Chigozie Effe writes on the daunting task ahead of the President-elect as Nigerians look forward to the dividends of their support to the retired General turned civilian president.
On May 29, Nigeria’s political history will witness an epochal phase with the transition in power from an incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan to an opposition flagbearer, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
General Buhari, like Abraham Lincoln of the United States of America, has not had it so smooth clinching the exalted position of number one citizen of the country, having failed three times consecutively. Undoubtedly, the 73- year old has won the war against all odds, and now he is faced with the challenge of wining the peace especially now that the elections are over.
Most important, however, this not a time for witch hunting opponents or engaging in politics of calumny by the APC government that is gradually witnessing a huge influx of defectors, rather it’s a time to consolidate on victory and hit the ground running with people-oriented policies.
This is why the President-elect must be very careful with those defecting as most of them are political liabilities or at best opportunists.
The reformed Nigerian who is committed to removing the cloak of the military, Buhari, in his acceptance speech, noted that “this is a moment that we must begin to heal the wounds and work toward a better future. We do this first by extending a hand of friendship and conciliation across the political divides. We hope and pray our friends in the other parties reciprocate.”
With over 50 deaths recorded in the last elections across the country, unifying the country against ethnic divide should be Buhari’s major focus. It would be recalled that never in the history of Nigeria as the country ever witnessed over heating of the polity like the just concluded elections.
More importantly is the fact that Nigerians yearn for security like a breath of fresh air. It now behooves on the president-elect, as contained in his campaign promises, to ensure that insurgency in the country becomes a thing of the past. This is where his competence as an ex-soldier will be put to test and eventually questioned.
Nigeria’s armed forces, once rated among Africa’s best with distinction in peacekeeping operations around the globe, has become the butt of jokes over its handling of the Boko Haram insurgency.
The citizens’ confidence in the ability of the government to meet its obligations is at an all time low largely due to massive corruption and the fall of the price of crude oil which has remained Nigeria’s economic mainstay. The president must begin to think outside the box on how Nigeria’s economy can be diversified.
The widening gap between the rich and the poor is one which the new administration cannot afford to ignore.
Granted that the Katsina-born president-elect, was once Head of State, when he ruthlessly used his power to ensure sanity in the country by using decrees, the gap toothed ex soldier may not find easy in this present dispensation where democracy holds sway and powers are checked by both Houses of Assembly.
However, General Buhari means different things to different people. To some, he is an incorruptible administrator. To others, he is a controversial figure. Yet to others, he is disciplinarian, who will never tolerate breach of due process.
As an anti-corruption hero, he must declare state of emergency on corruption, having noted that the scourge has eaten deep into the fabric of every sector in the country. He must stand his ground and take the country out of the woods.
The already battered economy, as it were, would be another area of concern for the incoming government. The APC- led government must learn lessons from the outgoing government by ensuring that technocrats head this important sector so as to give a boost. For example the exchange of dollar to Naira is put at 211 at the moment and this is unhealthy for the country.
As a former Chairman of the PTF under Abacha regime, one expects that the coming of Buhari would be bring a change in the sector, especially now that corruption seems to be the order of the day.
As president in waiting, the issue of power has become a constant nightmare for citizens in the country. Since the return of democracy 16 years ago, the country has had no stable power supply, signaling that Buhari must apply the magic wand to ensure power remains stable.
The fall in the standard of education in the country as could be testified in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 WASSCE clearly exposes the moribund state of the education sector, which has further heightened the high level of crime in the society.
With over forty million youths jobless, Buhari, in other to win the hearts of the youths, must be ready to tackle unemployment headlong so as to reduce criminality and poverty. This is the change Nigerians need and the time to act is now!