Although the President-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd) has tried to calm down Nigerians on the high expectations from his government. However, stakeholders have urged him to go beyond campaign promises in fixing the country. EZUGWU OBINNA reports
The general elections have come and gone and a new government has been elected. This implies that time for electioneering campaigns are over and it is now time for the president-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd) to begin to deliver on his campaign promises to Nigerians.
To say that expectations of the incoming government among Nigerians are high would be stating the obvious. At least, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had campaigned on a strong anti-corruption platform during its campaigns and promised among other things to end unemployment and reduce poverty to the barest minimum. In the final analysis, the party promised to offer better governance than the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
For one, it is believed that Buhari is coming to fight corruption, a menace that has defied solution over the years and which the Jonathan’s administration is accused of treating with kid gloves. The allegations of corruption leveled against prominent personalities such as the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison-Madueke, Minister of Interior, Abba Moro; former Aviation Minister, Mrs. Stella Oduah as well as agencies such as the NNPC which President Jonathan supposedly did not address properly were used by the APC to portray the present government as incompetent and it contributed in part to his defeat in the presidential elections.
For Sodiq Lawal, a graduate of computer science who is looking forward to a better Nigeria under Buhari, corruption is the key problem of the country and with Buhari in power; he hopes the menace would be greatly reduced if not eradicated.
“Corruption in government parastatals is the main problem of Nigeria, take the Public Procurement for instance, money is being stolen with impunity; that’s why we wanted change; that’s why we voted Buhari. He had proven himself as one who can fight corruption; he introduced War Against Indiscipline (WAI) when he was head of state for instance, so he can do it; he can fight corruption,” Lawal affirmed.
To do this effectively however, he suggests that the President-elect must work with people of integrity. “He has to appoint people of unquestionable character in his cabinet and I believe he is already moving towards that direction with the likely appointment of Pastor Tunde Bakare as a member of his government.”
Buhari obviously comes on board with a strong anti-corruption background having in his time as military head of state jailed and even executed perceived corrupt individuals. But the situation is now different; it is a democratic regime and the former head of state would have to abide by the constitution unlike then when he ruled with decrees. Besides, judging by the antecedents of those who bankrolled his campaign, one can understand why there is pessimism in some quarters concerning his ability to fight corruption with the hordes of alleged corrupt politicians around him now.
One of the accusations leveled against the Jonathan administration is his inability to grow the economy, tackle poverty and reduce unemployment and its understandable why Nigerians welcomed Buhari’s promise to pay millions of Nigerians a sum of N5, 000 monthly as a way of reducing poverty, as well as increasing the N19, 800 allowance currently paid to NYSC members to N50, 000. The President-elect should not therefore lose sight of the fact that he is coming to end poverty in Nigeria or at least, reduce it significantly.
Nnamdi Nneji is one of the few voters that voted for Buhari in Enugu State and his reason is simple “APC said they will increase youth corps members’ allowance to N50, 000 as well as pay them for a period of one year after youth service. I would be going for service this year so I hope to benefit. I am very happy that Buhari won, I voted for him actually, with that money, at least I can establish myself,” he said.
\Of course, Nneji is one of the mass of Nigerian graduates would entered the labour market next year; less number of them who would do so this year, coupled with those who had graduated over the years to whom President Jonathan had failed to provide jobs, as well as those who would leave school in subsequent years. Buhari would have to find a way of providing meaningful employment to a good number of them as the APC promised.
The thorny issue of electricity supply that had defied solution under previous administrations in the country, and which, as many were made to believe, got worse under Jonathan, will expectedly meet its waterloo under the Buhari’s government. Obviously, a reasonable number of those who went to cast their ballot for APC on March 28 did so because they were tired of the consistent power failure in the country which Jonathan failed to improve as he promised four years ago.
Certainly, that’s what Lucky Ocheje, a Lagos state resident, hopes for, which made him stand for hours on the Election Day to vote for Buhari. “Buhari will fix power problem, that’s why I voted for him.
Jonathan promised to do so but failed Nigerians; I believe Buhari will do it; he has the guts to bring the cabals who I know are the main reason why the problem has persisted. They want to sell fuel and all that, so they connive to punish Nigerians for their own benefits. But all that, I hope, will end with Buhari in power, he will not fear them like Jonathan.”
There has also been so much talk about how poorly the Nigerian economy has performed under Jonathan despite Nigeria emerging the largest economy on the continent, a feat that is easily dismissed on the basis that it has not impacted on the life of the average Nigerian. Worse still, the recent fall in the value of naira has confirmed, in many people’s views, Jonathan’s failure in the economic sector.
The above appears to be of particular interest to bankers and those in financial institutions as many of them believe that the drop in the value of naira was avoidable, and that those who devalued the currency did it for selfish reasons. That of course, is the opinion of a banker who simply gave his name as Dubem. “Finance ministry and CBN are not being sincere about what led to the drop in the value of naira, I strongly believe it was on purpose, it is just corruption,” he said.
He, like many others expressed optimism that a Buhari presidency will turn that around. “I believe Buhari can do it, he can stabilize the value of naira by ending corruption in the financial sector.”
These Nigerians, I suppose would not be smiling about the present inability of the APC leadership to agree on sharing formula of government positions. They would have expected the party to do so
without skirmishes and for the interest of Nigerians.
It is important therefore that the party recognizes these huge expectations and get down to business instead of bickering on the sharing of political offices. The president-elect would be doing
himself a huge disservice if for one second he fails to realize the frustrations of Nigerians which prompted them to reject the PDP.