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Bola Tinubu’s Inauguration: Five Tests Await Nigeria’s New President

Bola Tinubu’s inauguration as Nigeria’s new president brings with it a set of daunting challenges for the “giant of Africa.” While the country boasts a massive population and vast economic potential, it is plagued by significant problems that demand immediate attention.

At 71 years old, Tinubu is no stranger to adversity. His successful tenure as a two-time governor of Lagos demonstrated his ability to revitalize Nigeria’s commercial hub, a feat that earned him respect and recognition. As he assumes the presidency, Nigerians, both his supporters and those who voted against him, eagerly await tangible progress under his leadership. Here are some of the key obstacles he must confront, along with potential approaches to tackling them.

Firstly, ending the long-standing fuel subsidy poses a critical challenge. The subsidy, introduced in the 1970s, has been repeatedly postponed by successive governments. Nigeria, despite being an oil-rich nation, lacks sufficient refining capacity to meet domestic demand. Consequently, it must import petroleum products, selling them at a government-determined price lower than the import cost. This disparity results in the government bearing the financial burden of the difference.

To address this issue, Tinubu could consider implementing comprehensive reforms in the energy sector. This may involve revitalizing existing refineries and exploring partnerships with international investors to establish new refineries. Simultaneously, efforts to diversify Nigeria’s energy sources, such as promoting renewable energy initiatives, could reduce reliance on imported petroleum products, gradually phasing out the need for subsidies.

Combatting corruption and improving governance Corruption remains a pervasive problem in Nigeria, impeding progress and eroding public trust. Tinubu will face immense pressure to address this issue head-on and demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability.

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One approach could involve strengthening anti-corruption institutions, ensuring their independence and providing them with adequate resources to effectively investigate and prosecute cases. Implementing robust financial and procurement reforms, along with strict enforcement of existing laws, can create a more accountable governance system. Public awareness campaigns and whistleblower protection mechanisms may also encourage citizens to report corruption without fear of reprisal.

Reviving the economy and job creation Nigeria’s economy has faced numerous challenges, including high unemployment rates and overreliance on oil revenue. Tinubu’s administration must prioritize economic diversification and foster an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and job creation.

Investing in critical sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and technology can stimulate economic growth and reduce dependence on oil. Implementing business-friendly policies, streamlining bureaucratic processes, and providing access to affordable credit and infrastructure can attract both domestic and foreign investments. Additionally, vocational training programs and initiatives to enhance educational quality can equip the Nigerian workforce with the skills needed for a rapidly evolving job market.

Addressing security concerns Nigeria grapples with various security challenges, including insurgency, communal conflicts, and rising criminal activities. Tinubu must prioritize national security and develop comprehensive strategies to safeguard citizens’ lives and property.

Strengthening the security apparatus through increased funding, training, and improved intelligence gathering can enhance operational efficiency. Collaborating with neighboring countries and regional organizations to combat cross-border threats, sharing intelligence, and coordinating joint operations can yield positive outcomes. Furthermore, addressing the root causes of conflicts, such as poverty, inequality, and social grievances, is crucial for sustainable peace and stability.

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Improving basic infrastructure and public services Decades of underinvestment have left Nigeria with dilapidated infrastructure and inadequate public services. Tinubu’s administration should prioritize upgrading critical infrastructure, including roads, power supply, healthcare facilities, and education institutions.

Investing in infrastructure projects can create jobs, improve transportation networks, and facilitate economic activities across the country. Public-private partnerships can be explored to attract private investments and ensure the efficient delivery of services. Additionally, allocating sufficient resources to improve healthcare

Bola Tinubu, Nigeria’s newly inaugurated president, faces a range of significant challenges as he takes office. One pressing issue is the need to end the fuel subsidy, which has been draining public finances for decades. Nigeria’s inability to meet domestic petroleum demands necessitates costly imports, with the government covering the price difference. However, removing the subsidy would lead to increased fuel prices and potential backlash, as demonstrated by protests in 2012. Tinubu remains firm in his stance to abolish the subsidy, and his experience in implementing a successful public transport scheme in Lagos may offer potential solutions, such as subsidizing and improving public transportation.

Another hurdle for Tinubu is the lack of widespread popular support, with only 37% of voters backing him in the election. The contentious election exposed ethnic and religious divisions, requiring Tinubu to navigate these fault lines in his choice of government appointments. Building bridges across these divides will be crucial, and early meetings with opposition politicians indicate his intent to form a diverse cabinet. Additionally, Tinubu’s focus on job creation and involvement of young people in governance may help win over those who did not vote for him.

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Economic revival is a pressing concern, with high unemployment rates, soaring inflation, and a significant number of Nigerians living below the poverty line. Tinubu’s background as a trained accountant positions him well to address these challenges. His success in leveraging technology to improve tax collection in Lagos may be instrumental in widening the tax net at a national level. However, replicating this success amidst high inflation, rising poverty, and insecurity poses significant challenges.

Addressing Nigeria’s security issues will be a priority for Tinubu. Kidnappings, armed criminal activities, and secessionist movements pose substantial threats across the country. Utilizing anti-terrorist battalions and freeing up police personnel from VIP security duties are proposed measures to combat these security challenges. However, Nigeria’s security landscape has evolved, and finding lasting solutions will require a comprehensive approach.

Tinubu’s personal health and potential controversies also loom as distractions. Concerns have been raised about his vitality and overseas travel, following his treatment for an undisclosed illness in London in 2021. Nigerian citizens, tired of presidents seeking medical treatment abroad, fear potential power struggles within the government. Furthermore, allegations of links to narcotics and corruption, as well as reports of his son’s expensive property holdings, could undermine Tinubu’s focus on his presidential responsibilities.

As Tinubu assumes the presidency, the expectations for immediate results and effective governance are high. Nigerians are eager to see progress in addressing these pressing challenges and revitalizing the nation.