Almost all through the 365 days of 2020, the swan song of Nigerians was security or lack of it. The fact that the uncertainty of Covid-19 was all-pervasive hardly mattered in the consciousness of Nigerians; safety of lives took the meat amidst growing insecurity. There was anything to doubt over either. It was either the pang of insecurity was personal or relational.
Even the media space was rarely free from tidings on killings and kidnappings of innocent citizens, in addition to the kidnapping rendering many poorer financially after securing safety through payment of ranges of heavy ransom.
Not a few Nigerians at home and abroad ceaselessly called for restructuring of the country’s security architecture, espousing the belief that the individuals saddled with securing lives and property had outlived their usefulness. To be sure, some Nigerians, among who are well-placed, still called for ‘patience and understanding’ with the government while always averring that ‘insecurity is not peculiar to Nigeria’.
It was, however, with some modicum of hope that many frustrated Nigerians expected the nationwide broadcast to be made by President Muhammadu Buhari on New Year day. If anything at all, quite a large percentage of Nigerians expected Mr. President to address the security concerns with the firmness it deserved and dared think he would finally succumb to expectations to reshuffle the nation’s security hierarchy for optimum performance.
But as has become of Buhari’s speeches which raised hopes but then dashed same, the latest broadcast could be said to live up its billing, as it were. He alluded to the country’s 60th independence anniversary which has been eclipsed by the #EndSARS protest whose poor handling exposed Nigeria to the world as a place where the leaders lack practical solution to crisis.
He dwelt extensively on the administration’s respect for the youth as well as the determination to help them to succeed in their endeavours towards building the future. But, this particularly had better be left to discerning minds to analyse in view of the disdain first meted to the #EndSARS protesters before it became a Hobson’s choice to address the issues they raised.
Reminiscent of Buhari’s campaign promise in 2015, he again promised to focus on security, economy and anti-corruption war. The administration would re-energise and reorganise the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police with a view to enhancing their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremist and criminal groups waging war against our communities in some parts of the country, he said, while emphasising on the need to be proactive and preventive in measures.
He promised to revamp the economy through the national economic diversification agenda that supports the primary goal of national food self-sufficiency, create jobs and open up the space for legitimate business, especially across the borders.
He also pledged the administration’s commitment to continuing along the path of eradicating corruption through collaboration with all the arms of government to effectively prosecute the anti-corruption war, promising still to work with the Legislature to enact laws that would strengthen the war and to ensure the diligent and timely prosecution of corruption cases. He further promised to play his part as President fully and without fear or favour.
Never one to miss the slightest opportunity to dwell ruefully on the past, he enjoined Nigerians to remember the circumstances of the administration’s ascension to power in 2015, alluding to a tattered nation that he inherited. It is just well that such remark has since become untenable to a people who expect deliverables based on promises given to secure hope.
The Covid-19 threat is still alive, the possible implications of which not even the government can hazard or contemplate. Likewise the issue of insecurity whose nature or even texture appears to be digging in as another year begins.
But, the undeniable fact is that countless innocent citizens lost their lives in 2020 while others suffered serious financial decapitation through kidnappings that left them at the mercy of their captors who always carried on as though in a world of their own.