Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has said that asides from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past year, Nigeria suffered lazy and uninspiring leadership, especially from the government at the centre.
Acknowledging the other threats in the country asides the virus, Atiku advised Nigerians to put their differences aside, saying “we are exposed to a common threat of terrorism, kidnapping and sundry criminalities; the threat of economic meltdown, unemployment and poverty.”
He called for the same kind of cooperation displayed in the fight against COVID-19 to find solutions to the other problems in the world.
Atiku, the 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, said this in his New Year message to Nigerians.
He said, “It is with a glad heart that I welcome everyone to the New Year, 2021.
“The out-gone year was quite dramatic, and it is only by the grace of the Almighty God that we survived to witness the succeeding year.
“It is cheering that we are entering the New Year with refreshing news of a handful of certified vaccines against the dreaded COVID-19 virus. And better still is news of commencement of vaccination in some parts of the world.
“I am expectant that the vaccine(s) would soon be available for vaccination in Nigeria. It is also hoped that very soon life would return to normal.
“As a country, we have taken our share of the blow that COVID-19 dealt with the globe. And worst still, we suffered a multi-facet downcast on account of lazy and uninspiring leadership from the government at the centre – most especially.
“But just as I often do, I pray that God should heal the hearts of families who have lost loved ones to the disease, as well as those who died on account of insecurity and ringing poverty occasioned by poor management of our national economy.
“The damage that the pandemic had done to our lives remains, and it would take some time for us to overcome. However, bad as the virus was, the fundamental lesson that the scourge reinforces is our bond as one species of homo sapiens, in which an attack on one is an attack on all.
“Moving forward, we would require the same kind of cooperation that it takes to develop an antidote to COVID-19, to come up with solutions to many of the other ills that confront our world.
“Perhaps, that is the lesson to be taken from the pandemic, and it should be our pathway into the New Year.
“Just like it was with the deadly virus, we are exposed to a common threat of terrorism, kidnapping and sundry criminalities; the threat of economic meltdown, unemployment and poverty; and, even our solution to the problem of climate change must be within the focus of conserving the planet we call home. We cannot wholly defeat any of these threats if we refuse to cooperate and work together irrespective of our intangible differences.
“As Nigerians, we are all aware of the challenges that bedevil the country. We need not begin to enumerate them. But what we must not let happen is allowing our weakness to wall our strength.
“Our diversity offers a rare opportunity of plural perspectives to finding a solution to our problems. If we fail to take that advantage, we would be weaker while the problems keep growing bigger and the blame will be on us.
“As we embrace this New Year with brighter hopes of restoration, let us do so with even a stronger commitment to unity, cooperation and mutual love. Let us work as one people, under one God with one country to call home.
“I wish every Nigerian a prosperous Year 2021, and I do pray that every family shall find renewal in the New Year.”