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Nigeria and promise of a long journey

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Sir: The year 2020 threw up a rash of challenges, none more formidable than the COVID-19 pandemic which swept the world, spreading panic and death, while crippling livelihoods and whole economies. It is now 2021; yet, the challenges remain and are ever more present.

For starters, health data is emphatic that cases of COVID-19 are resurgent worldwide including in Nigeria where a second wave is raging. There are whispers that another lockdown is imminent. There is great pain at the prospect of another lockdown as Nigerians cannot forget in a hurry the life threatening inconveniences foisted on them by the nationwide lockdown that went into effect at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic sometime last year. University undergraduates for one cannot wait to get back to school.

The average Nigerian family is also poised for another testy and rocky year. Grave economic difficulties predated the COVID-19 pandemic which also served to lay bare Nigeria`s grinding inequalities. Entire households have perched precipitously for many years since Nigeria`s downward economic spiral began. The Buhari administration came in with promises to reverse the ugly decline. But even the administration with all its promises has struggled.

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In fact, the gravest economic outlook Nigeria has had in many years has coincided with the Muhammadu Buhari presidency which began in 2015. For many Nigerians whom hope has nightmarishly morphed into desperate despair, there is no coincidence however. Instead, what exists is a cause and effect situation. To them, the situation in the country is the effect of the President`s policies. They cite the widespread nepotism and insularity rumoured to be hallmarks of the administration as well as subtle corruption and lack of political will to drive change.

Then there is the insecurity that is visiting a grievous destruction on the largest black country on earth. Boko Haram is the chief reason while many Nigerians turn endlessly in their sleep and graves. But Boko Haram is only one shark in the river of blood that Nigeria has become. In this river, there is also a host of barracudas all angling for the fast hemorrhaging blood of innocent and long-suffering Nigerians.

People go to their farms and are beheaded. People stay in their homes and are burnt. People travel for business and are abducted on the road, never to be seen again. Students go to school and are abducted. So the cycle of pain continues, with no end in sight.

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Nigerians must gird themselves for a long year ahead. There is a lot of difficulties in the country at the moment and Nigerians must prepare for even more difficult days ahead. Nigerians have always had a lot of fortitude to go round. Nigerians used to have the patience of job. However, the EndSARS protests which erupted last year betrayed the depth of anger in the country.

The EndSARS protests sprung up last year and for the first time in decades, mass resistance threatened the very foundations of the iniquitous impunity which has long held the country in a death grip. History suggests that more is to come.

Nigerians must prepare to salvage what little is left of their country and the future of their children. Most critically, Nigerians must hold their leaders to account.
• Kene Obiezu wrote from,Abuja.

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