With the end of 2020, the direction of economic growth in 2021 is still largely cloudy as analysts take disparate positions on how the Nigerian economy would shape up in the New Year. LEADERHIP Sunday went to town to sample the opinions of Nigerians who expressed the optimism that though 2020 was hard, they are confident that 2021 would be a year of goodwill. VICTOR OKEKE brings you their reactions;
Fati Rafindadi, CEO of Dymaxel Nig. Ltd, KANO
What 2020 has proven is that Nigerians are resilient but we were tested to the core. From the coronavirus to the economic recession which triggered civil unrests and heightened insecurity and then, the #ENDSARS movement. As such, the government needs to align all types of rescue/intervention programmes from palliatives to SME plans to macro-economic strategies to the voice of the people. The masses are definitely “WOKE”. I want to use the term “Updated Nigerian” rather than “New Nigerian.” There is no place like home, so, to rebuild and maintain, all must be on board on the same page, same direction, same game plan and vision. Patriotism is the medicine we need to take, and yes, it is bitter. Here’s to a happy new year with myriads of possibilities I pray are positively downloaded on us by the power that rests with the Almighty. Today, I’m working on being an Updated Nigerian, how about you?
Romanus Eke, Lagos
The year 2020 kicked off with a lot of positive energy and hopes, a lot of set goals and major moves to better my life and family. But you know man proposes, but God disposes. He has the final say. The pandemic cut short a lot of dreams and aspirations. People died in thousands, jobs were lost in millions all over the world. In all I thank God for where I am today, I tried to recalibrate and navigate all the huddles caused by the effect of the pandemic. I never stopped learning, I delved into the financial market, learnt Forex trading, and sign-making during the lockdown and it has been a wonderful experience. The pandemic has opened a lot of business prospects too. In 2021, innovative minds will be capitalising on these prospects in changing the modus operandi of businesses around the globe. With the introduction of the vaccine and the new innovation and a never say never mindset, 2021 will definitely be a great year.
Maxwell Mbafu, Abakaliki
I will begin by saying that the year 2020 is still a shock to me, a lot happened that made me understand the importance of preparation and making plans. Generally, I will say it taught me a deep lesson, that health (life) is the most important thing. I think by this year 2021 a lot of people will realise how much it means to love, care and appreciate one another.
Dada Ridwan Olamilekan, Ibadan
For me, 2020 was such a tough year filled with many difficulties in health and the economic situation of many families. I don’t think there will be much difference in 2021 too, because COVID-19 is still around and that will also have a huge impact on our collective economic prospects.
Agbasi Ephraim, Abuja
When you mention the year 2020, it reminds people of many things but what stands out is the global pandemic. I’d have loved to speak on health, how we moved from protecting ourselves from a disease we had little information about, but how we advocated for our rights stands out the most, so social activism is my 2020 winner! I hate to be crude but the death of George Floyd sparked a chain reactions that are still burning. It brought the spark of #BlackLiveMatters campaign which extended to the world of sports with the caption #NoToRacism. Here in Nigeria, we saw the movement of justice for the raped and killed victim- Uwa, the #NoToRape and the #ENDSARS campaign. 2020 was an enlightening year, it took a pandemic for us to come together and stand together as one. I see more social activism in the year 2021 with the likes of Aisha Yesufu and organizations like the Brekete Family at the forefront, taking the bulls by the horns. Gone are the days where governments and institutionalised systems were oppressing the masses which put them in offices without any form of resistance!
Peter Odogwu, Asaba
In a single word, I would say that 2020 was confused. It was a year that drew out the entirety of our difficulties and offered it to us without notice. The hits just continued coming both to individuals, families, communities and countries. It was a time of individual reflections. I constrained myself to take a look at my own mankind comparable to my neighbors, I saw how much my activities can influence others. I perceived the amount I needed to change. The year was long enough for a change. In any case, I truly didn’t change a lot. I would like to do so in 2021. In 2021, I don’t anticipate a sudden positive change. The year additionally will come with its own difficulties- some might be acquired from the earlier year, some perhaps one of a kind. Our viewpoint on how we see things will matter a lot. I have consistently been an optimist and I accept things will turn out great for me. You ought to have that equivalent conviction as well. Some parts of life will be better- innovation and technology will improve in 2021, and the years after. Be that as it may, we should follow the pattern not to lose all sense of direction in it. With regards to what the year will actually end up being, we’d just hold on to see.
Nene Aja, Uyo
Shortly before the beginning of 2020, this deadly virus had begun in Wuhan, China. But the world silently hoped it would stay there. Sadly, it didn’t. And I think that’s where the whole problem began. With the government doing little or nothing to attempt to improve the well-being of its citizens, more youths plunged into illegal means of making money such as the popular yahoo-yahoo, thuggery and gambling. In 2020, there was a certain awakening to the false prophets prevalent in the world today as well as exposing the nativity and gullibility of most Nigerians in religious matters. Frankly, Christendom lost “souls” last year than any other I have seen. Many now rather worship God in the manner they know and if at all there is a need to attend a religious gathering, it will be on a ceremonial occasion. Will 2021 look more favorably in any of these aspects of life economically, politically? I wish I knew an answer to that. Alas, I’m no prophet. All I do is to pray no matter how bad it gets, that God sees us through it all.
Prince Ejeh Josh, Enugu
Unarguably, year 2020, to quote T.S Eliot’s words in the Journey of the Magi, was the worst year in the annals of the country. It was a long journey through the throes of worsened insecurity, economic crisis, sectarian proliferation, job losses and unimaginable deaths exuding from the ineptitude of Mr. Buhari’s rudderless administration. Government’s policies were weaved around sensual pulsation. The system has already collapsed. The government now blames God for its systemic failure. With the present situation and seeming lack of direction, Nigerians should brace up for more hardship, heightened insecurity and repression by the powers that be. It’s going to be a wild scramble, and survival will be the primary preoccupation of Nigerians in 2021.
Ayuba Emmanuel Danboyi, Keffi
The year 2020 cannot be quickly forgotten. The enemy really came like a flood to steal our collective joy. It appeared in different forms (pandemic, protests and recession) and challenged all that matters in our country-the rich, the middle class and the downtrodden were all affected. But notwithstanding, look again and see that our joy gets even better, our teeth shine brighter. Yes, it has been God all through. Like a moon, we are positioned as privilege receivers.
As 2020 came to an end, a pandemic with far reaching effects continues to ravage and cripple countries and their economies. Entertainment across the world has been hit just as hard. Productions have shut down, cinemas are closed and millions of related businesses have crumbled. With no certain end in sight, the world can only hope that this phase passes. Now more than ever we are reminded of the importance of human interaction as in some quarters, this is a luxury that many cannot afford. We hold on to hope.
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