President Bola Ahmed Tinubu resumed office on 29 May, 2023. He was sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Kayode Ariwoola, having won the February 25 presidential election. With the oath of office administered to him, he has become the legally elected president and will spend the next four years in office as specified by the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Though, since his emergence as the flag bearer of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, President Tinubu had encountered many challenges coming from fifth columnist or his adversaries who were hell-bent to stop him from actualising his life ambition. At last, he escaped the booby trap placed on his way and emerged the president of the most populous black African country.
The 2023 elections, like any other election, were charasterised by prophesy of doom. There are the threat emanating from ravaging insecurity bedeviling the country and the report of a plot to foist an interim national government by the Villa cabal as reported by the Department of State Security, DSS, and other government officials. Now, elections are over and it is time for governance.
President Tinubu’s inaugural speech is inspiring and has set the tone for a better Nigeria. However, speeches do not make good governance. We have history of many elected presidents with beautiful speeches but who failed to match their words with actions after they settled in offices.
As soon as Tinubu became the president-elect, many experts drawn from various fields of human endeavour set agenda for him. It is unarguable to say the Tinubu administration will inherit baggage of challenges from his predecessor Muhammadu Buhari.
While experts drawn from various sectors have advised the new government on how to sail through the mountains of difficulties awaiting it, the onus lies on how the president shops for and composes his cabinet.
For instance, it took the immediate past President Buhari six months to form his cabinet. Despite this lengthy time, Buhari’s ministers fell short of the people’s expectations. Will President Tinubu toe this trajectory and discouraging line?
Before his inauguration on May 29, President Tinubu promised to form his cabinet on the basis of merit and national competence. This is a good decision. For the country to make headway, it has to stop appointment based on nepotism. Competent people should be appointed to manage sensible ministries, agencies and parastatals for quick and accelerate development.
But appointment should also be made to reflect the federal character. No region or state has the monopoly of competency. We have competent people across the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. Mr President should strive to promote unity in his cabinet.
The country has already been polarised along ethnic and religion fault lines. His victory alongside a fellow Muslim Vice-president Kashim Shettima has continued to generate mixed reactions in the country. Therefore, he should see himself as a unifier rather than do the opposite.
For optimum performance, ministers should be given performance evaluation forms. Those who deliver should be celebrated and awarded. Ministers who perform abysmally should be sanctioned and new ones re-appointed.
President Tinubu’s inaugural speech which emphasised the removal of petroleum subsidy has sparked panic in the country. It is reported that queues have returned to filling stations across the country. There is imminent fear of hoarding by petroleum marketers.
Nobody can dispute the fact that petrol subsidy is a thorn in the flesh of any government. The subsidy has gulped trillions of naira since its introduction. The Buhari administration had mulled its removal but passed it to the Tinubu government.
The subsidy is planned to end on June. Government has not made provision for it. The World Bank, which is averse to it, has granted the loan of $800,000 to Nigeria government to pay palliatives to Nigerians. With the Dangote Refinery, which was commissioned recently and expected to begin operation by July, the new government should not be in rush to withdraw subsidy.
Let the refinery flood the country with adequate fuel to avoid scarcity of the commodity. President Tinubu should privitise or fix our four moribund refineries. Although, NNPC has become a limited liability company, we are yet to see its profit like Saudi (Aranco) which posted billions of dollars as profit every year. It is high time these refineries which gulped billions of naira for their turn around maintenance annually are disposed.
Nigerians are expecting the new government to tackle the intractable insecurity which disturbing the country’s peace and stability. Bandiry, IPOB’s violent activities and kidnap for ransom have become a threat to the country’s survival. President Tinubu should adopt carrot and stick approach in resolving the security logjam.
Governments should sit with those who have genuine grievance, persuade them to lay down their arms. Criminals whose motives are to kill and rob ordinary Nigerians should be made to face the music or be eliminated. The Tinubu government should overhaul our security architecture.
It needs to recruit more security personnel and deploy technology gadgets for effective policing. Our university education has defied lasting solution. Nigerians pray that the new government will bring lecturers and students to classes. Incessant strikes have paralysed the education sector and forced many students to engage in crimes. Let the government address the problems of universities once and for all.
Mustapha writes from Pambegua, Kaduna state via 08169056963.