Nigeria’s Buhari will be voted out if he fails to perform – analyst

Nigerian analyst says that if the newly elected president Muhammadu Buhari fails to transform the country’s economy, he will be voted out of power.

LAGOS, NIGERIA (REUTERS) – A Nigerian analyst said on Wednesday (April 1) that if newly elected president Muhammadu Buhari fails to perform, he will be voted out of power.

Three decades after seizing power in a military coup, Muhammadu Buhari became the first Nigerian to oust a president through the ballot box, putting him in charge of Africa’s biggest economy and one of its most turbulent democracies.

As the scale of this weekend’s electoral landslide became clear, Jonathan called Buhari on Tuesday (March 31) to concede defeat to the opposition leader, an unprecedented step that should help to defuse anger among Jonathan’s supporters.

The news of Buhari’s victory prompted hundreds of Nigerians to stream down various streets across the country, waving flags and chanting in celebration.

Political analyst Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa says the result brought peace to Nigeria’s religiously mixed country.

“I think that the outcome of the election itself served as a good anti-climax to the expectations of violence, predictions everywhere that after 2015, Nigeria will no longer be so we’re happy that indeed the victory has brought peace to Nigeria, it has brought joy. I think that “the General” should learn lesson that he’s a president of the federal republic of Nigeria, not a president of ex-generals, not a president of Muslims, not a president of northerners, not a president of Christians, not a president of southerners and I think that’s a lesson he should learn from the victory, because all Nigerians united and gave him their mandate,” he said.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan urged his supporters on Wednesday to follow “due process” in channelling their frustrations at losing this weekend’s election, trying to pour cold water on any potential post-vote violence.

In a short concessional statement, Jonathan wished his opponent well and urged his supporters to remain calm.

Adegboruwa says President Jonathan’s actions should be praised as it will help to douse any crisis in the Niger Delta likely to arise from his defeat.

“It was a statement that came at the nick of time especially with the threat that we received from his kinsmen, the militants of the Niger Delta who had said that if Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was not returned as president of Nigeria for a second term, they were going to secede, they were going to throw this nation into bloodshed. So being their spokesperson, being their hero, being their representative, he needed to make that statement to douse the tension in that region,” the analyst said.

The victory of opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria’s presidential election could mark a turning point towards genuine democracy for the country, improving the image and moral standing of Africa’s troubled giant.

Now Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria has nevertheless been held back by the legacy of three decades of army misrule: a mix of corruption, weak institutions, political, ethnic and religious violence, and a dearth of infrastructure.

Nigeria accounts for about one in six Africans and a fifth of African GDP, giving it huge potential influence on the continent and beyond, but instead for decades it has been a by-word for corruption and chaos.

It ranks 136th out of 174 on Transparency International’s index of perceived corruption, a problem that affects Nigerian society from top to bottom and cannot be turned around overnight, even by the austere Buhari.

Adegboruwa says Buhari has to live up to his promise of tackling corruption.

“As we see in this country now, it is clear to us that the challenge we is that the resources of our people are circulating within a few. What he (Buhari) has promised Nigerians to seal up all avenues of leakages for corruption, what he has promised Nigerians is to get to power and block every hole whereby individuals can put their hands in the public coffers and take away the chunk of our common wealth and you see an individual that is richer than his state, you see an individual that is richer than his community, you see a country whereby the number of private jets outnumber public aircraft; that’s what he has promised to stop in this country and that is the major challenge that we have now because all other issues will require time for him to settle down to know the problem behind the blackouts that we have been experiencing, to know why a country with a population of close to 200 million is only generating 4,000 megawatts, we don’t even have electricity to watch his acceptance speech so I think those ones will take time but the major priority for this country now is that he needs to put an end to avenues for corruption,” he said.

The political analyst added that if Buhari fails to perform, he will be voted out of power.

“There is no reason anybody can give now for non-performance. He should go back and translate his electoral promises to tangible dividends for our people so that we can move away from this stagnation that we seem to have experienced because that is the language that Nigerians have done. It’s not so much that they love Buhari, but they are just making a statement that they are tired of this stagnation, this lack of movement, this seeming cluelessness of administration and it would soon dawn on the general that it’s not so much of hosannah, hosannah, people will keep crying crucify him if he’s unable to perform,” Adegboruwa said.

A transfer of power from one political party to another, achieved through voting rather than violence, is a marked improvement on previous elections since 1999 which were widely believed to have been rigged in favour of the PDP.