President Tinubu’s Mountainous Task -By Kene Obiezu

Kene Obiezu

Will Nigeria’s treasury be safe under Tinubu? It is highly doubtful despite the strident insistence or of his wife, Oluremi Tinubu, that her family does not need Nigeria’s money to survive?

Bola Ahmed Tinubu‘s swearing -in as Nigeria’s 16th president brings with it very little hope and an overwhelming sense of dread, resignation, and trepidation.

If there is one thing, Nigerians are grateful for in a country that has become increasingly dysfunctional, it is their democracy. Long recognized as the most precious commodity in the life of any country that aspires to be great or to sustain greatness, democracy, Nigeria’s democracy, is arguably the best thing about the country.

The Inevitable and irreversible mechanics of democracy ensure that every four years, through the instrumentality of elections, Nigerians can choose their leaders and ensure a new cycle of leadership for the country.

Flawed as elections in the country continue to be, there is no doubt that Nigerians would choose flawed elections many times over choosing their leaders through  the barrel of  a gun.

At 4.10AM on March 1, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, was declared winner of the February 25 election and Nigeria’s  president-elect to bring days of bitter recriminations and speculation to a temporary end.

On May 29,maintaining Nigeria’s burgeoning tradition of democratic transitions, Tinubu was sworn in and charged with the near impossible task of rebuilding Nigeria.

The aging former governor of Lagos State may huff and puff in a bid to bring hope to a country iniquitously starved of same, but among Nigerians, the overwhelming expectation, one tinged with no little dread and despair, is that Nigeria’s deep running problems will render Tinubu ill-suited to the task at hand, leaving him to chase shadows, many of which will be coming from the skeletons in his closet.

For good or bad, many Nigerians see Tinubu as the face of many of Nigeria’s problems especially in the last eight years. Not that he was Buhari, Nigeria’s 15th president, but  because he played a  critical role in his emergence as president. When Nigerians seek a name and a face to put to the aging class of kleptocrats that have laid siege on the country since 1999, siphoning the country’s oil wealth and facilitating the descent of many Nigerians into the doldrums of poverty, Tinubu gets the nod.

In 2015, as Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP careened towards disaster, the opportunistic All Progressives Congress (APC) packaged itself as the way out. It also helped its cause that Nigeria was at its impressionable best.

Nigerians were tired of Jonathan and the PDP and just wanted out. It was that desperation, more than the APC’s poisonous propaganda and image laundering, that swayed Nigerians.

By the time votes were counted following the 2015 elections, it became obvious that the PDP and Jonathan had lost every ground and grip.

Buhari’s first four years were a fistful of anxiety. But his second tenure came with such forceful incompetence that many times over Nigerians caught themselves appalled at the disastrous mistake they had made.

By the time Nigerians made it through the first four years of the Buhari administration, the man himself and his All Progressives Congress party had proven that they had nothing to offer.

Yet, Tinubu picked his way carefully to navigate the traitorous terrain of party primaries and the even more treacherous landscape of elections in Nigeria to land Nigeria’s number one position and become the 16th President of Nigeria.

His long speech after his inauguration on May 29 did little to rekindle hope in Nigerians. Trepidation continues to course through Nigerian veins over acute concerns whether an ailing and aging man caked in allegations of corruption and drug-running can solve Nigeria’s age-long and almost intractable problems.

During his time as governor of Lagos State, the“ Bullion van” moniker quickly stuck to him as he became known for moving money in bullion vans.

It may yet prove the metaphor for the government of a  man known to be tight-lipped about corruption, allegations of drug-running and swirling questions about his source of wealth.

Will Nigeria’s treasury be safe under Tinubu? It is highly doubtful despite the strident insistence or of his wife, Oluremi Tinubu, that her family does not need Nigeria’s money to survive?

But if Nigeria’s first family does not need Nigeria’s money to survive, can the same be said of the leeches and locusts drawn like a moth to a fire to the new president? Can the same be said about those who drive the “bullion van” and have no doubt started angling for Nigeria’s billions?

Time will tell. But Nigerians must gird themselves for what promises to be a long and tough journey.

Kene Obiezu,

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