Reunifying a divided Nigeria would be a difficult assignment for the next Bola Tinubu administration.
The widespread consensus among the population is that Nigeria has never been more polarized than it is now under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership.
When President Buhari succeeded then-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, he famously said, “97 percent of the votes I garnered across the regions will determine my appointments and the development of the nation’s infrastructure.”
On July 22, 2015, Buhari made his first trip to the US, speaking at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) about security and counterterrorism issues in Nigeria and West Africa.
During responding to questions from audience members, Buhari was questioned about inclusivity in his government. After grappling with the subject, he answered, “Inclusive?”
“I hope you have the election results in your possession. For instance, it is not ethical to treat people who gave me 97% of the vote differently from those who gave me 5% of the vote on some subjects. These, in my opinion, are political realities.
It was determined that Buhari was referring to the heavily Igbo-populated South East, which overwhelmingly supported Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election.
Buhari’s selection has been the subject of debate among citizens ever since his office in 2015, who charge the President with marginalizing them and disregarding federal character law.
Additionally, this goes against his promise to “belong to nobody” and “everyone.” Many Nigerians believe that he has fallen short of his commitment.
The President appears to have overlooked the nation’s variety during his nearly eight years in office, which includes multiethnic populations in both the North and the South. He also violates the Constitution, which recognized this diversity, and passed the Federal Character Commission Act in response.
Public statistics indicate that the North receives the majority of appointments whereas the Southeast and South-South have only sporadic representation in the Buhari administration.
According to the data available, the president’s zone, the North West, had the most nominations made under the previous administration.
The previous administration also gave the impression of having taken sides, averted its gaze, or shown sympathy for a subset of the criminal elements responsible for the murder, rape, and maiming of innocent people as well as the destruction of their victims’ crops.
Buhari once remarked that if he hadn’t been in the military, he would have settled down to be a cattle rearer, and anyone may read that statement in a variety of ways.
And Nigerians are beginning to doubt Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s ability to bring about unity in a society that is so deeply divided that individuals could brazenly forbid their fellow citizens from voting in elections because they belong to one ethnic group or another.
There are many things Ahmed Tinubu’s future administration may do to bring the nation together.
DAILY POST lists seven (7) things the President-elect should be prepared to do in order to bring Nigeria back together and undo some of the detrimental blunders made by the Buhari administration.
Assist the South East to Produce the 10th Senate President: Tinubu should assist the South East in producing the 10th Senate President. On the basis that he saw nothing wrong with a ticket made up of members of the same religion, Tinubu stood for office and won.
From May 29, a Christian from the South East should be backed to become the nation’s third citizen. Bola Tinubu, a Yoruba Muslim, and Kashim Shettima, a Muslim from the North East, would be leading the country’s affairs. This will help the South East feel like a part of the new administration.
Reconciliation: The president-elect should, through words and actions, reconcile the offended section of society, especially the youth, who are large of the opinion that their mandate was stolen, in order to fulfill his campaign promise of being the president of all Nigerians regardless of their political affiliations, religion, or ethnicity.
After the elections on February 25, Tinubu reportedly formed committees to make peace with his opponents, including Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, and other losers, including Atiku.
The committees, which are made up of APC elders, are supposed to start scheduling meetings with the President-rivals elects in an effort to diffuse tensions. Even if the Supreme Court had sided with Tinubu in challenges brought by the other candidates, he should be entitled to move through with the reconciliation.
Tinubu offered his opponents’ supporters a hand of friendship in the speech he gave shortly after being named the victor of the presidential election.
Some of the president-advisor elects aren’t doing much to assist things when it comes to settling things down following the election. In a circumstance where some of the president-advisor elects continue to cause unneeded friction, Nigeria cannot be united. There need to be people attempting to diffuse the tension and promote calm at this moment. Individuals who voice their ideas about the election shouldn’t immediately turn against them and start calling them derogatory names. The actions of some of the assistants on social media have only served to exacerbate the situation. For instance, individuals like Festus Keyamo, the current minister of state for labor, and Femi Fani-Kayode, the former minister of aviation, have transformed themselves into attack dogs.
But, since the Presidential election, their antics haven’t helped matters because of the strain that their ongoing disputes with Obidients and Labour Party supporters are creating. Significantly, Bayo Onanuga must also exercise presidential authority in addition to Fani-Kayode and Keyamo.
Major development projects should be dispersed: The sectional nature of the Buhari administration has drawn harsh criticism. The new administration shouldn’t follow this course. According to the president-manifesto, elect’s all of his proposals for developing Nigeria’s infrastructure should be equitably dispersed throughout the country, whether he obtained more votes or fewer votes in certain areas. This will help him become the unifier he has vowed to be in the eyes of the populace.
Youth-friendly policies: To help combat the “Japa syndrome,” the incoming administration should implement youth-friendly policies. Nigerians should be forced to remain in their nation by the next administration in order to heal the rift.
According to a survey by the Africa Polling Institute, more than 7 out of 10 Nigerians, particularly the youth, would leave the nation in quest of a better life if given the chance. The number of Nigerians moving to the global West has significantly increased.
Due to the lack of employment chances and the rising levels of insecurity, suffering, and hunger, many young people are fleeing their home countries in search of more promising opportunities overseas.
According to a National Bureau of Statistics study from 2020, the rate of young unemployment for people between the ages of 15 and 34 is 42.5%, and the rate of youth underemployment is 21.6%. And in 2023, this number has skyrocketed. Notwithstanding the fact that a significant portion of Nigeria’s youth did not support Tinubu in the presidential election, the incoming president should make sure that his policies encourage youth support for his administration.