The much awaited Democracy Day Address by President Muhammadu Buhari has, expectedly, opened a window through which Nigerians can access the workings of his mind. On its face value, the pronouncement, holds the potential to elicit hope. It also conveys the message of the president’s determination to leave a worthy legacy. His promise that “Over the next four years, we are committed to assembling a strong team of Nigerians, and allies, to implement our transformative plans and proposals,” is particularly reassuring.
Buhari also used the opportunity to catalogue his lifelong commitment to serving Nigeria, and noted that his government had achieved a lot in the face of great challenges and vested interests. He said Nigeria’s inherent greatness is not in doubt and that his government has the political will to resolve security challenges.
He unveiled a policy that will prioritise small businesses and rural economies, fight hunger, poverty, inequality and thereby create prosperity. Drawing attention to what he called the ongoing ‘infrastructural revolution’, the president invited the states to team up with him and do their bit to make Nigeria a better place to live in. And in the spirit of righting the wrongs of the past, he renamed the Abuja Stadium as MKO Abiola National Stadium.
Politics aside, Nigerians know that when the nation prospers, the benefits will be felt by all its citizens. It is, therefore, in the interest of the people to support their government with ideas that could help transform the society. If Buhari succeeds, Nigeria succeeds.
The team to pilot Nigeria to the next level must be scrupulously assembled this time round. The main challenges facing the country now are threefold: Security, Economy and governance structure. Some key appointments will determine the strength and feasibility of whatever else the president does going forward. Such appointments have to be based on the individual’s capability, patriotism, track record and exposure. To make the president’s work easier, the best people Nigeria has to offer should be saddled with the task of navigating her affairs out of the present economic and security problems.
One of such key appointments has already been made with the appointment of a consummate professional, Mohammed Adamu, as Inspector General of Police. Nigerians are looking forward to the same level of perspicacity in the appointment of the National Security Adviser, the service chiefs and heads of major security agencies. Nothing but the best will do.
Another key appointment which may well determine the seriousness attached by the administration to economic revival, is the office of the Chief Economic Adviser. Nigeria requires $20-25 billion annually over the next 20 years for massive infrastructural development. We must attract much more foreign investment than the $2.2 billion of 2018. The ideal candidate must have the necessary international contacts and credibility to attract the required international capital. He must have the cerebral tool to coordinate and drive the economy together with the vice president who chairs the economic council.
The same level of care should be exercised in the appointment of the Chief of Staff to the President, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Federal Attorney-General. To give teeth to the anti-corruption crusade, it is crucial that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is headed by an incorruptible security professional who shares the president’s passion for wiping out the cankerworm from the system.
All over the world, the Presidency is fashioned for the president’s convenience. One size, shape or form cannot fit all countries. This newspaper, therefore, suggests that the president considers the appointment of a senior adviser to help him with daily governance while the Chief of Staff continues with the arduous task of running his office and managing his complicated schedule. This will make room for smoother, result-oriented governance.
One of the areas in which the president was criticised during his first term was what some perceived as his skewed appointments. Gladly, in our view, we have the assurance of the President on the matter. Hopefully, things will be done differently henceforth if his remark that “As I look forward to the next four years, I will remain committed to a safe and secure nation; creating an inclusive and diversified economy; and a governance system that is free of corrupt practices. In all these areas, we will remain transparent in implementing our policies,’’ is anything to go by.
“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,” Buhari said matter-of-factly.
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