Expectations of Nigerians in the New Year

The tick of the clock on 12 midnight on January 1 ushered in a new year 2021 while eclipsing 2020.

The year 2020 has been described as an exceptional year, the sort that the world had never witnessed because of the global lockdown and its attendant economic, social and psychological tolls on people.

Besides the impact of the covid-19, the country also contended with serious issues such as terrorist attack, kidnapping, banditry, herdsmen assault, social unrest, ENDSARs protest, corruption, unemployment prolonged ASUU strike.

There were also severe economic crunch fuelled by increase in electricity tariff, fuel price and value added tax leading to price increase of some goods and services.

Hence, as the nation and the world over ushered in New Year, it is obvious that a lot of issues are still begging to be properly fixed in 2021.

The most important among these is the cyclic spate of insecurity, which continues to frustrate efforts of security agencies.

Insurgents continued to carry out attacks throughout last year, while kidnapping soared to record high with ransom payments and at times death of victims.

It is imperative that government reassess current efforts of security agencies, re-strategizes the means employed in combating the menace insecurity constitutes, make changes where necessary, and get personnel well equipped.

It is gratuitous to write that Federal Government towards the end of 2020 finally threw open the country’s borders, which were closed both for security and economic reasons.

The step, no doubt brought relief to Nigerians, whose means of livelihood was connected to the borders, because prices of some goods soared as a result of unscrupulous producers exploiting government’s good intention to jack up prices.

However, in this New Year, government would still need to do more as prices of food and other essential items are still on the high side.

It is good to note that President Muhammadu Buhari has acknowledged this with a commitment to addressing the issue headlong.

Also, in the words of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zianab Ahmed, Nigeria may be out of the current economic recession by the first quarter of 2021.

To achieve this feat, the masses expect Nigeria’s economy to diversify as the country is still heavily reliant on oil.

According to the organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) petroleum represents more than 80 percent of the nation’s total export revenue.

The present administration needs to tap more into the agricultural sector where the country can put millions of the unemployed youths to work.

For about nine months in the year 2020, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, went on strike.

The dispute kept students at home robbing them of a calendar year of study.

Government and ASUU need to avoid a repeat of this in the New Year by keeping to terms of agreement, giving room for dialogue and compromises to resolve any emerging issues or grey areas without delay.

Covid-19 pandemic still remains with the world with a second surge emerging in December.

Federal and State governments did creditably well to curtail its spread in the country last year.

However, it is expected that authorities will not rest on their laurel to ensure that the second wave of the pandemic is checked, while citizens should also play their parts by adhering to covid-19 protocols.

Now that 2021 is here, how the government manages the three hundred and sixty five days ahead is very crucial, as Nigerians expect their lots to be better off than the trauma of 2020.

Olusola Otunuga

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