The Task Before President Buhari
On February 27, 2019, at 4.20am, the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yukubu, declared President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the February 23, 2019 presidential election for another four year term.
This, however, is not losing sight of the legal challenge that have been mounted by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
With this victory, Buhari should count himself privileged to have joined the league of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who served as a military Head of State and elected president for two terms.
Therefore, this rare feat should count for something as the president looks forward to another term in office. To this end, Buhari needs to demonstrate true leadership irrespective of ethnic, religious and or political differences.
It is a fact that the results of the just concluded presidential election shows that Nigerians are much a divided people. Therefore, the first and most important task before the president is to use his second tenure to build a united country.
It is universally acknowledged that a united country and people are in a better position to ably confront its crises of development, nationhood and stability.
Again, there should be a fair and equal treatment of all Nigerians as well as a deliberate development of a feeling of oneness among Nigerians towards the attainment of a successful democratization process and national stability.
In other words, national integration is a vital constituent of a progressive nation and essential ingredient of democracy. National integration ensures equality, justice and fraternity among the citizens of a nation.
In a religiously and culturally diversified nation like ours, integration is a vital component, essential for the progress of Nigeria. The president -elect should if possible learn from the India example.
India is a country with huge cultural, religious and ethnic diversities. No two states in India speak the same language or follow the same rituals. Despite having such huge diversities, India still manages to be a single nation, having uniform law for all its citizens, irrespective of their caste, religion or ethnicity.
Today, India serves as the finest example of national integration with all the citizens from different religions, cultures and ethnicity, living in harmony and displaying unity.
However, it is gratifying to note that the president-elect has taken "inclusive governance" to the front burner of his second term.
In his remarks during the presentation of Certificate of Return by Independent National Electoral Commission at the International Conference Center, Abuja, the president said; "Now that the elections are over, and a winner declared, we must all see it as a victory for Nigeria. All Nigerians, going forward, must stand in brotherhood, for a bright and fulfilling future.
"I therefore want to assure that we will continue to engage all parties that have the best interest of Nigerians at heart. Our government will remain inclusive and our doors will remain open. That is the way to build the country of our dream; safe, secure, prosperous, and free of impunity and primitive accumulation by those entrusted with public offices.
"The hard work to deliver a better Nigeria continues, building on the foundations of peace, rule of law and opportunities for all. We will roll up our sleeves afresh, and give it our all. We have no other motive than to serve Nigeria with our hearts and might, and build a nation which we and generations to come can be proud of".
These, no doubt, are well spoken and encouraging words.
On the other hand, the president-elect should also take citizen participation in governance to the Next Level. He should do everything he can to ensure that citizen’s voices are taken into account in decision-making process.
When national, regional, or local governments make concerted efforts to solicit input from their citizens and strive to provide services to all of their constituents equally, they sow seeds of stability and growth.
Citizens should be able to provide input into public consultations through direct participation, through representatives, and through written comments and there should be a feedback mechanism so that citizens know their inputs were considered.
Above all, the Next Level slogan of the president-elect and the All Progressives Congress, APC, government should consolidate on the fundamental areas of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption.
It is the view of this paper therefore that the president-elect has started on a good note and we task him to match words with action and not mere rhetoric because over 15,000,000 Nigerians who voted for him are expecting much from him.