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Renewed hope agenda of Mr. President

By Afolabi Aribigbola

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Towards the recent electioneering exercise in Nigeria, the Presidential candidate of the ruling APC hinged his campaign agenda on what was christened renewed hope agenda 2023. This has given rise to concern on why the needs to renew the hope of Nigerians. Is anything amiss that needs to be corrected in the country especially with the then government programme and structure?. Nonetheless, the immediate past President of Nigeria, President Muhammad Buhari, on his ascension to the exalted office of President of Nigeria in 2015 gave many Nigerians including this writer very high hope, that  the  country will become better, better governed and that all the negative narratives associated with her will be reversed and become history.

It also implies that a greater attention and action will be mounted to surmounting the hydra headed problems confronting the nation. I can recollect that I did succinctly submit at the Ondo State Television programme during the inauguration of the 15th President of the country that the new President will make a difference in administering the country. I did emphasize then that taking a cue from the Spartan life of discipline, honesty of  Buhari, that the  country was on the  right path and good hands to enjoy the benefits of good governance that have eluded her for a long time. And that there will be radical departure from the lackluster,weak government from which his administration was taking over from.

In the course of his inaugural address, he promised and covenanted with Nigerians to resolve the humongous problems of insecurity in a matter of days, address the economic quagmire of the time as well as stop corruption that is not only destroying the country but has given the country a bad name universally. Corruption has become endemic to the extent that almost all Nigerians and sectors of its space economy have been afflicted by the destructive cankerworm.

Consequently, Nigerians saw in the new President a hope and genuine preparedness to combat the huge corruption challenge confronting the country. Of course, we are all witnesses to what happened thereafter, where the problems of the country such as insecurity, economic doldrums that manifest in the crash of the naira and highest level of inflation during his period. The issue of corruption did not abate while the country became more polarized than ever before. Indeed, the fact that the new administration is coming with an agenda of a renewed hope is a tacit acknowledgment that our past hope on the past administration was misplaced and that the government did  not meet the aspirations of Nigerians as anticipated and promised.

Of course, this is not to suggest that the outgone administration did not try its best or achieve some successes in the last eight years. It  actually made impacts in some areas, but in the final analysis, the reality is that it  failed woefully to meet the expectations of Nigerians as promised and therefore the new administration came up with the renewed hope agenda as a means to raise the hope of the people again to be able to enjoy their confidence and ultimate support.  The truth was that the high hope of Nigerians were dashed by the spate of negative occurrences and poor recurring results in critical sectors such as education, health,  economy and security. The public universities for instance were closed for over eight months, the first in the history of tertiary education in the country and the President was comfortable as the issues that were widely recognized to cause the crisis were unresolved. Yet the former President did not bother or show any empathy. Perhaps, partly because none of his children attended Nigerian universities and his historical penchant hatred for education and health of the people.

 Perhaps, the seeming failure of the past administration motivated the new President to christen his agenda on a renewed hope. The use of the term renewed  hope acknowledged the inability of the expired administration to meet the promises or contract made with the citizenry. Thus to renew the hope of the people presupposes that the present administration seeks to reestablish a new contract or promises to better the lots of Nigerians where past administrations have failed or unable to make desirable impacts. It is also a commitment to ensure the welfare and prosperity of the citizenry as acknowledged in the renewed agenda to ‘stand on good foundation to ensure prosperity and safety of the people. To achieve this,  the administration seeks to work assiduously to improve and transform some of  the most important sectors germane to societal development such as the national security, economy, agriculture, power, oil and gas, transportation, education,  health care, women empowerment and social programmes among others.

These are without doubt crucial areas that seemed to have been handled with levity over the years. Our expectation is that the current administration of President  Bola Ahmed must work sincerely to renew genuine hope of the people indeed. The government must go beyond what has been termed ‘window dressing performance’ in the media to meeting real social, economic and physical needs of the people. A daunting and herculean task because of the precarious situation of infrastructure and facilities in the country. The new leaders must eschew nepotism and embrace merit driven appointments. This is because the past administration has been accused of this cankerworm that was the bane of his administration. Incompetent individuals were allowed to hold office because of primordial sentiments of ethnicity, religion and long time  friendship. President Bola Tinubu would do better to avoid this pitfalls of the outgone government that focused more on meeting the needs of elite.

To enjoy and garner  the support of the people and ensure success of the new administration, the new President must address the current impasse with ASUU. He must go beyond the promise made during his acceptance speech that there won’t be strike again in our universities. Some of the problems of the past administration was made manifest or clear by the former Minister that opined that he knew nothing about education until Buhari appointed him Minister of Education and that his suggestion to be relieved was ignored by the former President. The implications of this was that incompetent and unsuitable individuals that cannot discharge the responsibilities of their offices  were retained at the expense of several more capable individuals that abound in the country. No wonder the past administration recorded dismal performance in many areas.

The new President should avoid the pitfalls of past administration by not venturing into issues and activities that have serious effects on the welfare and prosperity of the people without adequate preparation to mitigate its consequences. The fuel subsidy removal for instance may be a ploy for instance  to destabilize the new administration. This is because the past administration was in power for upward of eight years but failed to remove the subsidy but programmed its removal on its exit and coming of a new President. In short, the government should not be in a haste to take decision that may discredit his administration. Already his statement that petrol fuel subsidy is gone has triggered crisis in the economy. He therefore needs to settle down,  peruse the books before coming out with policy decisions. He must be guided by the spirit and content of the renewed hope agenda enunciated by him. At the end of his tenure, this is what shall be used to measure his performance. He cannot afford to disappoint the nation because expectations are high .

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Renewed hope agenda of Mr. President

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