President Umaru Yar'Adua has been gone a long time. Back in 2009, when I was at City Uni, I was asked by one of my professors to write about the many things going on in Nigeria. Some of my fellow students couldn't understand the things we deal with in Naij, like PHCN, the "Enough is Enough" movement, and how we could have a missing president. So I wrote this:
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It's not a bad thing for one person to expect something from another. That's just the way life goes. But I've often felt the weight of what I think are unrealistic expectations; from friends, family, bosses/co-workers, and of course, society.
That's why I wonder how the crop of new governors, senators, representatives, and of course, the new President & VP, must be feeling. Just a few days into their administration, people, already deeply disappointed with some of their predecessors, are putting all their hopes on the new (well, new in some places, a continuation in others) guys in charge.
In Lagos, the people who loved former Governor Babatunde Fashola are hoping Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is up to the challenge. Promises of a N25bn intervention fund and new ministries to increase foreign investment into Lagos, among other duties have been made. People in areas they feel Fashola ignored are expecting Ambode to "pick up the slack."
And in Rivers State, where there's been so much violence and controversy, some who say former Governor Rotimi Amaechi was charismatic but non-performing are undoubtedly hoping Governor Nyesom Wike will do a lot better, starting with sorting out the confusion/controversy with the state judiciary and civil service.
But the biggest hopes and highest expectations have been placed upon President Muhammadu Buhari. Those who believed in him and voted for him want an end to the crippling poverty in Nigeria, the extinction of Boko Haram, a solution to this awful fuel scarcity we've been living through, assistance for the internally displaced, constant electricity, better infrastructure, overhauling education, healthcare and several other sectors, ending corruption, reducing our reliance on oil, making sure our refineries are overhauled and local industries are supported, improving the environment for the private sector and of course, the SMEs....and he hasn't even been in power a week!
With all these issues and many more besides, the hopes and expectations of 180 million people rest upon this one man and his team; a team we expect will be made up of smart, young(er), fresher minds than what we had before; minds that aren't there to take up space and steal the country's riches while spewing platitudes. Minds that will look at how their decisions will affect you and I, as well as people living in abject poverty. Minds that are able to make the right choice for us all, not choices that will benefit the barons, cabals and other "big men/women."
If change is really here, then I hope the new school of change-makers (including us, as citizens, willing to speak up and insist on holding each other and our leaders, accountable) is ready to shoulder the weight. Good luck (no pun intended) and Godspeed to all the new reps, senators, governors, and above all, President Buhari. We expect you to do what you've said you will do. Many of us, including citizen-run platforms like @BudGitNG and @Buharimeter are tracking you. Please don't let us down.