Home Op-Ed. Buhari: Extending the hope of Africa’s wobbling giant

Buhari: Extending the hope of Africa’s wobbling giant

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With the swearing in and inauguration ceremony of the new president for Nigeria on May 29, 2015, Nigeria has made a historic transition of leadership from one political party to another. It was Nigeria’s day in the sun and every patriotic Nigerian must be proud of the accomplishment. For the first time in recent history world attention was centred on Nigeria for the right reasons. It’s only parallel would be May 29, 1999, when the military handed over power to the politicians.

However, after all the hype and razzmatazz of political campaign and pomp and pageantry of hand-over President Buhari  is moving into a new phase in his life and the fate and future of 170 million Nigerians on depend on what he does in the days and years ahead. He comes with a change mandate after 16 years of PDP unbroken rule and expectations are high. Throughout his campaign he has kept fate with his point agenda, namely fighting insecurity, corruption and unemployment.

His inaugural address also adumbrated on these issues and Nigerians are waiting for action. We cannot judge a man for what he does not believe in or committed, so Nigerians should stay with him on agenda. But as a newspaper, we believe the most critical challenge facing the nation is the economy and structure of the country and doubt if he has the competence, disposition and political will and capacity to change things appreciably.

However he possessed what is required to be elected and having been so emerged, it all now depends on him. Fighting corruption and insecurity cannot put food on our table put Nigerians to work; it can only change our attitude and the way we do things and not what we do, which is more critical to making Nigeria viable and successful. Jobs do not create themselves or fall from the sky. Nor does government create sustainable jobs; APC state governments which created jobs are today reeling under unpaid salaries.

It is economic growth and development that produces jobs and it has to be private sector driven with government providing the enabling environment. This is where fighting corruption and insecurity is important, because it is crucial investment inflow.  But this government must perish the thought of creating public jobs and all those campaign hogwash of school feeding and paying N5000 to 25 million Nigerians. Without reducing government and encouraging private investors, this government will be dead on arrival.

His government needs deep thinking on issues confronting the nation to be able to chart a new course, rather tread a familiar path. The problems are quite complex and complicated and demand creativity and resoluteness to tackle. Above all he needs the services of a few committed men and women honest report and dedication to the national cause in the strategic positions, such as finance, petroleum, planning, agriculture, works etc. to strengthen his hands. This is not the time to give the jobs on the basis of gerrymandering and cronyism to reward political friends and interests. That will not be change.

However, the apparent grid lock that has pervaded leadership appointments in the different arms of government is disturbing. Many people had thought that Mr Buhari would hit the ground running especially after he declared his prerogative to appoint his ministers as well as the stalemate at the National Assembly to select his leadership. That he has not appointed even his personal staff such as Chief of staff and assistants and allegations of being undermined by the party is foreboding.

He cannot afford to fail. His election is an extension of the hope for Nigeria to redeem itself. It is his historical burden. His limitation is the limitation of the Nigerian contraption. He may be able to stabilize Nigeria to the extent that his successor must be able to continue. He must try to rise above primordial sentiments and say with the objective for as long as it takes. Obviously he cannot do everything within the term of office; it is here that many people may be disappointed. But he is expected to lay the foundation that others can build on. One person does not build a nation; He is at best a transitional leader.