Please note, Buhari’s postal address from today is PMB 2015 (1)
THE term “Buharinomics” will definitely come into our national lingua come May 29, 2015, sooner than later the perception of this term will be determined by how the policy thrust of the new government minimises or maximises the already existing hardships of ordinary Nigerians.
The man Muhammadu Buhari had or has a lot of transitions. The most recent is in something as small as initials or prefixes. The GMB which stands for General Muhammadu Buhari is giving way to PMB, President Muhammadu Buhari.
From the state house at Dodan Barracks to detention in 1985, from a former dictator to a democrat, from an Opposition candidate to the ruling party, from an ex-head of state to President.
It will be nothing less than high expectation from all who are Nigerians in this time of our national history that “a Buhari has come to Aso Rock.” Buhari is the second Nigerian to rule Nigeria twice, hitherto as a military ruler and now as a democratic president.
No doubt the pre-election atmosphere was rife with tension and uncertainty, but no matter the shortcomings of the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, President Jonathan’s call to Buhari conceding victory was not only a stitch in time that saved nine but a call in time that saved lives.
After the campaign blues and the honeymoon of the people’s general wane, he will be officially in charge of piloting the affairs of Nigeria for the next four years.
The buck stops on his table. Buck like fulfilling the election campaign promises made by him and his party the All Progressives Congress (APC). As a commentator I have always appraised the success or otherwise of the Jonathan’s presidency on three broad themes namely: Insecurity, corruption and the economy.
A realistic and holistic review of Jonathan’s successes or failures, legacy or excuses will be objectively derived from these three.
A fourth which can’t be easily captured in a model will be his political (mis)calculations especially on how he made friends or enemies and the over bearing role of his wife which affected some critical decisions or relationships in the life of his administration.
Luckily, with Buhari’s military background and his track record of fighting or punishing corruption during his first coming, it should be given that insecurity and corruption are straight wins for the new President.
The only grey area for him out of these three will be the economy; then we can add democratic governance or politics.
If Buhari falls short in the area of insecurity and the fight against corruption, that will be a big gaffe on his part.
It will be good to know that Buhari will have to also transit in his economic ideology if he hasn’t already. In 1984 and 1985 when he was at the helms of affairs, government intervention in the economy was at its peak especially in the developing countries.
The Keynesian theory of the 1930s which posited that the invisible hand of demand and supply was not adequate to create fair equilibrium in the economy or allocate resources efficiently was very popular.
Over the years, the failure of government intervention in driving countries to full output or employment level coupled with a high level of wastages, inefficiencies, corruption, greed, and abuse of powers typical of African countries led to these countries either seeking structural adjustments or reviewing fundamentally their economic models.
Nigeria is widely known to be notorious when it comes to corruption, with rampant rent seeking and doling out of patronage either in doing businesses or running the machinery of government.
It is against this backdrop that Buhari who is seen by many as a person with integrity and very disciplined will be expected to bring his frugality to stem this tide.
The structural adjustment years ushered in neo-classical theories in the country and encouraged the divestment of government from businesses.
Privatisation, commercialisation, deregulation and liberalisation took the centre stage. To crown it all, the advent and rise of the internet and globalisation finally means there is no hiding place for any country.
That no economy can live in autarky is a major principle in earlier international trade theories but additionally, in today’s era of globalisation, countries must either take advantage of globalisation or be taken advantage of by globalisation.
Therefore, countries like Nigeria must position themselves for global competitiveness. Nigeria cannot be competitive globally if the fundamentals of the economy are not gotten right.
The quality of life which comes from security and safety, qualitative health care, education, available and affordable housing, employment opportunities, accessible and safe water, sanitation and fundamental human rights are very germane.
Investments in critical and social infrastructure, transparency and benchmarking with peers in the international community should drive Nigeria’s economy if we have to reap the benefits in a globalised world.
Suitably, the major transition for Buhari coming from a command and control economy of the 1980s into the hi-tech knowledge economy of today will be flexibility and sensitivity.
He must be able to adapt to the principles of liberal democracy and economic horse-trading. The internet and social media, freedom of information bill, telecommunications are just a few tools that the citizens can and will use to put their governments in check.
It is also worthy of note that Buhari will not be ruling by fiats and decrees as he did that other time. While he will have the power to rule by executive orders, in the spirit of separation of powers he will have to depend on the National Assembly as regards passing, repealing or modifying bills.
Of critical interests are the very many promises made by Buhari and his party during the electioneering. Some of this promises are welfarist in nature which naturally were appealing to the ordinary citizens, but looking at the resurgence of the neoclassical economic theory, the failure of governments to achieve economic developments and the fall in government revenue as an instrument of government expenditure; one can only imagine how the new government will make good some of these promises.
A few of the promises include free school feeding programmes, unemployment benefits, and social loans. Every Nigerian who voted for Buhari on the account of these and those who didn’t will rationally expect the fulfilment of these promises.
Governments everywhere are voted in to provide results and not excuses and as such, Buhari will not have the luxury of patience from Nigerians. To be continued. • Wakdok, an economist and blogger lives in Abuja. firstname.lastname@example.org