President Muhammadu Buhari, in commemoration of the new year, reaffirmed his commitment to fight insecurity, diversify the economy, tackle corruption and strengthen the electoral process.
The president also pledged to reinforce the security outfits in the country with modern weaponry, and improve staffing and training.
He added that all that country needs is a democratic government “that can guarantee peace and security to realise the full potential of our ingenious, entrepreneurial and hard-working people,” adding that his administration’s policies are geared towards achieving this.
“Our policies are designed to promote genuine, balanced growth that delivers jobs and rewards industry. Our new Economic Advisory Council brings together respected and independent thinkers to advise me on a strategy that champions inclusive and balanced growth, and above all fight poverty and safeguard national economic interests,” Mr Buhari said.
He also noted that the government is committed to inclusive growth by signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the creation of the National Action Committee to oversee its implementation and ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to allow Nigeria to fully capitalise on regional and continental markets.
He, therefore, hinted that the opening of the nation’s borders would be done once “we are satisfied that the safeguards are adequate, normal cross-border movements will be resumed.”
On his part, a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, urged Nigerians to stay together more than ever before and also take on the nation’s common enemy: insecurity.
He added that in the new decade, the government needs to be more responsible to tackle the challenges of economic instability, unemployment, out-of-school children, and poverty which fuels “the problems of violent extremism that we spent the past decade contending with. We cannot win the fight against terrorism if we do nothing to reduce or eliminate poverty and illiteracy.”
“In this new decade, we must start to do things differently if we are honest about our desire for a better and prosperous future. There must be a deliberate effort to improve the material well being of the people, by lifting millions of Nigerians out of the extreme poverty belt at a start, and to prosperity. Government must rethink many of its policies that is sinking more people into the abyss of extreme poverty.
“It is incumbent on government at all levels to pursue policies that will provide decent housing to the mass majority; put food on the table; provide healthcare and education. We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different outcome. It is therefore high time we caused a rejig of economic policies that will promote an expansion of the economy and create jobs opportunities aplenty.”
He charged the government to uphold the democratic tenets of rule of law and separation of powers. He also tasked individual Nigerians to show more empathy and sacrifice to their fatherland.
Also, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, through his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, assured Nigerians the government will continue to do its best to make things better for the people.
He added that the National Assembly will maintain ‘cordial’ working relationship with other arms of government for the smooth administration of the country and benefit of the people.
“I have no doubt in my mind that with the timely passage of the budget, restoration of the January to December financial year and other amendments recently made to our laws by the ninth National Assembly, the economy will enjoy significant growth in the new year,” Mr Lawan said.
His counterpart in the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, also through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, urged Nigerians to be optimistic for a better Nigeria in 2020.
“This New Year, let’s unite more against our challenges. Let’s be our brother’s keepers as always. Our resolve to remain together as a people should be unshakeable.
“We cannot relent in our prayers for continuous peaceful coexistence among us. Let this 2020 be a year of more prospects for the citizens,” Mr Gbajabiamila noted.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress national leader, Bola Tinubu, admitted that Nigerians have been through a lot in past years “but through resilience and unity, they have sustained the continuous existence of the country.”
“But we are a resilient and strong people. The difficulties of the past cannot deter us from the benefits of a greater future,” Mr Tinubu said.
“No matter the odds, we strive. No matter how much others say we cannot, we still achieve. No matter how long the road, we shall walk it.”
He told Nigerians to shun division. He also urged them to work together with purpose and belief to build a nation that works.