President Muhammadu Buhari, may have won the 2019 Presidential election, but he has a lot to fight for in the next
four years, as he pilots the affairs of the country. How far he is able to fight these monstrous challenges, will to a large extent define the future of Nigeria. Some of these challenges that the President must confront and conquer include: Poverty, unemployment, insecurity, corruption and the brazen disunity in the country.
For the country to make a remarkable progress in the next four years, President Buhari must pay special attention to resetting the economy. A restructured economy by the President is what the country needs now more than ever. Considering the fact that our economy which was growing at an average annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate of six per cent, before the President was elected in 2015 and in 2018, managed to achieve 1.93 per cent annual growth rate, calls for worry.
It is even more worrisome that the country’s population growth, which now stands at 2.7 per cent, has completely overtaken our economic growth. This will definitely have negative impact on the standard of living and allocation of resources in the country.
It is sad and unfortunate that the GDP per capita (The average income per person) for a country that is the largest economy, in 2018 stood at about $2,050 while that of South Africa is estimated at about $7,500.
The issue of unemployment is a calamity waiting to happen. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the unemployment rate rose from 18.8 per cent that it was in the third quarter of 2017 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.
The President should also be worried about the poverty rate in the country. According to World Poverty Clock, created by Vienna-based World Data Lab, at least three million Nigerians slipped into extreme poverty between November 2018 and February 2019, which brings the number of people living below poverty line in the country to about 91 million.
In addition is the poor state of power supply in the country, which has led to many manufacturing companies leaving ourshores, businesses dying , thereby causing job losses for Nigerians. We urge the President to invest heavily in the electricity sector and possibly review the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), as power is one of the key factors that will ensure that businesses flourish in the country.
We also think that the President should review his economic policies in his genuine quest for economic diversification, but at the same time, he must do away with some members of his economic management team. We need a Minister of Finance with global experience, orientation and expertise that will head the economic management team in the next four years with excellent fiscal policies for a robust economic growth.
In the area of security, the President needs to roll up his sleevesfor the task ahead. The resurgence of Boko Haram in the northeast in recent months, the farmers-herders crisis, the secession activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), cultism, kidnapping, banditry attacks and ritual killings, are big security threats for the country, which the president must confront.
We believe that it is high time the service chiefs took a bow and leave the stage when the ovation is loudest, if it’s still loud. They have gotten to the peak of their career and possibly, now lack the motivation to lead, which is why a rejig of the security architecture and a change of guards, is crucial at this point in time if the President sincerely desires to get rid of the plethora of security challenges currently facing the country.
Now that the election has come and gone, we charge the President to begin to work towards uniting the country. Nigeria is currently divided more than ever in the history of the country.As the father of the nation, we urge the President to ensure inclusive government which he promised in his victory speech , after he was declared the winner of February 23 Presidential election by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
The President must ensure that no part of the country is excluded from the scheme of things in his second tenure, whether they voted for him or not. Anything short of inclusive government, that will make every Nigerian feel that he is truly a Nigerian, irrespective of where the person comes from or the person’s religion, would spell doom for the country.
Furthermore, our electoral law needs a retouch. It’s quite clear that the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) can no longer guarantee a free, fair, credible and transparent election in the country. Over 50 persons, reportedly lost their lives during the Presidential/National Assembly elections that were held on the 23rd of February. These people probably wouldn’t have lost their lives if the country had adopted more technology in the voting process.
We admonish the President to etch his name in gold by signing the 2018 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law, in line with his promise that he will do so after the elections. Signing the bill into law, will to a high degree, curtail the rate of rigging, intimidation, thuggery , victimization, and even waste of resources that characterize the conduct of elections in the country.
There is no doubt that Nigerians believe in the ability of the president to deliver, following his resounding victory at the polls. It is natural that the President rewards millions of Nigerians who passed through strenuous conditions to get him re-elected by restructuring the economy, ensuring better security, uniting the country and expanding the war against corruption.We believe that with good planning and the political will, the President will succeed.