By Sajjad Amin Bangash
Newly elected President Muhammad Bohari is confronted with the challenges to restore peace and economy of Nigeria.
Nigeria is the biggest populated country in African continent and after a successful election took place in Nigeria, Muhammad Bohari from “Congress for Progressive Change Party” has won the election with overwhelming majority. Muhammad Bohari defeated the former President Mr. Good Luck Jonathan with a biggest margin of 20 million votes and proven that his party is the popular throughout the country and will be form the next government. The former president Mr. Goodluck Jonathan has formally accepted the results and greeted Muhammad Bohari for winning the election. It was the first ever victory for any opposition party in Nigeria in all previous elections. Similarly, Muhammad Bohari has expressed reconciliatory gesture and said that “Mr. Goodluck Jonathan is our hero and will remain our hero and he will be having full liberty to preach his ideology in Nigeria.”
Nigeria officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Nigeria is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Present-day Nigeria has been the site of numerous kingdoms and tribal states for millennia.
The former President, Goodluck Jonathan ruled over Nigeria for 05 years and the corruption and bad governance during his five years of tenure have led him to this defeat. Perhaps, the people of Nigeria would have never been that frustrated and annoyed as they were from Mr. Good luck and this anger can better be observed from the fact of ‘jubilation and celebration over Muhammad Bohari’s victory all over Nigeria.’ However; Muhammad Bohari is confronted with several challenges laid ahead of him and to restore peace and law and order situation is among the top of these challenges. “Boko Haram” named a terrorist organization is also operating from Nigeria. The analyst around the world view this successful conduct of Nigerian elections is a landmark and step forward example for all 36 countries across Africa which will replicate positive outcomes to stabilize their own democratic process.
50% of Nigerian population is comprised of Muslims while Christian population is recorded as 35 to 40% and English is Nigeria’s official language. However, more than 500 regional languages are spoken all over Nigeria in different regions and tribes. Nigeria is a democratic state with 36 provinces and the government functions under its own parliament, national assembly and senate with the total members of 360 parliamentarians. The president is chosen for 04 years directly by the votes of the people. Nigeria is a tribal society which is subdued by the weakness of a tribal society.
The current shape that we are now seeing of Nigeria as a democratic state was emerged in the Usman Dan Fodio’s “Caliphate” time period. Since 2002, the North East of the country has seen sectarian violence by Boko Haram, an Islamist movement that seeks to abolish the secular system of government and establish Sharia law in the country
Nigeria was also occupied and colonized by British Empire. During the colonial time, the Christian missionaries were bitter criticized for their role which caused enormous damages to the Muslim population in Nigeria and all of the civil wars in Nigeria were caused by ‘religious rifts’ in Nigerian history. Nigeria got its independence from Britain in 1960 but, the hero of ‘Freedom Movement’ Abu Baker Tawafa Belawa was killed during a military revolt and since then, the series of chaos and turmoil started to sprawl in Nigeria. The democracy remained the ‘dream of an elephant’ and off and on, elections kept holding after every two years at irregular intervals.
After independence, Nigeria remained under the umbrella of foreign interference during Biafra’s 03 years of civil war which taken from 01 to 03 million civilians lives in which Russia, France, Israel and Egypt helped their part of groups with logistic and ammunition support. Here the Britain and Russia sided with federation while France and other countries facilitated the Biafra movement of separatists and eventually, after 03 years of bloodiest warfare, this conflict resolved.
The primary reasons for interference of foreign countries were duly because Nigeria possessed heavy volume of oil, natural resources thus, the foreign powers sought their part of shares from this treasure of oil and natural resources and systematically strengthen the political hegemony over entire African region. Besides, Nigeria maintains a dual role in the international as well Afro-African political contours while Nigeria is an indirect but an active member of Organization of African Unity (OAU). Nigeria is among those countries which extended their immediate support to Saudia Arabia in the Yemen’s conflict.
The election of 2015 has the undeviating importance for Nigerian demographic, ethnic and political spheres Nigeria has one of the largest populations of youth in the world and since 50% of Nigerian population consists of young people within the age brackets of 26 to 32 and majority of them, are unemployed. Similarly, over 04 million Nigerian skilled workers are expats migrated to North America, Europe, and Middle East for employment purposes. Thus, this unemployment stricken youth raised Muhammad Bohari to victory stand and this victory is said to be a step forward achievement of reducing the ‘widespread divide’ in Nigerian society.
Apparently, Nigerian population is divided in Islamic segment in North while Southern part is Christian dominated population. Jonathan Goodluck and his people’s democratic party is said to be major contributor in this divide which used to gather the ‘Christian votes’ in the past. However, Muhammad Bohari’s success changed the trend and he gathered all out support from Muslims as well Christian community all over Nigeria and considered to be the significant symbol of mutual solidarity and harmony within the Nigerian tribal political line.
Despite the fact that the forming of government by military coup back in 1983 didn’t prove to be a good omen for Muhammad Bohari, however; due to Muhammad Bohari’s honesty, visionary, patience and spiritual personality left great impact on Nigerian public and they started to believe that Muhammad Bohari is indeed, a true savvier of Nigeria. He consecutively participated for presidential candidacy in all previous elections and remained unsuccessful but he didn’t lose his hopes and tried to formulate varied solutions to the problems of Nigeria and finally won this election.
This is for the first time happened in the history of Nigerian politics that the people have directly refused the sitting president through the power of ballot papers. This is indeed good news not only for Nigeria but also for the democracy of entire African continent since, Nigeria is the biggest populated country in Africa with heap of political, military, and economical importance for the whole of African Union.
The incumbent President Muhammad Bohari is faced with several challenges and after ‘terrorism’, restoring and restructuring the economy of Nigeria is a daunted task ahead him to tackle. The ousted President Jonathan Goodluck’s cabinet bitterly failed to bring radical reformation in the economical skeleton of Nigeria. Although, United States, China, Russia etc. are highly interested in investment in Nigeria but the worse law and order situation in Nigeria is the biggest impediment in the ways forward. Although, Nigeria is the biggest oil producers in Africa but its economy is on the continuous decline and deterioration. Back in 1970, Nigeria was immediately enrolled in the list of oil producing countries i.e., ‘OPEC’ during oil exploration and extraction first started in Nigeria.
Despite of several military interventions, Nigerian economy remained on the continuous rise which can assessed from the fact that in 2014, Nigeria’s total GDP soared up to 522 billion dollars and remained as 23 strongest economy of the world. World Bank has termed Nigeria as “emerging economy” and rated at 11th on Index of next strongest economical powers of the world.
Despite of all these prosperous figures, Jonathan Goodluck played very painful role in deteriorating the overall shape of Nigerian economy. During his tenure, corruption was on the rise and on such example is when a biggest scandal of 200 million dollars of corruptions was reported to be embezzled by his government but upon the disclosing of scandal by State Bank, he instead of investigating and taking stern actions, removed the Head of State Bank on the allegation of ‘slandering the government.’ However, Per Capita Income of Nigeria remains as 02$ which means a huge portion of Nigerian population lives under sever poverty line.
It is a common perception about Nigeria that the people of Nigeria never vote beyond their tribal and religious bias thus, the unity in Nigeria never thrived in equal bounds. However, in Muhammad Bohari’s success, the Nigerian masses shown a sign of prudence. Muhammad Bohari belongs to the Northern part of Nigeria and he is famous of stringent application of laws and regulations and it is believed that he will get over the ongoing regional conflicts in Nigeria.
Nigerian people believe that Muhammad Bohari will prove to be more effective as compared to Boko Haram. During election campaigns, their popular slogan was “We will crush Boko Haram.” Boko Haram and his group is a continuous menace for the peace of Nigeria and whole of Africa and is accused of mass murdering of innocent people while, across the border in Cameron, his group is also engaged in similar activities as well.
Muhammad Bohari is the new hope for Nigerian people whilst he is faced with counter terrorism and restoring the economy back on track else the restlessness among people will surmount and chaos is always the obvious menace in Nigeria. However, Muhammad Bohari has put forward two direct recommendations as:
a)The increase oil production and earnings b) elimination of corruption from all levels so that the national treasury should be kept secured from grave financial mislay and recuperate from the damaged economy gifted by previous government. Although, Muhammad Bohari and his affiliated parties are perceived to be not profoundly capable of bringing overnight changes but several of their experts and Muhammad Bohari himself is very serious in recovering and restoring the financial might of the country. Certainly, it is of paramount importance that Muhammad Bohari and his political counterparts fulfill their promises, perform well and return Nigeria back on its sound footings.