President Muhammadu Buhari and six other top personalities selected from across critical spheres will shape the country this year, Daily Trust on Sunday reports.
This year will usher in a new president as the second and final term of President Buhari lapses on May 29. Already, 18 candidates are gearing up for the presidential election slated for February 25. One of them will take over the country’s plum job on May 29.
A new crop of leaders is also expected to emerge at the parliament. The elections for the National Assembly would be held on the same day as the presidential.
The governorship elections would be held in 30 of the 36 states on March 11. The elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states are now held at different times.
Elected in 2015 as the 15th president of the country, Buhari’s actions or inactions will shape the year. Though he has assured Nigerians that he would bequeath the country with credible elections and give the electoral body free hands to conduct the exercise, all eyes are on the octogenarian to fulfil the pledges.
“INEC is ready because I made sure they were given all the resources they asked because I don’t want any excuses that they were denied funds by the government,” Buhari said while responding to a question on the readiness of INEC to conduct the elections in Washington DC, USA, at an interactive session titled: “A Conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria”, on December 17, 2022.
Pundits believe that if the president fulfils his pledge, the country’s democracy will be strengthened and Nigerians’ fate in the system enhanced.
Nigerians expect that the president will ensure a smooth transition of power to the winner of the February 25, presidential election. Before then, he is expected to step up his campaigns against terrorism and banditry and complete some of his legacy projects.
At the twilight of his tenure, the country is expected to end subsidy on petroleum as announced by the federal government. A deadline of June has been set. The president has laid the foundation for this with his assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
INEC Chair, Yakubu
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, is also on the radar as he oversees and gives directions on the conduct of the polls to national commissioners who in turn supervise the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in states.
The success or otherwise of the elections rests largely on Yakubu’s shoulders. The chief electoral officer of the country is to ensure the electoral umpire functions independently and free from external influence. The commission, under him, is also expected to display openness and transparency in all its activities and its relationship with all stakeholders.
Stakeholders are expecting Yakubu to be firm in the implementation of the electoral law. To them, the game changer in this election circle, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), should not be jettisoned.
Yakubu will declare the winner of the presidential election after the announcement of the results by the returning officer who is usually a professor from one of the country’s universities.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, has the mandate to coordinate the police and other security agencies to ensure the elections are conducted peacefully.
Ahead of the polls, the country has continued to witness election-related violence. Scores of people have been killed and dozens injured in different clashes. This is just as the menace of banditry is still terrorising the North West; farmers/herders clashes in the North Central; Boko Haram in the North East; IPOB in the South East and pockets of security breaches being recorded in the South West.
The neutrality of the police is another issue that Baba is expected to ensure.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, presides over the Supreme Court, the highest court in Nigeria which decisions are final.
Some of the litigations that will trail the elections will end at the apex court.
Ahead of the elections, the CJN on November 7, 2022, inaugurated members of the 2023 Election Petitions Tribunals. A total of 307 judges will be serving on the tribunals set up to adjudicate disputes that may arise from the 2023 elections.
The Court of Appeal coordinates and serves as the secretariat of the election petitions tribunals across the country. Daily Trust on Sunday reports that members of the tribunals are expected to be deployed to states this month (January).
“As the Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust,” Mr Ariwoola warned the judicial officers who will be handling post-election cases.
As some of the cases will end at the apex court, the CJN will constitute panels of the Supreme Court that will entertain post-election cases that would drag to the apex court.
Dangling on Ariwoola is the responsibility to monitor and address allegations of corruption and misconduct that may be levelled against judicial officials as he is the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Winner of presidential poll
The winner of the February 25 presidential election will play a critical role in shaping the country this year.
A total of 18 presidential candidates have indicated interest in taking over the job of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, this year, but the pendulum is swinging towards the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi; and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP). The fate of the candidates would be determined by 84 million registered voters in 176,846 polling units of the country.
After swearing in, the new president will take charge of the affairs of the country, make his first appointments, including Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief of Staff and media aides.
In the second week of his tenure, the new president will transmit a proclamation letter to the National Assembly to terminate the Ninth Assembly and kick-start the 10 Assembly. This will give room for the emergence of new presiding officers for the legislature.
Pundits say the success of the new president in this regard will shape the country positively or negatively.
Aliko Dangote is the richest black person and the 75th richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group, the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa.
In October, 2022, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) disclosed that the Dangote Petroleum Refinery was at 97 per cent. It is expected to begin production this year.
The refinery, with 650,000 barrels per-day installed capacity, is expected to meet the country’s requirement for all refined petroleum products.
Industry experts say the successful completion of the refinery will have a significant impact on Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) market through import substitution.
Seventeen years after, the country is gearing up for the conduct of a national population census. The exercise was last held in 2006 during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The exercise, which ideally is to be conducted every 10 years, has now been scheduled for April this year. A pilot census was held in July last year.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the exercise would be held under the chairmanship of Nasir Isa-Kwarra. Thus all eyes are on him as he is expected to supervise the conduct of the exercise.
Experts say the importance of census cannot be overestimated as it is the centre of every planning activity, and that no meaningful development can be achieved without taking census data into account.googletag.cmd.push(function() googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1670511129540-0'); );
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