YNaija Editorial: Dear General Buhari, the honeymoon is already over

Dear General Buhari,

About six weeks ago, Nigerians stood in line and cast their ballots in what is one of Nigeria’s most historic elections and elected you as president albeit with a slim majority over your opponent, making you the first candidate to defeat an incumbent president.

For so many Nigerians including your supporters, it was quite a surreal moment that a party as dominant as the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was losing the presidency. This was made possible because voters cutting across the country believe that you are the rightly-placed candidate to save Nigeria from the downward slide it has been for far too long.

As President-elect, you have admitted yourself that the expectations are high, and indeed they are high. Nigerians are eagerly awaiting May 29th when you shall become sworn in as the president and they start to see the Nigeria of their dreams take shape.

While admittedly you are not a magician who will turn Nigeria by the simple wave of a magic wand, you also do not have the luxury of time to begin to justify the faith the people have placed in you. Unlike the convention where new public office-holders have enough goodwill in the first few months of being in office that inactivity is excused, your own honeymoon period is already over. Your government must hit the ground running.

Nigerians are expecting you to send the list of your ministerial nominees from the moment the National Assembly is constituted, and that you put men and women who are technocrats, highly cerebral and possessing integrity on the list. That list will be closely scrutinized to ensure that it will be a departure from the past where cabinet offices are shared to politicians as compensation for the roles they played in the elections.

General Buhari, Nigerians voted for you not just because they felt you are better than the other candidates, but largely on the strength of your personal character. Your campaign message for the past four elections in which you ran has been that you that the ability and the will to fight corruption. This message has resonated with the electorate because they see you as a man who is himself unstained by corruption and will thus be able to fulfill this promise.

Nigerians will be watching closely to see you fulfill this promise – giving the anti-corruption agencies the necessary funding, political will and independence to investigate and prosecute those who have dipped their hands into the public till. You have also promised to institute legal reforms so that those indicted for corruption do not use the complexity of our judicial system to avoid being punished.

Sir, you also come into office at a precipitous moment in our history economically speaking. It has become commonplace for states to go months without paying their civil servants simply because they cannot afford to while the budget of the Federal Government is heavily financed with loans. This is because the price of crude oil on which Nigeria survives has been in free fall for months combined with the fact that our government has squandered periods of plenty.

While many decisions that will be taken to remedy the situation will be bitter pills for Nigerians to follow, it will be easier if you as the leader show sacrifice. You are known for your austere lifestyle and it is hoped that you will bring this to bear on the government you will run so that government in Nigeria is no longer seen as a giver of largesse.

It is important that your administration sets achievable targets and goals over the course of four years so that at every milestone, there are tangible results that Nigerians can identify with. Traditionally, the first 100 days as seen as an indicator of the direction in which a government is taking, but you must not let whatever energy you start your administration is to fizzle out after this milestone. It should be that after six months, a year and halfway through your tenure, there are visible results of the work of your administration.

Make no mistake, sir, your government will be closely watched and highly scrutinized. This scrutiny will be only from those who will be in the opposition but even from those who supported, campaigned and voted for you. In doing so, they will be fulfilling the duties of the most important office in our democracy – the office of the citizen.

While the expectations of your government are very high, it is very possible that at the end of four years, Nigerians will not be left with a bitter taste in the mouth from electing you as their president.

We wish you all the best in your administration.

Comments (0)

  1. Hello admin, is it possible to send an article to this outfit that would be considered for publishing in the opinion column? Pls i’d love to know in what way I can send it in. Thanks

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