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Expectations for 2023

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That 2022 will go down in history as the most challenging for most Nigerians in terms of meeting their pressing basic human needs since the inception of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in May 2015 is certainly not in doubt and perhaps the fundamental reason that they are entering the new year with trepidation but high hopes of better life ahead.

Specifically, the fact that all human development as well as socio-economic indicators are currently gloomy if not mostly outrightly negative, are also pointer to the incontrovertible fact that citizens look forward to 2023 as a make or mar year particularly on account of the forthcoming general election slated for the first quarter in which a new president, at least 31 governors, national and state assemblies legislators are expected to emerge who will be piloting the affairs of the world most populous black nation for another four years.

In other words the citizens, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and some of the security agencies directly connected with the polls cannot afford to truncate the February 25 and March 11 exercises if the country must progress in the direction of renewed hopes, new dawn and the emergence of patriotic leaders expected to immediately begin the search for lasting solutions to the country’s myriad of problems ranging from insecurity, poverty, food scarcity, epileptic electricity supply, unemployment, hunger, inflation, oil theft, fuel scarcity, dwindling purchasing power of the Naira to bribery and corruption, bad governance and continued threats from Boko Haram, ISWAP and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB terrorists.

We, therefore, demand that all hands must be on deck by all, especially the INEC, the security agencies, the more than 93 million registered voters to achieve free, fair, credible and hitch-free elections that every citizen will be proud of, and in which the vote will not only count but be counted in an atmosphere totally devoid of any rancour or violence and realizing the fact that election should not be a do-or-die affair but a transparent contest where a winner and loser must emerge.

This, in our view, is very imperative as the nation requires her best hands to address troubling figures and upheavals witnessed in most sectors in the life of the incumbent administration which include a recent damning report by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS that some 133million Nigerians are poor despite the federal government reportedly spending over N500billion annually on social investment programmes, crippling debt stock, annual inflation rate of 21.47 percent, 33percent unemployment rate, brain drain, about 20 million out- of -school children, averting another protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, after an eight-month industrial action and other existential challenges that have made life very difficult and unbearable for most people.

The point we are making is that all citizens deserve fresh air and eagerly looking forward to the new year with high hopes and expectations that the country must get it right in transiting to new governments at both federal and state levels on May 29th with the coming of board of new set of leaders, who will not only have the interests of citizens very dear to their hearts but ensure peace, rule of law, deal more decisively with security challenges, vigorously fight corruption and nepotism as well as enthrone good governance that will substantially address the current suffering and hopelessness in the land.

Besides, we believe strongly that putting such foundation in place is achievable based on the recent innovations introduced by the electoral umpire in the conduct of elections particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS designed to eliminate most anomalies associated with past elections and the direct transmission of results directly from polling units to the commission’s server with no room for incident form, unlike what hitherto obtained and contained in the Electoral Act 2022.

Therefore, if given the right new leadership at both federal and state levels, government should move further to ensure that there is greater transparency and accountability in the spending of financial resources, including the spending of public funds on social safety nets and poverty alleviation programmes and projects as well as in the implementation of budgets expected to bring more development of physical infrastructures to the nooks and crannies of the country.

Consequently, we challenge the incoming public office holders to give priority attention to “Section 14(2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution [as amended] which provides that, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’, in addition to Section 16(1)(a)(b), stipulating that the government has the obligations to ‘harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy’, and to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen.

Above all, it is also on record that “Nigeria has also ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognize legally enforceable economic and social rights, such as the rights to education, health, safe food and clean water, security, and shelter”, which from all indications, most successive governments have neglected as theywoefully failed to address severe poverty and glaring inequalities in the country.

And considering that all social, economic, political and technological development of any nation revolve around the wellbeing of her citizens, it is our strong view that Nigeria should not be an exemption and therefore the overriding need for the incoming administrations to be properly guided by Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist who developed an hierarchy of needs to explain human motivation.

According to his theory, from the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, most basic needs of humans are for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates his or her behaviour and once that level is fulfilled, the next level up is what motivates us. In particular, he added that if such physiological needs which are biological requirements for human survival, such as air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, amongst others, are not satisfied, the human body cannot function optimally and considered physiological needs the most important as all the other needs become secondary until these needs are met.

Again, we challenge the incoming public officers from the APC, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Labour Party, LP, All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and 14 others to be properly focused on the security and safety needs of citizens which are equally very important since people want to experience peace, law and order, as well as be able to predict and control in their lives which can be fulfilled by the family and society for example the Nigeria Police Force and security outfits, schools, business and medical care.

Significantly too, since it is a truism that a society gets the type of leaders it deserves, we demand that every registered voter has a patriotic duty to fully exercise his or her franchise both in the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections as well as the March 11, 2023 governorship and state assembly polls as any nonchalant attitude on their part could portend grave danger for the nation’s democracy which by all standards had not worked satisfactorily since the return to civilian dispensation on May 29, 1999.

Therefore, we are total agreement sync recent advocacy by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan-Kukah that the country urgently requires a “new strategy that separates men and women of honour from those who have chosen dishonour” in addition to a fresh approach that “provides a clearer moral guide for ordinary citizens who, based on the moral strength of culture and religion, are seeking to build a good society, even if with straws; stand up and stand firm and new mechanisms for saying no to the violence of governance.”

More importantly, his timely admonition that citizens and particularly the political class should wake up to “co-operate and collaborate with institutions which are tasked with the responsibilities”  of conducting the 2023 elections and “not further fan the embers of hatred and divisions” but seek to create a vision that can unite our country,”  and manage Nigeria’s diversity for power sharing must be taken seriously in order to tackle nepotism which has been the hallmark of the outgoing administration with 17 northerners appointed as heads of security agencies by Buhari.

We strongly believe that such crass display of nepotism for a nation of over 250 ethnic nationalities beyond May 29th next year is not totally unacceptable and against the national interest but clearly, a breach of the spirit of federal character as enshrined in the Constitution as amended, which many political experts believe has been at the root of the cries of marginalization and heightened agitations by separatist groups that continue to torment the country. Therefore, the next president of Nigeria must be a patriot, a man of high integrity, impeccable character with fear of God and totally committed to the unity and stability of the country, democracy as well as the security and welfare of the entire citizens.

 

For a better society

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