A spokesman for Nigerian president elect General Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians are in an expectant and joyous mood before the new leader is officially sworn-in Friday in the capital, Abuja.
Shehu Garba says preparations have been finalized to ensure there is a smooth power transfer from President Goodluck Jonathan to General Buhari.
“The country is in the mood for this major shift of power from the PDP [People’s Democratic Party], which has ruled the country for 16 years to the new administration, led by Muhammadu Buhari under the APC [All Progressives Congress],” said Garba. “There is excitement and the air is thick of it and you can touch it ... The outcome of the election is an indication that the people wanted something new [and] fresh.”
Thursday, Buhari returned to Nigeria from a private visit to London where he met with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Garba says Buhari is fully prepared to take on the challenges the country faces immediately after his swearing-in. He acknowledged there is high expectation among the population.
Some Nigerians say they voted for the former military ruler to end the insecurity in parts of the north where Islamist militant group Boko Haram has often carried out attacks and seized communities and territories.
Garba says Buhari will keep his promise of bolstering security and jumpstarting the economy to ensure it works again to create job opportunities for the youth.
“From day one he will be ready, there is no question about it,” he said. “He ran on an election promise to combat terrorism and ensure security of the country, tackle the economy which everyone knows is in trouble, [and] to also deal with the issue of corruption ... He is ready to roll out all of these things from day one.”
Garba called for Nigerians to exercise patience as the Buhari administration takes shape to address their concerns.
He says Nigerians should expect a leader who will lead by example by weeding out what the local media has described as endemic corruption in state institutions.
“The mood of the country will change from May 29 and this is about zero tolerance for corruption,” said Garba. “Our expectation is that routine corruption in day to day matters at the public service, 50 percent will disappear because of the fact that Buhari is in office. They will just stop it.”
“For the first time here is a Nigerian leader who is saying I want to follow the rule of law. He has given instructions he stops at the traffic junction. This hasn’t been seen, in all of the years of democracy in this country ... He will lead by personal example,” he added.