Africa’s biggest economy faces huge task

(REUTERS) – Getting fuel in one of the world’s oil-richest countries.

It’s a lengthy business.


“I spent yesterday here, today again. I have been here since yesterday so two days when you calculate…forty eight hours wasted like that in a fuel station.”

Cash – or lack of it – is behind a dire shortage.

Despite its massive crude output, poor refineries force Nigeria to depend on imports for its gasoline.

And with a currency that’s collapsed on a sharp drop in oil prices, local fuel traders can’t meet hefty import bills – the shortage expected to worsen.

Here too, local people are in crisis.

Michika and nearby Mubi saw savage fighting when Boko Haram grabbed swathes of Nigeria’s north-east last year.

After a successful counter-offensive, the militants are now gone – but so too is the region’s economic heartbeat.

Leaving many asking whether Nigeria’s new president can restore it.

Muhammadu Buhari will be sworn in on May 29.

Even visiting foreign dignitaries like former British prime minister, Tony Blair, openly allude to a forbidding set of tasks.


“It is a moment of great challenge, but we know what the challenges are and the challenges are big on the day to day life of the people and security so on.”

Along with the economy, add endemic corruption – and how to bring together 170 million people split along ethnic, religious and regional lines – to the problem list.

And, some might argue, potentially the man himself.

Not everyone forgets Buhari the former military leader who seized power in 1983, and then set about imprisoning journalists and opposition activists.

It’s up to Nigeria’s political establishment to keep check on his ‘undemocratic nature’, says political analyst, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.


“The transformation from dictatorship …. to a person who now has to go National Assembly to go and present budget and take questions, to somebody who would propose a particular policy and you discover that Nigerians said ‘no’, it will take time.”

But, the president-elect has already stood in several elections.

He says he’s a convert to democracy.

While the relatively peaceful transfer of power from Goodluck Jonathan: that’s now hailed as a rare triumph for the ballot box in Africa.