Presidential election: The morning after | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Agenda, Opinion

Presidential election: The morning after

Posted: Apr 3, 2015 at 12:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Okafor C. Udoka, a Public Affairs commentator, salutes Nigerians and the President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari, on a peaceful and credible presidential election and sets agenda for him… 

Indeed, political historians and scientists would have enormous intellectual and academic task studying the just concluded presidential election together with the issues that shaped it and lessons learnt for a long time. However, what is evidently clear to us is that the election has come and we have a President-elect who would watch over Nigeria for the next four years if the court of law validates the outcome of the just concluded presidential election.

At this juncture, it is most apposite that I salute Nigerians who trooped out en mass to vote and maintain orderly conduct during last Saturday and Sunday elections. Indeed the 2015 presidential election would definitely pass as the most competitive, rancorous and hate filled election ever held in Nigeria. But through unrivalled patriotism and commitment to Nigeria, we were able to pull it off without any iota of stain of disintegration on the flag of the Nigeria state.

Similarly, INEC, security agencies, military and para-military organisations which worked round the clock to ensure a successful election deserve our deepest commendation but there is still room for improvement. So, it is hoped that the lessons learned in this election would serve as a guide in improving future elections in Nigeria, most especially by INEC.

Again the role of the Federal government in all these, create room for maximum speculation given that it was argued in some quarters that the government engineered the postponement of the elections so that it would gain some political mileage needed to win the presidential election. But the fact is that the government must have demonstrated considerable faith and goodwill in the entire electoral process which will lead to the emergence of a President-elect in the person of Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari today.

Fortunately, even with all the tensions, the presidential election is over and we can fairly trust that governorship and state legislators elections, coming up in April, will also be peaceful and credible. Thus,  this is the time for the making of great statesmen and president. And the buck stops on the table of President Goodluck Ebelemi Jonathan and the President-elect to show the way through committed leadership and patriotism. Most especially, the President-elect should be prepared to be Nigeria’s President and Commander-in-Chief from May 29, 2015 without any ado. So, President-elect Buhari can be the great President Nigeria has been yearning for through some of the means highlighted below.

One, the President-elect needs to show committed leadership and strong will to lead Nigeria into tomorrow. For him to do this, he must realise that there is a great difference between politicking and governance. The presidential election is over and this is the time for governance. And for him to succeed in office, he must reach out to his political opponents even in victory and give them the latitude to contribute their quota in the task of nation building.

Two, Nigeria has passed through grave times and the fabric of national cohesion severely overstretched lately largely due to bitter presidential electioneering campaigns. Economic hard times are threatening our tomorrow and we have become refuges in our own country in peace time as a result of Boko Haram terrorist movement in the North East.

Thankfully, through the gallantry of our soldiers, security and intelligence agencies and commitment of the federal government, Nigerians and our neighbouring countries, we have succeeded in pushing the terrorists out of our shores but these times call for eternal vigilance and strengthening of our security and intelligence networks so that never again shall we shave an inch of our territory for the nurturing and festering of international terrorism.

Three, the fall in prices of crude oil and depreciation of the Naira came as a rude shock to Nigeria. But the shock was largely avoidable if we had a sound Economic Management Team (EMT) in place. Now the greater challenge is for the President-elect to invite capable hands on board to sail the ship of our economy with special emphasis on diversification of the economy, encouragement of SMEs, unemployment, poverty, hunger, population surge, inequality, etc so that our economy would pick up the drive mandatory to propel it in the path of growth and development.

However, the EMT of the incoming administration must not necessarily be peopled by World Bank and IMF experts as experience has thought us that all countries which have broken the shackles of under-development did so using locally fashioned economic models which are pro-people and sustainable in the long term.

Four, for the economy to work in a diversified mode, it must be crested on solid physical and human infrastructure. So, over the next four years, the federal government must strategically and strongly invest in education, roads, railway, power, etc. In addition, there is no better time to implement the Oronsanya Committee report on right-sizing of MDAs than now so that there would be improved fund to tackle the infrastructural challenges of Nigeria.

Five, the President-elect needs to re-energize the fight against corruption given that it is the numero uno of Nigeria. In so doing,  there should be no sacred cows or untouchables even as enough commitment is put in place to guide against leakages in government coffers so that there would be enough finance for capital investment. But the watchword should be building of strong institutions of government to guide against corruption and leakages in government circle.

Six, globalisation has made research and technology irrevocably part and parcel of national development and advancement. And we cannot afford to be left in the lurch where we shall continue to be a net importer of technology and food. If Biafran forces could use local technology to sustain a country during the time of war of man and guns, Nigeria should be in the space in peace time and produce almost all it needs. And we can achieve this great feat through science, research and technology. Hence, the next four years should also be spent investing in science and research so we can jump-start our technological and industrial development.

Similarly, we have operated a national structure which grossly limits our potentials. We must spend the next four years exploring ways and means of enthroning a just and equitable structure so that individual and group actualisation would find their feet here as it does elsewhere. Luckily, the report of the recently concluded Confab gives us a head start. We should now be manful in the execution of the report and be ready to use debate and discussion to iron out all grey areas of the report and subsequent constitutional amendment which will follow it.

In all these, it is not debatable that we have the solemn duty to remain patriotic, hard working and committed to Project Nigeria knowing full well that the task of laying the foundation for a strong, progressive and prosperous Nigeria lies with our generation and we cannot afford to fail.

Let’s join hands with the President-elect to build a Nigeria we shall be proud to bequeath to posterity.

Finally, permit me to use this medium to extend my congratulations to President Jonathan for holding this country together over the last 5 years. It was a great feat to place a call to Buhari. And to the President-elect, the mandate Nigerians gave you last Saturday is the power to do good; to heal national wounds and lay the foundation for a prosperous Nigeria. And we expect that you would be magnanimous in victory and lead us to socio-economic and political shangrila where peace, security, equity and justice will be the four pillars of national cohesion and advancement.