|Nigeria's New Leader: |
Buhari – after complimenting the statesman-like transition behavior of outgoing president Jonathan – kicked into high gear with phrases FEEEDS sees as defining statements as to how he will govern: “I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody,” and the “past is prologue,” the intensity of these words were not lost on anyone:
-- Influence peddling and corruption will not be tolerated;
-- Post-election political animosity needs to be set aside so the country can move forward.
Buhari has been on a 12-year mission for change, which includes several presidential bids. So now the mission is a Government Administration with Nigeria in a different “league of democratic nations,” setting an example for Africa, and all evolving democracies. The Buhari Doctrine set forth focuses on the core goals of reducing poverty, improving political conditions and diversifying the economy:
1.) Strengthening security in the Northeast and relationships with neighbors in fighting Boko Haram. (Buhari thanked Chad, Niger, and Cameroon for being good allies);
2.) Improving plight of internally displaced by Boko Haram;
3.) Working on a range of sectoral reforms, particularly in the oil sector and on hot button subsidy issue;
The inaugural crowd called Buhari “Baba” (meaning Father-Leader) as they reveled in the 4-hour historic moment -- setting aside momentarily worries about one of the worse fuel shortages Nigeria has ever seen.
Sensing the need to manage mission with implementation, Baba Buhari added the watch words "patience and time" to his inaugural speech to manage expectations from his countrymen and the international community as he will need lots of both to fix, correct, and improve challenges outlined above.
It seems President Buhari’s had truly taken on the father figure of the nation as his message was part counsel, vision, and a preview of his leadership style. There is a Nigeria he envisions, one that functions better economically, politically; where Nigerians honor each other; which has a vibrant civil service; and where there is discipline. Yes, he was a military ruler; yes, he came to power in a coup (1983-1985); and yes he was removed by a coup. This does not diminish his inaugural message, his 12-year doggedness to become president, and his mission to be true to Nigerian voters. He wants a mature democracy that includes action against corruption, impunity; and a democratic philosophy for Nigeria’s future built on transparency. Nigeria has already turned a page, deepening its democracy with the 2015 election, and May 29, 2015 transition.
One interesting take-away of the inaugural activities was they reflected the diversity of Nigeria. They were inclusive: regionally, ethnically, religiously, and surprisingly, to some extent politically. In attendance, were a fair number of previous ruling party (PDP) stalwarts, Muslim and Christian leaders, activists, academics, media, and captains of industry. It was one of the most inclusive events Nigeria has had in a while – an important early achievement of Buhari’s victory. Yes, sour grapes do remain within PDP, but some (not all) dusted themselves off following post-election shock, and behaved as conciliatory as former president Jonathan.
It would be hard for any fair-minded person not to support the notion of every Nigerian having the opportunity not to live in poverty or fear, providing there is no intent on harm, human rights violations, or abuse. Democracies are not about one voice, but "inclusiveness" (all political and religious views, ethnic groups, women, youth, disabled, civil society), albeit fairly, constructively, transparently, and without malice.
-- World’s seventh largest populated country;
· Reduce poverty, as about 60 per cent of Nigerians live on naira 290 a day ($1.25), with same number facing food security;
· Address education Nigeria has world's largest number of children [10 million]not in school; children under 15 are 44 percent of population; 39 percent of Nigerian adults cannot read or write;
· Expand SMEs from its current 17 million;
Changing any of the above will improve the life of the average Nigerian. The peaceful transition is just the start and we need, as the international community, to do all we can to support President Buhari and Vice-President Osinbajo to implement their positive mission for the nation.