President Muhammadu Buhari and six other selected prominent personalities from all critical spheres will shape the country this year, the Daily Trust reports on Sunday.
This year will usher in a new president, as President Buhari’s second and final term expires on May 29. There are already 18 candidates preparing for the presidential elections scheduled for February 25. 29
A new crop of leaders is also expected to emerge in parliament. Elections for the National Assembly would be held on the same day as the presidential ones.
Gubernatorial elections would be held in 30 of the 36 states on March 11. Elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states are now held at different times.
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Elected in 2015 as the country’s 15th president, Buhari’s actions or inactions will mark the year. Although he has assured Nigerians that he would leave the country with credible elections and give the electoral body a free hand to carry out the exercise, all eyes are on the octogenarian to deliver on promises.
“INEC is ready because I made sure that they were given all the resources that they asked for because I don’t want any excuse that the government denied them the funds,” Buhari said when answering a question about INEC preparing to carry out the elections. . in Washington DC, USA, in an interactive session titled: “A Conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria”, on December 17, 2022.
Experts believe that if the president follows through on his promise, the country’s democracy will be strengthened and the lot of Nigerians in the system will improve.
Nigerians hope the president will ensure a smooth transition of power to the winner of the February 25 presidential election. Before then, he is expected to intensify his campaigns against terrorism and banditry and complete some of the projects inherited from him.
In the twilight of his term, the country is expected to end oil subsidies as announced by the federal government. The month of June has been set as the deadline. The president laid the groundwork for this with his approval of the Petroleum Industry (GDP) Bill.
INEC President Yakubu
The Chairman of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, is also on the radar as he oversees and instructs the conduct of ballots to the national commissioners who, in turn, oversee the resident election commissioners ( REC) in the states.
The success or failure of the elections rests largely on Yakubu’s shoulders. The country’s chief electoral official must ensure that the electoral arbitrator functions independently and free from outside influence. The commission, under him, is also expected to show openness and transparency in all its activities and its relationship with all stakeholders.
Stakeholders expect Yakubu to be firm in implementing the electoral law. For them, the game changer in this constituency, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), should not be thrown away.
Yakubu will declare the winner of the presidential election after the announcement of the results by the teller, who is usually a professor at one of the country’s universities.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, is mandated to coordinate the police and other security agencies to ensure that the elections take place in peace.
Leading up to the elections, the country has continued to witness election-related violence. Dozens of people have died and dozens have been injured in different clashes. This is just as the threat of banditry continues to terrorize the Northwest; clashes between farmers and herders in the north center; Boko Haram in the northeast; IPOB in the southeast and pockets of security breaches that are registered in the southwest.
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 High Court, the supreme court of Nigeria whose decisions are final.
Some of the litigation that will follow the elections will end up in the superior court.
Before the elections, on November 7, 2022, the CJN inaugurated the members of the 2023 Electoral Petition Courts. A total of 307 judges will integrate the courts established to resolve disputes that may arise from the 2023 elections.
The Court of Appeals coordinates and acts as secretariat for electoral petition courts throughout the country. The Daily Trust on Sunday reports that members of the courts are expected to be posted to the states this month (January).
“As Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will not tolerate any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust,” Mr. Ariwoola warned court officials handling post-election cases.
As some of the cases will end up in the higher court, the CJN will set up Supreme Court panels that will consider the post-election cases that would be dragged to the higher court.
Responsibility for monitoring and addressing allegations of corruption and misconduct that may be made against judicial officials rests with Ariwoola, as he is the Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Presidential Poll Winner
The winner of the February 25 presidential election will play a key role in shaping the country this year.
A total of 18 presidential candidates have expressed interest in taking over from President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29 this year, but the pendulum is swinging towards All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; Labor Party (LP), Peter Obi; and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP). The fate of the candidates would be determined by 84 million registered voters in 176,846 polling stations in the country.
After the swearing in, the new president will take the reins of the country’s affairs, make his first appointments, including Secretary of the Federation Government (SGF), Chief of Staff and press advisers.
In the second week of his term, the new president will transmit a proclamation letter to the National Assembly to end the Ninth Assembly and launch the Tenth Assembly. This will lead to the emergence of new presidents of the legislature.
Experts say that the success of the new president in this regard will shape the country in positive or negative ways.
Aliko Dangote is the richest black person and the 75th richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. She is the president and CEO of Grupo Dangote, the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa.
In October 2022, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) revealed that the Dangote Oil Refinery was 97 percent complete. Production is expected to begin this year.
The refinery, with an installed capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, is expected to meet the country’s requirements for all refined petroleum products.
Industry experts say the successful completion of the refinery will have a significant impact on the Nigerian foreign exchange (forex) market through import substitution.
Seventeen years later, the country is preparing to carry out a national population census. The exercise was last held in 2006 during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The exercise, which will ideally take place every 10 years, is now scheduled for April of this year. In July of last year, a pilot census was carried out.
Daily confidence on Sunday reports that the exercise will be conducted under the chairmanship of Nasir Isa-Kwarra. Therefore, all eyes are on him as he is expected to oversee the completion of the exercise.
Experts say that the importance of the census cannot be underestimated, as it is at the center of all planning activity and that meaningful development cannot be achieved without taking census data into account.