What Nigerians Expect From the Next President


Last week, Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) lifted the ban on political campaigns. As this administration’s tenure draws to an end, the nation is in search of a new President, and come May 29, 2023, a new one shall be sworn in. Given the complexities and present realities of the country, it will not be a tea party for the next President of the Federation. But what do Nigerians expect from their next President? Onikepo Braithwaite and Jude Igbanoi spoke to a cross-section of senior Lawyers on their expectations of the incoming President 

My Expectations from the Next President

Funke Adekoya, SAN

For Nigeria to survive economically, we need to remove the petrol subsidy, deregulate the exchange rate, downsize government’s payroll and widen the tax net. We all know that our economy cannot stand the financial burden of its present governance structure, and the next President must be prepared to tackle that issue. He must also respond to the calls for greater State autonomy, and be prepared to give up Federal ‘oversight’ powers over areas such as education which truly belong to the States. 

The decisions that need to be taken to reset the country are painful ones, and whoever wins the election will not have a honeymoon period before he faces the response from the electorate. 

Issues of internal security need to be addressed, I hope by decreasing the current state ofº internal militarisation and increasing the ability of the Police Force to combat crime and insecurity issues by massive investment in surveillance and investigative technology and related infrastructure.  

I expect the next President to hit the ground running and announce his cabinet within 14 days of taking office; and his plans for revamping our economy and restructuring our polity within 30 days. In choosing a cabinet, the President needs to focus more on merit and competence, rather than political rewards, even though heightened ethnic and regional tensions need to be eased and restructuring the country, both politically and economically, is the only way forward.

I do not envy whoever wins the election. I hope that the next President will not be expecting to be re-elected for a second term after taking such tough decisions, and so he should focus on a four year period used in implementing the reorienting and restructuring policies which are required, if Nigeria is to survive as a political structure.

Mrs Funke Adekoya, SAN

Nigeria Needs a President to Pull Her Back from Being a Failed State

Ferdinand Orbih, SAN

As far as security is concerned, Nigeria is in dire straights. Unless something is done urgently about security, the economy will collapse totally. The economic problems currently bedevilling the country are tied to the security issues of Boko Haram, kidnapping for ransom, terrorism, banditry, armed robbery and the like. 

Direct foreign investment has taken flight, as a result of insecurity. Our farmers cannot go to their farms as a result of insecurity. 

There is no money for capital projects, because a large chunk of the nation’s earnings is being used to service its debts. The manufacturing sector is lying comatose. Factories have folded up. The Naira has collapsed as it currently exchanging at the rate of N720 to $1. 

Our hospitals are worse than useless. In fact, the health sector itself is sick. 

The educatiozn sector is not faring better. Our students in tertiary institutions have been at home for almost eight months, as a result of the ASUU strike. 

The country itself is heading for the iceberg, unless it is restructured. 

The long and short of this narrative, is that the country needs a President who can confront these issues head-on, otherwise Nigeria will inevitably become a failed State.

Sir Ferdinand O. Orbih, SAN, FCArb, KSG, former Chairman of Midwest Lawyers Forum

Nigeria Expects a President that Will Restructure the Country

Ikeazor Akaraiwe, SAN

The first task for a new government then, is to restore regionalism, whether six, eight, but not more than twelve regions. 

The Punch Newspaper of December 4, 2021 had the following startling headline: “Cost of Governance: Restructure Nigeria into Six Regions, Budget Office tells FG”.

May I quote the report? 

“The Budget Office of the Federation has said restructuring Nigeria into six regions, is pivotal to reducing the high cost of governance.

“It noted that the number of Ministers also needs to be pruned, and the number of political office holders and their aides reduced, lamenting that the huge recurrent expenditure had constrained the provision of good roads, steady power supply, health care services, quality education and quality shelter etc.

“This, it said, had contributed to observable underperformance of the economy, slow growth and current infrastructural challenges.”

In suggesting as it did last December, it would appear as if the Budget Office of the Federation has set an agenda for the government. I couldn’t put it better. To focus on security, education, infrastructure or health as the primary problems of Nigeria, is to focus on cracked walls, broken windows, and leaking roofs in a building, whereas the problem is the foundation of the building. 

The foundation of this building was made faulty by the January 15, 1966 military coup, and the unintelligent unification decree which annulled the regional system bequeathed to us by the British after tough negotiations for independence spanning several years. 

In bequeathing a three region Federation to Nigeria, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were actually adapting their structure to Nigeria. In consideration of their differences, the various regions which constitute Great Britain, vis. England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, run their own affairs while retaining certain commonalities like a common crown (Monarchy), rights system, military, currency and foreign and home affairs system.

This independence of operations has permitted each region to have their own flag, while all submit to the Union Jack which is the overall flag of the union. The different regions of the UK also have different heads of government, called First Ministers.

Devolution of Powers in Great Britain/UK: Background to devolution in the UK 

Following referenda in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 1998 and in Scotland and Wales in 1997, the UK Parliament transferred a range of powers to national parliaments or assemblies.

The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established, and affirmed responsibility for devolved matters in 1999. The arrangements are different for each, reflecting their history and administrative structures.

The UK Government remains responsible for national policy on all matters that have not been devolved, including foreign affairs, defence, social security, macro-economic management and trade. It is also responsible for government policy in England on all the matters that have been devolved to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Within the UK government, the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for the Scotland Office, the Wales Office and the Northern Ireland Office.

 Only a regional arrangement as bequeathed to us by, and currently existing in the UK, will save Nigeria from looming implosion. And this is what should occupy the minds of the next administration.

Ikeazor Akaraiwe, SAN, former NBA 1st Vice President

Great Expectations: What Nigerians Should Demand and Expect from Our Next President

Chinua Asuzu


The most urgent task is security, and none of the Presidential candidates has exhibited any plan to deal with it. None even has an eligible team advising him on security. Each candidate should urgently seek expert input from local and foreign intelligence, law enforcement, military, and security professionals. They should then publish a security manifesto, before the end of this year.

Upon inauguration, our next President should begin to implement an aggressive, no-holds-barred, and robust anti-terrorism and anti-kidnapping program, anchored on sound advice. 

Fiscal Discipline

Nigerians are emotionally, morally, and spiritually exhausted from decades of watching government functionaries display and waste stupendous wealth in this desert of penury. Our next President should, immediately after inauguration, begin installing a system of decency, discipline, and modesty in government. 

This is not only about fighting corruption, but also about entrenching visible prudence and thrift. The incoming administration should manage and deploy public funds and resources with transparent frugality, and ensure regular audit of all agencies, departments, and ministries. 

The incoming administration should slash executive and legislative emolument packages to follow civil-service pay structure. It should curtail international travel, in costs, frequency, and team strength. It should ban sirens, except for law enforcement and paramedics on urgent duty. It should severely limit entourages and motorcades, almost to extinction. It should withdraw Police escorts from private individuals and entities, as well as most public officers.


The incoming administration should prioritise infrastructure, especially educational facilities, healthcare facilities, transport (airports, bridges, rails, roads, and waterways), and utilities (electricity, gas, sewerage, and water). The administration should start with rail and roads: building new ones and repairing or maintaining existing ones. 

The incoming administration should modernise and upgrade Nigeria’s educational institutions, so that they meet the highest international standards. It should also require private institutions to meet these standards.

Chinua Asuzu, Principal Partner, Assizes Law Firm, Lagos 

My Expectations from the Next President of Nigeria Come May 2023

Emeka Ejikonye Ph.D

As we approach May 2023, I am anticipating a President who will recognise that the root problem of governance in Nigeria is the persistent inability of our elected officials to account to the citizenry on the uses of our common wealth to deliver services for improving the quality of our livelihood. This inability issues from the lack of an effective operation-control device, for constantly and consistently checking-up on the administrative performance of our civil servants. The existing scenario is one of huge discretionary-authority and little operation-control, wherein top-level civil servants wield vast decision-making powers that often conflict with their self-interest, while the elected officials lack a formidable device for the continuous and holistic monitoring and evaluation of the public service delivery venture. This breeds the ubiquitous public sector corruption, and allied unethical tendencies that obstruct the optimal performance and disconnection of the Government from the citizenry.

In the light of the foregoing, the next President of Nigeria must be that individual who will recognise that the Civil Service is not an integral-part of the Government, but a support-institution that is functionally located in-between the Government and the citizenry. Further, he must understand that the Civil Service is characteristically structured into different sectoral fields of responsibility, that are managed by human beings who pursue the task from their individual parochial and primordial points of view and interest. Therefore, the only way his Presidency can hit the ground running to achieve optimal performance is by initiating a Reform Agenda from the onset, that will institutionalise effective coordination of the Civil Service through constant and consistent monitoring and evaluation of the public service delivery process for the aggregation and feedback of administrative-performance-information. This is a sine qua non.

Dr Emeka Ejikonye, Abuja

Obeisance to the Rule of Law is Non-Negotiable

Anthony Aikhunegbe Malik, SAN

Legitimately, I expect that the next President will be one who is sufficiently imbued with the ability to properly appreciate the twin realities of governance scope and governance responsibility. The first entails having a full grasp of the enormity of the challenges confronting and bedevilling the nation, some of which, sadly, have now transmuted into existential threats in terms of insecurity, endemic corruption, poor, if not non-existent healthcare, comatose state of education and infrastructural deficiency, among others. The second is acknowledging that the buck stops on his desk, such that he must ready and willing to commit himself to creating solutions, rather than insult our sensibilities with the usual blame game rhetoric.

The security situation in the country is so dire, that everyone expects that the next President will prioritise it. I do too. Equipping the Police and other allied agencies, providing the right leadership that stimulates, motivates and inspires, are key to addressing the security challenges confronting us. 

Over the years, the education and health sectors have, in my view, not been accorded the deserved attention under successive administrations. I expect that the next President will engender a paradigm shift, so that the neglect being experienced by virtually every stratum of these sectors will come to a screeching halt. Prioritising investment in education and health, should go beyond rhetoric. My expectation, of a truth, is that the next President will declare these sectors as national emergencies, on a par with security. A President that is genuinely committed to revamping Nigeria’s parlous health sector, must possess the political will to proscribe overseas medical trips for public office holders, himself inclusive. I expect the next President to take this course of action, immediately upon assumption of office.

On infrastructure, a genuine commitment to solving the malignant electricity problem will be, by far, the easiest way of attaining immortality in the hearts of Nigerians. In sooth, it is beyond any argument that electricity (and availability thereof) is sine-qua-non or a condition-precedent to all developmental activities. 

Above all, paying due obeisance to the rule of law is non- negotiable. Without it, the dream of attaining greatness or, at least, putting Nigeria on that path will remain only but a fleeting illusion. The next President must and ought to bear this in mind. God bless Nigeria.

Anthony Aikhunegbe Malik, SAN

Next President Must Possess the Ability to Unify Nigeria

Tolu Aderemi

With the commencement of electioneering campaigns in Nigeria, the three major Presidential candidates will be vying for the office of Nigeria’s President come 25 February, 2023. The 2023 general elections scheduled for February 2023 will be the seventh since the country returned to democratic governance 23 years ago. This is the longest period of democratic governance, in the history of Nigeria. Nigeria’s next President will be elected using a modified two-round system; to receive a majority of the votes and over 25% of the votes in at least 24 of the 36 States in Nigeria. Where no candidate passes this mark, a second round will be held between the leading candidates, and whoever receives a plurality of votes in the highest number of States, becomes the next President. The incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, will not be contesting being term-limited. It therefore, means that in the next few months, the leading candidates will attempt to market their vision and intention to Nigerians; ostensibly to take Nigeria and Nigerians out of the economic doldrums that it has found itself.

Nigeria, a multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious country operates a Presidential system of government, as provided for by its Constitution. This means that from 1999 to date, the management of the Nigeria’s diversity, the allocation and distribution of its resources, has often been challenged and has persistently thrown up agitations form the various ethnic groups, on the fair allocation of resources. This has birthed several initiatives including the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (2021) and several other initiatives of objectively allocating Nigeria’s resources. Whoever emerges therefore as the next President, beyond any economic improvement, must deliberately unify Nigeria. Nigerians must be made to feel, first, as a Nigerian before identifying with any of the ethnic groups. This is underscored by the details in the Nigerian passport (there being no reference to any particular ethnic group affiliation).

 The second and most important task for the next administration, must be to lean on Nigeria’s comparative advantage. In Mauritius, the mainstay of the small but impressive country, is tourism and sugar cane. The country has focused its economic and political prowess in growing these markets and has singled itself out for it, ditto for the Republic of Kenya and other African countries. One common denominator is security, and cleanliness of the country. These are core denominators of identifying a country that intends to attract foreign investment into it. Of course, entrenching the rule of law and improved access from justice (as opposed to access to justice) is a sine qua non to economic growth.

 Whoever emerges as Nigeria’s next President must re-tool the work-force to deliver a truly giant of Africa otherwise, countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Mauritius etc, will replace all of Nigeria’s economic and political relevance, not only on the continent, but across the world.

Tolu Aderemi, Visiting Professor, Afe Babalola University; Partner, Perchstone & Graeys

We Need a President that Will Lift Nigeria Out of the Present Doldrums

Ikechukwu Uwanna

It pleases me that the Electoral Act of 2022 has given the politicians ample time to tell us about themselves and their manifestos, if elected. The timing also gives us, the electorate, the opportunity to probe the politicians’ capabilities, manifestos, and sincerity of purpose. I hope that the politicians and the electorate will maximise this opportunity, to move Nigeria beyond its current state.

We do not need any external force, to tell us that Nigeria is virtually at its lowest ebb. From a micro-economy point of view, Nigerians are feeling the heat like direct contact with the scorching sun. There is scarcely a safe area in the country. The level of corruption seems unimaginable, and the wastage of public funds is alarming. The current government appears to be cajoling Nigerians on welfare and security, and its attention to education is abysmal. Nigeria seems to be more polarised on diverse grounds. The rule of ,law appears to be playing second fiddle. Simply put, we are at a crossroads.

Where the electorate appreciates their current inglorious state, they should use their PVCs wisely, devoid of monetary and other ephemeral influences from politicians. This is necessary, so that we do not regret our choice of President tomorrow.

If we, the electorate, do what is right, we should elect a President who possesses a sincerity of purpose. A person that will not tighten the noose on the necks of Nigerians, but one that will turn Nigeria around from the current debilitating security, dwindling economy, inadequate infrastructure, corrupt practices, and disregard for the rule of law.

I hope to have a President that will promote sincere policies and will be available for the people; who will not play politics with the welfare and security of Nigerians and other nationals that are resident in Nigeria.

There is currently a high level of distrust among Nigerians, and inadequate attention to the health and education sectors. These are leading to a massive brain drain. I hope for a President who will attract Nigerians in the diaspora, and influence the inflow of foreign investment into our country.

It is not that I am expecting a Messiah to pop out of this Presidential election. But, I hope to have a President who has the requisite capacity to sincerely tackle the current challenges, and who will hit the ground running with a team of competent and incorruptible Ministers.

Ikechukwu Uwanna,  Chairman, NBA Lagos Branch

Nigeria’s Next President Should be Able to Reason Above Primordial Interests

Ed Malik, A

Going into 2023, considering the myriad and multifaceted challenges facing the nation, I expect to see a Nigerian President, and not a regional one. In fact, someone with the mental capacity to appreciate where we’re coming from, where we are stagnated now, and where we ought to be. Such a President must see beyond the primordial ethnic fixation that has stunted Nigeria’s growth, and recognise the interconnect between the regions, and mobilise the vast human resources that abounds countrywide, and bring it to bear on our developmental infrastructure deficiency, for renewed progress.

Ed Malik, A,  Abuja

My Expectations from the Next President of Nigeria 

Dr D.D. Makolo

 1. I want to see a Nigerian become the President of Nigeria from among the indigenous people of Nigeria, not 1st or 2nd generation Nigerians. 

2. I want to see a Nigerian President who has the love of Nigeria and Nigerians at heart, not the one who will deliberately take pleasure in inflicting policies that bring pain and sorrow to Nigerians. 

3. I want to see a President that is not going to covertly support genocidal and ethnic cleansing of smaller tribes by any other group. 

4. I want to see a President of Nigeria that doesn’t steal from Nigeria’s resources with impunity.

5. I want to see a President who can sanction his lieutenants who steal from the public resources in his custody.

6. The President who picks members of cabinet from among Nigeria’s best at home and anywhere in the world. 

7. These people selected will feel for Nigeria and Nigerians, because they know body, soul and spirit that they are Nigerians, and what affects Nigeria will affect them too for good or bad, be it security, infrastructure, education and health and wellness of anything Nigeria.

8. The President who can ensure the mopping up of both light and other assault riffles in the hands of the enemies of Nigeria, majority of whom are not indigenous people of Nigeria. 

9. If the next President of Nigeria does these things, Nigeria and Nigerians will return to  be part of growth, development and greatness of our country. 

Dr Makolo, Principal Partner, D.D. Makolo & Co., Abuja

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