As the nation marks the 2017 Democracy day today, May 29, Happenings Lifestyle Daily took to the streets to ask 20 Nigerians their thoughts and opinions on the state of the nation and how the nation can progress. Here’s what Nigerians had to say to commemorate Democracy Day:
Mark Osayande, 33, Teacher (Adeniran Ogusanya)
The state of the nation I bleak at the moment. But I’m optimistic that things will be better considering the fact that we have the likes of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as our Vice President, who is actually the acting President and I believe with the help of God, things will get better. It’s bleak at the moment but I’m optimistic that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Talking about moving forward, we need to understand that we are on a standpoint. Standpoint in the sense that we are not where we ought to be. But when you understand where you are and then you make a conscious effort to move forward. Talking about moving forward, the first step is to identify the areas in which we want to move to and how we want to move forward, So I think, in the economy, for instance, diversification is so important and I believe that it is not lip service; it is something we must see on ground and that every common can benefit from.
I think it’s hightime the government looked inwards to help the common man on the street, and one of the ways you can help the common man on the street is to identify those grey areas where the common man can actually benefit from. Take for instance the area for unemployment, you find out that it’s not just a government work but the job of both the private and the public sector. If you talk about tackling unemployment, we need to bring in the private sector to also help generate job opportunities and promote small scale industries and encourage youth empowerment. One of these things will help the common man to appreciate what the government is doing and then we can say we are moving forward.
Idowu Rotimi, 27, Unemployed (Bode Thomas)
The way forward for our country right now, since we know the state is to have a good leader that can lead us in the right direction. Because most of our leaders we have right now are not straight forward, they are not trustworthy. And if we have a good leader that will lead us in the right path, someone that I know we trust, then I know that this country will move forward. Like I said earlier, the state of affairs of this country is quite woeful because we don’t have a good leader that will lead us in the right path. Right now, the state of our country is below average.
Wale Ashiru, Cashier (Shitta)
At the moment, the state of the nation is so poor, that is just the truth. I feel government needs to do more basically. Moving forward, the government needs to be active on their decisions, not making decisions and not making it a reality. So we need to be making active decisions.
Mrs Ibilola Adeyemi, Unemployed. (Ojuelegba)
I’d like the country to help the less privileged. People cannot train their children very well, people cannot eat very well. Lots of things happening. This 419 stuff. There’s no more Christianity in this world. Everything is getting difficult, every now and then. The government should help us and they should think of the youths.
Edwin Ishie, Writer, & Sports development Consultant (Bode Thomas)
Actually, I wouldn’t say we have gotten there yet, but we are growing. I think October 1 this year Nigeria will be celebrating 57 years. I think if you can compare a 57-year-old man to…I think he’s grown from childhood to adulthood and must have succeeded in various areas, in achievement and all that. To be honest with you, Nigeria has not gotten there yet. We are crawling. Most times we say our leaders but I think we should look inwards. We, the masses, as well. I think we have a lot of contribution to make. We need to do a lot of sacrifices. We do a lot of complaining and I think it’s time we need to put our hands on deck.
Busayo Balogun, 29, Jumia Sales Person (Games Village)
Right now at the moment, the state of the nation is not in the right frame. I mean, looking at things happenings. You could talk about the basic things—food, clothes, shelter. It’s not readily available to the ordinary man, You could look at the state of the road, there’s a bit of improvement but our leaders need to try to to get the right policies, like, making things happen, most especially for the youth, the empowerment thing, the job creation, very, very important because if we can get these people out of the streets, then we can make them productive as a nation, then we can move forward. I think it’s very key for us to understand clearly here that we need to have a clear vision on what to do and I think the coming election is a very good pointer for us to move in the next direction.
Mrs. Maureen Ndieli, Trader. (Costain)
At the moment I suppose the state of the nation is standstill. I don’t think anything is really happening in Nigerian so far, since the President left, he’s been ill to check his health and the Vice President is there. Nothing much is happening in 2017. It’s been slow-moving. The budget, everything, prices of foodstuff, everything is high in the market. So nothing is really happening. The way forward is if the cabal would let the Vice President act in the capacity of the acting president. At least he is a learned person. And then the other time when the President was away for medical treatment abroad, he [Prof. Yemi Osinbajo] tried. The dollar came down to three hundred and something. And most of us in business. In fact, the common man cannot afford the basic things they use to afford. I think they should allow the Vice President to act in the capacity of Acting President.
George Opakirite, 25, Air Hostess (Iponri)
The country is in a big mess, like, everything is just upside down. The cost of living is extremely high. Everything is crazy, but I know we will get there eventually. We will. Things may not seem the way we want them to be, but eventually we’ll get there. And then, your second question – I think everyone’s tired of hearing, “just keep believing, keep hoping, it will get better.” We are tired of hearing that story. But, we can’t help it. We just have to keep faith alive and in our own little way, do what we can do to help the country. Because if we keep waiting for those in authority to do everything, my brother, you’d just die, I don’t even know what to say. Because they are just there, gathering wealth for themselves and their generation yet to come. In your own little way, just help the country. Do what’s right, be good, and eventually, God will mercy on us and on our leaders and this country will get better.
Oyinda Amos, 17, Student (Akerele)
Actually, unemployment. Many students now, Nigerians, they’ve written UTME, which is JAMB, seeking for admission, and actually when they get the admission they get to school and after like four, three, five years, they won’t get employment and I’m sure it’s due to lack of unemployment of the country. Moving forward, I think by having good leaders and voting for the right people.
Patrick Akpan, 47, Football Coach (Costain)
Well, as far as I am concerned, there’s nothing to write home about. The state of the country is very embarrassing and for me, the government has failed in many areas. In security, they tell us that they are watchful. But from what I have seen, go to Taraba. Even in Lagos state, two days ago or yesterday, many pupils were kidnapped. A billion naira was asked for their released. Apart from that, they told us about corruption, but I see corruption at a high rate unlike the previous government. For me, there’s nothing to write home about, as long as this government is concerned. They should improve. They should work on security. They should work on people looting the money. The money they recovered they should put it into place so that the common man will make use of it. The way forward is for everybody like…President Buhari when he launched Change Begins With Me, I was very happy. It’s a very good idea. Let the change starts from me. If the change starts from you and starts from me and starts every other governor, Nigeria will move ahead.
Ngozi Okafor, Trader (Costain)
Don’t even know where to start from. It’s so, so disheartening. I don’t even know the right adjective to qualify it. When the government came into power, they came in with promises. In fact, promises that were not even realistic, so to say. But then at least we expected them to try, do something in line with their promise. But it’s been absolutely nothing. Nothing to write home about. The way forward, he mentioned change begins with me. I don’t think that’s it. For me, if you want to fight corruption, I think it should be fought from the roots, not people that have looted funds in the past because as you are fighting those who have looted funds, other ones are coming up. Till when will you find people that have looted funds. To start it from the roots, there is corruption in our government agencies. For instance, let’s start with NEPA. The fight that we don’t have light now, I don’t think it’s nothing else but corruption. The past government, from what they let people know, they were really working towards bringing constant power, but corrupt people in the system did not let that happen. So I think we should start fighting corruption from the roots. We’ve all agreed that corruption is the main problem this country has. So I think recovering monies that have been looted is not just it for me. After all, where are all those monies? You don’t see them. We don’t see what they are used for. And corruption still continues.
Frank Doyle, Engineer (Costain)
So I think the country is in a real…the country has been taken back like 30 years. This is the first time that I have ever felt that the country was in the brink of being divided, so much division in the country. So much anger, so much some kind of fear. Ever since the present government came in, people are generally disgruntled because of the state of the economy. Prices are on the high side. The naira is worse than it has ever been in a decade. The hardship is like something else… you go to the market to buy something, something you used to but like 500 naira before is like three times or four times the price right now. So you wonder what’s really happening. And then the political and so many things happening in the country also…different groups wanting attention but the government isn’t giving them attention. And then, the whole thing continues.
I think the way out is, we need leadership that is like a father of the country. A leader that is for Nigerians. If you are for Nigerians and you love the country, give it your best to address the ills of the country and people will see that and appreciate that even if things don’t necessarily immediately get better. But at least if people feel the government, they would enthusiasm, they would positivity, it can lead to a lot of change. But people don’t feel the government…people feel that the government is distant, people feel that the government doesn’t know what to do about the economy. They just feel the government doesn’t have a clue in how to solve the economy’s problems. They don’t feel that connection with the government.
Kosi Nwachukwu, 36, Pap Maker (Eric Manuel)
The state of the country now, I don’t know how to put it in words. I can’t say it’s terrible. People are hungry. There’s no job. Even when you try to create your own job or your own business, there’s no money to start. If you go to the bank, interest rate is high. Two digit figure, do you understand. And in this kind of unpleasant environment, a business cannot thrive. It cannot. Now, there’s no water. I’m into pap business. Before I get water to do my pap, I have to send my younger ones downstairs and they would have to trek a long distance they get water. Light, the same thing. So many factors that will just kill someone’s business in this nation. The forward is for our leaders to be more sacrificial. They should make sacrifices.
Tope Bakare, Waitress, (Ojuelegba)
Tomorrow is Democracy Day and I can’t really point at any tangible thing this government has done. It’s such a sad thing. If you look everywhere, you will see that Nigerians are suffering terribly. I’m actually looking forward to the next election where we’ll vote this incompetent administration out and vote in new and capable leaders. Because, as far as I’m concerned, they have failed.
Lanre Smith, 26, Chef (LUTH)
In my opinion, the government is trying. I personally voted for President Buhari because I believed in him. I still believe him and I ‘d like to plead with Nigerians to be patient with this administration. Let’s support and pray for him because things will change eventually
Deaconess Mercy Arinze (LUTH)
I wish Nigerians a Happy Democracy Day and I also want to say that there’s nothing prayers can’t solve. Yes, I am not happy with the state of the nation. The price of things in the market keeps going high every day. I don’t like it at all. What we need to do is pray and support this government.
Taiye Balogun, 21, Student (Alaka)
I’d be happy if the government can look into the incessant strikes by ASUU because it is really affecting us. Frankly, I don’t think this government is capable enough to fulfil all of its promises. The way forward is the youth. I am a youth. We are like the untapped resource in this country. The government needs to start focusing on the youth for nation building.
Princess Adebayo, 31, Make up Artist (Ebute Metta).
The country is in a mess right now. I didn’t think things will ever get so bad but here we are. Nigeria is ours to fix and we can’t run away from it. We need effective leaders. We need people-oriented leaders. We don’t need leaders that would get into power and line their pockets. We need leaders that would initiate policies to better the common man. That is what we need.
Aisha Ahmed, Trader (Iponri)
I didn’t even think tomorrow was Democracy Day, but what are we really celebrating as Nigerians? There’s nothing worth celebrating as Nigerians. Ramadan as started and things are going to go up in the market. Things are going to get expensive. This happens all the time. I don’t know what to say, other than pray for our leaders.
Didi Martins, Stylist, (Bode Thomas)
For Democracy Day, all I have to say as a Nigerian is that I am not happy with the way things are going in the country. For God sake, this administration promised us change and they keep telling us to be patient, they keep telling us that it won’t be an overnight job. They keep giving us excuses. We are tired of the excuses. We want genuine change and the only way this will happen is to vote this administration out.