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When two years seem like eternity

…Nigerians unsure of destination 2023 ...Amid worsening insecurity, poverty

Looking at where Nigeria is today, in terms of worsening insecurity, poverty, economic malaise, among other ills, many Nigerians are wondering what the state of the nation will look like in the next two years when the current administration is expected to come to an end.

Some have described the next two years as an “eternity”, saying that to endure the “suffocating air” for the next two years would be the worst punishment for Nigerians.

During the 2015 general election campaign, the then ruling party and the main opposition party promised Nigerians a lot of goodies.

The campaign afforded the then opposition the platform to blame the insecurity, economic woes, and every other problem in Nigeria on the failure of the then ruling party.

But as much as Nigerians quickly concluded that the messiah has come, they seemed to have never enjoyed any relief since the then opposition party came to power.

For many, the situation has degenerated from bad to worse in all fronts; from economy, social life, healthcare, and especially tackling insecurity, which many considered as reason the opposition won in 2015.

Inflation, unemployment rate, death rate, debt profile among other negative trends have more than quadrupled in the last six years of this administration and the remaining two years may likely make no difference.

“It is no longer Boko Haram and North East. Now bandits, kidnapers, and herdsmen have taken the war to all parts of the country. There are killings every day and the government, which promised to tackle insecurity keeps doing little or nothing to tackle it,” Yohanna Bulus, a lawyer and an aggrieved indigene of Borno State, decried.

“How can Boko Haram hoist its flag in Nigeria and nothing is happening, government negotiates ransom with bandits and kidnapers take a whole school or town hostage without challenge. Nigeria is in a war situation now,” Bulus observed.

For the Lagos-based maritime lawyer, the country is fast drifting apart and the principals and political actors are not keen on saving the situation because it is going according to their long-hatched plans.

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“If government wants to calm the situation and restore peace across the country, it will do it. But it does not want for obvious reasons; instead, it is threatening to roll out tanks in some parts of the country. You heard what they reeled out as achievements since gaining power; in sincerity, have there been achievements in a country where government is witnessing ethnic cleansing and wanton killings every day and keep silent? For me, safeguarding the lives of the citizens is far better achievement, which this administration has failed to do”, Terhumba Tor, a senior lecturer at a federal university said.

For him, the principles of democracy and ideals of civil living are not upheld by the present administration and Nigerians are not expecting any positive change in the remaking two years of the present administration.

Okwui Duruike, director, Centre for African Leadership Ideals, an Abuja-based African economy and politics research outfit, which has relocated to Cotonou in Benin Republic, noted that Nigerians should not expect miracle in the remaining two years of this administration as the country has been falling in development, human right and democracy indices in the last five years.

“We have conducted several researches on development, good governance and security in collaboration with international agencies across 30 African countries. Nigeria is among the worst in Africa, while Ghana, Seychelles and Gaborone are leading across many fronts. The Nigerian case is lack of will power by government to tackle insecurity, enforce necessary actions, restore peace, woo back investors and boost the economy. Stability of a country and economic development go hand in hand but that will not happen in the remaining two years,” Duruike said.

According to him, “In one of our reports on the worsening insecurity, we advised one of our foreign partners to inform the Nigerian government that all they needed was sincerity of purpose, boosting morale of its security operatives, fishing out sabotage, working with locals and collaboration with foreign governments.”

Considering the huge damage done across the country due to the inaction of government, Tor thinks that two years will not be enough to rebuild the country.

“Where do you want to start, or what are you going to promise that has never been promised in the past. I don’t expect any relief in the remaining two years of this administration because the thousands killed will not come back, houses burnt, farms destroyed and hopes dashed cannot be restored. I expect the worst in two years,” Tor said.

For Bulus, the change we desire cannot come now or within the remaining two years because the recent actions of this administration point to a people that are running against time.

“This is six years after taking over from Goodluck Jonathan, who was regarded by many as a weakling. One former governor of Lagos State even said during campaign that a serious government will fix electricity issue in one year. So, they have been there for six years now and the trouble is quadrupling, so where is their magic wand?” Bulus asked.

On his part, Ademola Fadahunsi, a political analyst, noted that though South West is clamoring to take over from President Buhari in 2023, the damage done so far is huge and will take almost the whole tenure of an incoming president to restore.

“It is sad that we don’t value human lives again. The killing is much, the country is soaked in blood and no matter how much infrastructure you put in place, you need living humans, peaceful country and stability for such infrastructure to be meaningful. They flagged off Lagos-Ibadan rail, but Abuja-Kaduna rail is besieged by bandits. Why not tackle insecurity first before investment that is already threatened by current realities in the country?” Fadahunsi said.

However, observers note that insecurity is the biggest issue in the country today and that every effort of this administration should be channeled to address it. Yet, they don’t see any difference in the current situation within the remaining two years of this administration.

“You cannot fool Nigerians by promising them a quick fix of insecurity in two years when since Jonathan’s tenure, the country has been spending on security without result. We have witnessed change of security chiefs and increased budgets on security, yet no result. It will definitely get worse in the remaining two years of Buhari,” Angwe Yakubu, a retired senior security personnel, said.

Speaking further, the Shamdam Plateau State-born retiree and now poultry farmer, said the fight against insecurity does not require huge spending on heavy armament, but will power and sincerity on the part of government, better treatment for soldiers, welfare for families of dead soldiers, empowerment of locals and collaboration with foreign countries to win.

Don’t listen to rhetoric that Boko Haram and bandits carry more sophisticated weapons. Can’t such weapons be bought by Nigeria? All we need is sincerity of government to fight these terrorists, military to fight sabotage in its midst, locals to help with useful information and foreign partners to be given required information and free hand to work,” Yakubu said.

According to him, this is the only way the remaining two years of this administration will make a difference, but he does not see them toeing the solution line.

Tunde Daramola, a politician, is not optimistic about a turnaround in the next two years.

He said: “The ship of the state has been grounded by the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari. The first responsibility of a reasonable government is the security of lives and property. Presently, no Nigerian is safe; people are scared to go out and work or even travel. This APC- led government is a failure.”

According to Daramola, “The President is clueless on providing security for Nigerians not to talk of foreigners. No foreigner would come into Nigeria and invest with the level of insecurity today.

“Nobody is happy and Nigerians are disappointed. It is a shame. I think the situation will get worse before 2023, or is it not getting even worse? Is the sign not there?”

Be believes that “This government appears overwhelmed with the situation; even the President confirmed it in the interview. I think these terrorists have some form of support, or how would you explain the situation now in the North where terrorists write letters to a community and come the same day to carry out an operation without any form of resistance?

“Nigerians want this government to end today, not even tomorrow or 2023. Except for divine intervention, I don’t see the situation improving. On the way forward, I am of the view that the President should urgently seek foreign help and intervention since he has admitted that the situation has overwhelmed him.”

Adelaja Adeoye, a political analyst, said there was nothing more to expect from Buhari’s remaining two years than what Nigerians have experienced in the last six years.
“The government has lost touch with the people and they are even sinking deeper with their attempt to stifle media and social media. It is only when a government feels terribly defeated due to bad governance that they tend to clamp down on media and other forms of communication used by citizens to express their displeasure,” Adeoye said.

According to him, “The level of insecurity is getting worse by the day, as you can see; another set of students has just been kidnapped in the Northern Nigeria.
“It is worrisome that people are now hired to welcome or protest in favour of Buhari; a truly performing government will not hire people; this goes to show that Buhari is not popular among Nigerians.”

“It is left for the government to review its actions and activities or continue to allow citizens to suffer, first time ever where Nigerians now buy yam pieces due to food inflation and increased poverty rate,” he added.

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