When Muhammadu Buhari ascended to the Nigerian presidency last May, the moment was greeted with great fanfare.
Since then, however, things have not quite gone to plan. Boko Haram attacks have yet to be curtailed, forcing Buhari to fire his military chiefs in an attempt to reset the government’s strategy against the militants. The naira continues to depreciate against the dolar. And the government is operating without a cabinet, which Buhari says he won’t appoint until September.
“Baba Go Slow,” as Nigerians have nick-named their president, is asking the electorate to be patient. While Buhari’s high approval ratings affords him significant political capital, Nigerians want him to spend it, naming corruption as the number one challenge confronting the country.
Nevertheless, when it comes to what they think Buhari’s administration should dedicate its energies on, Nigerians say corruption isn’t the big priority. They want the new government to tackle the electricity challenges and security above all else. Lack of reliable of electricity supply is a huge problem. Earlier this year, the country almost shut down due to a fuel strike that for most part is what powers the country.
Buhari has repeatedly emphasized his zero tolerance for corruption, and has a hard-earned reputation for being tough on anyone found guilty of graft. This month, in an op-ed in the Washington Post he said the US government is helping Nigeria recover up to $150 billion that had been stolen corrupt officials.
There seems to be a lot of goodwill on Buhari’s side. And he will need every ounce of that as he goes about governing Africa’s biggest economy for the next four years.