In a few hours from now, we would be bidding goodbye to 2021 and welcoming the New Year 2022. So much has happened in the past year that it is just impossible to keep track of everything. But we must mention the most crucial issues that practically touched off on the lives of not only members of our business community but that of Eastern Nigerians in general.
The level of insecurity of lives and property in the country remained and still remains a great source of anxiety to many people in Nigeria and the Diaspora. The frequent threats to the lives of Nigerian citizens and foreigners by terrorists in the northeast, kidnappers in the north central, ritualists in the south, herdsmen in the middle belt region, poverty and sickness in many states of the country was of immense concern to many well meaning Nigerians during the course of the year. But like Shakespeare rightly pointed out in his book “As You Like It” ‘sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head; and this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”
One result that emanated from the level of insecurity in 2021 was that it literarily facilitated community participation in the security of lives and property. Villages and town came up with their own vigilante and paramilitary security organizations, so policing became localized. In the villages and towns that make up Nigeria, local security became buttressed by governments at local and state levels.
From the days every youth in the country defied the barrier of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation and came together to protest against police brutality in Nigeria and elsewhere, policing in the rural areas particularly took a new turn. Security came directly under the 4th tier of the realm and under the leadership of the royal fathers and the town unions. That was a great stride in dealing with the general uneasiness that had virtually enveloped many local communities in the wake of the nefarious activities of bandits, kidnappers, ritualists, armed herdsmen and terrorists who struck with unimaginable frequency.
In the area of education, not much was recorded either positively or negatively. The incessant industrial action that dotted the year was to all intents tackled head-on by both the federal government and the trade unions. Although, there were grey areas in their negotiation that are yet to be smoothened, the general impression was that education did not suffer many bruises during the year. Many more students at the tertiary level made first class and there is optimism that 2022 will consolidate the gains made in the field of education during the course of 2021.
In addition, the government should put back the study of history and geography into the school curriculum. What country does not value its history or geography? It is a very abnormal thing to scrap those two very vital subjects from the school curriculum. When people are told about it, they find it difficult to believe because that is the most ridiculous application in the eyes of the international community. While all countries have self-rule, not one of them can afford to stand alone and aloof.
In the health sector, the federal government must be congratulated on its efficient monitoring and management of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Nigeria was among the lucky countries that have the kind of weather the virus can hardly survive in and so had very few cases compared with places like the US, Britain or the European Union countries. All the same, we must point out that the government needs to invest more money in the health sector in order to make life less burdensome for the ordinary Nigerians.
It is a huge embarrassment that some government-owned hospitals and clinics do not even have ordinary generators to work with. In an ideal situation, and given the inconsistency of power supply in the country, every government-owned hospital should be powered with solar panels that supply electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That would cost less than N5 million for each hospital. Also, medical doctors and staff of hospitals need to be paid their salaries promptly. A situation where a government-employed medical doctor stays on his duty post for three hours and then zooms off to his private practice is not encouraging. If the incentive is right, the discipline would be right.
In the area of business, our roads need to be given out to brands like MCC and Julius Berger or engineering conglomerates of that standard. The importance of good roads connecting agricultural- producing rural areas with urban consuming areas need not be emphasized here. Government should do the needful and stop playing politics with the wellbeing and future of the very people who voted it into service.
Also, Imo State Business Link Magazine is throwing the challenge right in the face of the Southeast Governors’ Forum to meet and plan for train transportation services that would connect their various state capitals on the one hand and each of their cities to the state capital on the other hand. This is a very vital and modern investment that must pave the way from our current analogue disposition into the modern digital world. The Igbo deserve nothing less and no one needs wait for Abuja allocation to achieve this goal. Sam Mbakwe did not wait for Shehu Shagari to build Imo State University and Concorde Hotel. If he had, who knows whether we would have had those two historical institutions on our soil today? We need our governors to stand up and be counted among those who boosted the south east region, normally distinguished for their entrepreneurial dexterity.
Still on business, we want to encourage network members to continue to embrace honesty in their business dealings. As we move from analogue business to digital business practice, we will continue to offer our readers the best available contacts for products and services they might need. Our BLOG will continue to feature the most sensitive articles that will enhance the educational interest of our network members’ families, as well as their health and business tips. We have also added Relationships, just for your relaxation and learning from what happened to others. We will continue to expand as finances determine. All we ask is that every network member be trustworthy. Without trust, digital business cannot move forward for a long time. So, let that trust become our watchword as we step into the New Year.
And as we move from 2021 into 2022, we wish every one of us a happy and prosperous New Year.