2021: A BETTER YEAR?

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The year 2020 has come and gone, leaving sour taste in the mouth of Nigerians. For many Nigerians, 2020 was a pandemic year. It was a Covid-19 year which wreaked health, social and economic havoc. The disease claimed the lives of many prominent Nigerians. While the corona virus raged with attendant consequences, there came a violent #endSARS protest that rocked the country. The protest which spread like bush fire across the country was as a result of police brutality and the need to reform or scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). EndSARS protest, like any other protest, was hijacked by thugs who unleashed violence and destroyed property worth billions of naira. Year 2020 had not resolved the industrial dispute between the government and the leadership of ASUU. The nine months strike over inclusion of lecturers in the IPPIS platform kept our students at home.

The year 2020 will not pass without assessing how our security sector fared. In fact, Nigerians experienced surge in insecurity. The Zabarmani killings by Boko Haram in Borno State and abduction of Kankara students in a Chibok style will not be forgotten in hurry. There were also cases of banditry in some communities in Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger States. In those states, many villages have been sacked by these blood thirsty bandits. While the country grappled with economic challenges, there came the bad news of economic recession. I think 2020 was one of the most challenging years in the history of the country.

Behold the new year! How will this year differ from the preceding one? Nobody knows. For now, it is too early to predict how the 2021 will be. Though the new year will carry baggage of unpleasant events from the 2020 such as activities of kidnappers, bandits and Boko Haram. With the second wave of Covid-19, it shows the pandemic is not yet over and Nigerians should be ready to live with it in the new year. The ASUU lingering dispute and economic recession have also found their way to the 2021.

However, I am optimistic that year 2021 will be a better year than 2020. Even Mr president during his new year message has expressed optimism that despite the numerous challenges the country encountered in 2020, the new year will be better. This is a cheering news. Many Nigerians hope the government will quickly put ASUU strike behind it. Let our striking lecturers and students go back to classes. There is also the need for government to come up with far-reaching policies to stimulate the economy and keep the emerging recession at bay. The trending news that the country will receive 100,000 Covid-19 vaccines from Republic of China has come at a right time and rekindled the hopes of Nigerians. The pandemic will soon be over. The war against Boko Haram insurgency, kidnappers and organised bandits should be pursued to logical conclusion. There is no gainsaying the fact, conventional warfare has failed to yield the possible result hence the need for paradigm shift. The government should embrace technology-based solution to war against terrorism in the country. Drones and other technology devices have globally proven effective. Let Nigeria adopt it. The government should also address the rising poverty and unemployment in the country. Happy new year!

Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State