THE much talked about year 2020 is finally here with hopes of good tidings for Nigeria, Nigerians and the rest of the world.
THERE is no doubt that Nigeria and her people faced a lot of challenges last year, ranging from insecurity, which comprises armed robbery, kidnapping, killings by Boko Haram insurgents and herders, corruption in high places, flood and fire disasters, among others which makes it imperative that the country and her people should seek a new direction this year.
Again, to say that Nigerians are not better off in terms of access to housing, education, healthcare and food security, among numerous promises made and targets set by government to better their lives since the 1980s is to say the least.
LUCKILY, President Buhari in his 2020 New Year Message described the year 2020 is a time of hope, optimism and fresh possibilities.
“WE LOOK forward as a nation to the 2020s as the opportunity to build on the foundations we have laid together on security, diversification of our economy and taking on the curse of corruption. These were the pledges on which I have been twice elected president and remain the framework for a stable, sustainable and more prosperous future.
“…while we work assiduously to create new opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing and other long neglected sectors in 2020, we will also achieve increased value from oil and gas, delivering a more competitive, attractive and profitable industry, operating on commercial principles and free from political interference.
Just last week, we were able to approve a fair framework for the USD 10 billion expansion of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, which will increase exports by 35 per cent, restore our position as a world leader in the sector and create thousands of jobs.
The amendment of the Deep Offshore Act in October signaled our intention to create a modern, forward-looking industry in Nigeria. I am confident that in 2020, we will be able to present a radical programme of reform for oil and gas that will excite investors, improve governance and strengthen protections for host communities and the environment…”, Buhari said.
WE BELIEVE that if the president genuinely pursues all his promises in this new year message, Nigeria will experience positive changes, socially, politically and security wise.
REGRETTABLY, Nigerian governments have over the years proved to be very good at setting laudable targets, goals, policies and programmes without showing enough commitment to achieve them. This is why the country has never gotten it right for over 40 years.
FOE example, Nigeria in 2009 set some ambitious objective known as vision 2020, “to become among the top 20 economies in terms of GDP size by 2020.” The vision focuses on making efficient use of human and natural resources to achieve rapid economic growth and translating the economic growth into equitable social development for citizens.
ALTHOUGH Nigeria’s economy has not fared noticeably better since the adoption of the vision, we still hope that despite threats of uncertain crude oil price, fear of naira devaluation, corruption, insecurity and problems associated with climate change, there are still a lot of opportunities for a new direction. Our hopes are hinged on early budget implementation, recent amendment of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (DOIBPSC) 1993 Act and increased credit flow to the private sector which experts believe will encourage Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of about 2.3 per cent.
FOR Nigeria to meet its human development targets of increased access to housing, education, electricity, food, etc, for a majority of its citizens,there should be a shift in the governance structure of the country. The system should be made to benefit greater percentage of the populace instead of a privileged few by investing in an economy that expands opportunities and benefits everyone.
NIGERIA is desperately in need of statesmen who are sacrificial, visionary and who priotise the greater good; inclusive economic models that incentivize innovation; a truly accountable governance structure that ensures plurality of voices; qualitative education for all Nigerians, an effective justice system that advances the rule of law; a new orientation and culture that rewards hardwork, discipline and integrity and a free market system, among others.
IT IS hoped that the federal government should work towards making the naira stable and controlling inflation, while boosting power supply and providing good roads, rail and other infrastructural facilities.
GOVERNMENTS at all levels should explore areas of agriculture, solid minerals exploitation and industrialization as significant efforts to boost the economy and create platform for job creation.
THEY should equally cultivate the culture of prudent management of loan resources not engaging in bogus projects, cutting down on the size of their political aides and looking into areas to boost their IGR while creating more platforms for public private partnership in handling projects.
WHILE Nigerians are expected to support good programmes of government through prompt payment of taxes, rates and levies, eschewing all forms of criminal engagements like vandalisation of public property, armed banditry of all forms and kidnapping, there is need for Nigerians to unite in order to build a great nation.
NIGERIA hopes not to grow in 2020 and we believe strongly that if unity prevails, that is that if Nigerians stop seeing themselves as diverse tribes and religions like Igbos , Hausas, Yorubas, etc and as Christians, Muslims or traditionalists and begin to see themselves first as Nigerians, things will get better.
IT IS time our leaders started looking for experts in various fields and engage them through appointments in various sectors of the economy and not just looking for relations, party members and people they can trust. This is because effective leaders work with competent people irrespective of where they come from provided they give the required result which is what matters most.