Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, said Nigeria’s woes in 2020 were worsened by “lazy and uninspiring leadership from the government”.

In a New Year message shared on his social media platforms, Atiku said while the world generally suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, for Nigeria, the problems were “multi-faceted”.

The federal government has come under criticism in recent times over the state of the economy and the rising spate of insecurity in the country — a situation Atiku hinged on failed leadership, “at the center-most especially”.

“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,” Atiku wrote.

“As a country, we have taken our share of the blow that Covid-19 dealt to the globe. And worst still, we suffered a multi-facet downcast on account of lazy and uninspiring leadership from the government at the center – 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 a poor management of our national economy.”

The former number two citizen expressed happiness on the discovery and use of vaccines against COVID-19.

He said the same cooperation and strategy used in getting a vaccine for the virus should be channeled towards confronting other issues in the world.

He called on Nigerians to embrace the benefits of their diversity and unite in finding solutions to the nation’s problems.

“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,” he said.

“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; 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.”