Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Nigeria's new president has a tough mission ahead

Thursday 09/March/2023 - 12:55 PM
The Reference
Ahmed Adel

Curtains have fallen down on the presidential elections in Nigeria, with the inauguration of Bola Tinubu as president of the country.

Tinubu was part of a fierce competition with his main rivals, Atiq Abubakar, the candidate of the People's Democratic Party, and Peter Obi, the candidate of the Workers' Party.

Who is Tinubu?

Nigerian President-elect Bola Tinubu was born in March 1952 in Lagos, Nigeria, to a wealthy mother.

He went early to the US and most likely completed his secondary and university education there.

In 1979, he received a master's degree in accounting from the University of Chicago.

After returning from the US, he joined the Mobil Nigeria Oil Company, and over time took over the position of its CEO.

This helped him open wide relations with prominent politicians in his country.

Nigerians give him many titles, including 'warrior, warrior-kingmaker and godfather of Lagos'.

All these titles have connotations that sum up the political battles the 70-year-old fought in secret and in public, against his political and even military opponents.

Hailing from a Muslim family, Tinubu was elected to the Nigerian Senate from 1992 to 1993).

He was then exiled after a military coup in the country from 1994 to 1998. He then assumed the presidency of Lagos from 1999 to 2007, before uniting several opposition parties, and rallying up support for Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

Although his political career is full of battles against corruption, Tinubu was also accused of corruption, falsifying his school certificates, and drug trafficking, when he was a student in the US.

During that period, the country suffered for five years from unrest and coups, as a result of which Tinubu left Nigeria, resorting to forced exile.

From 1999 to 2007, Tinubu ruled Lagos State, the economic capital of Nigeria, took control and achieved many political and economic successes, transferring it into a prosperous state.

He was nicknamed the 'kingmaker', due to his support to and influence over Buhari.

The new president is the second richest politician in Nigeria. His fortune is estimated at $4 billion.

He is expected to face tough challenges in his first presidential term which will end in 2026, on top of which the restoration of security in the northern and central regions of Nigeria, where terrorist activities are widespread.

He also faces the same challenges in the Niger Delta region which is located in the southern part of the country.

This region is famous for oil theft and the activity of some local terrorist groups.

President Tinubu also expects to face a challenge lifting his country's people out of of poverty and ignorance and investing in the oil and gas sectors.

Nigeria is a country of contrasts. It is the largest economy on the African continent. Nevertheless, poverty is widespread in it.