(Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)
• List Insecurity, Unemployment As Key Indices Of Hopelessness
• Wike Vows PDP Won’t Support Presidential Candidate Without Interest Of Countrymen
As the nation gets drawn into the frenzy of politicking ahead of the 2023 general elections, a report has established that about 78 per cent of Nigerians were unhappy and in a state of despondency due to poor living conditions and general state of affairs in the country.
With widespread insecurity top on the list of issues giving grave concern to citizens, inability to meet basic needs and unemployment completed the three biggest challenges unsettling Nigerians, according to the report from the Africa Polling Institute (API) released for the month of January 2022.
The report, signed by the Executive Director, API, Professor Bell Ihua in Abuja yesterday, was an outcome of a monthly “Nigeria Speaks” poll undertaken by API in the week of January 24, 2022 to elicit citizens perception and attitudes on topical issues and trends in the social, economic, political, governance and public-life issues.
The report came to light as Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike declared that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not give its presidential ticket to any candidate who will serve only the interest of the wealthy few.
The governor said some desperate politicians were already scheming for a candidate who will not serve the interest of the many but that of the wealthy few.
Wike made the assertion at a grand reception organised in his honour by the people of Kalabari ethnic nationality at the Abalama School field in Asari Toru Local Council yesterday.
‘Nigeria Speaks’ poll project is a series of monthly nationwide public opinion polls, aimed at bridging the gap in primary data, by capturing public opinion and giving citizens an opportunity to lend their voice to public policy discourse, practice and advocacy.
The report revealed that, “78 per cent of citizens are mostly unhappy with the state of affairs in the country; as 38 per cent considered heightened insecurity, 34 per cent considered inability to meet basic needs while 20 per cent considered unemployment as the three biggest challenges facing them personally.
The poll revealed that in 2022, most Nigerians were focusing on growth in their business, career and academics, while a reasonable number focused on gaining financial stability.
The report reads in part: “In addition, citizens consider Senator George Akume most suitable to serve as Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), given his leadership qualities and past track record.
“On a flip side, citizens believe Ali Modu Sherrif isn’t suitable to lead the APC, given his antecedents with Boko Haram, insecurity and past poor leadership experience.
“74 per cent of respondents said they are aware of the on-going voters registration exercise by INEC, while 26 per cent are unaware of the exercise. Also, while 73 per cent of respondents said they had registered in the past and received their PVCs, 11 per cent hadn’t received their PVCs and only seven per cent affirmed that they have recently registered in the exercise.
Speaking yesterday while being conferred with the traditional title of Se-Ibidokubo of Kalabari land (He who does good things for Kalabari people) by the Amayanabo of Abonnema, King Gboko Desreal Bob-manuel, Wike stressed that, “No amount of gang up can make PDP give somebody who will want to run election for the interest of some big men, and not for all Nigerians. Anybody who wants to be candidate of PDP must be candidate for the interest of Nigerians.”
He expressed concerns over the fact that some companies in the country continued to post annual financial profits regularly in a downing national economy to the detriment of the poor.
Governor Wike said that such profits, invariably, shared only by the rich, make them get richer, while the majority of the population of the country, who are poor, gets poorer.
He reiterated that the stakeholders in Southern Nigeria would soon make a declarative statement concerning 2023 presidential election.
“The day the South will speak, Nigeria will shake. We believe in the unity of this country, but nobody can threaten us. Nobody should threaten us. We believe in the unity of Nigeria and unity of Nigeria must continue.”
The governor lampooned Rivers politicians serving in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for their gross inability to attract federal government projects to the state.
Concerning the next governor of Rivers State, Governor Wike said everybody is entitled to aspire to be the next governor, but such person must show capacity for that office and be well disposed to protect the interest of the state.
He told the Kalabari people, specifically, that they have not done well in terms of loving themselves and working in unity.
Governor Wike noted it is only a united people who could speak with one voice that can stand up to make demands. He therefore, urged them to put their house in order.
The governor announced the extension of dateline for the completion of the Trans-Kalabari road phase one project by two months owing to the loss period when workmen were kidnapped on site.
He disclosed that if the finances of the state improved, his administration may award the phase two of the Trans Kalabari road before he leaves office next year.
The governor, while cancelling the contract for the reconstruction of Kalabari National College due to unforeseen politics, announced the release of more fund for the Maryhood Girls Secondary School in the area to speed up its completion.
In his welcome address, Chairman of Rivers State Elders Forum, Chief Ferdinand Anabraba explained that the grand reception is significant for two reasons – its critical importance to them as a people and also because of the unity of purpose engendered among them under the Wike administration.
Chief Anabraba noted that Governor Wike has systematically fulfilled all promises made to them, including those of development projects and appointment of Kalabari people into his administration.
Also speaking, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Nimi Briggs said that Kalabari people have enthusiastically and with relentless vigour, contributed to the growth and development of Rivers State and Nigeria.