Buhari May Emerge New Continental Leader – Expert | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari May Emerge New Continental Leader – Expert

Posted: May 28, 2015 at 4:53 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ejikeme Omenazu, Lagos

AHEAD of Friday May 29, 2015 inauguration of Nigeria’s incoming President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Director of the Royal African Society, Richard Dowden, says there is a possibility of his emerging as Africa’s new continental leader.

Writing in African Argument (africanarguments.org) of Thursday, May 28, 2015, a day before Buhari’s inauguration, Dowen said that the new Nigerian leader stood a good chance of offering leadership to the continent like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki.

He stated: “He must take the lead in the continent. When Thabo Mbeki ruled South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo was president of Nigeria, they were continent-wide leaders and could make stuff happen anywhere in Africa.

“Today, the continent has no continent-wide leaders. Buhari has the opportunity to step forward into at least a region and hopefully a continent-wide role.”

Proffering more agenda for Buhari, he said that he must first unite the country, as, according to him, “The North South divide has never been wider – not least because of the upsurge in militancy from Boko Haram.

“Nigeria has been steadily devolved in recent years, which is a good thing, but the centre must still hold so that no region is neglected and marginalised – a major cause of ethic and religious tensions.”

Dowden also said the new president must inspire Nigerians to be proud of their country and less cynical and selfish.

According to him, “I called the Nigeria chapter in my book, ‘Look Out World’, because if it got its act together it could change West Africa, Africa and the world.

“As the biggest economy in Africa it can transform the rest of West Africa through trade.”

He also urged Buhari to bring good investment and development to Nigeria, which he said is potentially one of the richest countries in the world.

Ashe put it, “Nigeria has it all, extensive underused fertile land, almost every mineral known to man under its soil, easy physical access to markets east and west.

“Above all it has a dynamic, energetic young population hungry for a future. That means investing hugely in education, health and job creation.”

He stressed that Buhari’s vision must be a big one to inspire Nigeria’s billion people, who he estimated would be about two billion in 2050. “A former general, a Muslim from the north, he has a reputation for simplicity of lifestyle and a straightforward management style. “National Confidence will help people invest and create jobs for a fair and prosperous future.

“He should be able to reinvigorate the army, demoralised by years of neglect, and working with Cameroon and Niger, destroy Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria.”

Dowden stressed: “The immediate priority is energy for the economy. This is essential if the country is not to be held to ransom by the crooks.

“He must build – or rebuild – the oil refineries, regulate the energy sector and bring in investment and good management.

“But, with the oil price hitting new lows, this is the perfect time to restructure the industry and look elsewhere for alternative energy sources for wealth creation.”