to pass very early all the amendments of the electoral act so that Nigerians can hold the people they have elected accountable for managing our common patrimony. Everybody has been talking of restructuring. So, we have no other option than to rely on the National Assembly to be as quick as possible in the amendment of the constitution and ensure substantial reduction of items on the exclusive list. We should also be able have state police and community policing as a constitutional provision or amendment. That will help a lot in the area of security. If the average citizen has a stake in the security of his community, containing internal security will be adequately addressed. I also do believe that the president in particular will be able to look more seriously into the issue of division in the country that has elicited some scathing criticisms here and there. It is within his power to give every section of the country a sense of belonging. That is very important for both economic growth and social engineering.
Greater emphasis should also be given to education in the new budget because human resource development is the key to sustainable growth in any country. Following education is the healthcare delivery. These are some of the high expectations I have for next year.
I hope for good governance –Prof Remi Sonaiya
I will like to see competent leadership, leadership that is compassionate, leadership that will really care for the people. I will like to see a set of officers that are not focused on their own benefits or benefits they can reap from the country, but willing to work for the good of everyone.
I pray for comfort for all those who are grieving because of all the terrible things that have happened to us and people who have been killed in different attacks. I pray for the comfort of God for their families. I pray that all of us as Nigerians will recognize that it is in our hands, it is in our power to build the kind of country that we desire. I pray we will not keep aiming and supporting bad leaders who are not using their positions rightly. I want to see us being led by capable people, people with integrity, people with a heart to serve. I want to see Nigeria take its rightful place and be a good example in Africa and in the world at large.