The Paradox of Interim National Government in Nigeria
The late propositions around the pushes for an obnoxious political system of governance in the name of Interim National Government (ING), after the February 25th, 2023 National Election in Nigeria, have played up the paradox in the pretentious quest for Nigeria’s rebirth. At a stretch, the different entities in the system are unanimously agreeable to the institutionalisation of fairness, justice and equity as the bedrock for a united and progressive Nationhood; at the other end, the methodological means of achieving these noble notions (mottos) are being weakened by anti-democratic forces in the system.
The constitutionality provisions being quoted (and being relied upon) by the promoters of the ING are contingent upon certain conditions/terms in the spirit and letters of the 1999 Constitution (amended), and cannot be applied in isolation. The fact that the election held across the length and breadth of the country; the fact that interested parties took part in the election; the fact that the constitutional body (INEC) followed due processes in midwifing the election within stipulated parameters; the fact that winners emerged without any weighted discontentment, and the fact that the winners have been duly certified by the Electoral Body, clearly negate any attempt to short-change the democratic processes of governance for an unwarranted interregnum – ING.
In the just concluded election, the beauty of the presidential system followed/used, is that the Constitution allows for adjudication and redress of disputes arising from the election, and it’s only proper for the third arms of government (judiciary) be allowed to mediate on any contentious issues there off. The Nigerian Nation is evolving round the principles of participatory governance which allow for checks and balances of the operating institutions to fully evolve into maturity. It’s, therefore, in the interest of decency, fairness, justice and equity that the February presidential election be allowed to stand the tests of democratic scrutiny, thereby reinforcing the best global practice of governance that started in 1999. The advanced democracies from which Nigeria has borrowed leaf have had their fair shares of turbulence before attaining sound footing, and surely, Nigeria cannot be an exception in the same democratic journey. Indeed, the national rebirth being canvassed can only find meaningful expression when all institutions in the system operate at maximal capacity of responsibilities, allowing for deepening overtime.
In the present instance, the institution of an ING, in whatever form, will amount to an aberration of a sound footed democratic procedures cruising to its final destination, an antithetical proposition in our quest for national growth, progress and sweet posterity.
Historically, the concept of ING has not resonated with Nigerian Nation as the attempt made post-1993 widely acclaimed free and fair presidential election believed to have been won by the late Chief MKO Abiola was scandalously scuttled by the Military junta led by General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd). Consequently, the Nation is yet to fully recover from its fallouts 30 years down the line. Even at that, in 2023, the settings have changed substantially, and the leadership transition is from one civil process to the other; not the military arrangements of yester years.
More than ever before, the democratic operatives in the political landscape have learnt that any attempt at derailment of the current process will be tantamount to an unforgivable reversal of the democratic gains attained in the past 24 years, and caution is of utmost importance in plotting for an ING.
In exploring round the ING propositions, the players in the February presidential election, need to imbibe the total spirit of sportsmanship, one with the inherent give-and-take attributes. While the acclaimed winner, the president-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) should be magnanimous in victory to accommodate sufficiently implement his government of national competency to embrace all- inclusive synergy for winning progressive governance frameworks. Also, Tinubu’s presidency should objectively deepen Nigeria’s democracy to acclimate the effective implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda, while oppositions must display maturity in seeing beyond the present hiccups in a fledgling democratic experimentation that is evolving.
On his part, Asiwaju Tinubu has extended the Olive branch (twice) to all stakeholders in the contest, assuming the no-victor, no-vanquished position, and calling for a conciliatory/healing process of the polity towards a united and prosperous Nation ahead of May 29. In his latest treaties to the opposition and the stakeholders generally, the president-elect has openly canvassed a national “healing process” engendered by the fallouts of the slur in the election.
Specifically, Asiwaju posited so much of peace initiative that will bring about accelerated democratic dividends. Extensively, he has said: “With the conclusion of the elections at levels, consolidating democratic governance at the sub-national level will bring more development and improved quality of life to the masses. The more we entrench and consolidate the gains of our democratic venture across the length and breadth of our country, the more our people benefit in terms of dividends of democracy and good governance.”
“However, I’m saddened by the reported isolated infractions during the elections and their aftermath in some states. I strongly condemn it. Also, the report of arson after the announcement of governorship results in one the state did not represent who we truly are: peace-loving people”.
To the winner, “Elections should be a celebration of our maturing democracy and freedom of choice and ought not to be moments of grief. I am particularly pained by cases of ethnic slurs, which are capable of creating needless mischaracterisation reported in some locations”.
“My appeal is for us to rise above our differences, which, in reality, are fewer than the valued strings that bind us together as a people irrespective of the circumstances of our births.”
Tinubu said, as former governor of Lagos State, he can attest to the strength in our diversity and togetherness. “As your President-elect, it is that spirit of inclusiveness we engendered in Lagos that I intend to bring into national governance so that together we can attain our full potentials”.
“I will give priority to expanding the civic space and safeguarding citizens’ freedom to exercise their rights within the bounds of the law”.
“Indeed, the elections are over. The people have voted to elect their governors and state legislators that will serve them for the next four years. The time for leadership and governance is now upon us”.
The ING propositions hardly resonate with BAT, and he pointedly paints a graphic picture of his position thus: “In a democracy, majority would have their way but that majority must not suppress the minority from having their say. As democrats, we have to safeguard free expression. Winners must be magnanimous and those who did not win should have a large heart for tolerance and respect for the greater interest of the nation”.
“As the elected, the only way to justify the trust and confidence of the people and the mandate entrusted in us is to commit ourselves to the service of the people. We must all work diligently and sincerely to make life better for the masses. As elected officers, we have no other assignment than to be burden-bearers for the masses and ensure they have better life that we promised during the campaigns”.
“We must take urgent steps to unite the people; those who voted for us and those who did not. We must champion the healing process by embracing the opponents and their supporters. As I have stated previously, the time for politicking is gone. This is time for nation-building, a task beyond one individual or a section of society. We need every hand from wherever it may come to be on deck”.
Conclusively, Asiwaju said: “I am ready to work with you all as your President. I will be a worthy partner you can trust and rely on as we all bond together, in the unity of purpose and renewed hope for, the betterment of our blessed country and beloved people.”
In broad perspectives, the messages of the “National Healing Creed” are encapsulated in the 2023 Renewed Hope Manifesto of the President-elect, one that pinpoints the roadmap for the desire to deliver on promises made to the Nigerian people. With the elections over, it’s necessary to recap the salient points in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the president-elect with a view to reassuring Nigerians across boards that the governance template is set to sail.
The centrality of the agenda stems on the fact that governance is about finding solutions to problems, either by identifying them and addressing them or by making plans to address issues handed down from previous administrations. Under the upcoming administration, Nigerians will be able to identify the qualities that make a competent, tested, and experienced leader, giving them a fundamental understanding of governance. All pioneers should have checkable administration capacities to offer a majority rules system to most Nigerians. In light of the current situation in Nigeria, the argument ought to concentrate thoughtfully on each candidate’s antecedent in terms of their engaging perspective on advancing democratic values for the benefit of Nigeria and their retrospective contribution to this democracy.
The most crucial issue could be a triple-sort one in which, just before the cycle is over, the most successful democrats, generally recognised for their ability to deal with Nigerian interests, won. Under this leadership, Nigeria must reach new economic, technological, and democratic development heights. This democracy has been developing in Nigeria’s current republic since 1990, and the leadership has changed several times during elections. BAT will undoubtedly lead Nigeria with self-assurance and excellence without being hypocritical. We are reminded by the current ‘Renewed Hope’ Manifesto that leaders must be skilled at creating opportunities for all people and take responsibility for their actions for the nation and its citizens to continue prospering.
The comprehensive initiative focuses on properly implementing administration systems to ensure residents’ prosperity and take responsibility. You can affirm without reservation that BAT’s performance as governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 was an exceptional governance paradigm of taking responsibility. It was a first-of-its-kind effort to restructure the economy and infrastructure massively. This created enormous long-term opportunities for the state’s development into the developed, thriving state it is today in terms of economic, technological, political, and other infrastructure. In any case, BAT assumed responsibility when the government allotment unexpectedly stopped, and none of his actions resulted in negative consequences, such as lower staff pay rates or no pay at all. Instead of cutting staff hiring and salary payments, BAT implemented a first-rate strategy for positive resource profiling and re-evaluating necessary deliverables for all agencies in Lagos State.
Asiwaju made intelligent decisions with his money, investing in a group of talented people by identifying them and positioning them to be incredible leaders who would help the majority of people benefit from democracy. For the APC’s victory in 2015 and subsequent elections, BAT submitted his right and selflessly discovered the experience of bringing progressive ideology to mitigate failure risks. Such political contributions brought about the defeat of the incumbent, and a newly formed party took the country’s leadership for the first time in the history of Nigeria’s democracy; what an achievement!
Considering BAT in retrospect, you will soon discover at least five essential characteristics. Asiwaju is a consistent and productive progressive democratic activist, and all will be brought to bear from May 29, 2023. Before 1999 and now, he has always had a disciplined personality. We knew how Asiwaju gave the pro-democracy struggle new life when he took over financing after the cruel annulment of the election on June 12, 1993. You can remember financing of Radio Kudirat was a game-changer that positively redirected the pro-democracy movement’s activities and contributed to the 1999 handover of power to civilians. At the time, NADECO’s activities thrived on his financial power. As an outstanding political activist and leader who values professional selflessness in leadership, BAT took this action. In any case, when vulnerability opposes the legitimate initiative, BAT centres on the timeless qualities for the coming generations to adopt as a consistent worldview.
Asiwaju has been a prominent advocate for fiscal and political reform since the beginning of this democracy. He set up a type of Treasury Single Account in Lagos State before it became a national policy. That is cutting-edge thinking. He talked about the supply and consumption economy rather than the typical supply and demand economy. One uses up the economy, while the other deals with production. He executed the acknowledged economy as a compelling enemy of debasement methodology for straightforwardly archiving each monetary exchange inside the framework. That is the way to move toward national development. BAT had stated repeatedly that if he wins the presidential election, he will commit to doubling Nigeria’s GDP.
The nation’s industrial policy will come to life; thanks to this synergy. The BAT’s goal of creating significant and minor industrial hubs in each geopolitical zone is to encourage functional greatness in new regions by making Nigeria a leader in the fourth industrial revolution rather than a bystander. Nigerians shall actively participate in the digital economy. You have such a robust financial connection to the Renewed Hope Manifesto that it makes you think of the qualities you should look for in a presidential candidate before you vote in the 2023 election.
The political idea that Asiwaju had of “Renewed Hope” has the apparent value of creating opportunities for all. By balancing other factors to maximise an individual’s potential to impact the nation’s economic development significantly, the leading global north countries are beginning to achieve equal opportunities. The “Renewed Hope,” an integrated national development framework for creating opportunities, exemplifies BAT’s commitment.
The eight subsystems of the “Renewed Hope” model will be combined in a way that is both effective and efficient, yielding the immense benefits of democracy to everyone. The following will be extensively implemented on a national scale by the model, with significant success in Lagos State. The ‘Renewed Hope’ structures eight firm components on Monetary developmental and enhancement; Recruiting and developing personnel; Participation in the ICT revolution; legal changes; maximising the utilisation of government resources and preventing leaks; protecting Nigeria and its people from both internal and external aggression; Transformation in agriculture and Nigeria for Nigerians. With Asiwaju’s perspective on “Renewed Hope”, his knowledge of Tigerising Nigeria’s Economy by effectively and efficiently distributing opportunities will speak volumes. His strategy will be similar to the one he used in Lagos, but if elected now, it will be more effective and broader.
In Nigeria’s political history, BAT’s governance unquestionably demonstrates a complete commitment by allocating resources to a positive effort to eradicate inequality by providing additional education to socially excluded individuals. As an example of creating educational opportunities, on February 9, 2000, just one year into his stewardship in Lagos, he presented checks to the officials of assigned banks to pay for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WAEC) for all public-school students in Lagos state. BAT is adept at making governance an appropriate and timely intervention channel. He made many economic and strategic interventions in Lagos State to make robust economic progress, even on personal matters, like paying the WAEC exam fees for all Lagos State public school students.
BAT has a wealth of political experience under his belt, having served as governor of Nigeria’s most important and influential state, a senator, and a champion of democracy. He is an expert in digital leadership in a volatile environment. The theme-based leadership style of Asiwaju will continue to prevail in Nigeria’s quest to create opportunities for all and accelerate its economic, technological, and democratic development.
BAT shall implement an exemplary Nigeria strategy review, make sense of the turbulent digital environment, and eliminate the legacy structures and management approaches that stifle innovation and break free from previous cultural norms. BAT will unleash the creative potential of his employees and team members with high performance; Reimagine leadership for a great Nigeria by taking advantage of the full potential of established and emerging technologies.
All Nigerians want Tinubu to unite the nation by establishing a government of national competency, so there is no justification for the calls for an ING as Nigerians prepare for the inauguration of Tinubu’s presidency on May 29, 2023. As I mentioned earlier in one of my pieces, Tinubu’s victory demonstrates his devotion to Nigerians and unwavering dedication to constructing a nation that is better and more prosperous for everyone. It is, without a doubt, time to get ready for a national peak, and the nation must think, heal, pray, and rise to the heights of this time.
Because it is a tactic of anti-democratic personnel to stymie the democratic process and undermine the will of the people, and call for the establishment of an ING is highly condemnable. Without a doubt, the tranquil progress of force is continuous as a critical principle of a majority-rule government. No space for any gathering at all to evade the vote-based process through ill-conceived implies. The international community will continue to be watchful and closely monitor the situation. Tinubu’s new administration will combat electoral violence, intimidation, and other obstacles that voters encountered during the elections to preserve democracy.
Democrats with a progressive bent around the world are reiterating their dedication to advancing democracy, good governance, and the rule of law in Nigeria. Nigerians demonstrated worldwide their eagerness to uphold progressive democratic values and collaborate to create a brighter future for our great nation with the National election’s outcome on February 25, 2023. With Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as our President, our expectations are recharged, and we are hopeful that better days will come.
Conclusively, it is safe to affirm that BAT’s presidency will guarantee renewed hope, security, and the prosperous nation through the Renewed Hope Manifesto to improve the fortune of Nigerians, and make Nigeria a developed country. BAT’s intention for Nigerians is an extraordinary blessing from above, for him to use his extensive, enviable, and illustrious leadership abilities. Surely, we are entering the era of amalgamated renewed hope, and it’s in the interest of all stakeholders (oppositions, the elects and unelected) to allow peace to reign in the land, jettisoning the lame calls and striving for an ING.
Ademola is a professor of Cyber Security and Information Technology Management, a distinguished political analyst and a global Cyber Security technocrat