After months of legal fireworks, the Supreme Court has finally brought to a closure the controversies surrounding President Bola Tinubu’s victory in the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
Recall that on Thursday, October 26, the Supreme Court affirmed the victory of President Tinubu in the February 25 presidential election, which was challenged up to the apex court by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party, LP, counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi.
With the Supreme Court’s judgment, the coast is now very clear for President Tinubu to concentrate on governance. It is also believed that there will be no distractions any more, and as such, he has no reason not to perform.
Since he was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, their supporters, and indeed, Nigerians, have been waiting with bated breath to know the outcome of the legal suits challenging his victory.
Many APC supporters and some political analysts are of the view that the development has been largely responsible for the government’s slow pace in addressing the myriad of socio-economic, political and security problems.
Nigerians had expected that Tinubu’s administration would be a total departure from the immediate past administration of Muhammdu Buhari, which was characterized by a high level of insecurity, economic hardship and division among Nigerians along ethnic and religious lines.
But, those expectations have not been met. Nigerians are in a more precarious economic condition, with the inflation rate getting to a frightening level and prices of essential commodities like food rising above the reach of the common man.
It is expected that President Tinubu, having won his electoral case at the Supreme Court, should take some practical steps to address the country’s many challenges, some of which have made life hellish for many Nigerians.
On what he should do immediately, the president of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Pogu Bitrus told DAILY POST that having started by working on the economy through the removal of fuel subsidy, and having been battling on how to address the problem of Nigeria since then, the President should do everything possible to stabilize the naira.
“I think he now needs to come forcefully and ensure that he stabilises the naira, and stop these palliatives and sharing of money.
“If today he says, we will have at least three conversion centres in each state capital for a start to convert petrol engines to be able to use the LPG, rather than giving money to people, the impact will be positively felt immediately. If he starts that, and subsidises the conversion – cost of the tanks and the kicks, you will see that in less than a month or two, thousands of vehicles will be converted to be able to use the LPG.
“The effect will be so phenomenal that people will begin to say that this man is serious and that removing the subsidy was a worthwhile move. That’s one with regards to the economy,” he said.
On the issue of security, he said the President could also call all the service chiefs and put them on notice, like saying, “Look I am giving you one month or so, for all the bandits’ hideouts to be wiped out. Any bandit who wants to remain a bandit is up to him or her, so that you can say by January, all the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) can go back to their ancestral homes.
“I am telling you that if he does that, you can be sure that Nigerians will begin to hail him, and say yes, this is the real president.”
Regarding the talks about nepotism, and following Buhari’s footsteps, Dr Pogu said the President must retrace his steps and address that.
“The issue is, yes I am from the Middle Belt, the Yoruba man is not my enemy because he is not going to come and take over my land. He is not going to invite somebody from Togo or Lome to come and take over the Middle Belt’s land.
“Our problem has always been the Fulani. We are not against the Fulani, but for them to bring their brothers from outside this country and use tricks to take over our lands is not acceptable. So, for us, our ancestral land is very important and I believe it is the same thing across the country, including the South East, South-South and South West.
“Let Mr. President take this issue of getting the military to weed out these people very fast and get the IDPs back to their ancestral land. Honestly, the whole country will praise him for that.
“Then, there are so many areas within the revenue generating sector; for example, the Customs and the NNPCL. The NNPCL has been taken over by people from one section of the country. You can go and start listing from the Group Managing Director down to even the smallest position and you will find out that some group of people are occupying all those positions. Let him look into it.
“Yes, there is a need for him to study that place very well, but there has to be a Nigerian outlook because we are losing so much in that sector and something has to be done. He has to be serious about it for us to resolve some of the problems caused in the last eight years of Buhari’s regime.
“He has to look closely into two places – the NNPCL and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Of course, with the arrest of Godwin Emefiele, I believe he must have got adequate information now to be able to guide him in terms of how to address the CBN problem, and the pilferages associated with those sections. I think these will address our economic situation, and then the military and the security situation will address others to give this country a take-off position.
“We are so indebted; we don’t expect miracles to happen immediately. But, if he starts doing something, not long from now, Nigerians will come to say that whatever it is, God is responsible and the man is now on track.
“We thank God for his appointment of Nyesom Wike as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, because we need people like Wike. Remember that since Nasir El Rufai left the place, the FCT has been dormant; it is Wike that is making the place look like an FCT. With the Supreme Court judgment, and the fact that we have somebody who is that vibrant, the President should strengthen him, and let us have things done properly,” he said.
He advised the President to take the issue of infrastructure seriously.
Pogu also believes strongly that restructuring Nigeria should be of paramount importance to the President if he truly wants to address many of the problems facing Nigeria.
“We want President Tinubu to have the courage to take on the issue of restructuring headlong. Games were played for sectional reasons, and the 2014 National Conference report, which tried to address many of Nigeria’s problems, was swept away.
“Let him have the boldness to solve the problems of this country so that he can go down in history as the man who made it happen,” he stated.
The former National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Maxi Okwu, also believes that the economy is in tatters and haemorrhaging and needs urgent intervention.
“The economy is in such a state that if care is not taken, we will go comatose,” he warned.
He wants President Tinubu to address the issue of national cohesion urgently.