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First term blunders Buhari must correct

by Tosin Ajayi

PENDING the final outcome of the proposed challenge of the Presidential Election at the Election Petition Tribunal, we join millions of law-abiding and well-meaning Nigerians to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari, whom the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, pronounced as the winner of the February 23, 2019 poll. According to the INEC Chairman who was the Returning Officer for the Presidential Election, the All Progressives Congress, APC’s Buhari scored 15.2 million votes compared to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 11.3 million votes. Particularly heart-warming was that Nigerians and supporters of the opposition accepted the result despite its many observed faults and kept the peace just as in 2015. We hope that a similar atmosphere will prevail after the forth-coming Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections this weekend. We call on the President and the APC to realise that this victory places a great burden on them to quickly settle down and correct the many blunders that made their first term in office fall seriously short of expectations. The APC spent almost its first term in office celebrating its victory in 2015 and demonising the PDP, the party it defeated. Buhari also took almost six months to form his cabinet and did not unfold its economic agenda until April 2017. Once the President is sworn-in for a second term on May 29, 2019 he should be ready for serious business. His cabinet should be ready for submission to the Senate, and a fine-tuned agenda to improve on the performances of the past four years should be immediately activated. He should emulate former President Olusegun Obasanjo and bring in experienced hands from across the divides to tackle the economy, security and the anti-graft war. Buhari’s first term was seriously bedevilled by lop-sidedness in appointments where some sections of the country were broadly favoured to the detriment of others. The constitutional Federal Character principle was largely ignored, and this caused a lot of disaffection in the system. This should be corrected. Buhari should make good his pledge to run an all-inclusive government this time around. This is crucial to the restoration of the bruised sense of nationalism and belonging, which will also foster peace and national unity for rapid development. The time for frivolity and unhelpful pandering to narrow sentiments is over. At 76, Buhari is presented with the last chance to establish himself as a true father of all Nigerians and leave the stage in 2023 with ovation across the divides. The choice is his to make. On behalf of millions of expectant Nigerians we urge President Buhari to choose Nigeria first above any other thing. We wish him success.

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