The election of President–elect Buhari seems to have produced a tidal wave of change. Meeting the expectations of Nigerians will be a very big challenge.
Nigeria has been hit by a tidal wave of BIG SHOCKS.
The first shock to the Nigerian system is that we are in a post oil economy. The second shock is that our oil resources have gone out of fashion as the world moves from smelly hydrocarbon oil to clean shale oil. Nigeria produces smelly hydro carbon oil that are no longer attractive in the international market. We are having trouble selling our oil. The second big shock is that we are no longer an oil economy. We are now in a post oil period.
The third shock is that our economy is in danger of running out of steam and cash.
These three shocks will have a profound effect on Nigeria unless well managed.
HOW CAN PRESIDENT-ELECT BUHARI HANDLE THESE SHOCKS?
The President-elect must go back in history and borrow a leaf from President Roosevelt who ably dealt with the shock of the great depression that ravaged the United States of America when he became the US President in the 1930s.
THE EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION
In order to manage the shocks, the president elect must rally Nigerians to the tough decisions he must make.The President will need the National Assembly fully behind him. The President elect, like President Roosevelt, is encouraged to make an emergency proclamation before the National Assembly and presenta profusion of executive orders and legislative proposals touching on the critical pillars of Nigeria’s political infrastructure.
THE CRITICAL PILLARS OF NIGERIA’S POLITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The most critical pillarsare the political arrangements and agreements that bind Nigerians in one nation. We have not lived in peace and harmony. Nigeria is a fractured and divided nation. The Amalgamation agreement of 1914 failed. The colonial agreements in the shape of orders in council promulgated by the English crown failed us. The post-colonial constitutions and their military counterparts all failed. The result has been long years of national disorder and disharmony that has impeded economic development and political stability. This is a challenge the President elect must engage as soon as he takes the oath.
HOW TO BUILD A NEW NATIONAL ORDER
The President elect can build a new national order by recognising our diversity and managing it in an inclusive process that would lead to an agreed constitution by all Nigerians. The president elect must refrain from calling yet another wasteful national conference. All that is needed is a comprehensive review of the reports of the national conferences. It will be a very difficult but not impossible task. The key in arriving at a new constitution is in isolating what Nigerians will agree to immediately. I believe Nigerians will accept the need for a balanced federation.We must strive for a balanced federation and decentralisation of powers from federal to state government. The centre is too strong and can pass responsibility out of the ninety eight items of power, under its exclusive control, to the states. This will balance up the federation. It is recommended that a graduated process of constitutional amendments should be introduced to replace failed holistic attempts to write new constitutions in one fell swoop. Creating a new national order will be very difficult but not an impossible task. The effect of a national order will be stabilisation and national rebirth.
The president elect must avoid opaque governance. Many say he is likely to be a working government. This will be a major departure in the style of governance. The era of the imperial president instituted by Obasanjo would have ended. Three elements are important in the governance process. They are Administrative, political and economic governance.
Administrative governance refers to the concept of big government. Given Nigeria’s lean resources, the only way to go is to run a very lean government. The Steve Oronsaye report has all the details. It is hoped that the president elect will have a lean cabinet comprised of technical ministers.
The second element of governance is political. Nigeria must return form impunity and allow the rule of law to take centre stage. This is the notion of limited government where executive powers are constrained by the constitution. We must have strong national institutions to consolidate our democracy. These institutions are independent of the executive so that they can do their work without fear or favour. These institutions secure and guarantee the rule of law. There has to be a major constitutional amendment to embed the framework of strong independent national institutions.
Economic governance will mean the delivery of common goods to the benefit of the people. This will not happen if the government has no clear economic ideology. The recommended ideology is Social democracy. This allows a strong private sector to work in combination with government programs designed for the benefit of the people. The president-elect must build on the programs developed by the outgoing government. The new renewable power sector policy must be sustained by the new government; so to reforms in agriculture and partially in housing.
The President-elect must hit the ground running and deliver like President Roosevelt a comprehensive report to Nigerians on the 6th of September, 2015 when he will have spent 100 days in office as President.