May 29: Citizens set security, economy, unity priority for Tinubu
AHEAD of the inauguration of the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Monday, Nigerians from all walks of life are listing some of their expectations for the incoming government.
Calling on Tinubu to hit the ground running immediately after the handover, they described their demands as top priorities.
Topmost in their expectations is the security challenges, which they hoped Tinubu will address without fear or sentiment, if he must get other sectors in the country fixed.
Ranking second in their list of demands from the incoming government is how to quickly fix what they described as the ‘comatose economy’ it is inheriting from President Muhammadu Buhari.
Third on the demand list is addressing the issue of restructuring and the governance system in the country, which many observers said would require the former Lagos State governor and his team to treat, not only with caution, but also with utmost sense of urgency.
“Without taking a critical look into the fundamentals of the 1999 Constitution to rearrange some things, Nigeria will continue to wallow in a constitutional crisis without solution.”
Also on the list of expectations is the need for the next president to address the Southeast or Igbo question, as according to them, Nigeria cannot continue to ‘ignore’ a quarter of its population and an entire region and expect to experience peace.
They doubt Tinubu’s ability to fight corruption, noting that if someone like President Buhari, despite his charisma, perceived uprightness and promises to stop corruption, could not achieve much, there is skepticism that the President-elect would be able to curb corruption.
Essentially, the outgoing administration is considered to have failed Nigerians in three critical areas of security, economy and restructuring.
In security, an estimated 63,111 people were said to have been killed since Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015. According to data obtained from the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa programme, the deaths arose from terrorism, banditry, herders/farmers clashes, communal crises, cult clashes, and extra-judicial killings among others.
The economy is also said to have performed terribly on seven key economic parameters under the outgoing administration, with an unprecedented debt profile.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), yearly inflation rate in Nigeria accelerated for the fifth consecutive month to 22.22 per cent in April 2023, reaching a nearly 18-year high.
A stalwart of defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Fred Agbeyegbe, said“ whatever anyone says about Tinubu, you won’t hear that Tinubu will not perform or deliver. What we have had in Nigeria so far is a government that never delivers. In terms of expectations, we are going to have a change in the presidential administration under him, which will be for the better.”
A former lawmaker from Rivers State, Bernard Mikko, said to expect that Tinubu will hit the ground running is like raising a false hope.
“Things have gone wrong beyond normal. We are not going to set an agenda for Tinubu, but we will diligently monitor and follow how he is implementing what he promised to achieve. As an astute politician with experience in the corporate world, oil industry for that matter, we don’t expect Tinubu to fail. He has shown the standard, so we don’t expect him to fumble. My advice to Nigerians is we should not expect anything but to monitor what Tinubu promised to do and point it out to him if he is veering off,” he said.
Also doubting the possibility that Tinubu can quickly achieve much as Nigerians expect of him in the area of security, elder statesman, Alani Akinrinade said the issue of security is not what any Nigerian, who understands the magnitude of the challenge should expect Tinubu to tackle in the shortest period of time.
In his own recommendation, constitutional lawyer, Afe Babalola has urged Tinubu, to prioritise Nigeria’s debt forgiveness from creditor-countries as well as bilateral financial institutions.