By Akombo Aondona
As his second term in office begins in earnest, Nigerians across a broad spectrum of society appear to expect President Muhammadu Buhari to perform better than his accomplishments in his first four years in the saddle.
This optimism may have been buoyed by the conviction that the President has succeeded in assembling a team of individuals which believes in his vision for the country and whom he had also found a way to fix into key government positions and institutions needed to actualise the “Next Level” Agenda.
In both arms of the National Assembly, for instance, the President’s men are believed to be deeply entrenched, hence a smooth Executive-Legislative relationship is expected in that quarters – unlike the immediate past when the National Assembly leadership allegedly played out of tune with the Presidency.
Nigerians have been speaking of their expectations from the President.
According to a national survey conducted by The Dream Daily Newspaper, President Buhari is also expected to achieve better results in the war against graft over the next four years as he appears to have secure stronger footings in the Judiciary through recent developments in that third arm of government, including the appointment of a new Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) by the President.
The Civil Service is also expected to provide improved bureaucratic services to the nation following the recent change of guard in the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
Setting the peoples agenda ball rolling, Talban Potiskum, Dr. Suleiman A.Jaji said: “Focus should mainly be towards final elimination of the intractable insurgency that is threatening the unity and corporate existence of this nation. The President should endeavour to make sure Boko Haram is not only degraded to the lowest level but that the terrorists are completely and comprehensively dealt with to the extent that they will not be able to wage coordinated attacks anywhere any time.”
Dr. Jaji, who is also of the Department of English and Literary Studies, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria added: “To achieve this, Mr President will have to review the current state of our Armed Forces, effect needful changes and direct the Forces to keep the insurgents on their toes instead of waiting in the trenches for them. All available, up-to-date and superior equipment to the arms of Boko Haram should be made available to the Military. To me, the Federal Government should suspend all other projects as far as practicable and face this insurgency squarely.
“Secondly, the issue of youth unemployment is the next most essential area of focus and to succeed, the President should make sure that Ajaokuta and all our industries and agricultural sectors are working fully. This can be achieved by mobilizing all sources of funding but particularly the massive reduction of emoluments of political office holders and members of National Assembly by more than 50%.”
Another a lecturer in the Department of English and Literary Studies, ABU, Zaria Hajiya Onyinoyi Abdurraheem, said: “What I want from this APC-led government is equity and justice in all ramifications. Just as the boarders against goods have been closed, I hope boarders against medical and educational tourism, particularly by government officials, will also be closed. Security should be taken seriously, and our Constitution should be reviewed.”
Convener, Coalition in Defense of Nigerians Democracy and Constitution, Mr. Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is in the last lap of his journey into a democratic government. I would expect him to try to leave a sound legacy behind. He has his cabinet; he should task their ingenuity to get the nation working. The vision of the Buhari government must be properly articulated”
Also, an accountant with the Borno State Hospital Management Board, Mr. Kolo, said: I want President Buhari to clear the remnant of Boko Haram in the state to enable our children, who are in the IDP camps, go back to school. Education is going backward here. The president should assist us especially we the civil servants and, of course, farmers in Borno State. We can’t go to our offices and there are no farming activities. There is no market here even. We cannot go five or ten kilometers away from Maiduguri metropolis to avoid been kidnapped by the insurgents.”
A postgraduate student in the Department of English and Literary Studies, ABU, Zaria, Gloria Bitrus, said: “The major challenge in Nigeria is insecurity, which has brought about great setback to the economic, social and educational development of the country. If the President can focus on tackling insurgency and price regulation, the standard of living can improve. Poverty has increased as a result of insecurity and the insurgency in the country.”
Similarly, a graduate of Mass Communication from the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Mutiat Temitope Ibrahim, stated: “I’ll like the President to look into poverty and insecurity. If one is taken care of, the other will be solved. PMB should help us create more employment opportunities for our graduates and provide adequate security for the citizens. That will help to eradicate poverty and reduce crime. We should not be praying as if we are going to the warfront anytime we are stepping out of our homes for the day because we are scared of what could happen to us.”
In his response, Mr. Egbe Emmanuel, of Benue State Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Investment, told The Dream Daily: “I would like the President to consolidate on his achievements, especially in the area of security. The President has performed beyond average in the management of national security. Let him see to it that the Nigerian Peace Corps Bill is passed into law. It would be a plus to his government. As a Civil Servant, I will not let go the issue of minimum wage. The President should do something fast about it. I want to urge all Nigerians to support the President. It is our obligation to do so.”
In Ibadan, Oyo State, Mr. Adebiyi Adekola said: “PMB should take proactive measures against insurgents and all forms of criminality. He should not rely on fake reports of the Nigerian Army that the insurgents are demystified. That way, a secure Nigeria will ensure a conducive environment for investors.”
A Makurdi-based Businessman, from Gaambetyev, Anyiin, Logo Local Government, Benue State, Mr. Mseer Mwaikyoga Robert, said: “I’m a businessman, I deal in cars. I want Mr. President to open the borders and bring customs duties down at a flat rate of one hundred thousand naira per car. I think with the number of cars been imported into the country from Cotonou every day, the country will generate a lot of revenue that will run into billions of naira daily.”
A Zaria-based banker, Malam Muhammad Aminu Ibrahim, urged President Buhari to focus on “job creation, revive the shut companies and industries, and tackle the issue of insecurity, among others”.
A resident of Ikorodu, Lagos State, Mr. Olashile Atobatele said: “I want President Muhammadu Buhari to focus on employment and empowerement in his second term in office.”
Managing Director, U.C.B Furniture in Makurdi, Benue State, Mr. Uche Bassey, said: “A lot of technocrats should be engaged by Mr. President to ensure that good economic policies are introduced that will boost our economy. To have a direct bearing on us, the President should provide loan facilities for us to expand our businesses”.
Another respondent, Hanmakyur Orbunde, a 400-Level student at the National Open University (NOUN), said: “What I want from President Muhammadu Buhari, is job creation. I’m a student, a 400-Level student for that matter. Shortly, I will be going into the labour market to look for work. So let him provide job opportunities to the unemployed now”
An Associate Professor and Gerontologist at the Department of Adult Education, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun. Ogun State, Dr. Omotayo O. Tope, urged President Buhari to “activate the National Seniors Citizen Act of 2017 to ensure better care for retirees and older persons in Nigeria.”
By Akombo Aondona