EDITORIAL: Nigeria, Nigerians and the Great Expectations for 2016

Abuja City Gate
Photo: logbaby.com
Abuja City Gate Photo: logbaby.com

Nigeria has started 2016 grappling with modalities that will make the year a more peaceful and progressive one for its people. The Federal Government has continued to make efforts to overcome some of the country’s difficult national concerns.

Last year was a difficult one for Nigeria and Nigerians, especially with the security crisis in the North-East and deteriorating state of the economy. It was also a year with a lot of promise, best symbolised in the successful general elections and transition to a new government at the centre and in some states in the country. In 2015, the Nigerian people demonstrated determination and commitment to democracy during the elections and resilience as insecurity grew.

One of the greatest challenges last year was the Boko Haram insurgency. Like in the 2014, Nigeria lost part of its territory to insurgents that had the audacity to raise their flags on territory they had wrestled off our armed forces. Over 20,000 people have been killed by the insurgency so far, 2.2 million people have been internally displaced, and at least 175,000 have fled as refugees to the neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, creating a huge humanitarian crisis. President Muhammadu Buhari gave a deadline to our armed forces to defeat the insurgency, which expired on December 31st, 2015.

Significant progress has been made in degrading the capacity of the insurgents to fight. Most of the territory lost has been recovered and the insurgents are on the run. As they run, however, they continue to kill and destroy. They have also expanded the suicide bombing missions often using innocent young girls.

Our wish for 2016 is complete success in eliminating the insurgency. This would require a continuation of armed combat from the armed forces. It would however require even more improved intelligence, raising the security consciousness of communities to monitor their society to stop infiltration. Above all, religious and traditional leaders need to be more proactive in socialising their followers against indoctrination into radical extremism. Let 2016 become the year the Nigerian polity and society is able to organise to totally defeat extremism.

The Buhari Administration has prioritised the struggle against corruption in its agenda and they have had a clear focus on it since coming into power. There have been shocking revelations about mega-looting from our treasury and prosecutions have started. It is gratifying that the Federal Government is clearly committed to prosecuting corrupt public officials and recovering the loot they took. It is not easy fighting corruption because the resources at the hands of corrupt individuals are immense and the culture of corruption is deep rooted and omnipresent. Precisely for these reasons, there must a national conversation about the most effective strategies for combating corruption. The President and his Advisory Committee on Corruption should engage Nigerians on the strategy they have adopted to get wider input and carry other anti-corruption crusaders along.

Our wish for 2016 is the development of a strong anti-corruption movement that would lead the campaign and create traction in the war against corruption. As the year proceeds, we hope to see successful prosecutions of corrupt public officials who are sent on long jail terms and from whom the loot stolen is recovered.

Nigeria’s territorial integrity has been strained in 2015, not only because of the Boko Haram insurgency but also due to sharp mobilisation over the reincarnation of Biafra, threats of resumption of militancy by Niger Delta and Oduduwa Republic militants, in addition to persistent conflicts between Nigerians defined as indigenes and settlers. All these indicate unease regarding the centralised and lopsided nature of the Nigerian Federation. The National Conference called by the Jonathan Administration to address these issues made some useful proposals.

In 2016, Nigerians must find ways of continuing the conversation about the nation and how best to build and consolidate it. How best can we share powers between the federal, state and local governments in the country? Is devolving political and economic powers to the states, local governments, cities and other municipalities at the grass roots level in the country the best way forward? How do we address the persistent problems associated with the lack of competence, transparency and accountability at the local level? Nigeria cannot afford another huge national conference at this time. Nonetheless, modalities to continue these conversations must be devised and practicalised.

Over the past few weeks, another fault line has been revealed by the clash between the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, popularly known as the Shiites, and the Nigerian Army. The Shiites have, over the past decades, turned themselves into a group with no respect for our laws and have often made the lives of ordinary Nigerians neighbouring their places of activity extremely difficult. Be that as it may, as it is usually said, two wrongs cannot make a right. The massacre of hundreds of their members in an extra judicial manner is totally unacceptable. A high-powered judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the issue should be established and those found to have broken the law must be punished.

Over and beyond the specific clash, we need to accept that there must be regulation of the activities of religious organisations in general. We continue to allow them break our laws at our own peril. Massive noise pollution from religious organisations, indoctrination into cult organisations, blocking of streets and highways and inciting people with hate and dangerous speech are all issues the Nigerian State has to address.

Our prayers for 2016 in this regard is that Nigeria must cease to be a country where free-for-all action by groups are tolerated simply because they say that they are a religious group.

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  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosann

    1. “Last year was a difficult one for Nigeria and Nigerians, especially with the security crisis in the North-East and deteriorating state of the economy…” [PT carefully evades culpability of Buhari’s regime. The current administration is not mentioned]

    2. “One of the greatest challenges last year was the Boko Haram insurgency. Like in the 2014, Nigeria lost part of its territory to insurgents…Over 20,000 people have been killed by the insurgency so far…President Muhammadu Buhari gave a deadline to our armed forces to defeat the insurgency, which expired on December 31st, 2015.” [Again, PT evades placing responsibility for failure to meet the self imposed deadline on Buhari’s administration]

    3. “Significant progress has been made in degrading the capacity of the insurgents to fight. Most of the territory lost has been recovered and the insurgents are on the run. As they run, however, they continue to kill and destroy. They have also expanded the suicide bombing missions often using innocent young girls..” [Rather PT is seen here praising Buhari’s administration when in fact the statistics are to the contrary]

    The facts before the whole world as released by several news media outfits show that about 2,713 persons have been killed by Boko haram terrorists between June 1, 2015 and Dec 31, 2015. This is far more than the 1,011 persons killed 6 months before under the previous administration. Media houses like ‘TheCable’ and ‘Punch’ have presented the actual dates of attack and casualty figures which are assessable to all. On what basis therefore is PT making such abhorrent conclusion that is suggestive of Buhari’s success?

    Finally, it is despicable that PT would write an Editorial of this nature and refuse to use the word “terrorism” anywhere in the piece. This is shameful. Why is ISIS, AL-Shabaab and others not referred to as ‘insurgents’? If we can’t even call them by their real names how since can we be I our opinions? I have lost confidence in PT as I feel that you have been visibly compromised and ubiquitously so. This ridiculous Editorial is more like a biased sponsored self appraisal. Absolute rubbish!

    • Julius

      Good analysis.

    • NoSpinEd

      Your points are well taken doctor. Can you offer us a constructive alternative going forward into 2016, having made your case?

      • REDEEM

        With Buhari–he does not take advise from humans except those in the spirit world–And only if u are prepared to go to jail-then u open your regional mouth—-for him to pour his vomit into it—————Or else u keep quiet under the satanic rule of monsters like Buhari————————–Only those hired by APC even trouble their souls to appear here–because of the 9,000 naira they are paid to post comments—————–That is a lot of money to the ever moaning mourners—-ati buharimice on the web struggling to cover the thieveries of buhari———-who is refusing to tell us what he did with the 5.6b dollars left in NNPC by the former Minister——-Not to talk of my 2.8b————————cheeeeeeers

    • Dude

      End of discussion!

  • Romberg

    I’d think this editorial will elicit Nigeria’s most horrendous problem as the inability of the Buhari administration to have a clear agenda about how they intend to rule the nation. Also Buhari has been the prosecutor, the judge and the jury!, yet he said he is fighting corruption. Nigeria’s unity is begging for his attention, yet the outcomes of the national conference organised by the last administration is now in the bin of history. Who do we hold responsible for this: is it the administration that spent so much money to make sure the nation has a say in its governance or a ridiculous administration that hope to consign the outcomes of the conference to the dustbin?

    I found it hilarious that an editorial will hope to see an end to insurgency. Think of Pakistan and Afganistan, and Nigeria! These fanatics have been with us for ever. Kano riots was not orchestrated by Bokoharam. They may come in different names, but there is no end to them.

    So what do Nigerians expect from this government other than seriousness in governance and honesty of purpose? Yaradua had three point agenda. Buhari? He has not announced an agenda, but his team is all over the place – from N5000 stipend, to school kids’ feeding, 365 festivals etc. How on earth will a reasonable government do all of these on borrowed money?

    Don’t Nigerians want Buhari to fight the corruption that sat him into power? Someone cleaned up our electoral system. Will Buhari build on that? So far, PDP is the corrupt party; not even Labour Party and APGA. APC is the only righteous party in Nigeria, though almost everyone in APC today was from PDP!

  • Chidinma

    Buhari withdraws 2016 Budget from National Assembly

    Indication has emerged that the 2016 Budget presented to the joint session of the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari on December 22, 2015 has been withdrawn.

    Sources said the budget was withdrawn by the President to allow for reduction in allocations for some ministries, agencies and parastatals, especially the presidency.

    The budget is to be represented ‘codedly’ to the National Assembly by the end of this month.

    One of the sources said there were too many errors in the budget that cannot be overlooked.

    “The president did not read the actual budget until criticism started flying left, right and center.

    “For instance, budgetary allocation was made for renovation of Vice President Lodge in the Presidency Budget while provision was also made for the renovation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministry’s budgetary allocation,” the source said.

    President Buhari had presented a N6.08 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2016. In the budget, capital expenditure takes N1.8 trillion, marking a significant over 300 per cent increment from the 2015 vote of N557 billion.

    Since the budget was presented, Nigerians have been criticising some provisions in the budget, especially relating to the presidency.

    On Sunday, in its editorial comment, The Nation newspaper owned by All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu carpeted President Buhari on the budget, saying “some of the extravagances in the presidency’s budget are stunningly indefensible.”

    “Curiously enough, President Muhammadu Buhari’s first budget estimates after rising to power on a promise of change have familiar ingredients associated with the old discredited order. Details of the 2016 budget proposal reflect astonishing similarities with the immediate past, prompting questions about the meaning of change.

    “To start with, the interest in acquiring a fleet of new high-end luxury cars for the Presidency bespeaks flawed prioritisation. A vote of N3.6b for BMW saloon cars for principal officers is certainly on the high side, considering that the cars are not essential for good governance. Furthermore, the number of the cars is unspecified, leaving room for possible corruption-related manipulation.

    “Also, the mention of BMW saloon vehicles and their cost bring to mind the matter of a former Aviation Minister in the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Stella Oduah, who was involved in a questionable procurement of two bullet-proof BMW cars at $800,000 each during her tenure. The Buhari government cannot afford such a stain at this time when it is trying to get the public to appreciate its claim that it met a vastly depleted treasury,” the newspaper editorial comment read in part.

    Stating further, The Nation said; “Equally odd is the N362m allocation for Wildlife Conservation in 2016, in place of the N24. 6m voted for the same category last year, including the purchase of exotic animals. Ironically, the difference in the figures makes Jonathan’s government look saintly, quite apart from the dubious category which this particular allocation is meant to serve.

    “What is more, the allocation for acquisition of presidential canteen materials and kitchen equipment increased from N83.1m in 2015 to N89m in 2016. There is also a marginal increase in the N11m voted for supply of foodstuff and catering services in the Vice President’s office in 2015 to N16.6m.

    “Other puzzling figures include: general renovation of the Guest House (N387m); complete furnishing of the Guest House (N45m); purchase of computers (N27.5m) and construction and provision of recreational facilities (N764m). It may be asked: What are the recreational facilities missing at the Presidency?”



    When would Buhari who stole more than 300,000 and 5 super bullet proof vehicles from Dasuki, appear in court? Or is he covered with the usual Sultan of Sokoto, Fulani Presidential immunity from the Fulani Emirate in the North? Already, we have another 5.6b dollars missing in NNPC under the Luciferic rule of Buhari. Is Buhari as the Minister of Petrelum Resources, ever going to be investigated or we allow him go free the same way we covered our eyes and noses to the theft of over 2.8b dollars–which he Buhari quietly denied over 30 years ago? Buhari is just joking with all these childish rubbish–called anti corruption crusade—–Our annual revenue generating capacity has gone down under him by 560b via REMITA. Jonathan is no longer in power! Yet firms in Nigeria in spite of his fake corruption war, are packing off like sardines. Besides, is there any law in Nigeria which says accused persons should not appear in wheel chairs in Nigerian courts again? Is that what the ever (moaning mourners in APC) are now telling us? Did Tinubu not refuse to take his stand in the dock while facing charges of operating 16 foreign bank accounts? Aware of the satanic rule of Buhari-who have wickedly ordered the courts never to grant bail to accused persons–with a view to presenting himself foolishly to the globe as an able Adolf Hitler like ruler to Obama! Aware all these Buhari shakara, are also cover for his insatiable thieving habits-? Why would humans not show up in court in wheel chairs-? What Nigerians need is liberation from the economic woes of 9jas-Not play d blame game–as if Nigeria is now the National theatre for daily (basket mouth shows) by the Apes in APC-Pls-Let my people go–biko!—with no strings or ethnic group attached to them—–in d Niger Delta———–for freedom is our goal———-Not the rule of the Fulanis and Yoruba traitors—in APC—-again———-Animals

    • Scatter

      Ha ha ha ha …. Redeem, the irredeemable Redeem!

      You are such a comic relief that I think President Buhari should employ you on a special grade to entertain Nigerians with your tales and thus help reduce the rate of stroke and heart attacks as a result of the stress and wahala brought about by Dumbo Dumbo’s misrule and cancer of corruption. But if you won’t accept Buhari’s offer, then I suggest you remain as GEJ’s Goebbels-in-Chief.

      My fear for you, though, is you too may soon get a massive stroke or heart attack going by the anti-Buhari ati anti-north and anti-Yoruba bile and bigotry oozing from every socket of your bile-ridden body. I beg oh, Redeem, please, please and please, just relax. Nigerians can’t afford to loose creatures like you just yet.


    Very childish editorials—if PT is saying the boko haram is very important and has not official ended then why is Buhari already spending over 2.1 b dollars he borrowed from the World bank in fixing the North east–when the war is still ongoing—————————-?