A president-elect and the burden of expectations

The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, must  paradoxically  be  the most unenviable  Nigerian leader today. After the euphoria  of   the March 28 presidential  election victory, this Daura-born retired general may have suddenly come to the realisation of the enormous  responsibilities of state placed on his  frail frame.

It is quite easy to reason that Buhari would be  trudging a well worn and familiar path, having been military Head of State some  decades ago.

True, but not absolutely.

Quite as the trite saying goes, a lot of water has passed under the bridge and the Buhari in military uniform has emerged the nation’s new found democrat.

Apparently bewildered by the deluge of expectations  from understandably eager Nigerians who had been battered by 16 years of  PDP misrule, Buhari was forced to cry out recently that he was not  a miracle worker.

But running Nigeria’s ship of state as presently configured certainly requires a miracle worker perceived in the persona of  Buhari and  he must carry this burden of expectations with stoic candour.

Already from  across the polity, expectations are high and it is unclear where the president-elect would begin his seeming missionary journey.

One way to start though is  to ensure a lean inauguration ceremony in order not to further drain the dry public till and send a strong message to public officials that it is no longer business as usual.

Many would recall that the last inauguration celebration for President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011  took a week and gulped between N830 million and N1 billion!

Equally important is the parlous economy which  has literarily crashed per capital economy.

Nigeria’s per capita income in the last couple of years had hovered around  $2.748, falling behind that of smaller neighbours  such as Ghana and Cameroun with $10.748 and $10.758 respectively.

A  World Bank report also said its survey  in 2007 showed  that life expectancy  for  a Nigerian  male was forty-six  years and forty-seven for female. It was also revealed that Nigerians that live on $1.25 per day make up  29.6 percent of the population while those that live on $2 are 83.9 percent.

This may well explain the unison in the demand by labour during the May Day celebration for a new minimum wage.

The N18,000 minimum wage law  which was  signed into law by the Jonathan administration  in 2010 is already  due for review, after the stipulated five years.

This demand  is particularly in the forefront of the agenda for the labour movements due to the devaluation of  the Naira to N197 to the dollar and in particular, in compliance with  the recommendation of the  International Labour Organisation   that a  worker earns a minimum of $100.

Nigerians are also worried by the collapse of public power supply, which government reluctantly  agrees has crashed to below 2,800 megawatts. The Buhari administration may need to review the sale of PHCN given the incapacity of the successor companies.

From the ongoing battle against  insurgency in the North East through revamp of public infrastructure and on to revival of the real sector, the president-elect obviously has his hands full.

His best bet would be to choose his  “best eleven’’ from the midst of technocrats while suspending politics for now.

Happily, the president-elect himself had assured Nigerians that he would run a lean government.

We believe him.

About Time Nigeria

Time Nigeria is a general interest Magazine with its headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s Capital.

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