By Terhemba Daka (Abuja), Chijioke Iremeka, Ijeoma Thomas-Odia (Lagos), Ayodele Afolabi (Ado Ekiti), Charles Akpeji (Jalingo), Julius Osahon (Yenagoa), Timothy Agbor (Osogbo), Gordi Udeajah (Umuahia), Charles Ogugbuaja (Owerri), Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka), Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Abel Abogonye (Lafia)
Our Future Will Be Written In Gold — Buhari
As the year 2022 unfolds, Nigerians from all walks of life have voiced their opinions on what should be done to rescue the nation from the myriad of challenges currently stunting its development and threatening its existence as one corporate entity.
They spoke yesterday as President Muhammadu Buhari assured the citizens that the country’s future would be written in gold, urging Nigerians to envision a year of progress despite the challenges arising from security and socio-economic issues.
Our Priority Should Be A New Federal Constitution- YCE
Secretary-General of the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, said the country’s first priority in 2022 should be a new federal constitution.
“We must begin by thanking God that our country survived despite the security challenges and youth unemployment all over the place. We must appreciate the resilience of our people, who, in spite of the challenges, still believe in the country. We must not fail to commend, to some extent, the Federal Government. It has done its best but it appears the best is not good enough for the country.
“In 2022, our first priority should be having a new federal constitution. Everybody who believes in Nigeria and loves the country must ensure the process of having a new constitution is set in motion. The federal and the state governments must invest massively in agriculture to create employment and utilise the nation’s God-given resources for the people,” he said.
Political Leadership Must Come Together — Sani
Former Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Elder Anthony Sani, said: “My wishes for 2022 is the expectation of a country where the people are socially diverse, politically active and economically empowered, all of which come with peaceful coexistence under the watch of leadership with power that is humane in spirit, moral in purpose and wise in its uses.
“Towards this end, I expect the political leadership to come together and sublimate their energies in making Nigeria feel young again with the promise of glorious days ahead by rewiring the politics, reengineering our sense of justice, making mercy smarter, making hope strategic and daring the rest of us to follow preparatory for elections of 2023.”
There Should Be Determination To Achieve Great Nation- Toyo
Former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Nkoyo Toyo, said that though 2020 and 2021 were difficult for most Nigerians because of the poor performance of the nation’s economy, the scourge of COVID-19 and the consequential deaths arising from insecurity, Nigerians must not despair.
“Let’s look back with the knowledge that brighter days are ahead of us. The year 2022 calls for much courage and determination as we work to find answers to many lingering national crises. Let’s remember that it is part of the spirit of our country to come together in times like this and prove that we can stand as one indivisible nation.
“It is this spirit of being greater through our diversity that has pushed our national vision that we can remain true to the ethos of being good people, working towards a great nation.”
‘We Want Prices Of Goods Reduced’
Madam Becky Oiza, a mother of three, who is a baker and restaurateur, said: “The government needs to work round the clock in ensuring drastic reductions in the prices of goods this year.
“High cost of living has compelled some families to withdraw their children and wards from the classrooms. Improving the standard of living of Nigerians will go a long way to help reduce criminal activities that have enveloped the country.
“All that I’m praying for this year is for our governments at all levels to put in place those things that will discourage our young ones from taking to crimes. Government should help us to bring down the prices of goods, create jobs, give our children quality healthcare, stable electricity supply and, if possible, give free education from primary to university levels.”
‘Govt Must Flush Out Hoodlums Giving Children Sleepless Nights’
A 10-year-old Cherish Oshomoshiofu, whose dream is to become a medical doctor, said: “The government must flush out hoodlums giving children sleepless nights and provide adequate security for schools and public places this year. This will increase the hope of Nigerian children.
“I believe our government can do better in 2022 by securing and protecting our schools from being invaded by kidnappers. I shall also be glad to see the Nigerian government treat teachers like kings and queens because it’s teachers that made the presidents, governors, ministers and senators what they are today.”
There Must Be Massive Investment In Infrastructure- Tokede
Bunmi Tokede, an Orthodontist, said: “If the country invests massively in developing its support infrastructure – the backbone of any economy – in 2022, Nigeria may end up being one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. This country is tough to predict. Only time will tell.
“Nigeria is poised to become the third most populous nation in the world by the end of 2050, behind India and China, and ahead of the United States. Consequently, much of the world is starting to strongly consider major investments in Nigeria, evidenced by the steady inflow of significant start-up funds won by many young Nigerians.”
‘More Serious Attention Should Be Given To Healthcare Issues’
A psychologist and founder, The Sunshine Series-Mind Wellness Ltd, Aisha Bubah, said: “Part of the lessons we have keenly learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we need to invest in nurturing our mental wellbeing.
“As individuals and as a society, we need positive skills that can build our resilience in fighting this virus. These skills will also help us contribute meaningfully to our society, as the world rebuilds the economy to cater for its current needs.
“I am optimistic that more organisations will look at providing support packages that cater for the mental wellbeing of their team. I also hope that more government agencies will collaborate more with mental health service providers to scale access, especially, to underserved communities.”
‘I’ve Greater Expectations For Economic Stability’
Toye Sobande, a strategic leadership expert and lawyer, has greater expectations for economic stability in 2022.
“I believe 2022 will be a better year than 2021. I’m optimistic about the state of the Nigerian economy, as things will begin to pick up again, especially as the year is preceding the 2023 elections.
“In 2022, government policies will be less erratic and more strategic as this will consequently affect the mood of the nation in the build-up to the election year. As a result, the ruling parties will be more conscious of their image and perception.
“I have greater expectations for economic stability in 2022 than the situation we had in 2021. We are now fully adjusting to the effect of the global pandemic and this has resulted in citizens becoming innovative economically and leveraging the new opportunities that the pandemic has brought our way.
“While 75 per cent of people around the world expect prices of goods and services to rise faster than incomes, however, I think Nigeria will become a hub for Fintech in Africa and by extension around the world. There would be more foreign direct investments in start-up businesses owned by young Nigerians playing in the Fintech space.
“However, for fear of ill-informed government regulations by the apex bank, we may lose some of these investment opportunities to countries like Kenya, Ghana and the likes. This is an avoidable situation if the regulators exercise a higher level of sophistication in their approach and avoid creating panic and uncertainty in the country.
“The Nigerian judiciary and the courts will remain a pressure pot in 2022. The rate of litigation will soar higher than we experienced in 2020 and 2021. We are likely to experience a lot more politically motivated litigation against members of the judiciary and their perceived associates amongst the political elites.”
It’s Time To Follow Our Dreams — Denton
For the Chief Executive Officer, Barods Global, Babatunde Denton, the nation must be ready to face, tackle and overcome the challenges facing it.
“It is time to make a new start to face the future challenges with confidence. We are here to build. Let your dream be your project as we start the New Year.”
Cancel Planned Fuel Price Hike, Reverse Domestic Gas Price — Prelate Eke
Prelate and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN), His Eminence Nzie Nsi Eke, said the government should rescind its plan to increase the pump price of premium motor spirit in 2022. He also urged the government to reduce the price of domestic gas, reduce social tension among the various ethnic groups by releasing all political detainees and explore dialogue and political solutions to all agitations.
“Nigerians have no hope in the face of joblessness and helplessness, hence they need gifts of prayers, good thoughts, visitations, assistance and show of love that would go a long way in restoring hope and joy to them.
“Government should also pave way for free and credible elections in 2023 by enacting the enabling laws and resolutely address the seemingly intractable security challenges in various parts of the country, especially in the North West and North East by classifying and designating bandits who operate in those areas as terrorists.
“As we celebrate the New Year, we should remember that the world is still hurting and people are still suffering different levels of deprivation, molestation, insecurity, natural disasters, hunger, malnutrition, discrimination, oppression, diseases and wars among others.”
I Pray Nigerians Won’t See What We Saw In 2021 — Retiree
A retired Permanent Secretary in Imo State Civil Service, Mr. Fabian Agba, said: “Imo pensioners were not paid for Christmas. Not even one person. This should not continue in 2022. Pensions come before salary because the pension is a charge. Pension is a debt.
“I am praying to God that Nigerians will not see what we saw in 2021; that things will change for the better; that the security problem of the country will be addressed commonsensically. At the moment, they seem not being addressed.
“Our telecommunication has to be improved. The networks failed many times and our roads too. The so-called infrastructure; they borrowed money, but we don’t see anything. I want the above addressed in 2022.”
‘Govt Should Support Media’
Vice President, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), South East Zone, Emmanuel Ifesinachi, said: “COVID-19 pandemic is still subsisting and has migrated to Omicron level. Journalists should abide by all precautionary measures aimed at protecting themselves in the course of duty. We should live to tell the story.
“Government at all levels should support the media maximally to enable it to discharge its statutory responsibility optimally so as to strengthen Nigeria democracy and for the good of the society.”
‘Nigerians Should Be More United’
Dr. Charles Okeke said: “Life is an adventure that’s full of beautiful destinations. I wish that Nigerians would be more united and live in peace.”
‘Nigerians Need Attitudinal Change’
Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Abdullahi, urged Nigerians to intensify prayers and remain dogged despite the huge challenges confronting the country.
He expressed hope that the New Year 2022 would bring good things to the citizens far above what was obtained in the passing year.
“There’s the need for all to have an attitudinal change, always do the right thing and champion the course of peace and unity in the society,” he said.
‘We Should Continue Praying For Leaders, Country’
The National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Comrade Nasir Idris Gwandu, said Nigerians should continue to pray for the country and its leaders.
“We really appreciate the efforts of the government and the security agencies in fighting bandits and other criminals. We hope that 2022 will be a good one and they will do better,” he said.
We Must Improve Electricity Supply, Revive Ailing Firms, Create Jobs – Arikawe
A retired magistrate at Igbotako in Okitipupa Local Council of Ondo State, Mr Yemi Arikawe, said government at all levels should do everything possible to ensure the safety of lives and property in every part of the country, exhibit transparency in governance, provide employment for jobless youths and bridge infrastructure gap.
“If we must really develop as a country in the New Year, the government must ensure discipline in the implementation of our budgets. The projects lined up for execution are usually to take the country higher and improve the welfare of the people. It is disheartening seeing such projects abandoned at any stage. It is like tying the country to a stake and consequently, it cannot move forward.
“It is also very important to ensure a constant supply of electricity. There cannot be industrial development and inflow of direct foreign investment into Nigeria if the epileptic electricity supply we witness now is not tackled. It is one of the reasons companies are closing up in Nigeria and relocating to neighbouring countries. When this happens, more people are thrown into the labour market and the poverty and crime levels go up.
“It is said that four local governments in Ondo State Southern Senatorial district – Okitipupa, Irele, Ilaje and Ese-Odo – have been thrown into darkness for about 14 years now when they were disconnected from the national grid. The economies of the local councils have been paralysed all these years. Among the consequences is high unemployment level, increasing crime rate and general hopelessness. Ikale people demand that electricity supply be restored in the affected local governments for business activities to continue,” he said.
Arikawe, who commended the Federal Government on the N-Power Scheme, also called for the revival of Ajaokuta Steel Company, Iwopin Paper Mill and Oluwa Glass Company at Igbokoda. He also urged the government to give bursaries and scholarships to students.
Government Should Deal Decisively With Banditry In 2022 – Bishop Ighele
The General Superintendent, Holy Spirit Mission, Bishop Charles Ighele, wants Nigerian leaders to take the bull by the horn and deal with bandits, who, according to him, have been forming several republics out of the federation and getting away with it.
“My New Year message is first to the leaders in Nigeria because sometimes when things are wrong, a message is sent to fathers. Of course, at another time, it may be to the children. However, today, the problem we have in Nigeria can be regarded as a social problem, which is huge and in this case, children are unable to solve the problem.
“When I say ‘children,’ I mean ordinary Nigerians. Therefore, our leaders being regarded as fathers that are in charge are being called upon to rise up to the occasion, and my emphasis is on political leaders. Political leaders in Nigeria can be said to be in charge, not only politically but also economically and they are on top of the elite.
“I believe the question to tackle by our leaders is what are those things giving rise to all the social problems and how do we get out of them?” he said.
Ighele recalled that the problem of Nigeria before was ethnicity as well as fear of Boko Haram, “but today, bandits in their different camps, operating like Boko Haram, have formed their republics, kidnapping women and turning them to their own wives. We pray that the criminality does not spread further in the country.”
In his message to Nigerians, yesterday, President Buhari said: “Let us be united in our fight to keep our nation united against all odds and with gratitude, celebrate life in this new epoch.”
According to the President, the past is but a story told, the future will still be written in gold despite the challenges which had conspired to characterise the year 2021.
He said it was also a year in which his administration executed key projects, programmes, and initiatives to fulfil the promises made under the Security, Economy Anti-corruption (SEA) agenda.
“We remain grateful to the Almighty God for yet another year attained as a country, united by a common destiny and resolute in our determination to overcome the several challenges along the path to build the great and prosperous nation of our dream.”
The President also used the opportunity to salute the courage and resilience of all Nigerians, which, he said, was evident in 2021 as the nation, like other countries of the world, faced significant challenges that occurred as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts to restore the global economy and social order.
He said persistent insecurity in certain parts of the country might have threatened to unravel the incremental gains achieved in the real sectors of the economy and in the overall objective to position the nation on the trajectory of growth and progress, he assured the people that the government remains committed and will continue to press ahead with programmes and plans that will benefit the citizens.
“The path to nationhood is often fraught with unpredictable difficulties and challenges, and most tried and tested nations have often prevailed through dogged determination, resilience, concerted commitment to unity, and the conviction that the whole of the nation, standing together against all odds, is by far greater and would ultimately be more prosperous and viable than the sum of its distinguishable parts.
“There is no doubt that the issue of security remains at the front burner of priority areas that this administration has given utmost attention to. As a follow up to our promise to re-energize and reorganize the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police, it is on record that this administration has invested heavily in re-equipping our military in line with upgrading the platforms and firepower required to tackle the current challenges being faced in the country.
“The net results of these efforts have been the number of insurgents and bandits who have willingly surrendered to our security forces and continue to do so through various channels and the safe corridor created for that purpose.
“Government, however, realizes that victory on the battlefield is just one aspect of sustainable victory. We know that to fully win this war, we must also win peace and real security lies in winning the hearts and minds of the affected citizens. To this end, working with our international partners and neighbouring countries, we would be deploying multi-faceted solutions that will be targeted at addressing human security at the grassroots, before it leads to insecurity,” he said.
President Buhari also paid glowing tribute to military, police officers, and other security agents who have lost their lives in the cause of protecting the territorial integrity of the country against both internal and external aggressors, assuring their families that their sacrifices would not be in vain.
“We equally remember and commiserate with Nigerians who have lost loved ones as a result of insecurity in different parts of the country. Every life matters and every single death caused by any form of insecurity is a matter of personal concern to me both as a citizen and as the President of this great country,” he said.
cullud from ‘the guardian’