A Work-plan for President Buhari By Mukhtar Jarmajo
In the aftermath of the 28th March, 2015 presidential election, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared winner and returned elected. By this therefore, Buhari is today inaugurated and sworn-in as Nigeria`s president for the next four-year constitutional tenure. And doubtlessly, he will inherit a Nigeria so much similar to the one he usurped from Shehu Shagari at the twilight of 1983.
Like then, there is nothing to write home today about Nigeria`s economy. Buhari will inherit a virtually empty treasury. Ditto, on health, education, water, electricity and infrastructures, there is nothing tangible enough to mention here. The only difference Buhari will find between now and 1983 however, is there is no more khaki to put-on and therefore the atmosphere of the power corridor and the process involved in running the affairs of government may be very unusual to him.
Whatever the differences may be however, if the “converted democrat” is ready for the job at Aso-Rock Villa, sooner than later Nigerians will begin to reap the seed we saw at the just concluded polls. It is thus hoped that Muhammadu Buhari didn’t join the race to Nigeria`s presidency without meticulously studying and comprehending our problems.
It is hoped that Buhari contested the presidency only after identifying the solutions to our problems and thereby found himself able and capable of steering the affairs of Nigeria in contemporary times. Buhari cannot make miracles but can make wonders by being at his best all day. And by employing people of equal strength, commitment and most importantly fear of God as lieutenants, the new president will only be on the way to bring the much yearned change here.
Nigerians have through the ballot box asserted with loud voice our desire for a paradigm shift from these days of so much uncertainty to those of stability. Therefore, we expect so much from President Buhari. Thankfully, he is aware of this high expectation as he rightly mentioned on the 26th February, 2015 in an address at Chatham House, London. Thus, as the tall gap-toothed Buhari assumes power today, he is expected to hit the ground running.
First, the Buhari regime is expected to begin the fight against corruption today because “if Nigeria doesn’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.” Corruption, which has eaten deep into Nigeria`s public space, is like poison coated with sugar. It is very sweet to ingest but mortally dangerous to the entire human species. It is an aspect of indiscipline which should be fought with all the ammunitions at our Arsenal. In doing this, it is significant Buhari understands the need to lead by example.
For instance, the president should say no to any gifts and there after ban government officials and senior citizens from receiving it. The president should demonstrate to Nigerians that honesty is the best policy. We must therefore learn not to bend rules, create short-cuts and or cheat. Only this way will we begin making efforts at bringing the desired change to Nigeria.
Also, we expect to see serious improvement in the security matters of this nation as soon as possible. This is simply bringing the matter of insurgency to the fore. If Nigeria is to be secured again, Buhari must understand the need to thoroughly investigate the insurgency matter and bring to book whoever is found an accomplice no matter their connections. This can be done through establishing an international commission of enquiry involving Nigeria`s neighbors to justly look into the matter. This way, the outcome of the investigation, which should be taken to The Hague, will be accepted as credible and fair by the majority.
Only then will the Nigerian intelligence community, Army and Police restore its lost glory. Much the same, only then will we be sure of the safety of our lives and property. And because peace guarantees effective economic activities, if the President restores the security of Nigeria, he will indirectly be making efforts at revamping our economy. However, resuscitating Nigeria`s economy at this critical point in time takes more than that.
Today Nigeria depends largely on crude oil for revenue. And as indicated earlier, the oil sector is one of the corruption infested sub-sectors of Nigeria`s economy. Thus in an attempt at stabilizing our economy, the president should aside sanitizing the oil sector, make concerted efforts at diversifying it. Nigeria is blessed with vast arable land and other natural resources. Government should therefore show willingness and facilitate the exploration of such resources to create employment opportunities and thus make the economy healthier.
Meanwhile, even with economy diversification and exploration of other natural resources, without adequate electricity supply, the economy can never stabilize. Buhari is sadly inheriting a nation that has been in virtual darkness for almost two weeks. He is thus expected to within the shortest possible time resuscitate the power sector so that the economy will witness some boost and Nigerians will get out of darkness.
Other ways of revamping the nation`s economy include establishing policies that discourage importation and encourage exportation, blocking leakages in running government and regulating trips to international countries including Mecca for Hajj/Lesser-Hajj and Jerusalem for pilgrimage. For instance, no one should be allowed to go for pilgrimage to either Jerusalem or Mecca twice in six years and Lesser-Hajj twice in three years.
Another sector which the new regime is expected to give so much attention is that of education. Indeed, given that the future of any nation solely relies on how its youth were nurtured, the new regime should as a matter of urgency take very serious measures to brighten Nigeria`s future. Frankly speaking however, there is no quick fix as far as education was concerned. So the new regime it is hoped, will invest so much time, energy and resources in the education sector to better it`s lot.
Obviously, there are issues relating to learning environment, instruction materials, training and retraining of teachers to improve their capacity and many more that are bedeviling the education sector. Therefore the Buhari/Osinbajo administration should despite the economic situation in the country, try as much as possible source funds to begin revamping the education sector in earnest.
Aside all this that require urgency, Buhari also should consider the idea of leadership recruitment. Indeed, young men with potentials should be brought to power corridor to learn and have firsthand experience about the challenges involved in leadership. This is with a view to preparing them as leaders of a future Nigeria. This is to preclude Nigeria from having accidental leaders in the future.
Jarmajo is on Twitter: @mukhtarjarmajo