/ 7 March 2023

Bola Tinubu is Nigeria’s new president. Now what?

Bola Tinubu3
Last Wednesday, the ruling All Progressives Congress candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was declared winner of the Nigerian presidential election. (Photo by Emmanuel Osodi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Last Wednesday, the ruling All Progressives Congress candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was declared winner of the Nigerian presidential election. 

He beat opposition leader Atiku Abubakar, of the People’s Democratic Party, and youth favourite Peter Obi, of the Labour Party. Regarded by local and international media as 2023’s most important election in the world, and the most unpredictable in Nigeria’s history, in the end the result was “more of the same”. 

Tinubu, a former governor of Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos State, is a stalwart of establishment power. He earned his reputation as a kingmaker by helping many into office, including the outgoing president, Muhammadu Buhari. 

The opposition says it will challenge the result in court. 

Nigerian reporters give their thoughts on a Tinubu presidency. 

Wilfred Okiche, film critic and reviewer 

This was the worst possible outcome for anyone hoping for some kind of progress following the disastrous years of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency. We could dwell on the negatives, but I choose to focus on Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party and the millions of young people who supported him and showed up to register their displeasure with the ruling class [results gave him a quarter of the vote]. This was the people coming together to agree on a candidate. And their candidate, considered by the establishment to be “fringe” and with “no structure”, went on to claim key victories in Lagos and Abuja. This was not supposed to happen. 

Ann Godwin, Guardian Nigeria correspondent

There was unusual coldness across Rivers State. Many residents did not come out to celebrate the outcome of the election and some said it did not reflect the true position of the votes. Nonetheless, much is expected from the president-elect by the masses who are pushed to the wall by insecurity, unemployment, underdevelopment, deficient infrastructure, and high inflation. Here in the natural resourcesrich but derelict Niger Delta, where I have been reporting for over a decade, citizens want to see policies that will deliberately lift people out of poverty and create the environment for manufacturing to thrive. A start would be a steady supply of electricity.

Socrates Mbamalu, Aso Times editor-in-chief and political analyst 

For many, it is very odd that Tinubu will be addressed as president. The results of the elections have elicited anger, disappointment, frustration and despair. The results are not a reflection of the will of the people. Tinubu’s presidency will only be a reflection of Tinubu’s Lagos, which was characterised by chaos, cronyism, corruption and arrogance. If you think Nigeria can’t get worse than Buhari, think again. With Tinubu, a new vulture circles Nigeria, laying bare not a country, but a carcass.

Anita Eboigbe, operations lead for Big Cabal Media

Leadership, especially on a national level, is a culmination of experience, past antecedents and an overview of the leader’s general disposition. Tinubu was introduced to a vast majority of Nigerians as the governor of Lagos State and then as the godfather to other political heads. The running theme of his leadership philosophy, from what is publicly available, is thuggery, use of force, corruption, poor urban planning and nepotism over merit. A Tinubu presidency, to me, appears to be a combination of all of these on a wider, national scale. It is a scary prospect, but one that might be softened with the hope that perhaps he will put quality people in his cabinet who will do good work in certain areas. I am not optimistic.

Justina Asishana, The Nation correspondent in Niger State

It was a keenly contested election and a hard-fought win. With Tinubu emerging as the winner, I sincerely hope to see him work on the security infrastructure. I have covered areas affected by insecurity for the past five to six years and hope that during Tinubu’s administration, those who have been displaced will have a chance to return to their homes and live without fear. During his visits to Niger state, Tinubu showed concern about the plight of these displaced people and promised to find ways to reduce insecurity. There was little insecurity for him to deal with when he was the governor of Lagos state — but Nigeria is much larger and he needs to make security a priority.

This article first appeared in The Continent, the pan-African weekly newspaper produced in partnership with the Mail & Guardian. It’s designed to be read and shared on WhatsApp. Download your free copy here.