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Setting agenda for the incoming president

By Babatunde Ayedoju

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The just concluded 2023 presidential election will go down in history as one of the most outstanding elections in the political history of Nigeria. Unlike in the past when elections tended to be a contest between two major candidates, this one involved what some people described as a third force.

People approached the election from various perspectives such as age, ethnicity and religion. Tensions were high, with some individuals predicting that the election might not hold. There were so much talks about the past of candidates and their records, with each candidate trying to market himself to the electorate.

Against all odds, the election took place on Saturday, February 25. At the end, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) polled 8,805,655, 6,984,520 and 6,098,798 votes respectively.

With this, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, popularly known as BAT as winner of the presidential polls, making him the president-elect.

Setting an agenda for the president-elect, Professor Simon Ehiabhi from the Department of History and International Relations, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko recommended that the new president should address core issues that are making the people angry, which are education, security and roads.

He  explained that if the president-elect could give  attention to infrastructure such as education, security and roads, among  others, it would give the economy a great boost and improve on the living standard of the populace.

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While lamenting that Nigerian political parties do not have ideologies Ehiabhi stressed that the new government may not be able to wield a magic wand immediately because of the poor and directionless nature of Nigeria’s leadership, stating that Nigerians would need to be patient with the new government.

Similarly,  Dr Adedayo Afe who is also from the Department of History and International Relations, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko described BAT as an experienced politician from whom no excuse would be tolerated.

He pointed out, “In 1993, he was in the Senate; he participated in the struggle for the restoration of democracy; he has been a governor two times and has also been a party leader. He is aware of the prevalent situation. He said it in his acceptance speech that he is aware of the problem of the youths.

Focus on Economy

Afe advised that Asiwaju Tinubu should focus on the economy and security because if there is security, every other thing will fall into place.

Meanwhile, the  don stressed the need to give the president-elect an enabling environment to thrive, saying that “The problems of the country are enormous. Therefore, he needs to hit the ground running immediately. Within a week after swearing-in, I expect that he should assemble his team, unlike what happened in the past which dragged us backwards. He should also work with youths, beyond party affiliation, alongside elders in his administration.”

Afe, however, expressed  hope for the situation of the country to start changing for better, as soon as the incoming president takes over, “because he has up to three months before his inauguration to prepare.”

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According to Dr Kunle Akinola from the Department of Political Science, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, the president-elect should walk his talk by renewing the hope o to the hopeless Nigerians in the country,  in line with his mantra of Renewed Hope. The seasoned political science scholar noted that Nigerians expect the two-time Lagos State governor to take the economy seriously, and see how the economy can be revived, how we can have domestic production and a stable exchange rate system, rather than what we have currently.

Tackle Insecurity

He added that the president-elect must tackle insecurity by looking at how we can manage our forests which terrorists have used as hideouts, saying, “Rather than buying weapons like previous administrations have done, the incoming government should invest more in managing the unused parts of the forests. If we can manage our forests and our borders, definitely crime rate will drop.

“Rather than buying weapons to kill your citizens, why not clear those forests and explore the spaces for our economic advantage?”

Address multiple exchange rate system

Akinola stated that the incoming president must address the multiple exchange rate system that we have.

His words: “Currently, the CBN tries to regulate naira-to-dollar exchange rate, but the black market sells at almost times two of the official rate. At the end, people are not able to access dollars from the bank. If possible, he should scrap bureaus de change.

“The government should regulate the amount of dollars each citizen can have at hand at every point in time. That is what they do in some other countries. As a Nigerian citizen, what do you need dollar for? We should not allow people to destroy our currency by organising business around money,” he added.

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Provide employment

Akinola pointed out that  unemployment and underemployment are other issues that should also be addressed. He went further to say that if the incoming government removes fuel subsidy, there should be palliatives to cushion the effect on citizens, because such a move would definitely lead to an increase in the prices of essential goods.

Talking about how soon Nigerians could begin to expect any transformation under the new administration, Akinola said that the incoming president needed to be given enough time but that certain things could be addressed immediately, such as declaring a state of emergency on insecurity.

He added, “Within the first six months, he should outline his plans. I think within the first one year there should be some changes in economy, then infrastructure from the second year onwards.”

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