The much anticipated 2023 presidential election has come and gone. It was a closely fought ballot, with three main contenders which ultimately saw Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC emerging victorious amid allegations of electoral fraud.

The APC’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu won with over 8 million votes, representing 36.6 per cent of the votes. His closest rival was former Vice-president and presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, who garnered 6,984,520 votes representing 29.01 per cent.
With Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared winner, having received his certificate of return, he will be sworn in on May 29, 2023.

Ahead of his swearing-in, let’s look back at some of the mistakes that his soon-to-be predecessor President Muhammadu Buhari made. President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu cannot afford to make these mistakes.

Delay in appointment of ministers  

After he emerged as the winner of the 2015 election, having defeated the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, Buhari came into power with high hopes. However, one of his mistakes for the failure to appoint ministers to get his administration started. For almost six months, Buhari worked without ministers and one of the reasons he cited was his agreement with Goodluck Jonathan to set a transition committee between Jonathan’s ministers and those he intends to appoint.

The failure to appoint ministers came under heavy criticism as the country was set on autopilot. The failure has been attributed as one of the reasons for the problems he faced during his first stint. 

After his reelection 2019 during a meeting with the National Assembly in July 2019, Buhari admitted that most of the ministers he worked with were not known to him. The President-elect on the assumption of office must ensure that he does not follow this path as a matter of exigency. Nigeria needs to be up and running.

It is advisable that within the first 6 weeks of his tenure, he should appoint his ministers and should be based on competency. His Media Adviser, Dele Alake has been quoted saying he expects his Principal to set up his cabinet in 3 weeks judging by his antecedents as Governor of Lagos state. 

Failure to remove fuel subsidy 

Before he emerged as President, Buhari was one of the most vocal voices in the country against the continuous payment of fuel subsidies. He was one of the individuals who participated in the Occupy Nigeria protest in 2012 against the removal of fuel subsidies by the Jonathan-led government. His emergence and his appointment as the Minister of Petroleum were meant to set the ball rolling.

However, with a few months to the end of his tenure, the payment of fuel subsidy is much present and has increased astronomically. In 2022, the Senate approved N4 trillion as payment for a subsidy, and according to reports and projections from the World Bank, the payment rose as high as N6 trillion, much more than the budget for other sectors.

Tinubu at different meetings and campaigns before the election has revealed plans to remove fuel subsidies upon resuming office, even if it leads to protests. Tinubu must ensure he does not renege on this and create a clear and feasible plan on how the funds from subsidy removal will be spent to ease the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy. 

Failure of Campaign Promises  

In the buildup to the 2015 general elections, Buhari in several campaigns in the country made different promises on how he would improve the country’s economy and the country at large.

Some of the campaign promises include the creation of 3 million jobs every year, 20,000MW of electricity in 4 years, payment of allowance to unemployed graduates, and allocating up to 20 percent of the budget for education, among others. In the four years, Buhari failed to achieve most of his campaign promises and at large all through his 8 years as the president.

Tinubu must ensure that he doesn’t fall into the trap of making promises and not fulfilling them. The incoming government’s goals should be broken down into small, medium and long-term objectives and communicated to Nigerians as he needs to carry everyone along with this Presidency. 

Speaking to foreign media only 

During Buhari’s first tenure between 2015-2019, he was known to be a man who ‘shunned’ the local media and favoured the international media. At the time, he was accused of only revealing his plans for the country when he was speaking with foreign media, and kept the national media in the dark.

Tinubu must ensure that the media in the country must be carried along. The media is instrumental to the success of any political dispensation. He must ensure that the Nigerian media is at the forefront of any of his policies, rather than build a following with international media only. 

As Tinubu is set to take the mantle of the country, the President-elect must realize that the political landscape of the country has changed and he must not make the mistakes of President Buhari.