AFRICANGLOBE – Northern Nigeria is at a crossroads. Finally delivering the leader they have been waiting for- this year marks what many Nigerians are hoping is a new era for the country, but the north in particular. Marred by ethnic and religious conflict, and poor economic development, Nigeria’s poorest states are concentrated in the north.
What finally made the world hear the North’s not so silent cry was Boko Haram’s infamous abduction of 276 girls in Chibok, Borno from secondary school, in the midst of their examination period. A tragic event, yet one that forced the world to hear the stories of young women in the North- their truths, challenges and hopes for brighter futures. While we wait, perhaps too patiently, for the safe return of these girls, their whereabouts and state illuminate that containing Boko Haram is no longer an option. It must happen, now.
In tandem with Abubakar Shekau’s fear mongering, as the terrorist group gained territory in Northern Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon, rather than discussions around policy, the 2015 election was centred on the possibilities of a two-sided coin: If Buhari wins Boko Haram goes, and if Jonathan wins Boko Haram stays.
Fled because of ethnic and religious conflict on and off since the 1980s, many Nigerians who have relocated in other states throughout the country are finally hoping they can return home now that President-elect Muhammad Buhari, native to Katsina State will return order to the region.
And so the hope is that over the next year, Buhari delivers on the promises he made to Nigeria and the world. And of course, that Northerners and the rest of Nigeria can experience the joy of elections, rather than a period marred by fear, panic and instability.
Mark Amaza- Maiduguri
Online Blogger and columnist, Team leader of MINDcapital
The 2015 elections was vastly different from my voting experience in 2011. Despite the relative calm in other areas, there was some tension in Maiduguri this year.
It is a fact that Nigerian’s are beginning to wake up to their responsibilities and hold officials accountable for their actions. But what can be said of in terms of development?
Over the years water in Maiduguri has improved. In Jos however, where I have also spent most of my time, there has been massive improvement in terms of growth and development.
I’m hoping Buhari’s regime will endeavour to fight corruption by taking primitive and effective measures. Those who are corrupt should be punished, while economic policies and programs should be established. This will make things easier and build the economy, while creating more job opportunities.
The accreditation process made the electoral process smoother this year. However, the turnout for the gubernatorial elections in Kano was really bad. In Christian dominated areas like Sabon Gari, people hardly came out to vote. I went to the polling unit closest to me and only saw a few people- this can be attributed to the recent level of insecurity within the state.
Over the past year, Boko Haram has affected many lives and mine in particular. I cannot go anywhere without the fear of another bomb blast. As a result of this fear, a lot of people travelled during the elections. There was food scarcity, while the few commodities available were being sold at outrageous prices. But following the announcement of results, there was a lot of celebration on the streets and the environment became less tense.
I believe Buhari’s regime will fight corruption.
As an official during the elections, I had the opportunity of working in Pankshin Local Government area, Jos. I noticed certain challenges such as underage voting which need to be reviewed. It is now up to INEC officials to address some of these.
Apart from the improved frequency of the pipe borne water and better roads in my area, we long for more credible people to be put in government. Hopefully there will be some changes.
Mr Emmanuel Gana
Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
There was more transparency and credibility compared to the 2011 elections, and I believe my vote counted.
In Kaduna state, there has been no development or growth over the last few years. The government has failed in that aspect due to negligence of power. And with the attacks from Boko Haram insurgents, we are so afraid to step on each other’s toes. The bombing of churches and mosques make us very conscious of our environment. However I wouldn’t attribute the non-performance of the government to Boko Haram activities.
In Kano, Governor Kwankwanso did a lot in the state. He built housing estates for the masses, constructed roads and created job opportunities for the youth.
I expect the value of the Naira to bounce back during this new regime- trading at least 100naira to a dollar. Hopefully power supply will also improve, as industries cannot survive without light.
I have become more security conscious because even though I have not been directly affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. But I have friends and family who have lost their lives, property or means of livelihood.
There hasn’t particularly been any development in Abuja recently. Most challenges are yet to be tackled, while issues like insecurity and poor power supply have gotten worse. When the elections drew closer, fuel scarcity intensified. Things need to get better.
I hope to see concrete improvement during General Buhari’s regime, especially in areas currently lacking at the moment. I want to believe that power supply will improve and clean water will be made accessible to those in rural areas. This new government ought to tackle corruption and unemployment in order to boost the growth and development of the country.
By: Felicia Omari Ochelle