As 2016 crawls to its end, the New Year promises to be a harbinger of renewed hope and confidence on a government that promised a new dawn for improved living standards if elected into power. After the electoral victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, not many Nigerians expressed hope that signs of early return to prosperity would be witnessed in 2016. Sadly, 2016 turned out a trying year, as many, who had expressed hope for a better 2016, soon discovered that the more things change in Nigeria, the more they remain unchanged. In 2016, the economic hardship left so many Nigerians impoverished and placed the country as the third poorest nation in the world, just as inflation increased by over 18 percent, with hundreds of businesses folding up and many foreign airlines relocating to Ghana and other relatively stable economies in West Africa and Africa for cheaper aviation fuel. The value of international currencies against the naira hit the roof, as dollar that was exchanged for N190 per dollar in 2015 is now N487. Official exchange rate that pegs the dollar at over N305 has turned many, who have access to the corridors of power, into stinking billionaires. The power outages that has become national symbol continued unabated, with the distribution company fleecing Nigerians through upward review of electricity tariff, with no commensurate increase in services. For many Nigerians, 2017 should never be 2016, when Nigerians were victims of all forms of insurgencies. Boko Haram may not have been conquered, but its deadly strikes were reduced to a considerable extent. Its capacity to re-enact brutal prowess for unprecedented destruction in the North-east geo-political zone was effectively checkmated. In Kaduna, the exploits of suspected herdsmen has left on its trails death in many villages of the state. In the southern axis, villages have come under attacks. Killings in Sanga, Kaura, Kauru and Jema’a local councils have left residents sleeping with one eye opened. In Zamfara State, bandits have painted villages red with blood of traders, with no fewer than 40 killed in a single incident in a village located in Maru Local Government Area. Though the task force on cattle rustling in some states of the North- west geo-political zone has reclaimed thousands of cattle, the atmosphere of insecurity still pervades areas close to forests that were once safe havens for cattle rustlers. Efforts to restore peace to the Southern axis of Kaduna areas are still ongoing, with vocal bodies accusing the state and the Federal Government of not doing enough to stave off attacks. Governor Nasir El-Rufai disturbed about the situation has held different meetings and consultations with different stakeholders over the killings in Southern Kaduna with a plea to the marauding herdsmen to sheathe their swords. In Borno and other North-eastern states, the killing profile of Boko Haram has been brought under control. The Buhari Government may not have succeeded in eradicating insurgency that has claimed no fewer than 10,000 lives since it commenced in 2009, the hope for the safe return of the Chibok Schoolgirls was rekindled when 21 of them were recently reunited with their families. In the closing days of the 2016, the reported mutiny of some troops in Bama in Borno over what angry soldiers described as ‘mistreatment,’ reminds one of the days of former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration that was fraught with the ill treatment of soldiers who dared the insurgents so that the country may survive. The Niger Delta zone has not been devoid of its ugly past, with bombings of oil pipelines cutting down crude production by nearly 40 percent. The 2016 budget of N6.06 trillion has become more of a dream than a reality, as President Buhari has been forced to look elsewhere for funding. Hope for Senate’s approval for $29.9 billion loans has been returned back to the president, with a directive to the presidency to provide details of what the loans would be used for, and considering government’s antecedent on loans, Nigerians are united in calling the upper chamber to reject the loan request. The struggle by Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to gain freedom from his incarcerators remains a fantasy. Nearly a year behind bars, the hope for the pro-Biafra advocate to smell the air of freedom is becoming forlorn. Legal technicalities and the delay inherent in the nation’s justice is proving a cost too much for a self-acclaimed Biafran champion to bear. Former National Security Adviser, Col Ibrahim Sambo Dasuki (retd), is yet to escape from his jailers over the spending of $2 billion arms funds allegedly shared to political cronies and friends. 2016 proved really gloomy for Nigerians. It is my earnest expectations that the positive change we all expect will manifest in 2017. May the despair that characterised 2016 never be experienced in 2017. Happy Christmas and New Year 2017!As 2016 crawls to its end, the New Year promises to be a harbinger of renewed hope and confidence on a government that promised a new dawn for improved living standards if elected into power. After the electoral victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, not many Nigerians expressed hope that signs of early return to prosperity would be witnessed in 2016. Sadly, 2016 turned out a trying year, as many, who had expressed hope for a better 2016, soon discovered that the more things change in Nigeria, the more they remain unchanged. In 2016, the economic hardship left so many Nigerians impoverished and placed the country as the third poorest nation in the world, just as inflation increased by over 18 percent, with hundreds of businesses folding up and many foreign airlines relocating to Ghana and other relatively stable economies in West Africa and Africa for cheaper aviation fuel. The value of international currencies against the naira hit the roof, as dollar that was exchanged for N190 per dollar in 2015 is now N487. Official exchange rate that pegs the dollar at over N305 has turned many, who have access to the corridors of power, into stinking billionaires. The power outages that has become national symbol continued unabated, with the distribution company fleecing Nigerians through upward review of electricity tariff, with no commensurate increase in services. For many Nigerians, 2017 should never be 2016, when Nigerians were victims of all forms of insurgencies. Boko Haram may not have been conquered, but its deadly strikes were reduced to a considerable extent. Its capacity to re-enact brutal prowess for unprecedented destruction in the North-east geo-political zone was effectively checkmated. In Kaduna, the exploits of suspected herdsmen has left on its trails death in many villages of the state. In the southern axis, villages have come under attacks. Killings in Sanga, Kaura, Kauru and Jema’a local councils have left residents sleeping with one eye opened. In Zamfara State, bandits have painted villages red with blood of traders, with no fewer than 40 killed in a single incident in a village located in Maru Local Government Area. Though the task force on cattle rustling in some states of the North- west geo-political zone has reclaimed thousands of cattle, the atmosphere of insecurity still pervades areas close to forests that were once safe havens for cattle rustlers. Efforts to restore peace to the Southern axis of Kaduna areas are still ongoing, with vocal bodies accusing the state and the Federal Government of not doing enough to stave off attacks. Governor Nasir El-Rufai disturbed about the situation has held different meetings and consultations with different stakeholders over the killings in Southern Kaduna with a plea to the marauding herdsmen to sheathe their swords. In Borno and other North-eastern states, the killing profile of Boko Haram has been brought under control. The Buhari Government may not have succeeded in eradicating insurgency that has claimed no fewer than 10,000 lives since it commenced in 2009, the hope for the safe return of the Chibok Schoolgirls was rekindled when 21 of them were recently reunited with their families. In the closing days of the 2016, the reported mutiny of some troops in Bama in Borno over what angry soldiers described as ‘mistreatment,’ reminds one of the days of former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration that was fraught with the ill treatment of soldiers who dared the insurgents so that the country may survive. The Niger Delta zone has not been devoid of its ugly past, with bombings of oil pipelines cutting down crude production by nearly 40 percent. The 2016 budget of N6.06 trillion has become more of a dream than a reality, as President Buhari has been forced to look elsewhere for funding. Hope for Senate’s approval for $29.9 billion loans has been returned back to the president, with a directive to the presidency to provide details of what the loans would be used for, and considering government’s antecedent on loans, Nigerians are united in calling the upper chamber to reject the loan request. The struggle by Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to gain freedom from his incarcerators remains a fantasy. Nearly a year behind bars, the hope for the pro-Biafra advocate to smell the air of freedom is becoming forlorn. Legal technicalities and the delay inherent in the nation’s justice is proving a cost too much for a self-acclaimed Biafran champion to bear. Former National Security Adviser, Col Ibrahim Sambo Dasuki (retd), is yet to escape from his jailers over the spending of $2 billion arms funds allegedly shared to political cronies and friends. 2016 proved really gloomy for Nigerians. It is my earnest expectations that the positive change we all expect will manifest in 2017. May the despair that characterised 2016 never be experienced in 2017.

Happy Christmas and New Year 2017!

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