By Jude Ehebha (Ekpoma), Emmanuel Izomiwu, (Enugu) Daniel Abia (P/Harcourt), Oladele Ogunsola, (Ibadan), Anolu Vincent (Owerri) and Augustine Adah (Lagos)
As 2014 comes to an end, Nigerians have expressed divergent views on the state of the nation and the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Many of those who spoke bemoaned the state of the economy and suggested the way forward for the Federal Government in 2015.
The Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Comrade Debo Adeniran, argued that in 2014, government succeeded in increasing misery and poverty in the country, saying; “I don’t see any tangible achievement by this government because unemployment and poverty have been on the increase in the past one year.”
The Managing Counsel, Vitalis Ozurumba & Co, Bar. Amande Orbo, said the government has tried in road rehabilitation/re-construction, adding that apart from road rehabilitation, the government has provided fertiliser to farmers at affordable price.
In Edo State, while some gave kudos to the President for the perceived successes he has recorded in some sectors, others have a different opinion.
The Archbishop of Bendel Province and Bishop of Esan Diocese of the Anglican Communion, The Most Rev’d Friday Imaekahi, said the Jonathan administration performed creditably in spite of the security challenges facing his government.
He blamed the military for the decay in the Nigerian economy, adding that it was sad that some actors in military government that suspended the constitution and ruled the nation by decree would aspire to rule with the same constitution.
The chairman of the Ambrose Alli University chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Fred Esumeh, described Nigeria as a county in need of liberation, which can only come if Nigerian leaders are purposeful and keen on developing the nation.
The ASUU chief said a government that cannot take charge of its economy cannot be said to have done exceptionally well.
A Fellow of Chartered Economist of Nigeria, Mr. Fatai Aliu, said President Jonathan has failed because he pre-occupied himself with the ambition to win the 2015 poll.
In Enugu, Kingsley Obenta, a trader said: “I have never experienced a period when business is as bad as it is today. The government should do something about the economy. I also believe that insecurity in the country is seriously affecting every other thing. Nobody wants to invest in Nigeria. So, a lot needs to be done in the area of security. If we can have security, the country will be stable and investors will come. So, there will be no need for us to be importing anything because some of those things can be manufactured locally.
Okechukwu Oko, a civil servant, said that something should be done about the bad economic situation in the country, adding that civil servants are worst hit by the economic situation in the country, as their take-home pay could not even take them home this Yuletide.
A legal practitioner, Louis Onyia, said it is obvious many things are wrong with the country now going by all economic indices and other indicators. But, nobody should be singled out for blame.
Mike Ubani, a journalist, said: “The Jonathan administration might have done something tangible in other zones of the federation but the picture on the ground shows that the South-East is a waste land without industrial base, power, good road, water and all other amenities. Nothing has changed.”
Coordinator of the Niger Delta Coalition Against Violence (NDCAV), Lekia Christian, praised Jonathan for his foresight in taking the country back to agriculture, adding that the President’s policy has reposition the country on the way of development.
The Public Relations Officer of Civil Liberty Organization (CLO), Rivers State chapter, Livingstone Wechie, believed that the Jonathan administration in 2014 had a lot of security and economic crises, which are either inherited baggage of corrupt Nigerians or extreme conspiracy, which did not only hinder progress and delivery of good governance but has seriously threatened the unity of the country.
A lawyer and lecturer of classics in the University of Ibadan, Doyin Odebowale, said the Federal Government performed woefully in the year 2014 and the indices of socio-economic failure are there for all to see.
“Nigerians fell less secure than before. Businesses are folding up and only a handful of unscrupulous elements become stupendously wealthy. People pay more for darkness. The same elements responsible for the sordid state of affairs are buying up the corporations they ran aground.
“The year 2015 promises to be worse in all respect. A government, which is incapable of managing plenty, cannot be expected to exhibit prudence in the period of scarcity and want. This government lacks the capacity to do what is right,” he said.
Another lawyer and an activist, Femi Aborisade, in his assessment of the FG in the outgoing year said: “Permit me to quote Prof. Niyi Osundare, the 2014 National Merit Award winner, who in a recent interview said, ‘the barometer of progress and development drops every year. I feel like crying each time I think of how Nigeria was’
“Prof Niyi Osundare’s assessment captures my experience, feelings and perception of the performance of governments, at all levels in Nigeria, State and the Federal Governments. We would be doing monumental disservice to the Nigerian people to presume that only the Federal Government is not performing.
“The transformation agenda of the Federal Government has only succeeded in throwing Nigeria into darkness. They talk of having constructed roads, exist only as prototypes on paper. They talk of housing programmes and all they can point to, in the main, are prototypes on paper.
In Imo State, Rev. Clifford Ogu of the God’s Kingdom Heaven, said: “2014 has been most traumatic and painful in terms of insecurity, adding that may churches have been burnt, thousands of Christians slaughtered with properties estimated at millions of naira wasted in various parts of the country mainly in the Northern states. For now, the ugly scenario has not abated and each time it occurs the government has often assured that it is on top of the situation, yet there is no light at the end of the tunnel.”
A retired secondary school principal and community leader, Ikegwuonu Onyeaghala, opined that the transformation agenda to some extent recorded the desired dividends but the problem of security and youth employment is still with us.
A businessman and PDP chieftain, Chief Onyekwere Diala, said: “The Federal Government did well this year. Our economy has stabilised, the groundbreaking ceremony of the second Niger Bridge was performed by Mr. president while the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu, was converted to an international airport with the maiden international flight recorded from Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia.
An industrialist, Architect Theophilus Njideofor, noted that power supply is still a major obstacle to the organised private sector, adding; “The privatisation in the power sector has not helped matters and I do hope that the agenda for 2015 will take care of this.”
“Insecurity and corruption have combined to slow our march to greater heights but I want to give the President the benefit of doubt that the Boko Haram palaver will be a thing of the past in the new year,” he said.
SOURCE: Daily Independent.