Nigeria is also known as the “large of Africa”, given its big inhabitants and financial potential, however it has some gigantic issues too – and these will confront Bola Tinubu as he takes over as president on Monday.
The 71-year-old is unlikely to be fazed by the challenges. As a two-time governor of Lagos, he revitalised Nigeria’s business hub – no simple activity – and is properly conscious of the problems.
However Nigerians, even those that didn’t vote for him, will wish to see early outcomes from Mr Tinubu. Listed here are among the main hurdles he faces and the way he could deal with them.
Ending the gas subsidy
This problem has been kicked down the street by successive governments since its introduction within the Nineteen Seventies.
Regardless of its oil riches, Nigeria is unable to refine sufficient crude to fulfill native calls for so it imports petroleum merchandise, that are then bought at a government-set worth. As that is normally decrease than the import worth, the federal government pays the distinction.
However this subsidy is taking an enormous toll on dwindling public funds. Final 12 months it guzzled 4.3trn naira ($9.3bn; £7.5bn) and for the primary half of this 12 months, 3.36trn naira was budgeted.
These funds come on the expense of growth objectives resembling constructing faculties or hospitals, however eradicating the subsidy won’t be simple as it’s going to result in a rise in costs.
The final try to take action in 2012 resulted in widespread protests.
Many struggling Nigerians, used to seeing politicians mismanaging the nation’s oil wealth, consider low-cost petrol is their share of what has been described because the “nationwide cake”.
However Mr Tinubu has firmly repeated that the subsidy has to go, and his associates insist he has the political will to do it.
“He has a capability to pay attention and to seek the advice of extensively earlier than making powerful choices,” Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, a detailed colleague who succeeded Mr Tinubu as Lagos governor in 2007, advised the BBC.
One space he could discover to minimize the influence is to subsidise and enhance public transport – one thing he has expertise in after implementing a large public transport scheme in Lagos that put in place quick bus hyperlinks.
The outgoing authorities has additionally managed to safe an $800m World Financial institution mortgage, meant to beef up its welfare scheme for weak Nigerians who might be most affected by the lack of the subsidy. Nevertheless, lawmakers nonetheless must approve the bundle – so it isn’t a completed deal.
Lack of widespread assist
Solely 37% of voters backed Mr Tinubu, making him the Nigerian president elected with the least vote-share since 1999.
He received a tightly contested election that was not solely rancorous, however uncovered ethnic and non secular divisions which have lingered even in Nigeria’s most cosmopolitan cities.
He should carry out a balancing act with regards to selecting his authorities to construct bridges throughout these divides.
There are indicators he’s already doing so, reportedly assembly two opposition politicians since successful February’s vote:
Musa Kwankwaso, a strong rival from the north, who was third runner-up
Nyesom Wike, the influential and outgoing governor of Rivers state.
As governor of Lagos, Mr Tinubu in all probability had probably the most ethnically numerous cupboard in Nigeria, appointing non-Lagosians into key positions, which continues to be a rarity.
“He’s extra fascinated with technocrats who’re thinkers and researchers,” his pal Seye Oyetade advised the BBC.
However politicians, usually with frequent pursuits, could also be simpler to placate than the thousands and thousands of younger Nigerians who didn’t vote for him – particularly those that supported Peter Obi of the Labour Celebration.
Lots of them take into account the vote flawed, although the electoral fee denies this – and an election problem continues to be pending in court docket.
Shut allies say by making jobs obtainable and getting younger folks concerned in governance, Mr Tinubu could win over a few of them.
“You will notice a authorities that may embrace new concepts and know-how and by extension, you will note a number of younger folks round him,” Mr Fashola defined.
Fixing the economic system
Most agree that as a educated accountant, that is Mr Tinubu’s space of experience – however issues have by no means appeared worse for Nigeria:
One in three are unemployed
Inflation is at a report 22%
96 million dwell beneath the poverty line of $1.90 per day
GDP per head (the financial output produced in a 12 months by the common individual) was $2,065 for 2021 (in comparison with $70,248 for the US and $46,510 for the UK)
Low revenues from declining oil gross sales.
Mr Oyetade bats away such statistics: “These are usually not too dissimilar to what he met in Lagos in 1999.”
This can be hyperbole, however Mr Tinubu’s use of know-how to enhance tax assortment in Lagos was outstanding, growing income by greater than 400% in eight years.
He has spoken a number of occasions of his ambition to widen the tax internet, however this is likely to be more durable to copy at a nationwide degree given excessive inflation, rising poverty and widespread insecurity that always stops folks from working.
Mr Tinubu additionally favours a extra private-sector led strategy, in distinction to his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, who aimed to bolster nationwide welfare security nets.
But it surely his relationship with Godwin Emefiele, the central financial institution governor, that might be key.
The incoming president has criticised the financial institution’s coverage of utilizing a number of change charges.
This retains the naira artificially excessive – the official change charge is 460 naira: $1, obtainable to totally different classes of people that have to use and wait until it’s obtainable.
Everybody else who desires foreign exchange should use the parallel charge – at the moment 760 naira: $1, which means there’s a widening hole between the official and black market.
For any overview to occur, Mr Tinubu might want to work with Mr Emefiele, who has one other 12 months left to function governor.
The 2 have a fractious relationship following the central financial institution’s transfer to revamp the native forex – resulting in huge cash shortages – simply earlier than the election. This was seen by some as a ploy to scupper the ruling get together’s possibilities of successful the vote – allegations Mr Emefiele denies.
Kidnapping and insecurity
Mr Tinubu will wish to get a grip on this shortly, given the dimensions of drawback. His administration might be confronting armed criminals on bikes within the north-west, countrywide kidnapping and a violent secessionist group within the south-east. Lethal clashes between farmers and herders additionally proceed within the central states.
Throughout the election marketing campaign, Mr Tinubu’s deputy, incoming Vice-President Kashim Shettima, mentioned this may be his remit – touting his expertise as governor of north-eastern Borno state, residence to many Islamist militant teams and the Boko Haram insurgency.
However Nigeria’s safety challenges have developed since he left workplace in 2019 and President Buhari, a former military common, failed dismally to search out a solution throughout his eight years in energy – as an alternative insecurity has escalated nationwide.
The Tinubu-Shettima plan contains utilizing anti-terrorist battalions with particular forces to go after the abductors and extremist teams.
Extra importantly, they’ve proposed liberating police personnel from VIP safety and guard duties, which may see extra officers on the streets combating crime.
Staying match – and different distractions
Opponents of the incoming president say he has misplaced the vitality he used to forcefully modernise Lagos.
For the reason that election, he has travelled overseas twice, elevating questions on his well being. In 2021 he spent months in London being handled for an undisclosed sickness.
He has dismissed the criticism, saying the job doesn’t require the health of an Olympic athlete and his associates are fast to remind everybody that US President Joe Biden is older, at 80.
However Nigerians are weary of seeing presidents spend appreciable time in hospitals overseas, resulting in authorities in-fighting for management. This occurred underneath each Mr Buhari and Umaru Yar’Adua, who died in workplace in 2010.
They’re additionally frightened about potential controversies. Earlier than the vote Mr Tinubu denied varied allegations of hyperlinks to narcotics and corruption.
Since his victory, it has been revealed that he was as soon as issued with a Guinean diplomatic passport – which isn’t unlawful however was not beforehand disclosed. Whereas a Bloomberg investigation mentioned his son owns an £11m mansion in London. Neither Mr Tinubu, his son, nor his allies have commented on the report, and it has not been confirmed that Mr Tinubu was concerned within the buy.
Allies of Mr Tinubu might be involved that any additional allegations may distract him from the large job he’s about to undertake.