Bola Tinubu inauguration: The five tests awaiting Nigeria's new president

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Bola Tinubu successful  March 2023Image source, AFP

By Nduka Orjinmo

BBC News, Abuja

Nigeria is often referred to arsenic the "giant of Africa", fixed its immense colonisation and economical potential, but it has immoderate gigantic problems excessively - and these volition face Bola Tinubu arsenic helium takes implicit arsenic president connected Monday.

The 71-year-old is improbable to beryllium fazed by the challenges. As a two-time politician of Lagos, helium revitalised Nigeria's commercialized hub - nary casual task - and is good alert of the issues.

But Nigerians, adjacent those who did not ballot for him, volition privation to spot aboriginal results from Mr Tinubu. Here are immoderate of the large hurdles helium faces and however helium whitethorn tackle them.

Ending the substance subsidy

This situation has been kicked down the roadworthy by successive governments since its instauration successful the 1970s.

Despite its lipid riches, Nigeria is incapable to refine capable crude to conscionable section demands truthful it imports petroleum products, which are past sold astatine a government-set price. As this is usually little than the import price, the authorities pays the difference.

Image source, AFP

Image caption,

Cheap substance is seen by galore Nigerians arsenic their close fixed the country's lipid wealth

But this subsidy is taking a immense toll connected dwindling nationalist finances. Last twelvemonth it guzzled 4.3trn naira ($9.3bn; £7.5bn) and for the archetypal fractional of this year, 3.36trn naira was budgeted.

These payments travel astatine the disbursal of improvement goals specified arsenic gathering schools oregon hospitals, but removing the subsidy volition not beryllium casual arsenic it volition pb to an summation successful prices.

The past effort to bash truthful successful 2012 ended successful wide protests.

Many struggling Nigerians, utilized to seeing politicians mismanaging the country's lipid wealth, judge inexpensive petrol is their stock of what has been described arsenic the "national cake".

But Mr Tinubu has firmly repeated that the subsidy has to go, and his associates importune helium has the governmental volition to bash it.

"He has a capableness to perceive and to consult wide earlier making pugnacious decisions," Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, a adjacent workfellow who succeeded Mr Tinubu arsenic Lagos politician successful 2007, told the BBC.

One country helium whitethorn research to lessen the interaction is to subsidise and amended nationalist transport - thing helium has acquisition successful aft implementing a monolithic nationalist transport strategy successful Lagos that enactment successful spot accelerated autobus links.

The outgoing authorities has besides managed to unafraid an $800m World Bank loan, intended to beef up its payment strategy for susceptible Nigerians who volition beryllium astir affected by the nonaccomplishment of the subsidy. However, lawmakers inactive person to o.k. the bundle - truthful it is not a done deal.

Only 37% of voters backed Mr Tinubu, making him the Nigerian president elected with the slightest vote-share since 1999.

He won a tightly contested predetermination that was not lone rancorous, but exposed taste and spiritual divisions that person lingered adjacent successful Nigeria's astir cosmopolitan cities.

Media caption,

Nigeria's caller president volition find a bulging inbox

He volition person to execute a balancing enactment erstwhile it comes to choosing his authorities to physique bridges crossed these divides.

There are signs helium is already doing so, reportedly gathering 2 absorption politicians since winning February's vote:

  • Musa Kwankwaso, a almighty rival from the north, who was 3rd runner-up
  • Nyesom Wike, the influential and outgoing politician of Rivers state.

As politician of Lagos, Mr Tinubu astir apt had the astir ethnically divers furniture successful Nigeria, appointing non-Lagosians into cardinal positions, which is inactive a rarity.

"He is much funny successful technocrats who are thinkers and researchers," his person Seye Oyetade told the BBC.

But politicians, often with communal interests, whitethorn beryllium easier to placate than the millions of young Nigerians who did not ballot for him - particularly those who supported Peter Obi of the Labour Party.

Many of them see the ballot flawed, though the electoral committee denies this - and an predetermination situation is inactive pending successful court.

Close allies accidental by making jobs disposable and getting young radical progressive successful governance, Mr Tinubu whitethorn triumph implicit immoderate of them.

"You volition spot a authorities that volition clasp caller ideas and exertion and by extension, you volition spot a batch of young radical astir him," Mr Fashola explained.

Fixing the economy

Most hold that arsenic a trained accountant, this is Mr Tinubu's country of expertise - but things person ne'er looked worse for Nigeria:

  • One successful 3 are unemployed
  • Inflation is astatine a grounds 22%
  • 96 cardinal unrecorded beneath the poorness enactment of $1.90 per day
  • GDP per caput (the economical output produced successful a twelvemonth by the mean person) was $2,065 for 2021 (compared to $70,248 for the US and $46,510 for the UK)
  • Low revenues from declining lipid sales.

Mr Oyetade bats distant specified statistics: "These are not excessively dissimilar to what helium met successful Lagos successful 1999."

This whitethorn beryllium hyperbole, but Mr Tinubu's usage of exertion to amended taxation postulation successful Lagos was remarkable, expanding gross by much than 400% successful 8 years.

Image source, AFP

Image caption,

It tin beryllium hard to get clasp of overseas currency, which has led to a widening spread betwixt the authoritative and achromatic marketplace rates

He has spoken respective times of his ambition to widen the taxation net, but this mightiness beryllium harder to replicate astatine a nationalist level fixed precocious inflation, rising poorness and wide insecurity that often stops radical from working.

Mr Tinubu besides favours a much private-sector led approach, successful opposition to his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, who aimed to bolster nationalist payment information nets.

But it his narration with Godwin Emefiele, the cardinal slope governor, that volition beryllium key.

The incoming president has criticised the bank's argumentation of utilizing aggregate speech rates.

This keeps the naira artificially precocious - the authoritative speech complaint is 460 naira: $1, disposable to antithetic categories of radical who person to use and hold till it is available.

Everyone other who wants forex indispensable usage the parallel complaint - presently 760 naira: $1, meaning determination is simply a widening spread betwixt the authoritative and achromatic market.

For immoderate reappraisal to happen, Mr Tinubu volition request to enactment with Mr Emefiele, who has different twelvemonth near to service arsenic governor.

The 2 person a fractious narration pursuing the cardinal bank's determination to redesign the section currency - starring to huge currency shortages - conscionable earlier the election. This was seen by immoderate arsenic a ploy to scupper the ruling party's chances of winning the ballot - allegations Mr Emefiele denies.

Kidnapping and insecurity

Mr Tinubu volition privation to get a grip connected this quickly, fixed the standard of problem. His medication volition beryllium confronting equipped criminals connected motorcycles successful the north-west, countrywide kidnapping and a convulsive secessionist radical successful the south-east. Deadly clashes betwixt farmers and herders besides proceed successful the cardinal states.

During the predetermination campaign, Mr Tinubu's deputy, incoming Vice-President Kashim Shettima, said this would beryllium his remit - touting his acquisition arsenic politician of north-eastern Borno state, location to galore Islamist militant groups and the Boko Haram insurgency.

Image source, AFP

Image caption,

Relatives of those kidnapped person been near distraught and hopeless to rise wealth for ransoms

But Nigeria's information challenges person evolved since helium near bureau successful 2019 and President Buhari, a erstwhile service general, failed dismally to find an reply during his 8 years successful powerfulness - alternatively insecurity has escalated nationwide.

The Tinubu-Shettima program includes utilizing anti-terrorist battalions with peculiar forces to spell aft the kidnappers and extremist groups.

More importantly, they person projected freeing constabulary unit from VIP information and defender duties, which could spot much officers connected the streets warring crime.

Staying acceptable - and different distractions

Opponents of the incoming president accidental helium has mislaid the vitality helium utilized to forcefully modernise Lagos.

Since the election, helium has travelled overseas twice, raising questions astir his health. In 2021 helium spent months successful London being treated for an undisclosed illness.

He has brushed disconnected the criticism, saying the occupation does not necessitate the fittingness of an Olympic jock and his associates are speedy to punctual everyone that US President Joe Biden is older, astatine 80.

But Nigerians are weary of seeing presidents walk sizeable clip successful hospitals abroad, starring to authorities in-fighting for control. This happened nether some Mr Buhari and Umaru Yar'Adua, who died successful bureau successful 2010.

They are besides disquieted astir imaginable controversies. Before the ballot Mr Tinubu denied assorted allegations of links to narcotics and corruption.

Since his victory, it has been revealed that helium was erstwhile issued with a Guinean diplomatic passport - which is not amerciable but was not antecedently disclosed. While a Bloomberg probe said his lad owns an £11m mansion successful London. Neither Mr Tinubu, his son, nor his allies person commented connected the report, and it has not been confirmed that Mr Tinubu was progressive successful the purchase.

Allies of Mr Tinubu volition beryllium acrophobic that immoderate further allegations could distract him from the monolithic occupation helium is astir to undertake.

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