Credible polls, security of lives and properties, improved power supply, stronger naira, improved economy and conducive business climate top Nigerians shopping list as 2019 rolls out.
Nigerians from every walk of life, including clerics, academics, politicians, traders and students are of the opinion that Nigerians deserve a better deal in the new year.
This is as prominent Nigerians and groups including former governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Party (APC) in Delta State, Prof. Pat Utomi, chieftain of the Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adeanjo, presidential candidates of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Fela Durotoye, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu and Yunusa Tanko of the National Conscience Party (NCP) expressed mixed feelings about the outgoing year.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the expectation is for credible people to be voted into office across the country.
CBCN President, Dr. Augustine Akubeze, in a telephone interview, bemoaned the spate of killings across the country and stressed the need to vote for people who can protect lives and properties.
According to him, part of government’s job is to protect lives and property.
“There is too much killing in our land. We need people that will respect lives and stop all these killings in our land.”
Like Akubueze, Bishop Henry Okeke, Anglican Bishop of Mbamili Diocese expects a situation where the wishes of the electorate will be respected.
“We also expect that those holding political office should be more concerned about the welfare of the people they represent,” he said.
Utomi who described 2018 as a “watershed year” for Nigeria, during which the country entered the annals of history for mostly the wrong reasons, however, expressed doubts if the 2019 general elections will be credible.
But Adebanjo said the best gift the country could receive in 2019 is the assurance of credible polls from President Muhammadu Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Tanko gave a four-point approach the citizenry must adopt to pull the country out of its political and economic quagmire. Part of it is for the citizenry to vote wisely during the polls and reject violence.
Durotoye believes Nigerians would vote for a party that is committed to their “freedom, happiness and prosperity.”
Former minister for Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ahamba want to see the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) win the presidential election.
According to Babatope, change of leadership at the centre is the only way the country could move forward.
“There is so much hunger and suffering and our economy is in a comatose This administration has failed and we cannot continue like this.”
Ahamba said current handlers of the economy were at sea on what to do to reduce the hardship of the last three and half years.
He expects that former vice president Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi would be the new leaders of the country after the February presidential election with Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo State.
But former minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Emeka Wogu expressed optimism that Buhari would be re-elected to frog-leap the country.
“I am impressed with the level of work going on in the South East in terms of projects around the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge. So, a re-election of the president will enable him consolidate on all these projects,” Wogu stated.
We must invest in power, science and technology – Izuogu, Mbisogu
Renowned scientist, Dr. Izuogu said the nation cannot make any meaningful progress without developing the power sector.
“We must pursue development through science and technology instead of promoting ethnicity and religious bigotry. Science and technology is the only fastest way of developing a country. Nigeria is wretched and poor because its people are poor. If you don’t have electrical power in your house, you are poor already. So, Nigeria cannot invent without electrical power. Buhari has done well in fighting corruption, but he is lagging behind in other areas. He must invest in science, technology and innovation.”
Similarly, Managing Director of Diamond Logistics and Shanghai company wants to see improved power supply and security.
“In the last three and half years, it has been blame game between the Minister of Power and the DISCOS which has not helped anybody. Secondly, I expect that the security situation must improve because no foreign or local investor will invest in an insecure environment. So, we need more enabling environment for business to strive.
Our future in our hands
Second Republic politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai said the future of Nigeria would depend largely on the outcome of the presidential and governorship elections.
“My feeling is that if the scenario would remain the same, if the same characters and people that we have in power are returned in that elections, I honestly do not see any radical change happening in any sphere of life in Nigeria. If Nigerians want to see changes in their lives, if Nigerians expect to see changes in 2019, they have to look for a new leadership for the country,” he added.
Traders predict improved Nigeria
President Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) Mr. Don Ebubeogu is optimistic that 2019 would be better than 2018. He said Nigerians have learnt their lessons; that hunger does not know political party or ethnic group.
“With what Boko Haram is doing, and the insecurity across the country, it is the duty of every Nigerian to join hands to ensure that we secure the country not just for us but for our children. Then, economically, we need to sustain the tempo on non-oil. That is the only way would be able to keep the country afloat. Everybody seems to be relaxing now that the oil price is getting a bit okay. We don’t need to wait again for oil price drop to bottom low before we begin to talk about agriculture and non oil export. If we can continue to look at the brighter future of 2019 and then bury our differences, Nigeria will be great again.”
Projecting into the new year, President of Amalgamated Market Traders’ Association of Anambra State (AMATAS), Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo said his expectations were high “since Nigerians survived the hurdles of 2018.”
To ensure a better year, Otunba Olusegun Fanibe, Accord Party candidate for Ife Federal Constituency, said the incoming government must ensure that there is no recurrence of recession.
“I believe that Nigeria will witness great changes in economic and political development. Government, through the efforts of the security agencies must go the whole hog and guarantee security of lives and property. It must ensure relative peace, as well as ethnic and religious tolerance, because that is how development can thrive,” he stated.
Another politician, Prince Francis Fadahunsi, PDP candidate for Osun East Senatorial candidate believe that a credible, free and fair general elections would mark a turning point for the country.
“President Buhari and the ruling APC must follow the PDP example of credible election to guarantee political integrity and development. We want to see a new responsive forward looking government, not the type that is being tied back and fixated with the past. I expect a government that would make people’s welfare and dividends of democracy its priority.”
For Alhaji Uba Maigari, erstwhile deputy governor of Taraba State under Governor Jolly Nyame, 2019 promises great hope. “We are all aware of how trying 2018 has been and we want to believe that this has been sacrifices we have to make for a better tomorrow. After the tough times our economy faced last year, we expect a robust and vibrant economy that would be built on all the sacrifices of 2018 to make up for the failures of the past years.”
Credible polls, restructured country – PDP, ACF chieftain, others
The expectation of chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Mohammed Abdulrahman, is a regime change “to liberate the people from economic hardship. I am offering fervent prayers and desperately expecting God’s divine intervention to usher in a regime change like God Almighty’s intervention in Pharaoh’s Egypt to free the children of Israel.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the former Minister of Works, Senator Seye Ogunlewe said if INEC could conduct a free, fair and credible elections, the yearnings and aspirations of many Nigerians would have been met.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said the opposition party is equally optimistic that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) will be voted out.
Onhispart, Ogunlewe want to see a restructured Nigeria.
“Nigeria is a dying nation thewayweare. Thereis nothing anybody can do to make Nigeria survive without restructuring. It is not possible. Let restructure. Sixty eight items for the Federal Government is cumbersome.”
Similarly, spokesman of the Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin said his expectation and that of his group is that the country will get a new leadership that will lead it aright and enthrone true federalism.
“At the moment, it is closer to midnight for Nigeria and we need a leadership that can change the fortune of this country and restore our glory.”
In spite of the travails of 2018, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, said it is possible for Nigeria to have a compassionate and intelligent leadership that can lead the country out of its many challenges.
In his New Year message, he noted that although in 2018, the country became “the world headquarters for extreme poverty,” if Nigerians chart a new course in the New Year, things would turn around positively in the country.
According to him, “2019 is as yet a blank page. As a nation, we must not settle for whatever it brings. Rather, we must take collective action, through our choices, in making it a year where we revive national hope, with visionary leadership that sees our economy and institutions working again as they did in our golden era.”
Indeed, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said 2019 will be a crucial and decisive in the sense that new political leaders would emerge and new government formed.
CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle Olasupo, in his New Year message titled “Dry bone shall rose again” encouraged Nigerians to abide in peace and avoid violence especially before, during and after the general elections.
For Mr John Nwosu, a former governorship aspirant in Anambra State and an information technology expert, 2019 should be a time for the Nigeria’s economy to recover.
“As the giant of Africa, it is our hope that our economy will be stronger with the naira gaining more in the international exchange market. Government must desist from borrowing to finance the budget and ensure proper management of the nation’s resources,” he said.