With the 2023 general elections over and the intrigues that surrounded the electioneering rested, the incoming Federal Government, when inaugurated on May 29, 2023, shall, in the enlightened national interest, be faced with the task of delivering Nigeria and Nigerians from the snare of dangerous political and socio-economic delusions.

More specifically, the outcome of the Saturday, February 25 Presidential election organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made you, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President-Elect. But even as you celebrate, it is equally an open secret that in the present circumstance, you are both lucky and unlucky.

Lucky because Nigerians via the election subjected your political ambition to serious scrutiny and, going by the result as declared by INEC, the electoral umpire, majority judged your motives as unsoiled by private ambitions but largely fired by a burning desire to pursue public good. This particular fact in my view explains your victory.

However, like every success that brings new problems, you are unlucky for the reason that the result has thrust yet another responsibility on you, an extremely important destiny – to complete a process of political and socioeconomic rejuvenation of the nation which we have spent far too long a time to do. In the present day Nigeria, more work needs to be done and more reforms to be made.

It is equally a common knowledge that the election was shaped by fiscal, sociological, political and communal factors in the country; coupled with the pockets of ethno-religious upheavals and misgivings from one region against another or powerful personalities against each other; it fractured our nation’s geography into polarised ethnosyncrasies and idiosyncrasies, all of which had led to agitations of different sorts and capacities that are not overtly expressed but covertly potent. These have disjointed the amalgams of the country and made the nation that was once called The Giant of Africa now viewed by the majority of the global community with derision, discontent and disrespect.

Despite this great disappointment and frustration, this piece believed and still believes that the nation Nigeria can surmount its present challenge as well as make appreciable advancement under your leadership, when inaugurated, if you religiously and vigorously as promised adhere to the content of your manifesto/renewed hope mantra shared with Nigerians during electioneering.

Adding context to the discourse, it is sometimes convenient for humans to forget and uncomfortable to remember, of which you are not an exception. It is equally a time-honoured belief that to forget is perhaps one of the greatest gifts of nature. But under the present circumstance and political temperature in the country, I hold the opinion that your incoming administration must design and catalyze a thought process that considers virtue of remembrance as an invaluable asset.

Among the basket of promises made to Nigerians, there is an urgent need to remember that you promised to improve security by decentralizing the policing of the country and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs simultaneously. You promised to transform Nigeria into an enviable country and one where there will be justice, peace and prosperity for all, with a “robust economy”.

You accepted to a achieve in the country “a vibrant and thriving democracy and a prosperous nation with a fast-growing industrial base, capable of producing the most basic needs of the people and exporting to other countries of the world – a country with a robust economy, where prosperity is broadly shared by all irrespective of class, region, and religion. You promised “a nation where its people enjoy all the basic needs, including a safe and secure environment, abundant food, affordable shelter, health care, and quality primary education for all”; “a nation founded on justice, peace, and prosperity for all”.

On economy, you agreed to build an economy where the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow quicker annually for the next four years while also providing jobs for millions of youths in the country. You promised Nigerians that your administration will build a new National Industrial Policy focused on special intervention to reinvigorate specific strategic industries. “I will focus on stimulating jobs, which will be my top priority as President. I will get Nigeria to work by launching a major public works programme, a significant and heavy investment in infrastructure, and value-adding manufacturing and agriculture,” you said.

You also said that your administration will build an efficient, fast-growing, and well-diversified emerging economy with a real GDP growth averaging 12 percent annually for the next four years, translating into millions of new jobs during this period. In a related development, you promised to create six new regional economic development agencies, which will establish sub-regional industrial hubs to exploit each zone’s competitive advantage and optimize their potential for industrial growth.

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You pledged to formulate a new National Policy on Agriculture to boost food production while promoting the establishment of new commodity exchange boards and strengthening the one in Lagos in order to guarantee minimum pricing for agricultural products such as cotton, cocoa, rice, soya beans, corn, palm kernel, and groundnuts.

On infrastructure, you promised to “Build A New Nigeria (BANN)” by developing a National Infrastructure plan, which will cover strategic roads, bridges, rail, water, power, seaports and airports spanning the length and breadth of the country, noting that your administration would combine government funding, borrowing, public private partnership, private sector financing and concession to initiate a medium and long-term financial model for the BANN initiative.

You stated that your administration would target an electricity distribution goal of 15,000 megawatts across the country and ensure a sustainable 24/7 supply. “I will embark on a renewed action-oriented focus and take immediate and urgent action on resolving existing challenges of power generation plants, gas purchasing, pricing, transmission, and distribution. My administration’s critical goal is to have 15,000 megawatts distributable to all categories of consumers nationwide to ensure 24/7 sustainable supply within the next four years,” you said.

In the oil and gas sector, you said there would be no need for a subsidy, because the market will be open and transparent; that supply will come from local refineries, and the forces of demand and supply will determine the price of petroleum products. “My administration will establish a National Strategic Reserve for Petroleum Products to stabilize supply during unexpected shortages or surplus periods. This will eliminate any form of product shortages and prevent wild swings in prices,” you promised.

You promised to continue the free school feeding programme of the APC, feeding millions of primary school children across the country, and to increase the spending on education to 25 per cent of the nation’s budget.

Talking about tertiary education, you said that your administration would eradicate strikes by tertiary institution workers by encouraging the tertiary institutions to source for funds through grants and corporate sponsorships, with all the institutions granted financial autonomy.

Just like education, you also assured to increase the funding for health care in the annual budget to 10 per cent. According to you, the National Health Insurance Scheme would be re-launched to grant health insurance cover to most Nigerians.

For me, building a united and prosperous Nigeria will among other things demand your recognition that “the first responsibility of a leader is to find the right people”. This is key to the success of your administration. Aside from bringing the right people, the first opinion that is formed of a leader’s intelligence, according to Niccolo Machiavelli, is based on the quality of men he has around him. When they are competent and loyal he can always be considered wise, because he has been able to recognize their competence and to keep them loyal. But when they are otherwise, the ruler is always open to adverse criticism because his first mistake has been in the choice of his ministers.

More importantly, there is a need to base all appointments on the provisions of Paragraph 8(1)(b)of Part 1 of the third schedule of the 1999 constitution, which, among other provisions, clearly stipulate that the Federal Character Commission must ensure the equitable distribution of all appointments and positions at the federal levels among the federating units.

Finally, if your administration is able to accomplish the promises made to Nigerians, it will be your most powerful accomplishment for earning new respect and emulation. And if you fail, it will equally go into the annals of history.

*Utomi is the Program Coordinator (Media and Politics), Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice (SEJA), Lagos.