Nigerians cannot wait for the year to be over. People are already counting the hours to the end of 2016.
It has been a tough year for the country and Nigerians are hopeful that 2017 will be a better year.
Nigerians have been patient with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government but they are running out of patience. They are tired of excuses and want action.
Here are the things Nigerians expect from Buhari in 2017.
Nigerians want an end to insurgency. They are tired of the bombings and killings. So far, the war against Boko Haram has been yielding great results but the people want the insurgents to be defeated completely. Nigerians also want a lasting solution to the Fulani herdsmen attacks on innocent citizens. They want an end to the kidnappings. People want to live their lives without the fear of being kidnapped or attacked.
2. Save the naira
The value of the naira has been depreciating despite efforts by the government to save it. With the naira exchanging for as high as N490 to one dollar in the black market, the nation’s currency, no doubt, has hit an all-time low. Businesses are collapsing and the fate of the naira remains uncertain. A report by Bloomberg LP rated the naira as one of the world’s four worst performing currencies in 2016. The president and his team need to do something about the depreciating value of the naira and it needs to be done fast.
3. End to recession
The economic recession into which Nigeria lapsed officially in August has continued to bite harder. Companies are sacking workers, others are reducing workers’ salaries by between 20 and 50% and some others have folded up. The prices of goods are going up every day. People are trying hard to survive while life remains painfully hard. President Buhari is optimistic that the current economic recession will end in 2017. We hope it comes to end fast because life is becoming tougher by the day.
4. Constant power supply
Is there any part of Nigeria that can boast of 24/7 power supply? Nigerians have gotten so used to not having power. They now see it as a normal thing. Most households and businesses depend on generators and this makes the cost of doing business in Nigeria very expensive. One of Buhari’s campaign promises was the generation, transmission and distribution of at least 20,000 MW of electricity within four years and increasing to 50,000 MW with a view to achieving 24/7 uninterrupted power supply within 10 years. He has spent close to two years in office and Nigerians are still suffering epileptic power supply. Nigeria will continue to lag behind and businesses will continue to suffer as long as there is no constant power supply. Nigerians are hoping that power supply will improve in 2017.
5. Job creation
While campaigning for the post of president, Buhari promised an empowerment scheme to employ 740,000 graduates across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory and three million Jobs per year. According to the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the federal government, under Buhari, has created 200,000 jobs. What we are witnessing is people losing their jobs. Unemployment is on the increase which is one of the reasons Ponzi schemes are flourishing in the country. Nigerians are tired of promises, they need action.
6. Minimum wage increase
The present N18,000 minimum wage, was signed into law, in March 2011, by former president Goodluck Jonathan. Since then, government has increased the price of fuel, transportation has increased, the prices of foodstuff has gone up, practically everything has gone up while minimum wage is still N18,000. Nigerian workers expect this government to increase minimum wage because N18,000 is no longer reasonable.
7. Reduction of pump price of petrol
Though it looks impossible, Nigerians would be happy if Buhari reduces the pump price of petrol. The price of petrol was increased in May from N87 to N145 per litre. Since then, there has been rumour of the government increasing it again. Things are really difficult and Nigerians are still trying to get used to the new price. Do not think of increasing the price, Nigerians do not want that. What they want is for the price to be reduced, no matter how little to cushion the suffering.
8. Fight corruption without bias
One of the goals of this administration is to fight corruption in the country. So far, a number of prominent people who looted the nation’s treasury have been arrested and are under investigation. Some have returned the money they stole and others are still in detention. Nigerians are aware that it is not only the opposition that stole public funds. In 2017, Nigerians expect the fight against corruption to be without bias. It should be fought squarely and sweep across all political parties whether ruling or not.
9. Quality of life to improve
2016 proved to be a very difficult year for majority of Nigerians. Buhari presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 14. According to him, the 2017 budget will make the lives of Nigerians better than it did in 2016. Hopefully, it will be better.
What else do you expect from Buhari in 2017?