Page last updated at 06:53 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 07:53 UK

Nigerian voters' views

Composite image showing L - R: armed policeman (AP), man with umbrella (AFP), polio-affected man (AP) and President Obasanjo (AFP)

A year ago, Umaru Yar'Adua was inaugurated as president of Nigeria.

However, the election was condemned by international observers as being the worst Africa's most populous nation had held.

President Yar'Adua immediately announced an ambitious seven point plan, aimed at tackling the energy crisis, reducing unemployement, investing in agriculture and land reform, fighting crime as well as improving education and public transport.

One year on, the BBC revisits voters to see how they think the country has progressed since that inauguration.


Abdulkadir Sani, 33, is a primary teacher at a government school in Kano, northern Nigeria's biggest city

I am seriously disappointed in the lack of progress since Yar'Adua came to power.

Our expectation was that he would do well and he started with good intentions but I think his poor health has slowed him down. He has been incapacitated for the last three months.

It has meant there has been a delay in passing the federal budget, so there is a bottle neck in funding services.

I am a school teacher but we have not seen the promised increase in the education budget.

The country has not made much progress and I can see why Yar'Adua is called "Baba-go-Slow."

He had a seven point agenda but it has not impacted on the ground.

At the moment Nigeria is too dependent on oil. We need to develop our agriculture sector in particular.

It is difficult to say if things will get better. One can only hope. You have to be optimistic but it will take a long time. I hope we can move forward together.

It is true that President Yar'Adua has at least healed some of the country's divisions.

I hope that oil prices come down because they are driving up the price of food.

Food prices are too expensive. For example 50kg of rice used to cost 5,000 naira ($42) two months ago, it now costs 10,000 naira ($84).

The government needs to be more pro-active towards modernising and developing agriculture.

The banks need to help farmers with soft loans and micro credit.

Corruption is still pervasive in our nation. You cannot just stop corruption, you have to tackle the root causes.

I think some progress has been made and people are more watchful about corruption.

I think former President Olusegun Obasanjo did well in modernising the banking and aviation sectors. He also made it easier for people to get loans to start their own businesses.


Sha'aya'u Aminu, 24, is a student in Katsina in the north-west of Nigeria.

In my opinion, the president has not performed badly. I would rate his performance as average.

But it is too early to judge him. You cannot judge someone after just one year. We need to give him a period of grace.

Perhaps by the end of his second year we can begin to evaluate him, his achievements and even his lapses.

I would say that Nigeria is a good country but what bothers me is the nature of Nigerians.

In particular the attitude of the political elite disappoints me. They never fulfil their promises, they conduct probes into corruption but there is still so much money that has been sunk into private pockets.

Corruption is not endemic in Nigeria. It is just that it exists within the political elite which sets a very bad example.

When President Obasanjo came to power he talked about tackling corruption but now we find out that he himself was corrupt.

Many state governors were suspended over fraud allegations but one after another they are coming back so I do not think that things will change much.

The judiciary has done its best but there are still leakages.

Corruption has stained Nigeria's reputation but we are not the only ones. It is a two-way process and there are always dealers as well as takers.

The worst thing is that everyone suffers from this bad reputation.

At least things are much better than they were under the military. We have better human rights now and people are not afraid to speak.

There has not been much progress since the election but it is easy to criticise and harder to praise. It is easy to destroy but difficult to construct things.

I hope that the president will achieve most of his seven point agenda.

We hope for enormous achievements and for Nigeria to become one of the most industrialised nations in the world.

I pray that by next year things will get better.


Kate, 32, works as an engineer for a oil company in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos.

I think there has been no difference over the last year. I am disappointed that there has been no progress.

Usually every politician comes along with a promise. But so far none of those have been fulfilled.

We Nigerians have not seen the impact of what we hear from the politicians.

We still have power outages. Unemployment is getting worse. People cannot afford to buy food.

Nigeria should be among the world's richest countries and yet there are more people living on less than $1 a day.

The first thing we need is for the politicians to stick to their agenda so we can see a real difference.

We need to try to improve people's standard of living. Even if that was improved just a little bit - it would have a great impact.

There is too much of a gap between rich and poor. The politicians are raking it in and are doing everything they can to keep it that way and not share it around.

The governing PDP [People's Democratic Party] used to have a slogan: "Power to the people" but now it is just "power." I think that says a lot about their attitude.

I believe that there are some God-sent people who really want to make a difference but the trouble is that those who benefit from the system will not allow such people to come in.

The relatives and friends of politicians also benefit from their man being in power so they don't want to change that.

The media can do something about this but a lot of them are sanctioned or closed down if they tell the truth.

We need some sort of revolution but most Nigerians are cowards and will not take to the street.

I am not sure we will ever change this mind set. We need divine intervention. God has to touch our hearts.


Dr Tarry Asoka, 46, is an independent health adviser in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State in the Niger Delta.

I depend on electricity to power my work equipment. But now the energy situation, especially in Port Harcourt, has gone from bad to worse.

I invested heavily in a petrol generator but it packed up after just two months. The cost of running it is more than half my monthly budget.

So I am now back to square one without electricity. I cannot work effectively and there is a potential threat to my livelihood.

I am part of the so-called "re-emerging middle class", so you can imagine what the situation is like for others who are not so well placed.

The health sector has been smeared with a major corruption scandal and ministers and officials have been sacked.

It is a symptom of a widespread deep-seated culture of graft that will just not go away.

At the centre of this mess is the power sector that was under the watch of former President Obasanjo. This is not a very impressive legacy.

Our current president has surrounded himself with the same no performers and political sycophants.

He himself is said to be "going slow". No-one knows what our state and local governments are doing despite the money they receive.


Bayo Ashola, 27, is unemployed. He lives in Bauchi, in north-eastern Nigeria.

Absolutely nothing has been done about the issue of electricity and power shortages.

The president is doing his best but up to now nothing has been done to solve the problem.

It would help if they privatised the electricity company.

I think former President Olusegun Obasanjo should have appeared before the [parliamentary investigation into power] panel and face inquiries into corruption.

We have lots of other problems too like health and education and nothing has been done.

The government does not know what it is doing. It goes from the president all the way down to local government.

We don't know where we are going.

The present politicians are still blaming the Obasanjo regime. But they did their best and it is time to move on.

A kilo of rice is too expensive to buy. The ministry of agriculture needs to do something about this issue. We have a lot of farms and land so we could plant many more crops.

I am speaking on behalf of the masses who are suffering. This is no life. I do not have a job. How am I going to cope? What are we going to do?


Chukwuma Odelugo, 46, has recently returned home to Enugu in south-eastern Nigeria after living and working in the US. He is a practising lawyer.

I think people are happy with the general demeanor of the current president and people generally trust that he will not steal the country blind.

We also trust that he will not surround himself with people whose primary aim will be to steal the country blind.

People like the idea of the president's "rule of law" policy even though quite frankly most Nigerians don't even know what the concept means.

But on the other hand, most people believe that the president is slow, very slow.

They believe this National Assembly is still incompetent and that the judiciary is ineffective in spite of recent bold judgments from the branch government.

The infrastructure is still poor, and there is not much being done to improve it.

For example, the electricity situation in particular is still very bad. In fact, it seems to have got worse since the Yar'Adua government.

I incur about $40 each day on fuel [petrol and diesel] for the generators.

The roads are still very poor and extremely dangerous, and there are no visible efforts to make them better or safer.

Drinking water is also still a problem. In fact, since this is the rainy season, many people now drink rain water.

In spite of recent efforts to improve the working conditions of the police, that agency is still unable to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.

What has reduced in my part of the country is the number of police check points extorting money from motorists. But we expect that with time the police will return to their old habits.

Medical care remains in much the same shape as it was during the Obasanjo years.

For example, in Enugu where I live, there is not a single emergency room. If you have a life-threatening medical emergency in Enugu, you will die.

Corruption still thrives. In spite of a substantial increases in salaries, the Nigerian police are still very, very corrupt. The Nigerian Customs are also still very corrupt, and there is not much being done to clean up that agency either.

There are even rumors that the much feared and respected Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is also very corrupt.

Are you in Nigeria? Has President Yar'Adua had a good year? How do you think he has tackled the country's energy crisis? Has he lived up to the expectations of Nigerians? What impact, if any, has he had on Africa? Send us your views

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