Nigeria West African giants to become Africa’s super power

After the transition takes place – all eyes are on Nigeria – will the West African nation finally become the ‘Super Power’ of Africa?

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Incoming president Muhammadu Buhari, waving to supporters. play

Incoming president Muhammadu Buhari, waving to supporters.

(bbc)
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Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential” - Winston Churchill.

May 29, 2015 marks a new beginning for Nigeria – as it transits power from the incumbent to the opposition party. After ruling for six years, President Goodluck Jonathan will handover to Muhammadu Buhari after losing out in the 2015 President elections.

After the transition takes place – all eyes are on Nigeria – will the West African nation finally become the ‘Super Power’ of Africa?

With monikers such as ‘The Giant of Africa’, it’s a bit disappointing to know Nigeria still does not rank as the number one country, despite being the most populous black nation in the world.

A number of factors have held the West African ‘giant’ from claiming a position it should have attained decades ago. With Buhari coming in as President (on his fourth attempt), many have enthused that in a matter of time, these problems can be solved – thereby leading the country to a new phase with many possibilities.

Economy Instability
With its declining welfare and social instability, Nigeria's huge economic potential has been marred by economic stagnation in its history. Despite abundant resources and coastal location, Nigeria has failed to grow and dominate Africa, only realising little of this potential.

The last few years have however seen rapid growth, much of which has been attributed to foreign investment, and credit has been given to Jonathan administration which has attempted to seize the opportunity. Nigeria’s economy became the largest in Africa (yes, bigger than South Africa’s).

But on the large scale – it has looked like the nation witnessed growth without development.

Buhari has the next four years to use the ‘budding’ economy, which has in the last few years set up itself, as Launchpad for something great. This will be a giant step

Security
One of the major setbacks in the Jonathan administration was insecurity. Boko Haram, the jihadist group based in north-eastern Nigeria, rose from a common radical group to a full blown militia with backing from ISIS in the last five years.

With Nigeria’s failure to nip the group’s activities at the bud years ago, Boko Haram has grown in numbers (about 7000 members) and now occupy 6,704 square miles in the country.

The Government’s inability to deal with this security threat was evidently shown with the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in April 2014. Over a year later, the girls are yet to be rescued.

Many believe Buhari will fasten the eradication of Boko Haram – the retired Major-General’s experience as a Military leader looks like an advantage already.

There is no doubt that in tackling the insurgency, we have a tough and urgent job to do”, Buhari said in his acceptance speech in April 2015.

“…with the cooperation of our neighbours; Cameroon, Niger, Chad and the international community and the commitment we are going to get from the military, it will take us a much shorter time to deal with them”, Buhari stated in a 2015 interview with the BBC.

Fuel Subsidy
The last days of the Jonathan administration have been marred with scarcity of petroleum products, especially Petrol and Diesel. Experts have described it as the worst fuel scarcity in years, lasting for close to a month.

Worse still, the scarcity has been reported to be an artificial creation of the oil marketers in attempts to force the Federal Government to pay subsidy debt allegedly owed them before a new administration is inaugurated on May 29, 2015.

While Jonathan remained silent on this, Buhari has been gathering data that will press forward a policy on the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, while his administration finds a solution to scarcity of products. He has already been making contacts with relevant stakeholders on how to effectively implement the subsidy regime.

Corruption
Many will enthuse that the last 6 years has stripped the country of its credibility in handling corruption allegations, with a hundred and one accusations levelled against the Jonathan administration.

A lack of integrity was seemingly established in 2013 when the then Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi claimed that $20bn earning in oil could not be accounted for by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The FG’s response to this was to have Sanusi replaced, citing the allegation as a case of ‘financial recklessness and misconduct’.

Another instance is the case of Buruji Kashamu – a member of Jonathan’s political party PDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party). Kashamu was recently elected as a Senator in Ogun State while a warrant for his arrest in the United States (for an alleged conspiracy to smuggle heroin) has been filed since 1998.

In the military coup of 1983, Buhari justified the military's seizure of power by chastising the then civilian government as ‘hopelessly corrupt’. Millions of Buhari supporters believe the 72-year-old will continue in this light as he resumes power this May.

Will the fangs of corruption be finally pulled out from Nigeria? A question many think has a positive answer.

And that might just be Buhari and Osinbajo’s modus operandi in making Nigeria the super power of the African continent.

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