Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, has declared 2019 was not a successful year for Nigeria and its citizens.
Atiku, who contested the 2019 presidential election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), made the declaration in a statement issued on his social media pages on Tuesday.
According to the former vice president, Nigeria was thronged into economic instability and faced numerous security challenges in the outgoing year.
He described those claiming that 2019 was a good year for the country as “reductionists”.
“I do not share the sentiment when some people claim that the outgone 2019 was a successful year for Nigerians. Such sentiments is reductionist and does the harm of making us have a false sense of victory.
“The bitter truth is that Nigeria is still in the throes of economic instability, with more people losing jobs and the attendant outcome of more children being out of school and more families having hard time in accessing basic needs of life,” the statement read.
Atiku also described the outgoing year as a “bad advertisement” for the country’s respect for democracy and the rule of law.
The statement read: “I wish to restate that our collective call for rule of law and our history about the struggle for democratic rule did not envisage a situation where judicial pronouncements would be worth less than the paper upon which they are rendered.
“It is a bad advertisement for the country and its democracy if declarations made by the court are not respected without the executive arm of government agreeing to same. Any democracy is not worth the appellation if the principle of separation of power is not ingrained in it.”
Describing the incoming year 2020 as “symbolic”, Atiku urged Nigerians to “stand together with renewed vigour and determination to battle the hydra-headed demon of insecurity that has plagued us in the past decade”.
The former PDP presidential candidate also said government at all levels must work hard to tackle poverty and the state of education in the country, especially the issue of out-of-school children.
He added that Nigerians must learn to become more compassionate in the incoming year.
“In this new decade, we must start to do things differently if we are honest about our desire for a better and prosperous future. There must be a deliberate effort to improve the material wellbeing of the people, by lifting millions of Nigerians out of the extreme poverty belt at a start, and to prosperity. Government must rethink many of its policies that is sinking more people into the abyss of extreme poverty.
“It is incumbent on government at all levels to pursue policies that will provide decent housing to the mass majority; put food on the table; provide healthcare and education. We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different outcome. It is therefore high time we caused a rejig of economic policies that will promote an expansion of the economy and create jobs opportunities aplenty.
“At the individual level, this moment calls for more empathy and sacrifice. The New Year and a new decade come with the opportunity to make better impressions in our lives and in the lives of people around us,” the statement read.
He also appealed to the Federal Government to “act according to the fundamentals of a democracy” rather than pretend to be democratic in the year 2020, adding that he hopes to witness a better observance of rule of law and greater respect for citizens’ democratic rights.