New Telegraph

Pitfalls next President must avoid

T wo Saturdays ago the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the Presidential and National Assembly Elections across the country. The exercise resulted in the declaration of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the President-elect. While New Telegraph congratulates Asiwaju Tinubu, it must be pointed out that electoral malpractices of bewildering proportions were reportedly carried out in the full glare of electoral officials and security operatives during the polls.

The controversies are helping whittle down the credibility of both the out-going and in-coming administrations. It is, and will continue to be pointless for anyone to advance the argument that the election was free and fair as it was clearly conducted in flagrant violation of the Electoral Act. We urge the President-elect to strive harder to help take Nigeria’s democracy to Olympian heights by stripping it of contradictions such as ballot box snatching, voter suppression/intimidation, child voting, hacking and manipulation of the technology for the use of uploading of the results into the official server for public viewing and monitoring.

The President-elect should resolve to make all forms of electoral malpractices a thing of the past in Nigeria. A realistic way of doing this is to give room for an Act of Parliament that would transform INEC from a partisan to non-partisan body. The power to appoint a Chairman and other top-officials of INEC should be transferred from Mr. President, who is usually a card-carrying member of a political party, to an assembly of reputable professional bodies and trade unions. Such an assembly should appoint the Chairman and other top officials of INEC. It would be much easier for an INEC that is composed of reputable professional bodies to be increasingly firm in enforcing the rules of engagement with regard to electoral battles. Leadership is more impactful when it is driven by positive examples.

Mr Presidentelect would be endearing himself to humanity by leading the way in this crusade. New Telegraph recalls with nostalgia the nationalists as well as political gladiators of the First, Second and Third Republics. Most of them were either professionals or businessmen and women while engaging in national struggle on a part-time basis. The present trend whereby top political office-holders, including President Muhammadu Buhari regularly pilgrimage to efficiently-run overseas health facilities for all types of health challenges, is rightly frowned upon by many Nigerians. The act subjects the public purse to haemorrhage.

Medical tourism reduces the perceived prestige of a country in the comity of nations, as is the case with Nigeria. Money frittered away on medical tourism should be deployed into the actualisation of a dependable health sector. Recurring strikes in many sectors including that of education should be resolved to pave way for a worker-friendly environment and improved productivity. Acknowledged that Asiwaju Tinubu is a politician, New Telegraph wishes to remind him that the oath of office to be administered on him would naturally compel him to treat every part of the country fairly regardless of political leaning, religion, ethnicity or any other consideration.

Actions undertaken to favour only one or two parts should be reviewed and extended to all the sections of the country. Mention must be made of the construction of the standard gauge rail lines with the South East and South South as the excluded geo-political zones and the lopsided recruitment of personnel into security organisations and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Restructuring is known to have been opposed by some members of the political class including some serving and past governors as well as chieftains of political parties. But the populace have been longing for restricting including local government autonomy, state police and decentralization of electricity. Making restructuring see the light of day would amount to a re-affirmation of the fact that power actually belongs to the people. Given the profound impact of the opposition political parties, the machinery of the state may be mobilised against them, all in the name of fighting corruption, but with the intent of keeping them in check.

The fight against corruption should begin with the probe of the conduct of the election that brought him into power. This would help notify the citizens of the readiness of the incoming administration to clean the Aegean stable. Politics is pluralistic in nature. Every human entity including Nigeria would best served not by one all-powerful party, with few domineering persons masquerading as godfathers but by a multiplicity of vibrant political parties, driven by intelligent and tested citizens, and regarded as governments in waiting. We urge Mr. President-elect to ensure the operation of many modular refineries in the oil producing Niger Delta region to help bring to a close the unsteady supply of petroleum products and the obnoxious subsidy payments.

The on-going naira shortage has made it hellish for Nigerians and their businesses. Asiwaju Tinubu should ensure he reviews the situation. Borrowing as a habit should be discontinued. Borrowing should be a rarity and should have the input of relevant stakeholders including professional bodies. Creation of many outfits with conflicting mandates should be abhorred, as that increases the cost of governance unnecessarily. Asiwaju Tinubu should be cognitively prepared to deal with known storms such as kidnap, ransom demand and terrorism as well as unknown storms. History beckons.

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