The year, 2017, ended on a tough note with two striking incidents: the accident involving the nation’s First Son, Yusuf, who got injured in a power bike race. It was remarkable because Nigerians, regardless of political affiliation and or personal feelings towards the Muhammadu Buhari family, prayed for his quick recovery. It was an incident that almost overshadowed the crippling fuel crisis that nearly turned the joy of Christmas into an ash in the mouth.
The fuel crisis brought out the worst in black marketers who saw the season as an opportunity to make money through blackmail even if it meant bleeding Nigerians to death. But they met their match in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in its successful effort to tame the monsters, culled from its reservoir of experience in handling saboteurs like them.
As the New Year rolls in, there are indications that exciting events lie ahead. 2018, without doubt, will be dominated by near feverish political activities in preparation for the 2019 general election to produce a new set of leaders. It will be exciting in the sense that the economy will be reflated as politicians pump into the system all the money they have been hoarding as they push and shove each other in the game of politicking.
Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has given hint of the two major issues that will control his thought process as the year sets in. Perhaps in response to the question on the lips of most Nigerians, he said that the release of the remaining 113 abducted Chibok school girls still held in captivity by the Boko Haram terrorists is top on the list of his priorities. To achieve this, he said that new strategies to ensure their release will be unveiled in due course. This is one assurance that Nigerians will look forward to as they continue to pray for the home coming of the hapless girls.
The other issue that is expected to take more of the attention of the President is the matter of food security. He has declared his commitment to making Nigeria a food exporting nation. In line with this expectation, the gains attained in the agriculture sector in the outgone year will be sustained and improved upon. And for the economy generally, the President is encouraged by the projections of multilateral institutions which indicate higher growth for 2018. And we pray and say a resounding Amen.
Also, we share the optimism of the federal government that with the infusion of $1 billion into the fight against insurgency, terrorist activities and other threats to the stability of the nation, the security situation in the country will improve considerably.
Nigerians are happy that the only evil they had to contend with during the just celebrated Christmas was fuel shortage and that they didn’t have to worry about suicide bombers and such rascally tendencies. They also hope that the New Year will bring a total extirpation of all security challenges that had impinged on the psyche of the people in the past year.
It is gratifying that, finally, the country is out of the debilitating effect of recession that stayed action on the growth and development of the economy. It is from that perspective that the millions of unemployed youths will anticipate a beneficial reinvigoration of the job creating machinery of state which, hopefully, will gather momentum as the year begins its countdown. If the idle youths are meaningfully engaged, that will be an achievement to celebrate in the year. Furthermore, it is a year that the working class are upbeat that their welfare will be given the attention it deserves especially as the talk of increasing the minimum wage gains considerable attention.
As the New Year kicks off today, a major sector of the nation’s economy, the Insurance sector, is planning to recapitalise and rebrand. When that is successfully actualised, it is expected that more opportunities for growth will be created.
The measured belief is that the trend will have the potential to fast track the activities of stakeholders and bring about growth and development through expanded businesses and the benefits that come with them.
We have not forgotten that 2018 is a World Cup year and Nigeria is in the thick of it. Football loving Nigerians, and they are in their millions, are already warming up for what promises to be a good outing for the nation’s flag bearers- the Super Eagles.
With all these in the plate, and all things being equal, there is not likely to be any dull moment this year 2018. As a miracle-believing nation, we are positive that it will be a Happy New Year indeed.
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