The people have spoken, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has emerged president for the next four years, at least.
With the euphoria of victory set to remain sky high for a while, the task before the new president will play second fiddle.
ENCOMIUM Weekly has, however, outlined here the task before the next president in the next four years…
The security of Nigerians is, per the constitution, the first and most important responsibility of the state; and with the spate of armed robbery attacks, bomb explosions and – to a lesser extent – kidnapping across the country, security cannot be treated with kids glove like in the past.
Since notorious islamic sect, Boko Haram reared its ugly head in 2009, it has accounted for about 10,000 deaths across the north of Nigeria and beyond. The sect had, until much recently, operated unhindered – bombing towns, villages and communities; and rendering many refugees and children orphans.
According to GDELT (the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone), there were 3,608 kidnappings in 2013 in Nigeria; that figure rose drastically to 2,285 in the first four months of 2014. These statistics do not augur well for Nigeria, and should be number one on Buhari’s list of priorities.
Though now cliché, corruption is, indeed, the bane of Nigeria’s (as well as most other third-world countries) development.
The word corruption is thrown around a lot, no day passes in political discourse that it isn’t mentioned. But what is corruption in government? Meriam Webster dictionary defines corruption in government as “dishonest or illegal behaviour especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers)”, it also calls it “impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle” and “inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (as bribery).”
Oxford dictionary calls it “dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.” Wikipedia lends its definition, it “is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain”. The recurring theme in these definitions is “illegitimate, illegal, fraudulent” implying that it is not corruption, unless it contravenes the constitution or (according to Wikipedia) “only if the act is directly related to their official duties…”
What corrupt does? It causes unequal distribution of the commonwealth – leading to income inequalities, undermining the effectiveness of social welfare programmes and ultimately creating a wider gap between the haves and haves not.
Buhari, famed as a disciplined man with integrity, will do well to improve Nigeria’s poor ranking of 144th out of 177 countries on transparency and anti-corruption policies by Transparency International.
Power has, sadly and wrongly, remained an issue in Nigeria. Even with the privatization of the sector, the nightmare of darkness has continued to haunt most homes.
As at February 2015, Nigeria generates about 5,500 mega watts of electricity, which is still shy of giving every home 24 hours uninterrupted power supply. Until the power issue is tackled and Nigeria has stable light, industrialization will remain only a dream. Companies can’t keep spending hundreds of thousands of naira on powering generating sets annually. Small and medium scale businesses also cannot thrive if they keep spending thousands on alternative power sources.
If Gen. Buhari can deliver on this, he would be simultaneously solving a lot of problems.
Following the gross domestic product (GDP) re-basing last year, Nigeria’s economy is Africa’s biggest as well as one of the fastest growing in the world – on paper.
But ask the man on the street if he feels this, a resounding no will be his response. Youth (regarded as those within the ages of 15 and 34) unemployment as at 2012 stands at 54 percent – females 51.9 per cent, and males with 48.1 percent, these figures become alarming when you consider that thousands of secondary school leavers enter the labour annually, with no industries or companies to absorb them.
With the majority of the supposed leaders of tomorrow idle, and as the saying goes that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, the crime rate will remain high.
According to a 2012 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 46,836 youths were recorded against different types of crimes; with 42,071 (representing 75.5 percent males) and the remaining 24.5 percent females. Among the most committed crimes, marijuana (Indian hemp) smoking has the highest figure, representing 15.7 per cent.
Followed by theft and murder with 8.1 and 7.4 per cent, respectively. The least committed crime was Immigration/Emigration representing 0.04 per cent.
Also, the naira has in recent times crashed against the dollar to as low as N220 to $1; and with Nigeria an importing country, this has caused widespread inflation.
The stock market has been hit as well, especially with the fall in global oil prices. These can be curbed with proactive measures such as shifting Nigeria from a mono-product economy to one with many sources of income. This should be in the front burner as Buhari assumes come May 29, 2015.