The humongous challenges before Nigeria’s president-elect Tinubu


Bola Ahmed Tinubu

By Richard Elesho

The razzmatazz of the 2023 general elections may have come and gone. The hate language of the campaigns has thawed. The melodies, dancing steps and glamorous attires have halted. No more verbosities. No more gaffes and legendary slip of tongues or brains, as it were. In their place, dramatis personae are fast adapting to the reality of its significance and new roles.

The geography, elements and cast of politics are being redelineated. A new powerbase is emerging even as the wailers have resumed their game in earnest delirium. Those who lost out at the polls, are arranging loads of petitions on their way to the election tribunals, in hope that the almighty Nigerian judiciary will reverse their misfortunes.

After months of divisive and rancorous campaigns, 18 political parties and candidates participated in the Presidential election of last Saturday, 25 February. The inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to fulfil on real time electronic transmission of results cast a shadow on the polls, but a winner emerged.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of the All Progressives Congress, APC polled the highest figure of 8.7 million ballots to clinch victory. Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP scored 6.9million and Peter Obi of Labour Party LP, recorded 6.1 million to come a distant second and third respectively. Rabiu Musa Kwakwanso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP came fourth with about 1.4 million votes.

For Tinubu, it has taken the better part of a lifetime to realise his presidential ambition. In the early days of the contest, the former Lagos Governor and Pro-democracy activist, told Nigerians that becoming President has always been his ambition in life. He left no one in doubts as he worked round the clock, built people and navigated his way to breast the threshold.

The elections are over. Come May 29, Tinubu should take the baton of leadership from Muhammadu Buhari, as the 16th President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. All eyes are on the President-elect to work the talk of his campaigns. Nigerians are eager to experience the renewed hope as envisioned in his 80-page campaign document. Indeed, it is time for Tinubu to roll up the sleeves, throw off the Agbada and get to work.

Luckily, he has promised to hit the ground running. In his acceptance speech he said he understands the challenges ahead of the nation. He pledged “to listen and to do the difficult things, the big deeds, that put us on the path of irreversible progress. Hold us firmly to account, but please give us a chance first.”

Tinubu has unequalled ability to identify and put together a winning team. That was his record in Lagos where he was Governor. That was the record he maintained when he constituted the campaign council that propelled him to victory. The nation awaits the team which will drive his dream of a great Nigeria.

The following are some urgent tasks confronting the President-elect, now and in the early days of his administration.


The animosity which characterised the campaigns pushed the nation to the edge. There were occasional break down of law and order at rallies. The people were variously divided along religious, ethnic and partisan lines.

With the polls concluded, the most urgent job for the President-elect is how to calm frayed nerves to pull the country back from the brink. He alluded to this when he extended an Olive branch to his fellow candidates shortly after release of the polls outcome.

“To my fellow candidates, former VP Atiku, former governor Kwankwaso, former governor Obi and all others, I extend the hand of friendship. This was a competitive, high-spirited campaign. You have my utmost respect.

“Political competition must now give way to political conciliation and inclusive governance. During the election, you may have been my opponent but you were never my enemy. In my heart, you are my brothers.”

Tinubu urged his supporters to let peace reign and tensions fade. “Yes, there are divisions amongst us that should not exist. Many people are uncertain, angry and hurt; I reach out to every one of you. Let the better aspects of our humanity step forward at this fateful moment. Let us begin to heal and bring calm to our nation.”

It was more than lip service. The President-elect juddered to action on his benign rhetorics. Shortly after receiving his Certificate of Return from INEC, he set up a Committee to reconcile him with his fellow candidates. A member and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu made this public.

The pursuit of peace may however be far from a champagne party. Both Atiku and Obi are separately laying claim to the throne. They accused Tinubu and his party of stealing the people’s mandate. Each of them has vowed to reclaim the said instrument in the court, where they are headed.

In fact, reports indicated that an attempt by an emissary of Tinubu was rebuffed by Atiku. Some APC chieftains, namely, Governors – Abdullahi Ganduje, of Kano, Atiku Bagudu, of Kebbi, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa and the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu were said to have unsuccessfully attempted seeing the former Vice President to seek rapprochement.

How well the President-elect is able to tame and reconcile with the opposition may go a long way in affecting his focus on delivering the mandate.


Tinubu is inheriting a fractured country of despaired citizens. The biggest problem in the most populous African country is insecurity. A two decade old Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, blending into amorphous banditry in other parts of the north and organized criminal groups in the south are signs that the largest concentration of black people is on life support.

The Centre for Democracy and Development in a report says, not less than some 30,000 strong, gunmen split into 80 groups are operating as bandits, dispensing fear, tears and death to an already traumatized population.

Gunmen regularly kill, maim and abduct people on the highways and sometimes from their houses or offices. Students, the clergy and personnel of the security agencies are prime targets in many parts of the country.

The new government will need to introduce out of the box measures to defeat insecurity and restore the dignity of man.

“The number one focus of any government should be security of lives and property. Safety has taken flight. We can no longer sleep we our two eyes or travel freely without fear of gunmen. The new government must work hard to restore peace and security. Things were not like that before now.” Pa. Makanjuola, a Pensioner volunteered.

Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP insurgents are most active in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Bandits torment the people in Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Niger and Benue States.

At a time, criminality was given an ethnic profile. Regular clashes between herders and farmers and the alarming culpability of foreign Fulani herdsmen in security violations entrenched the theory. But for timely intervention by patriots and government, the situation nearly degenerated to ethnic cleansing in the southwest.

Aside the regular decimation of lives by criminal groups, the union is threatened by secessionist agitations in the south. The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and other incendiary groups have been making life miserable for the common man in the southeast.

Now that the elections are over, the President-elect and his team must put on their thinking caps on how to secure lives and properties. Nigerians crave the return to a time when they could travel the length and breadth of the country and go to the farms without fear of gunmen attack. They look forward to when they could sleep with their two eyes, closed.


Nigerians are hungry and crying for help. Agriculture or food production is the first casualty of the general insecurity. There is a no love lost relationship between herders and farmers leading to regular violent clashes between them. Farmers can no longer visit their farms for the fear of Ak-47 carrying Fulani herdsmen.

Prices of food and other items have gone up exponentially, making life very difficult for people. The trend must be reversed by the next government.

Depressed economy

The Nigerian economy is in shambles and needs emergency rescue. All the indices have been blinking red and worrisome for a long time. Things became worse under Buhari’s watch. Inflation trend is high, the Naira loses value almost daily. At the last check it exchanged for N630 to a Dollar, up from about N180 in 2015, when Buhari came on board. A recent controversial currency swap policy further inflicted hardship on the people

It is worse than that. The government is deeply indebted to several lending platforms. In fact, its income is far less than what is required to service its huge debt portfolios.

According to details of the 2022 fiscal performance report for January through April, Nigeria’s total revenue stood at N1.63 trillion while debt servicing stood at N1.94 trillion, showing a variance of over N300 billion.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, recently warned that urgent action is needed to address the nation’s revenue challenge and expenditure efficiency at both the national and sub-national levels.

Obviously, the incoming regime will need to take the bull by the horn on the economy. Good enough, both Tinubu and his second in command Kashim Shettima possess the experience and requisite learning to turn the situation around.

In fact this is the first time the country will elect people with core competencies in social sciences to the Presidency. While Tinubu studied accounting in Chicago State University, Shettima studied Agric Economics in the University of Maiduguri. Both have completed two terms as Governors of Lagos and Borno respectively.
Expectations are therefore high that the men will adopt the right policies to put the economy on solid footing.

Fuel, solid minerals development

There are four major refineries in the country, all of which have not been working for ages. Experts believe that this may be the chief reason prices of petroleum products are skyrocketing and products remain scarce. A private refinery owned by Billionaire Aliko Dangote is set to bridge the gap.

An energy expert, Musa Ohiare advised the President-elect “to do all that it may take to fix the refineries, eliminate a dubious subsidy regime on petroleum products and guarantee regular supply of products.”

To diversify the economy, Ohiare charged Tinubu to pay attention gas and solid minerals. “Our country is blessed with vast mineral deposits. We have more than 32 of them, which are either not being explored at all, or under-developed. The same goes for gas. We have more gas than oil. Why can’t we convert these to wealth?”

The iron and steal industry deserves special mention. The moribund steel complexes in Aladja, Delta State and Ajaokuta, Kogi State need to be brought back to life as a matter of urgency. This will partly create thousands of jobs and take idle hands away from the streets.

Infrastructure development and brain drain

Decayed infrastructure stare the country in the face. To seek greener pastures and escape from the rot in the system, not a few Nigerian professionals, especially in health sector have fled abroad. The result is poor health services.

John Orikotun, a health worker based in Kogi State advocated for policies that will prioritise infrastructure development and prevent brain drain. “With the right policies, professionals who have run abroad will be encouraged to return so as to join in development of the nation,” he stated.

The incoming team needs to direct its energy at developing critical infrastructure in power generation, transportation, housing and health.

War against corruption

Analysts recommend that to move the nation forward and restore its dignity, the new government must not treat corruption with kid gloves. Corruption must be fought from all front. There should be severe punishment for culprits. To effectively wage war against corruption, it is expected that the new government sets up special courts on this.

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