Over the years, Presidential new year speeches have become a tradition in Nigeria.

It is generally looked upon as a sort of state-of-the-nation speech which affords the incumbent President the opportunity to look back at the defining events of the preceding year, and attempt to communicate an optimistic vision of the new year with the aim of galvanizing citizens support, confidence and engagement in the task of nation building.

On Monday January 1, 2018, President Buhari, as was widely expected, delivered his new year address to Nigerians.

Issues such as security, the state of the economy,  infrastructure and politics dominated his new year message.

Did the speech address the pains, fears, hopes and expectation of Nigerians?

Bounce News juxtaposes President Buhari’ 2017 new year message with his 2018 message.

President Muhammadu Buhari's 2017 Message

1 In this New Year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in the country; and we will surely overcome all other forms of security challenges.

2 The lingering security issues in several states will be frontally addressed. These ugly crises cannot be allowed to fester as they strain the unifying bonds of brotherhood and neighbourliness.

3 Misguided elements who decided to take up arms against constituted authorities must be brought to face the full weight of the law.

4 I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.

5 The agricultural revolution has begun. Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning.

6 On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.

7 Our determination to wrestle corruption to the ground remains unshaken. This fight, which will be guided by respect for the rule of law and due process, will not spare anybody or organ of government.

8 Thank you for the public support for our administration’s efforts to transform Nigeria. I assure you again that the current pains are temporary and will ease when the economic seeds in gestation begin to bloom to fruition.

President Muhammadu Buhari's 2018 New Year Message

1  He promised to get to the root of recurring fuel crisis in the country and ensure that "whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again."

2  He promised that many roads and rail lines will be made functional in 2018.

3  Rice importation will end this year.

4 New methods to combat high rate of kidnapping are on the way.

5 Regarding Niger Delta, he promised that his government will help in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region by engaging responsible leadership of the communities.

6  He promised to increase power supply by adding another 240MW to Afam Power Station this year through a private investment partnership; and making the Katsina 10MW Wind Power Project fully operational as well as completing the Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project in 2019.

What Changed In 2017?

Security In North-East: Although remarkable success was recorded in ending the war on terror, there are still some pockets of attacks in the North-East. To underscore that there is still a lot to be done if the President must deliver on his promise to end the war on terror, he has just requested for an additional 1 billion to fight the war.

Security in Niger Delta: The ceasefire agreement secured with the Avengers seems to be working as the spate of bombings have reduced.

Economy: This is one area the President seems to be struggling with. Although the country has officially exited recession,  total value of capital imported into Nigeria in the year declined, the lowest in ten years. The country’s currency, the Naira continues to fluctuate against the dollar.

Job Creation: Unemployment rate grew from 14.2% to 18.8% in 2017 according to the latest statistics from National Bureau of Statistics.

The NBS stated that the total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) declined from 52.7 million in the second quarter 2017 to 51.1 million in third quarters.

Power: Electricity generation in Nigeria improved considerably in the last 12 months, peaking at above 5074MW for the first time in the nation’s 63-year-old electricity history in March 2017.

But despite the significant progress made in the generation of electricity, the sector is still bedeviled with a myriad of problems.

Rice Importation: The importation of rice into Nigeria dropped by 88.4 per cent in 2017. It dropped from 500,000 metric tonnes imported in 2016 to 58,000MT in 2017. The country equally saved over $600m dollars (N216bn) from the importation of rice.

It remains to be seen how 2018 will play out especially given that it's a year preceeding election year. Whether the insecurity in the North East will finally be eradicated remains a matter of time. Nigerians will also be on the watch to see if the dwindling economy will finally get a boost in 2018.

Has any other thing changed since the President's 2017 address?  Please drop a comment on our social media platforms.

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