2016: A Year Of Outsize Expectations For Nigerians

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Bayo Oluwasanmi

As we have successfully scaled through the crossroads of the old and new year, it brings out a sense of nostalgia of the year passed, of both our successes and failures. It also brings hope for the new year, starting new and making positive changes. Though you might expect a lot out of new year’s, in reality it will be like every other night.

After looking over 2015, it seems the right thing to do is to look ahead to the socioeconomic problems in 2016. A new year often brings renewed hope for individuals, nations, and humanity. Naturally, we all pray and hope for peace and prosperity.

In 2015, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan humiliated at the polls was a goner. The departure of the native son of Otueke aroused near-erotic ecstasy of Nigerians who loathed him with such intensity it’s hard to think of a comparison with any democratically elected president in Nigeria.

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Candidate Muhammadu Buhari didn’t have the fiery oratory. To be sure, he’s no Barack Obama. Buhari didn’t electrify the way Obama did. But the earnestness is remarkably similar. After soaring through Nigeria’s political stratosphere on the promise of killing corruption before corruption kills us, Mr. Buhari was overwhelmingly elected president.

Arguably, Mr. Buhari was the most popular and beloved leader ever elected president in the history of Nigeria. Riding on a populist agenda to fight corruption and sanitize the nation of demons of all sorts, he took office May 29, 2015 with Nigerians weeping with happiness. I can still see it vividly the smiles across the lips of Nigerian masses. It was a time of a lot of eager, nostalgic, and liberal feelings among Nigerians. The acceptance of and respect for Mr. Buhari were tellingly electrifying.

From abroad, Nigeria is now seen as a country with bright future pilot by a president with a zero tolerance for corruption. The most formidable problem in 2016 for President Buhari is the outsize expectations of Nigerians. Real change was Mr. Buhari’s slogan. His populist agenda of fighting corruption, creating jobs, guarantee of safety and security, extermination of Boko Haram terrorists, hope for the realization of common dreams of all Nigerians unite the nation behind Mr. Buhari.

We don’t need a fictional George Orwell to tell us that basic infrastructures are non-existent in Nigeria. Like ancient curse, the same old problems continue to haunt Nigerians. The solutions preferred so far to the old problems are laughable: For water, dig borehole. For electricity, by generator. For roads, pothole roads are good enough. For public transportation, hop on okada. For police, call on neighborhood vigilantes. For housing, sleep under Eko Bridge. For jobs, sell re-loadable phone cards. And for healthcare, don’t get sick and if you’re sick, die quickly!

Political reform, socioeconomic reform, and whatever other reform that have been nagging Nigeria would be the preoccupation of Mr. Buhari’s administration. After years of Jonathan regime characterized by stagnation, corruption, dysfunction, and other manufactured problems, Nigerians would expect to see some changes in 2016 that would move the country forward.

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