A cross-section of Nigerians have highlighted the areas they want President Muhammadu Buhari to focus on in 2017 with many others, especially workers describing 2016 as their worst year ever and one in which they became poorer.
Top on the wish list presented to the President are;
calls for him to find solution to the rising cases of hunger in the land by fixing the economy, tackling corruption successfully and ending insurgency. Others that also made the wish list include calls on the President to restructure the country, ensure equity in governance and improve security of lives and properties generally, especially by putting a stop to attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
The Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, said it was imperative for the President to address the rising cases of hunger among Nigerians, even if it was by “relaxing government’s policy on importation of food items for a short term to stem hunger.”
Yusuf also urged the President to restore liquidity in the foreign exchange market, review the current trade policy and find a way to stop the country from importing petroleum products.
In the same way, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba group, Yinka Odumakin, asked President Buhari to “constitute an economic team to ensure that the sufferings of Nigerians are ameliorated.”
Odumakin also said after spending about 19 months in office without the conviction of any corrupt politician, Buhari should realise that it is better and cheaper to fight corruption by building strong institutions than chasing after corrupt individuals.
“It has also become clear that the present structure of Nigeria cannot move the country forward, so if I were Buhari, I would accede to the calls by Nigerians to restructure the country,” he added.
The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Ahmed Yakasai, identified the top three things he would like President Buhari to do in 2017 as “providing better quality of lives for Nigerians, including empowering the youth, turning around the economy and securing the lives and properties of Nigerians.”
A former Commissioner of Police in Lagos, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, stressed the importance of doing everything possible to revive the economy to the President in his comment, saying Nigerians are suffering.
In addition, Tsav warned Buhari not to relent in his efforts to crush Boko Haram insurgency in the country, fix bad roads and fight corruption.
“So Buhari should fight corruption because where there is corruption; there will be insecurity, dearth of infrastructure and bad roads,” he said.
A renowned professor of Law, Taiwo Osipitan, said fixing the economy should be topmost on Buhari’s list with the recession biting hard.
He said, “He (Buhari) needs to fix the economy, carry out necessary reforms and assemble the right people to be in his team to get the country out of this recession.
“The high rate of unemployment, kidnapping and activities of militants should also be addressed. With more employment opportunities, kidnapping and other social vices would reduce.
“Judiciary should be treated with respect and dignity. So far, the image of the judiciary and the legal profession has been battered under this administration.”
Setting agenda for Buhari, the Ijaw National Congress also explained that reviving the economy should top the President’s agenda, adding that experts in economic matters should be brought in to save the nation’s economy.
INC spokesman, Mr. Miebaka Tamunomiebi, said the President’s ministers and special advisers might be unable to achieve the feat while advising him to look beyond the All Progressives Congress to appoint competent persons.
“There should be peace in the country. The restiveness in the country, including in the Niger Delta, should be brought under control. The activities of cattle rustlers should also be checked,” he said.
The Dr. Junaid Mohammed-led Coalition of Northern Intellectuals, Politicians and Businessmen and the Middle Belt Forum under the leadership of Dr. John Dara, also advised the President to pay greater attention to the nation’s economic problems and ensure the security of lives and properties in 2017.
They spoke in separate telephone interviews with Punch as the year ends.
In the view of the National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, the President should “intensify war against corruption to properly channel the country’s resources for impactful change.”
Ogunyemi also called on Buhari to free Nigeria from the grip of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to encourage policies that would favour Nigerians.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-political association of the Igbo, said its wish was for the President to place more emphasis on equity and justice in 2017.
Ohanaeze also asked the President to respect the principle of ‘federal character’ in all his appointments.
President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Gary Igariwey, said, “We just want to be treated like other Nigerians; we want equity and justice.”
A senior civil servant, Mallam Mohammed Kuta, had one prayer and it was that 2016 should “go with its frustrations and hardship so that we will enjoy better lives in 2017.”
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