May 29th 2015 was a historic day for Nigeria. It signified the coming of age in this dispensation of our democracy where the defeated incumbent president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan handed over power to the victorious opposition headed Muhammadu Buhari.
This is the second time in 16 years that a past military head of state has been chosen by the people to lead a democratically elected government. General Buhari as he was once called, was the military Head of State after a coup d’etat which overthrew the highly corrupt civilian regime headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari of Nigeria’s Second Republic in 1983.
Today, on a democratic platter, President Buhari has been chosen again, but this time by the people of Nigeria to clean up the mess left behind the Goodluck Jonathan administration which is arguably the most corrupt, rudderless and profligate administration Nigeria has ever witnessed.
President Buhari was the obvious choice of most Nigerians because of his antecedents as a military head of state. His zero tolerance for corruption, indiscipline and his wealth of military experience which saw him quell decisively the Chadian military invasion of Borno State in 1983 are much needed qualities in Nigeria today.
The immediate past administration embraced and institutionalised corruption as a fabric of the Nigerian existence which saw a drastic decline in nearly all sectors of the economy. The oil sector was held to ransom by greedy interests who perfected a system of subsidy fraud protected by the government that caused untold suffering to the masses.
It paid little or no heed to the Boko Haram insurgency until it became a hydra-headed monster that led to the loss and maiming of lives of thousands, decimation of properties worth millions and an unbelievable number of displaced citizens.
Power generation dropped to an all time low of 1,327MW on the National Grid bringing about widespread darkness despite the privatisation and subsequent financial boosts to the privatized sector.
It goes without saying the Buhari administration once again, has the uneviable job of having a load of shitpile to clean up ahead. This cannot be easy considering the current state our debt-ridden economy that is barely afloat, the tyranny of the oil sector that nearly ground the nation to a halt a few days to the handover, coupled with handling the bungled insurgency crisis and delivering on electoral promises.
President Buhari’s inaugural address however has given a inkling into the kind of leadership we are to expect. The most immediate concern is the total subdue of Boko Haram which goes a long way to show that there can be no immediate progress with insecurity. The relocation of the military command center from Abuja to Maiduguri is an indication of the seriousness with which his administration plans to handle the insurgency.
The major concern for most Nigerian citizens are the issues of declining power supply and the workings of our shady oil industry, both with their symbiotic association with our dwindling economy. It is rather embarrassing that after billions of dollars spent on power infrastructure and privatisation of the sector, our economy has progressively regressed on a massive scale with its resultant negative domino effect on almost every other aspect of Nigerian life. This is the same story with the oil industry.
The Nigerian people have suffered numbing abuse from well-fed political elite for years. This gave rise to the movement for change and today, change is here. Whilst we acknowledge the task ahead is tedious, we urge the president to leave no stone unturned in righting the inequalities that glaringly persist.
I will like to point out specifically that it is highly immoral, insensitive and inhumane for elected officials (especially members of the National Assembly) to continue earn so much while the minimum wage remains pegged at a paltry N18,000 monthly. No one can survive the challenge of living in today’s Nigeria with that amount and maintain his or her sanity.
Even at that, it is highly irresponsible and totally unacceptable for civil servants and pensioners to be denied wages for unbelievably extended periods while elected officials live ostentatiously off the “meagre” resources of the state. The wealth of Nigeria must be and seen to be equitably distrubuted. The George Orwellian mentality of unequal treatment must be displaced as soon as possible.
The continuous support of the Nigerian electorate for this administration will depend largely on how these pertinent problems are resolved. I have faith in this new administration as do many Nigerians and we expect that sustained efforts will be employed to tackle these problems. Progress may be slow but a definitive blueprint will allay the fears of all Nigerians.
On the assumption of office, your Excellency, we Nigerians say congratulations. May your rule be fruitful, progressive and bring lasting solutions to the ills that plague our nation.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.