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May 27, 2011

Nigerians Have High Expectations for New President

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is due to be inaugurated Sunday. He came to power in the political crisis that followed the prolonged illness and eventual death of former leader Umaru Musa Yar'adua. Ascending from the vice presidency, Jonathan vowed to continue the Yar'adua administration's focus on improving the economy and organizing free and fair elections.

Now on the eve of his own four-year mandate, Jonathan is facing high expectations from Nigerians who expect quick results.

“For the first time we have had an election that is close to what we expect, and he should not betray our cause,” said property manager Alhaji Dauda Ibrahim Tsoho.

He adds that the president's biggest challenge is overcoming decades of blackouts. “He has promised electricity. That is what every Nigerian is looking forward to. We don't care how he is going to achieve it. But he will have no excuse whatsoever after that four years to tell us that there is no electricity in Nigeria. That we shall not forgive him,” he said.

Small businessman Ignatius Onwuemele says foreign investors will go to places such as Ghana if the president does not solve Nigeria's power problem.

“There is no economy that you run in modern times with a generator and you expect that economy to survive. There is no economy anywhere in the world that is run on generator,” he said.

As he looks to form a new cabinet, real estate agent Princess Idowu says Jonathan must choose carefully.

“He needs the right people to work with. He needs sincere people. Without the sincerity of the heart, he cannot achieve anything. He needs people who have the fear of God in them. You can not carry out anything, you can not execute any projects without people who have sincere hearts,” said Idowu.

Attorney Christina Irabor says President Jonathan should improve security by better equipping the police force.

“If they are really provided for with all these things that they need to carry out their duties, I believe the insecurity nature of the country at the moment will be reduced,” she said.

For property manager Romanus Agwuma, there will be more security if the president creates more jobs. “If our young youths are engaged in good jobs, they won't have time for robbery and crimes,” said Agwuma.

Water seller Peace Godson says Jonathan must do more to close the gap between Nigeria's rich and poor.

“In this country, the rich keep on becoming richer," she said. "The poor keep on becoming poorer. As we voted for him we did not vote for him for ceremony. He should do something for the poor masses. Because if it is true that he was poor before he became rich, he should listen to us the poor masses not for those rich people who are clamoring for ministerial opportunities.”

Godson says she has a university accounting degree and wants Jonathan to understand that she is selling bags of water in the market because she does not have enough money to bribe her way into one of the few jobs available.