To say that 2017 was tumultuous and worrisome in all aspects of governance is saying the obvious and it is no gainsaying the fact that Nigerians experienced real poverty and hunger in the year no thanks to government’s ineptitude and inertia to burning issues affecting the citizenry.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s mantra of change at the inception of his administration proved to be a hoax afterwards and things continued to nosedive rapidly, drastically losing people’s trust and confidence in the government and up to the end of the year, government had nothing to offer as its scorecard. The government relished in newspaper oratory; burning issues that needed urgent and drastic solution are willfully discussed on the pages of newspapers. Government adopted the method of doublespeak on many issues; little wonder Nigerians referred to the government as a clueless administration.
Some aspects need be discussed here. On security, the government could not tell populace the true picture of the fight against Boko Haram’s madness. The sect became daily emboldened in their marauding exploits, the humongous fund already expended on the war against the sect, notwithstanding and even recently the President shamelessly asked for a $1 billion loan to fight the losing war on the sect. After this, there was an upsurge in crime in the country – kidnapping, extra-judicial killings of innocent Nigerians, etc. Hitherto, the Fulani herdsmen continued killing innocent citizens mindlessly without let or hindrance. It is regrettable that up till now, the President had not made a categorical statement on the brutish escapade of the herdsmen and we have lost count of the number of poor citizens who had been rail-roaded to their early graves.
The bottom line is that government had failed abysmally on the aspect of security. Nigerians could not sleep with their two eyes closed for fear of the unknown and the unexpected. It is rather saddening to say that this government is a lying outfit. It is a general consensus that the All Progressives Congress only won the election in 2015 but didn’t prepare for governance or it did not grasp the mastery of governance.
On the economy, the citizens became more impoverished by the day in 2017 through the policy somersaults of the government, it announced with excitement sometimes ago that the country had exited recession; nothing could be farther from the truth as most Nigerians still cannot afford one square meal not to talk of three in a day. The economic team assembled by Buhari seems to be bereft of solutions to our economic quagmire, hence nationwide hunger and poverty; our naira had become a worthless paper, it is that bad.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele is not helping matters; CBN monetary policies had come under the citizens’ hammer of late.
The health and education sectors had been ridden by incessant strikes by relevant trade unions due to government’s intransigence and non-implementation of agreements reached with these unions and underfunding of these sectors. Our hospitals are mere clinics, apology to the late maximum ruler, Sani Abacha. Some months ago, Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari lamented what obtained in the country’s first medical facility, the Aso Rock Clinic where an equipment as small as syringe could not be found in the clinic. It all boils down to government’s insensitivity to citizens’ plight despite the fact that huge amounts of money had been invested on these sectors.
Overall, the government by act of commission or omission just willfully decided to toy with people’s welfare by not doing the needful at all times. On the minimum wage issue, it took government a very long time to set up a committee on the issue; the committee is sitting and only God knows when a final decision would be taken. On casualisation of workers by the Indians and Chinese nationwide, the government usually turned a blind eye on the cruel treatment being meted out to Nigerian citizens working in these Indian and Chinese companies without raising any eyebrow or taking any drastic step to stem this menace.
On the judiciary system it had performed below expectation in 2017, no thanks to deliberate long adjournments by monetarily greedy judges thereby keeping accused persons more than necessary awaiting trial.
An English adage goes thus: It is better to be late than be late. With the above enumerated malaise, President Buhari could still redeem his image before night eclipses his tenure in about one and a half year’s time by doing the needful and deliver on his mandate of change mantra.
Equally deserving his attention is the issue of his convoluted appointments to top positions in government whereby a certain section or ethnicity of the country is more favoured than the rest of the country.
Finally, Federal cabinet reshuffle is long overdue for implementation. It is common knowledge that some ministers in the government are a sort of heavy baggage in the system. Some of them are a round peg in a square hole that must be dispensed with urgently for optimum results; they are non-functional and non-performing. This idea had long been mooted; it must come to fruition straightaway for Buhari to continue enjoying the citizens’ goodwill and support.
These are but some expectations from Nigerians in 2018 and they are quite realizable through Spartan discipline and determination of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigerians had been very vocal on restructuring of the country lately not to talk of people’s agitation in the Niger Delta region and more noticeable the Igbo agitation. These are issues that, if not properly dealt with, God forbid could fan the embers of civil war.
President Muhammadu Buhari should drastically change his style of governance in the coming year.
We wish Nigerians a happy 2019 and all good things attendant in the year.