As is customary with each passing year, Nigerians will look forward to the new year, 2023, with high hopes, expectations and optimism, but also with a bit of concern. And that is understandable. For a country where the majority of the population is unhappy with their lot as individuals and as a country, it is natural for people to yearn for improvements in their lives, livelihoods, and general circumstances in the coming year.

Without a doubt, the past few years have been quite challenging on many fronts, especially the year that just ended. From watching bandits and terrorists ravage all parts of the country, killing, raping, kidnapping, seizing individuals and communities and generally striking fear into the hearts of Nigerians, making them feel unsafe and unprotected in their homes, in transit, in their workplaces, in their schools, on their farms, for thousands of Nigerian families whose loved ones were victimized, they can look forward to another year of hope never to encounter such an experience again. Those still in their dungeons can expect to regain their freedom this year, including the remaining Chibok girls abducted from their hostels some eight years ago, and other students from Dapchi in Yobe, Birnin-Yauri in Kebbi, Bethel School in Kaduna, and so on. It is touching that, according to the military high command, up to 45,000 terrorists have surrendered to the troops in the northeast. This is followed by the successes recorded by the military against bandits and terrorists in recent times since the President gave marching orders to troops to contain the insurgents after a threat by National Assembly legislators to remove him a few months ago. , with the government even boasting that it will. end the terror attacks by December 2022. Although this timetable has not been met, Nigerians hope that the attack on the outlaws will intensify further so that by the time the Buhari administration leaves in May of this year, the insurgency will have been contained in Nigeria.

Another key expectation of Nigerians in the new year has to do with the 2023 general election. There have been assurances and assurances from President Muhammadu Buhari, who has said that he wants credible elections in 2023 to be his legacy to the country after he leaves office. position; of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which said it was ready to hold fair elections, especially now that it has achieved its desire to use technology for voter accreditation (BIVAS) and the electronic transmission of poll results through of the new electoral law; from the military and police authorities who have said they will ensure the process, etc.

So naturally Nigerians expect elections to be free and fair, with the right technologies in place to prevent vote stealers from stealing the mandate of the people expressed through their ballot on election day. The systematic raids and attacks on INEC offices and facilities clearly show that some undesirable elements are hell-bent on depriving Nigerians of exercising their inalienable right to vote and be voted in elections in some parts of the country. Security agencies must conduct a thorough investigation to unravel the people who directly and indirectly sponsor these attacks. Political bullies seek to achieve a similar end on Election Day by introducing violence into the electoral process to frustrate and scare away voters. With technology now making ballot theft and falsifying results out of fashion, what desperate politicians can do is use bullies to scare voters where they are unlikely to win, or afford to buy votes, two electoral crimes that Nigerians expect security agencies to anticipate and nip it in the bud so they can have free and fair elections. President Buhari will do well to pay attention to the Election Crime Commission Bill and make sure it is signed into law before the election. This will serve as a deterrent to potential offenders. As for INEC, Nigerians expect their technological devices to work efficiently and effectively on Election Day. They have had several off-season picks to test their tools and make any necessary adjustments.

In the new year, Nigerians hope that the now-recurring issues around the supply of PMS will be resolved. Intermittent gasoline shortages only add to the general misery of long-suffering Nigerians, 133 million (63 percent) of whom live in multi-level poverty. The start of operation of the Dangote Refinery is expected to help.

In the new year, Nigerians look forward to a smooth transition from one administration to another, and hope that whoever replaces President Buhari will get up and running in the right direction.

Happy New Year Nigerians!