Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Women Arise and Centre for Change Initiative, has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to embark on an aggressive economic recovery programme, to ease the pains being experienced by Nigerians.
Okei-Odumakin made the call during an interview session in Lagos while assessing President Buhari’s two years in office and the 18th anniversary of Nigeria’s Democracy.
She urged the administration to focus on key infrastructure development, particularly in the power sector, to alleviate the sufferings of the people.
”For those who have expectations that it takes only the integrity of a leader to transform the society, the last two years should be enough to tell us that it requires more than that.
”Recall that the current administration came into being on a premise of high expectations from the Nigerians, but as it is, nothing has drastically changed from the past, particularly on issues that affect the downtrodden in the country.
”To get Nigeria out of her current debacle requires not just strong leaders, but a system, that guarantees the real change and aggressive economic programmes that can make life more meaningful to the ordinary Nigerians.
Okei-Odumakin commended President Buhari, on the successes recorded in the war against corruption and rescue of some Chibok schoolgirls.
She noted that there was an urgent need for the review of the current political system to address the challenges facing the country.
“It has therefore become imperative for us as a people, to embark on an urgent review of our current political system and immediately devolve power, by restructuring this country, ”Okei-Odumakin said.
In the same vein, Mr Declan Ihekaire, National Coordinator, Coalition of Civil Societies for Good Governance lamented that the 18 years democracy in the country has yet to yield desired result.
Ihekaire said the people were not enjoying the dividends of democracy as they should in terms of basic necessities that would improve their standard of life.
“I must say that 18 years of democracy is enough time for us to grow as a nation – economically, socially and politically. But the reverse is the case.
“We need to get it right by practising real democracy where the rule of law will be obeyed, necessary infrastructures are provided and the wealth of the nation being used to better the lives of the entire citizens rather than a few elites, ” he said.
Ihekaire commended President Buhari for his efforts in tackling insurgency and exposing the level of corruption in the polity in the last two years, as well as fighting the menace with vigour.
“For the first time we are seeing ‘big men’ remanded in prison custody, and people returning looted money to government treasury.
“We need to support him, so that the nation’s wealth will be retrieved from the people looting the country dry and use the money to make life meaningful for Nigerians, ” he said.
Ms Ironsi Bose, the Executive Director of Women’s Rights and Health Project in Nigeria told NAN that Nigeria was yet to practice a vibrant democracy as it still had challenges in the area of good governance as well as ethnic and religious issues.
Ironsi said there was the need for reorientation to better understand the principles of democracy where the government and the governed would know and play their roles to achieve national development.
On President Buhari’s two years in office, Ironsi said that the present administration was yet to fulfil it campaign promises to the people.
She urged the present administration to coordinate its cabinet and ensure proper flow of information on its activities to avoid rumours that had caused tension in the country.
”This administration should listen more to the yearnings of the masses, ensure that people are brought to book in its fight against corruption, tackle issue of herdsmen and come up with an economic agenda to curb agitations and restore the confidence of Nigerians, ” Ironsi said.
Mr Dotun Ojon, a youth development strategist, said that Nigerian democracy had not met the yearnings of the citizens.
”We had hope that Democracy will make things better but we are disappointed because it has not really improved things the way we expected.
”No matter how bad we think Democracy has fared in the last 18years, one thing that we should be grateful for is the fact that citizens have their voice.
”Once the people can speak, the nation should be hopeful of growth, ”he said.
Assessing President Buhari administration in the last two years, Ojon expressed displeasure over the high concentration on politicking rather than governance.
”If I were to assess this government, I would put its performance on 40 per cent. Not because they have not tried, but because they promised more than their ability
”The way forward is to forget the politicking and concentrate on the business side of governance. Any nation that puts resentment, religion and race before governance cannot succeed. We need to reorder our priority,” Ojon said.