Having been sworn into office, President Muhammadu Buhari has since taken off on his official engagements as he also recently attended the conference of leaders of group of seven industrialized nations (G7) excluding Russia.
As it were, President Buhari kicked off his foreign official engagements by meeting with Chadian and Nigerien leaders over Boko Haram on which case he also received assurances from leaders of US, Britain, France and Germany that they would support his administration in tackling Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria, which has spread beyond Nigerian borders.
Having made a lot of promises however at his inauguration, President Buhari should be willing to walk the long road of leadership and secure freedom for Nigerians from the attacks by the Boko Haram insurgent group which has continued its operations unabated.
While addressing the nation and indeed the international community in his inaugural address, President Buhari had promised to deal decisively with Boko Haram, describing the insurgent group as a ‘mindless, godless’ body of rebels far from the Islamic faith. Also, Buhari pledged to tackle corruption and abuse of office to create a rebranded Nigeria where people would be proud to call the country their home.
Concerning Boko Haram, he said: “Through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion, Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory”, and pledged to end the menace. But having so spoken, President Buhari should soon be able to effectively manage the Nigerian situation where there has been so much lack and deprivation and give hope to Nigerians. This is because Nigerians having elected him into office do expect him to do far much better than his predecessors in bringing democratic gains to the people. So, having made such promises including those made during his campaigns, President Buhari should act fast and decisively too to turn things around in Nigeria.
Commendably, President Buhari had during his inauguration directed the Army command centre in the fight against Boko Haram to relocate to the heart of the insurgency in Borno State in the country’s renewed fight against the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
Describing Nigeria’s power situation as national embarrassment, President Buhari had lamented the country’s unsteady source of power supply and its negligible volume in the country. But to avoid shame and getting embarrassed himself, the president should be seen to be working with commitment to end the power malaise in the country or at least bring to minimal proportions the poor power situation across Nigeria. That should be the way to go in this new administration just setting sail to disprove skeptics who already feel that Buhari is dragging himself off the ground on his assumption of duty.
Also during the inauguration, President Buhari had called on the judiciary to reform and purge itself of corrupt practices saying that ‘the country now expects the judiciary to act with dispatch on all cases especially on corruption, serious financial crimes or abuse of office’, just as he promised not to meddle in the affairs of other arms of government namely the judiciary and the legislature.
But if truth be told, President Buhari needs to outperform his predecessors in office to leave his name untarnished as the one who made several promises and fulfilled them otherwise he would go down in history as yet another of Nigeria’s leader who campaigned on a positive note but failed while in office to deliver on his promises. Truly, Nigerians are watching with bated breath to see just how far Buhari can go in fulfilling his pledges given the claims that he holds the key to our country’s problems or that he can salvage the country from its woes. But it is unlikely that there would be clamours for change in leadership at the end of Buhari’s first tenure but if he does not perform, Nigerians would hold him accountable and consequently vote him out during the next election.
This is because Nigerians have become very politically circumspect to know what they want and choose to also vote out an inefficient or incapable leadership which made its way into office based on several promises but failing to fulfill such promises. But Buhari has a chance to make good his electoral promises and endear himself to Nigerians who have put so much hope on him.
President Buhari should properly drive the oil sector to properly drive development in Nigeria so that each and every Nigerian can have three square meals per day and be contented. This will reduce the country’s brain drain by returning to our country’s shores some of the country’s long ‘lost’ sons and daughters abroad who may now want to return home to be involved in steps towards the country’s development.
In fighting corruption however especially in the oil sector, the president should follow laid-down guidelines to ensure people are not unjustly prosecuted on tribal, party or ethnic basis. Looming large in the eyes of most Nigerians is the country’s corruption monster which over the years had impeded growth and development but with Buhari on board, there should be maximal change which indeed the governing APC canvassed.
But in appointing people into various offices, President Buhari should more importantly consider qualification and experience rather than throw up appointments based on party lines and regional interests. Expectedly, Buhari should do the needful by ensuring that his appointments cut across the length and breadth of the country to reflect the country’s federal character. That way, he will be seen as a truly great leader and detribalized, the likes of which the country needs at this very testing times to push the country forward.
So, all said and done, President Buhari should assume responsibility for the speedy development of Nigeria, aligning her to true development experienced elsewhere around the world because if he should fail, most Nigerians will have become utterly confused and despondent with Buhari himself having to be disrobed as the messiah king.
But President Buhari can never do it alone or succeed on a solo trip and this is why he needs the prayers of all Nigerians to succeed. God would grant him favour to overhaul Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.
Febebebo, a public affairs analyst, writes from Port Harcourt