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New Dispensation, Expectations from FG
Ahead of the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo today in Abuja for their second tenure in office, John Shiklam in Kaduna, Emmanuel Addeh in Bayelsa, David-Chyddy Eleke in Anambra, Francis Sardauna in Katsina and Femi Ogbonnikan in Ogun write on the expectations of Nigerians from the incoming administration
Having scored the highest votes in the 2019 presidential election by polling 15,191,847 over his closest challenger, Atiku Abubakar, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 11,262,978 votes, President Muhammadu Buhari will today be inaugurated alongside his deputy, Prof Yemi Osinbajo for their second term in office.
Buhari who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on February 23, 2019, was declared winner after winning majority votes and also scored two-third of votes in 24 states. In declaring him winner, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had to make sure that the total number of disenfranchised Nigerian voters was not more than the difference in votes between the two leading candidates.
Timeline for Inauguration
Although Atiku and PDP are presently contesting the result in court, the inauguration was given a go-head order. Thus, the federal government recently reeled out the details of the May 29 presidential inauguration and the first observance of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who released the details, kicked off the inauguration with the press conference last week Monday, May 20. The next day, the three-day National Youth Entrepreneurship Empowerment Summit at the International Conference Centre (ICC) commenced in Abuja.
Then on Wednesday, May 22, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Valedictory Session held at the Council Chambers, State House, Abuja, while the special Jumat Lecture and prayer held on Friday, May 24 at the National Mosque.
On Saturday, May 25, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari’s interaction with women held at the Old Chamber at the State House, while on Sunday, a special Interdenominational Church Service was held at the National Christian Centre. On Monday, May 27, the president gave a Children’s Day broadcast, which was followed later in the day by a Children’s Variety Party.
All these dovetailed to the main event- the inauguration where the president and his vice would be sworn in at the Eagle Square, to be followed by a State Banquet at the State House in the evening of the same day.
Initial feelers had postulated that the inauguration would take place on June 12, which is the new Democracy Day after Buhari had directed that effective 2019, Nigeria’s Democracy Day, which was marked every May 29, be shifted to June 12 to honour Moshood Abiola, the winner of 1993 presidential election.
Even though the Senate also last week passed the bill approving June 12 as the new Democracy Day, the bill is yet to be sent to the president for signing into law, which made the government decide to mark the inauguration on the same May 29.
Nonetheless, the government also unveiled plans to mark the democracy day. From all indications, the Democracy Day will kick off on Friday, June 7 with a historical exhibition in arts, pictures and immersive environment. The events will run through June 12 at the International Conference Centre (ICC)
On Sunday, June 9, a Youth Concert, Creative Industry, and Entertainment night will also be held at the ICC. On June 10, there will be a Secondary Schools Exhibition/Panel Discussion at the ICC, and June 11 will feature three events: the PMB Oratorical Contest at the ICC, an Anti-corruption Summit at the Transcorp Hilton and a First Lady’s Commissioning Programme in Yola, Adamawa.
Wednesday, June 12 will start off with a parade at the Eagle Square, and the Democracy Day programme will wrap up with a Dinner and Gala Night at the State House Conference Centre.
From the North to the South, East and Western parts of the nation, there are of course expectations from the populace for this new dispensation of office. Ranging from good roads to affordable housing, adequate electricity supply, sound education, national health insurance scheme for all, booming economy, seamless ICT, abundance of food, clean water and security, the list is endless.
For different states however, it’s different strokes. While Katsina indigenes would rather he tackles the rising wave of banditry and kidnapping, Kaduna residents and indigenes have charged the president to revive the moribund textile industry, construct some highways and tackle insecurity amongst others.
In Ogun State, the clamour for road construction given the deplorable state of the roads is germane. Also, tacking the menance of herders on their farmlands is another sacrosanct pledge they want from the federal government. For Anambra State, the completion of the Second Niger Bridge and dredging of the river to give way for vessels to berth there are one of their key needs. In Bayelsa, their needs range from resuscitating abandoned projects to tackling child trafficking and labour
Taming the Wave of Banditry, Kidnapping in Katsina
For the residents of Katsina State, they charged President Muhammadu Buhari to tame the wave of banditry and kidnapping bedeviling the state in his second term.
The residents, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent in Katsina, said the carnage orchestrated by armed bandits is affecting the economic growth of the state.
One of the residents, Alhaji Salisu Kaita, said: “Buhari should show clear decisiveness and intolerance to both the perpetrators and sponsors of these killings in Katsina. Our women suffer a lots, because the bandits attack communities and abduct them from their homes and rape them before freeing them”.
Another resident, Mallam Kabiru Tanimu affirmed that: “this ugly situation is very disheartening; we are tired of mass burial; every day we pay millions of naira in ransom to these bandits. President Buhari should address insecurity in Katsina before any agenda”.
According to him, the state needs urgent intervention from the federal government, adding that “We are not satisfied with the efforts and strategies of the security agencies, because they not getting to these bandits”.
However, Rabo Dambi Danmusa, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to dualise the Katsina/Kano road and reconstruct Katsina-Kankara-Funtua road, as according to him, “the roads, if rehabilitated would boost the revenue generation of the state”.
He also called on the president to tackle what he described as persistent acute water scarcity facing residents of the state in his second tenure.
Insecurity, Construction of Highways, Revival of Moribund Industries in Kaduna
On what Kaduna people expect from Buhari in the next four years, it ranged from the revival of the moribund textile industry, construction of highways and tackling of insecurity amongst others.
As President Muhammadu Buhari is sworn in for another term of office, residents of Kaduna state want him to take adequate steps in tackling the increasing insecurity in the state, occassioned by kidnappings, armed robbery and banditry, especially along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, Birnin Gwari area and herdsmen attacks in parts of Southern Kaduna.
From the feelers gotten by THISDAY, Kaduna people would also want the president to complete the construction of the 16-year-old Kaduna Eastern bypass road
which was initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The completion of the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano highway, being funded by the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) is also dear to the people as well as the completion of the construction of the 215MW Kaduna Power Plant.
The people would also want the president to do everything possible to ensure the revival of the moribund textile industries in Kaduna metropolis, which hitherto provided over 10,000 jobs.
Resuscitating Abandoned Projects, Tackle Child Trafficking in Bayelsa
Asides the fact that Bayelsa State has not benefitted from the School Feeding Programme of the Federal Government which had gulped $183 million as at October 2018, there is also a slew of abandoned projects in the state.
Nengi James, a traditional chief and leader of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in the state, urged the FG to take over high budget roads in coastal areas of the state.
“Bayelsa needs link roads that should be taken over by the FG, e.g the road to Brass and other senatorial roads, the one that links Rivers to Otuasega to Abua and from Biseni to Imo and to Onitsha, which will connect Bayelsa State to the East and then to Rivers state, rather than going round through Edo State.
“The financial issues surrounding the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas facility should also be negotiated so that there will be employment for our people.
“The FG should situate a fishery industry in Bayelsa and also tackle the environmental degradation. Bayelsa needs total clean-up. The Presidential Amnesty Programme should have a timeline and should be properly funded. Then also tackle all the abandoned projects and pay all NDDC backlogs” he said.
In his contribution, Mr Aluzu Ebikebuna, a lawyer and human rights activist urged President Buhari to tackle the issue of child trafficking in his second term.
He said: “There is the need to urgently address the problem of child labour and trafficking in the state. Though the child rights law was passed in 2013, the problem remains a recurring decimal with 265,000 children estimated to be out of school in 2018. This is propelled by high level of poverty and illiteracy.”
Completion of Second Niger Bridge, Right Policies for Anambra
As President Buhari is sworn in for a second term in office, Anambra people have lent their voices to what they expect from the government in the next four years.
While some respondents from the state made specific wishes of projects that were domiciled in Anambra, some others mentioned federal projects that though domiciled in Anambra, were deemed to have a large impact on the entire country.
For yet some others, it wasn’t just about physical projects, but making the right policies and decisions that will directly affect the lives of the people of the state, who are more predominantly known for being business minded.
For Mr Obi Ochije, a human rights activist, grassroot politician and special assistant to Governor Willie Obiano, five things were most important to the state. He mentioned them to include; quick completion of the second Niger Bridge, tackling of the numerous erosion ravaged areas in the state, early completion of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, inclusion of the state in the committee of oil producing states and dredging of River Niger to make for navigation and berthing of small ships. This he said will promote ease of importation and business in Nigeria at large.
He said, “We are already seeing the signs that the president will favour people of the South-east in his second term, and we wish to remind him to remember our state with the projects we have mentioned.
“Just think of the benefits that will come our way if the River Niger was dredged and a sea port established there? What it means is that all our brothers who have to go to Lagos or Port Harcourt before they can clear their containers can do so at their backyard here, and believe me the cost of transportation would be low and the prices of goods would be better handled.
“Same for the Enugu – Onitsha expressway. We know that the president is working on that road, but the quicker we finish it the more smiles would be put on the faces of people.”
For Mr Osita Obi, the coordinator of Recover Nigeria Project(RNP) a rights group who also spoke tith THISDAY, he said the only thing the Buhari government can do for the people of Anambra and in extension the South-east is to ensure improvement in the power supply in the zone, just as he said that significant increase has been registered in other zones handled by different Electricity Distribution Companies.
“I think the biggest thing the Buhari administration can do for the South-east, but most especially Anambra is to revoke the operating license of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company(EEDC). Let the company be given to people who can take care of it. This one we have now, I think the license was only used to compensate the owner of the company because of cronyism.”
Another respondent, Mr Chukwuemeka Okosa, a businessman in Awka is of the belief that rather than begin to focus on projects, Buhari should better ensure equity in his appointment, by favouring competent Anambra sons and daughters. “If he does this, then we can hold our own people accountable if they do not work for us. Let him just give us good appointments. Assuming that we get a minister of works from this state, do you think that the minister will not do something about our roads in the state, especially federal roads? That is the key, let him give us good appointments”.
Road Construction, Tackling Menance of Herders in Ogun
Arising from the incessant attacks on farmers, inhabitants of Ogun State are unhappy with kid gloves the Federal government has applied in handling the menace.
With the uneasy calm that has engulfed every part of the state, especially Ogun West Senatorial district (Yewa/Awori axis), the inhabitants whose means of livelihood is farming have had their farm produce ravaged by herds grazing on them.
Consequently, the farmers are looking up to the second term Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently rise to the occasion and address the ugly trend with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book to serve as deterrent to potential culprits.
Perennially, commuters and motorists have always been in pain arising from deplorable road conditions of some major highways in the state.
For instance, Lagos/Sango-Ota/ Abeokuta is not motorable following the beginning of a new rainy season. A journey that is expected to take an hour is now taking four hours. Likewise, the roads in Agbara, Igbesa, Lusada and Atan (Ogun West) which are host communities to a huge chunk of manufacturing companies that contribute 75 per cent of revenues accruing to the coffers of the state government are begging for rehabilitation.
Youths form the bulk of the population of any country. Going by renewed threats to human lives and rising crime rates, youths are expecting the Federal government to empower them, so that they can contribute their quota to the socio-economic growth and development of the state, and the country at large.