THE year 2020 has already taken off, opening a threshold for a new 12-months calendar. With the night sky busting into rapturous fireworks, the atmosphere spared nothing short of rekindled hopes and aspirations to a number of people as the arms of the clock stood at zero hours on the 31st night. Amazing moment by all standard of evaluation
While not all dreams were met in the year 2019, it is appropriate to note that it was equally a great year in the annals of Nigeria as a nation and Nigerians as a people.
On the positives, it is verifiable that 2019 witnessed steady availability of petroleum metric spirit (PMS) at constant price across the country. Unlike the previous years, Christmas festivity is usually greeted with scarcity of the product with corresponding hike in prices of commodity.
At the last and opening weeks of 2018 and 2019, DPK, popularly known as kerosene sold in major parts of the country between N350 to N450. The last week of December 2019 saw the product sold at N235 and remained available throughout the last day of the year and into this opening week of 2020.
Comparatively, the economic performance of 2019 was stable through out the greater parts of year 2019, with naira stability leading the line. Against the previous year performance, it was able to remain within the regions of N360 and N362 to US$1 at the parallel market, rallying from above N500 to US$1 the preceding year.
Despite these obvious efforts to keep the country on steady course, some occurrences pitched Nigeria on the backbench of a true global economic heavyweight. Her rating as 15th in global suicide rate with debt profile hitting N25tr, representing 2.3 per cent increase as at the first quarter of 2019 was a foreboding of sort to concerned minds.
The looming anxiety was heightened by rising domestic debt ratio to GDP which moved to upward of 19. 03 per cent as at the same period, according to Debt Management Office (DMO) reports.
Perhaps, the biggest shock was inflation rate that refused to leave the two digits region despite interventions. According to NBS report, inflation figure hit 11.61 per cent as at October 2019. Consumers even thought it was higher as prices of some commodities continued soaring above the rich of commoners.
Nigeria again made tremendous leap in security stability by stemming the wave of insurgency across the country within the year 2019. It is indeed worth appreciating that the focus of federal government of Nigeria at the beginning of 2020 is no longer fighting insurgency but withdrawals of military from once- insurgent- ravaged areas- a clear evidence that the terrorists have been defeated and would require no further military occupation in the areas.
Unlike Eritrea, Madagascar, Australia and some other countries of the world, Nigeria neither witnessed drought, unmanageable flooding or hurricane of sorts in the year 2019 and would not have to deal with emergency burden as she welcomes year 2020.
At the home front in Anambra State, 2019 presented much to relish on, amid challenges. Political stability is one key achievement associated with the state in recent time and 2019 provided good fortress for its consolidation. Suffice it to say that while neighboring states like Kogi and Imo are caught deep in political circus, especially, from the fallouts of 2019 elections in the states, Anambra has moved swiftly, investing her energy in promoting skill development and industrial growth. Her high cruise on stellar governance and enviable policy execution earned the state much recognition and attracted investments from within and outside the country during the year.
Perhaps, Obiano’s emergence as best Governor of the year on several test grounds including the Nigerian Union of Journalists’ Integrity and Public Service award in 2019, attests to the acceptability of Anambra State governance model by wider spectra of societal jurists.
While it is not news that the state appreciates her serving workers’ inputs with prompt salaries and incentives, it is equally gratifying to note that pensioners in the state are not left behind, as they receive their entitlements with minimal ease compared to what the same class of citizens experience in other states.
The year 2019 went with many accomplishments in the state but more conspicuous is the overwhelming peace that characterised 2019 across the state. This was further attained by sustained strategic security operations crowned with its recaliberation in the coming of Operation Kpochapu11 in the state; an action that put Anambra in world recognition for non-tolerance for any form of criminality.
The ease of doing business as currently obtains has made the state investment destination in Nigeria and sub Saharan Africa; hence, her ranking amongst the safest states for investment in Nigeria. This no doubt is an indication that her policy trusts are appreciated by notable minds and as well accepted by the masses. Little wonder taxation and revenue generation issues are received with open arms by the people.
According to a business operator based in Onitsha, Joachim Chukwu, “the government of Anambra State has the people’s overwhelming support in nearly everything, including the taxes and other revenue schemes of government. However, what they find very distasteful is the unbridled hounding of market people in most markets and business areas across the state, especially in Onitsha commercial city by contract- revenue-agents and touts.
Their activities over the past year and even previous years are unacceptable. Government should review the whole taxation and revenue generation processes in the state for more effective result. Touts should be weeded out of the system as they have completely invaded and hijacked the system to their personal gains than public interests.
Lawmakers should be alive to their primary responsibilities with laws that will not only help development of the state machinery but also protect the people from any form of oppressions. Business activities can only get better in Onitsha and indeed all parts of Anambra when revenue collections are streamlined and conducted by recognised personnel from the government.
All apparatuses of government in the state should come together to ensure that state policies are not truncated by any individual or group. Obiano’s government is very pragmatic, delivery-oriented and people friendly, therefore, touts should not be allowed to besmear such good reputation.”
Apparently, year 2019 did not subject Anambra State Government to utilisation of available public funds in quelling communal clashes as sustained strategic efforts ensured that peace reigned supreme in the state, unlike what some other state governments lost to communal conflicts within the year. Cattle herders and local farmers had reasons to disagree in some communities, Oraifite boiled at some points, Oba-Ofemmilli had boundary issues with neighbouring Enugu State but all these never moved the Anambra State an inch off the terrains of peace.
On the flip side however, the year 2019, tested further, the resilience of Anambra citizens and compassionate nature of individuals, groups, institutions and government the state is blessed with, as fire disasters, buildings collapse, erosions did at different times hit the state.
The swift responses of categories of people in the society not only helped individuals affected in rebuilding their lives but ensured that the state bounces back in record time from her perceived setback and continued in her progressive line.
While ministries, Departments and Agencies of government reminisce on challenges and gains of the past year, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), publishers of National Light Newspapers, Ka O Di Taa, and Light SportsXtra stands out in 2019 for laudable achievements, setting a higher target as the journey for 2020 begins.
National Light Newspapers ended the year 2019 with Best Print Media Merit Award, from Anambra Media Excellence Organisation, amongst other laurels won during the year. According to the CEO and Editor-In- Chief, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, for management and staff of the establishment, the stage is only set for the organisation to show more class in the business of robust journalism in 2020, while ndi Anambra will have everything to be proud of as their brand sets to break new grounds.