Nigerians from every walk of life, including clerics, academics, politicians, traders and students are of the opinion that Nigerians deserve a better deal in the new year.
This is as prominent Nigerians and groups including former governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Party (APC) in Delta State, Prof. Pat Utomi, chieftain of the Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adeanjo, presidential candidates of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Fela Durotoye, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu and Yunusa Tanko of the National Conscience Party (NCP) expressed mixed feelings about the outgoing year.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the expectation is for credible people to be voted into office across the country.
CBCN President, Dr. Augustine Akubeze, in a telephone interview, bemoaned the spate of killings across the country and stressed the need to vote for people who can protect lives and properties.
According to him, part of government’s job is to protect lives and property.
“There is too much killing in our land. We need people that will respect lives and stop all these killings in our land.”
Like Akubueze, Bishop Henry Okeke, Anglican Bishop of Mbamili Diocese expects a situation where the wishes of the electorate will be respected.
“We also expect that those holding political office should be more concerned about the welfare of the people they represent,” he said.
Utomi who described 2018 as a “watershed year” for Nigeria, during which the country entered the annals of history for mostly the wrong reasons, however, expressed doubts if the 2019 general elections will be credible.
But Adebanjo said the best gift the country could receive in 2019 is the assurance of credible polls from President Muhammadu Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Tanko gave a four-point approach the citizenry must adopt to pull the country out of its political and economic quagmire. Part of it is for the citizenry to vote wisely during the polls and reject violence.
Durotoye believes Nigerians would vote for a party that is committed to their “freedom, happiness and prosperity.”
Former minister for Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ahamba want to see the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) win the presidential election.
According to Babatope, change of leadership at the centre is the only way the country could move forward.
“There is so much hunger and suffering and our economy is in a comatose This administration has failed and we cannot continue like this.”
Ahamba said current handlers of the economy were at sea on what to do to reduce the hardship of the last three and half years.
He expects that former vice president Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi would be the new leaders of the country after the February presidential election with Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo State.
But former minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Emeka Wogu expressed optimism that Buhari would be re-elected to frog-leap the country.
“I am impressed with the level of work going on in the South East in terms of projects around the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge. So, a re-election of the president will enable him consolidate on all these projects,” Wogu stated.