Lai Mohammed, the minister for information, arts and culture, has commended Nigerians for their perseverance and understanding, urging them to look forward to better times in 2017.
Mohammed spoke to journalists on Sunday night on the sidelines of a programme tagged ‘A special evening of music and camaraderie to usher in the Yuletide season’, organised by the Lagos state government at the state house, Alausa, Lagos.
“We give thanks to God that we are alive; by the grace of God, next year will be much easier,” Mohammed said.
“Year 2016 has not been a particularly easy year even for governance because the economy has not done much as well as we thought.
“This is not because of incompetence on the part of government but because of the general global slowdown and this affected commodity prices.”
He said despite all, the government tried its best, especially in the face of challenges with the Niger Delta, and has more than thrice intervened and bailed out some states.
Mohammed commended Nigerians for their perseverance and understanding and urged them to continue supporting the government.
Abdulwaheed Odushile, national president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), told journalists that the federal government needs to focus more on the economy, particularly in the area of job creation.
“Government needs to improve the economy by creating jobs directly,” Odushile said.
“It should create rooms so that people in the non- formal sector can also create jobs, especially in agriculture, tourism and other areas where they can show their skills.
“It has done a good job in terms of security but it can still be improved upon; if the economy is okay, there will be less crime. Job creation is very important and I think government should focus more on that.”
He also enjoined Nigerians to encourage government to do more in the New Year.
Earlier, Steve Ayorinde, Lagos state commissioner for information and strategy, said that the programme was the governor’s initiative to usher in the Yuletide season.
“This is more than unwinding, it is in sync with the brand of the governor to use arts, culture and tourism and entertainment to promote excellence in the state,” Ayorinde said.
“You can see from the array of evergreen artistes; this is rich, these are artistes who made their mark in Lagos.”