Bola Tinubu inauguration: Di five test wey dey wait Nigeria new president

Bola Tinubu in March 2023


Dem dey always call Nigeria di “giant of Africa”, sake of im huge population and economic potential, but e also some giant problems too – and dis go confront Bola Tinubu as e take over as president on Monday.

Di 71-year-old dey unlikely to be disturb by di challenges. As a two-time govnor of Lagos, e bin revitalize Nigeria commercial hub – no easy task – and e too sabi di di issues.

But Nigerians, even those wey no vote for am, go wan see early results from Oga Tinubu. Here na some of di major hurdles e go face and how e fit tackle dem.

To end fuel subsidy

Di goments wey don come before bin kick dis challenge down di road since im introduction for di 1970s.

Despite im oil riches, Nigeria dey unable to refine enough crude to meet local demands so e dey import petroleum products, wey dem dey always sell at a goment-set price. As dis dey usually dey lower dan di import price, na goment dey pay di difference.

One attendant sell diesel to one motorist for one filling station for Warewa, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Ogun State, south-west Nigeria - March 2022

Many Nigerians dey see cheap fuel as dia right sake of di country oil wealth

But dis subsidy dey take ogbonge toll on public finances wey don dey go down.

Last year e take 4.3trn naira ($9.3bn; £7.5bn) and for di first half of dis year, dem bin budget 3.36trn naira.

Dis payments dey come at di expense of development goals such as building schools or hospitals, but removing di subsidy no go dey easy as e go lead to an increase in prices.

Di last attempt to do so for 2012 cause protest everywia.

Many hussling Nigerians, wey dey see as politicians dey mismanage di country’s oil wealth, believe cheap petrol na dia share of wetin dem dey call “national cake”.

But Oga Tinubu don firmly repeat say di subsidy gatz go, and im associates insist say e do political mind will to do am.

“E get capacity to listen and to consult widely before making tough decisions,” Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, a close colleague wey succeed Oga Tinubu as Lagos governor for 2007, tell di BBC.

One area e fit explore to reduce di impact na to subsidise and improve public transport – something e get experience for after implementing one massive public transport scheme for Lagos wey put in place fast bus links.

Di outgoing goment don also manage to secure one $800m World Bank loan, wey den bin wan use beef up im welfare scheme for vulnerable Nigerians wey di loss of subsidy go affect wella. However, lawmakers still gatz approve di package – so no be done deal.

Lack of popular support

Only 37% of voters back Oga Tinubu, wey make am di Nigerian president elected wit di least vote-share since 1999.

Im win one tightly contested election wey no be only dey bitter, but expose ethnic and religious divisions wey dey worry even for Nigeria cosmopolitan cities.

Nigeria’s new president will find a bulging inbox
The British Broadcasting Corporation

E go need to perform balancing act wen time come to form im goment to build bridges across dis divides.

Signs don dey ground say e don dey do am, as report say e don meet two opposition politicians since e win February vote:

  • Musa Kwankwaso, one powerful rival from di north, who be di third runner-up
  • Nyesom Wike, di influential and outgoing govnor of Rivers state.

As govnor of Lagos, Oga Tinubu probably get di most ethnically diverse cabinet for Nigeria, as ẹ appoint non-Lagosians into key positions, wey no dey too common.

“E dey more interested in technocrats wey be thinkers and researchers,” im friend Seye Oyetade tell di BBC.

But politicians, wit common interests, fit dey easy to placate dan di millions of young Nigerians wey no vote for am – especially those wey support Peter Obi of di Labour Party.

Many of dem consider say di vote dey one kain , though di electoral commission deny dis – and petition against di election still dey go on for court.

Close allies say by making jobs available and getting young people involved in governance, Oga Tinubu go win some of dem over.

“Una go see one goment wey go embrace new ideas and technology and by extension, una go see lot of young pipo around am,” Oga Fashola explain.

Fixing di economy

Most pipo gree say as a trained accountant, dis na Oga Tinubu area of expertise – but tins neva look worse for Nigeria:

  • One in three dey unemployed
  • Inflation dey at record 22%
  • 96 million dey live below di poverty line of $1.90 per day
  • GDP per head (di economic output produced for one year by di average pesin) bin dey $2,065 for 2021 (compare to $70,248 for di US and $46,510 for di UK)
  • Low revenues from declining oil sales.

Oga Oyetade comot eye for dis statistics: “Dis no dey too dissimilar to wetin e bin meet for Lagos for 1999.”

Dis fit be exaggeration , but Oga Tinubu use of technology to improve tax collection for Lagos dey remarkable, e increase revenue by more dan 400% within eight years.

One man exchange Nigeria currency naira for US dollars for Lagos, Nigeria - April 2021

E dey hard to get hold of foreign currency, wey don lead to widening gap betweendi official and black market rates

E don speak several times of im ambition to increase di tax net, but fit dey harder to replicate for national level sake of high inflation, rising poverty and widespread insecurity wey dey always stop pioo from working.

Oga Tinubu also favour a more private-sector led approach, in contrast to im predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, wey bin aim to bolster national welfare safety nets.

But na im relationship with Godwin Emefiele, wey be di central bank governor, go dey key.

Di incoming president don criticise di bank policy of using multiple exchange rates.

Dis keep di naira artificially high – di official exchange rate na 460 naira: $1, available to different categories of pipo wey go apply and wait e dey available.

Everyone else wey wan forex gatz use di parallel rate – currently 760 naira: $1, meaning widening gap dey between di official and black market.

For any review to happun, Oga Tinubu go need work wit Oga Emefiele, wey get anoda year to serve as govnor.

Di two relationship no too smooth afta di central bank’ move to redesign di local currency -e lead to huge cash shortages – just before di election. Some see dis as a ploy to affect di ruling party chances of winning di vote – allegation wey Oga Emefiele deny.

Kidnapping and insecurity

Oga Tinubu go wan get a grip on dis fast-fast, sake of how di problem don worse. Im administration go confront armed criminals on motorcycles for di north-west, countrywide kidnapping and one violent secessionist group for di south-east. Deadly clashes between farmers and herders also continue for di central states.

During di election campaign, Oga Tinubu deputy, incoming Vice-President Kashim Shettima, say dis go be im remit – brag about im experience as governor of north-eastern Borno state, home to many Islamist militant groups and di Boko Haram insurgency.

Parents of abducted students for Kaduna state, Nigeria - July 2021

Relatives of those dem kidnap dey desperate to raise money for ransoms

But Nigeria security challenges don grow since im comot from office for 2019 and President Buhari, one former army general, fail to find answer during im eight years in power – instead insecurity don spread across di kontri.

Di Tinubu-Shettima plan include using anti-terrorist battalions wit special forces to go afta di kidnappers and extremist groups.

More importantly, dem don propose say dem go free police personnel from VIP security and guard duties, wey fit see more officers on di streets dey fight crime.

To stay fit – and oda distractions

Opponents of di incoming president say im lose di vitality im use to forcefully modernise Lagos.

Since di election, e don travel abroad twice, wey raise questions about im health. For 2021 e spend months for London wia dem treat am for undisclosed illness.

Im don brush off di criticism, say di job no need di fitness of an Olympic athlete and im associates don quickly remind everybody day US President Joe Biden dey older, at 80.

But Nigerians dey worry to see presidents dey spend useful time for hospitals abroad, wey dey ye lead to leading to goment in-fighting for control. Dis one happun under both Oga Buhari and Umaru Yar’Adua, wey die for office for 2010.

Dem also dey worry about potential controversies. Before di vote Oga Tinubu deniy plenty allegations of links to narcotics and corruption.

Since im victory, reports don comot dem bin once issued am one Guinean diplomatic passport – wey no dey illegal but dem bin no previously disclose am. While one Bloomberg investigation say im son get one £11m mansion for London. Neither Oga Mr Tinubu, im son, nor im allies don comment on di report, and dem neva confam say Oga Tinubu get hand for di purchase.

Allies of Oga Tinubu go dey concerned say any further allegations fit distract am from di massive job im wan undertake.