Kadiri Abdulrahman writes on expectations of Nigerians ahead of the swearing-in of General Muhammadu Buhari
Come May 29, Nigerians will witness the inauguration of retired Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as the new president of Federal Republic of Nigeria after expiration of the term of office of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
Observers are quick to note that the incoming administration will be formed by the APC, an amalgamation of three opposition parties that defeated the ruling PDP, which has been in power for 16 years, in a keenly contested general election.
As the new administration prepares to assume office, the hopes and expectations of Nigerians are obviously very high, with most people expressing the belief that Buhari, the president-elect, will correct all perceptible anomalies in the political and socio-economic life of the country.
Such expectations are rife, considering the “change’’ mantra of the APC and its presidential candidate in the lead-up to the elections.
Observers, therefore, maintain that the incoming administration will, no doubt, face some challenges immediately after its inauguration, judging from the high expectations of the citizenry.
They note that Nigeria’s problems are numerous, complex and multi-faceted, ranging from corruption to insecurity, poor economy and inadequate electricity supply, among others.
Dr Ibrahim Shuwa, a sociologist, insists that the Buhari-government is expected to provide urgent solutions to some of the myriad challenges facing the nation and its citizens.
“The people’s expectation for a pragmatic change in every aspect of national life is quite high and if they fail to see changes soon, they will be somewhat disillusioned,’’ he says.
Shuwa, however, notes that while some Nigerians appreciate the enormity of the challenges facing the country, others want nothing short of quick solutions to the problems.
Sharing similar sentiments, Mr Kunle Onas, a civil servant, says that in line with the APC manifesto, the Buhari-government have to initiate novel ways of cushioning the effects of the “harsh economic conditions’’ on the citizens.
He recalls that Buhari has pledged, during his electioneering, to stimulate Nigeria’s economic turn-around and create the basis for its improved prosperity, stressing that there should be no excuses for failure in that regard.
“During the campaigns, the term `change’ was the in-thing; we believe that Gen. Buhari already has a lot of plans in place to provoke this change before embarking on such a campaign.
“Now that he has been elected, we hope he is not going to start giving excuses for his inability to effect the desired change after some time because Nigerians are tired of excuses,’’ he says.
Going from the general to the specifics, Onas advises the incoming government to fix the country’s refineries as a matter of urgency so as to resolve the perennial challenge of fuel scarcity facing the country.
“I believe that finding solutions to the perennial scarcity of petroleum products should be a priority for the incoming government and the matter should be handled with all the urgency it deserves.
“It is an embarrassment for an oil-rich country like Nigeria to depend on imported fuel for local supply and consumption; Nigerians expect the incoming administration to tackle this embarrassing fuel supply situation.
“Gen. Buhari should immediately commence the construction of new refineries, while refurbishing the existing ones, so as to tackle the issue once and for all,’’ he says. Onas believes that the focus of the administration’s revenue generation activities should also be on the export of refined petroleum products to other countries.
“Rather than importing refined fuel, we expect the new government to devise a means that will enable Nigeria to export petrol and refined petroleum products other countries, particularly African countries,’’ he says.
However, Mr Steve Ade, a contractor, advises the incoming government to place considerable emphasis on how to boost the country’s security.
“Gen. Buhari should use his experience in the military to enhance the security of the citizens’ lives and property, especially by crushing the Boko Haram insurgents.
“We want a safe country where citizens will be able to live and work in any part of the country without fear.
“A situation whereby some states in the North are no longer safe to visit is not acceptable and this should be addressed immediately.
“I understand that the present government has done a lot lately in terms of battling the insurgents but so much still needs to be done; the new administration should be ready to live up to our expectations,’’ he says.
Besides, Mr Tunde Adeoti, a technician, urges the incoming government to give priority attention to efforts to develop the agriculture sector.
“There have been some landmark achievements by President Goodluck Jonathan in the area of agriculture and I advise the incoming government to consolidate on these achievements.
“The remarkable improvement in fertiliser supply to farmers and the boost in rice production should be sustained and in fact, improved upon so that Nigeria can finally stop the importation of food items.
“Most governments are fond of discarding the policies of their predecessors even if they are potentially viable. I advise the Buhari-administration not to toe that line,’’ Adeoti says.
Mrs Vicky Dada, a business woman, urges the incoming administration to urgently focus its attention on job creation so as to curb the rising menace of crime and insecurity.
“The president-elect, during his campaigns, expressed concern about the high level of unemployment in the country,’’ she says, adding: “He promised to boost employment and create jobs; this is why many Nigerians voted for him.’’
According to Dada, “now that Buhari is about to be sworn in, he must tackle the issue of unemployment as a matter of priority so as to enhance the country’s growth. “Tangible efforts should be made to resuscitate all the moribund industries across the country, as part of efforts to boost job creation,’’ she says.
All the same, Mr Frank Eke, a lawyer, urges Nigerians to be patient with the incoming government.
“It is obvious that most Nigerians are expecting some kind of miracle from the incoming administration but I will advise them to be patient.
“Although there is a compelling need for Nigerians to live comfortably, considering the resources at our disposal, but we have to appreciate the degree of the decay of our infrastructure and the enormity of the work required to achieve results,’’ he says.
Buhari himself appears to have anticipated the high expectations of the citizens, judging by his acceptance speech after he was declared winner of the elections.
While pledging to meet aspirations of Nigerians, he advised them to be realistic in their expectations from his government. “We shall correct that which does not work and improve that which does.
We shall not stop, stand or idle. We shall, if necessary, crawl, walk and run to do the job you have elected us to do.
“I realise that the expectations of our people today are quite high; their commitment to change has been strong and their belief in us is unshaken.
“While we pledge to begin doing our best without delay, we would like to appeal to them to appreciate the gravity of our situation, so that we become more realistic in our expectations,’’ he said. Nevertheless, analysts insist that as all the stakeholders in the “ Nigeria project’’ are looking up to the incoming government to meet the great expectations of Nigerians, they should also strive to partake more meaningfully in all the nation- building processes.
In a matter of weeks, the new government will be in power but most Nigerians are anxiously waiting to see whether or not the new administration will be able to guide the nation to the Promised Land.