The Nigeria to expect under President Bola Tinubu
Bola Ahmed Tinubu — Nigeria’s President elect

The Nigeria to expect under President Bola Tinubu

Bola Tinubu, flag bearer of the incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC), has been declared winner of Nigeria’s latest presidential election, held in February. 

This paves the way for the self-styled “Godfather of Lagos Politics’ to serve as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and arguably its biggest economy for at least the next four years and possibly another four years after that if he wins re-election in 2027.

Election disputes

But this is not quite a done deal. Both Atiku Abubakar the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party and Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party – who placed second and third respectively according to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC – have opted to challenge the results in court citing a wide array of blatant electoral malpractices.

Indeed, they have very good grounds for protest. Instructively even the elections observer team sent by the usually unfailingly tactful European Union has refused to endorse the elections, social media have revealed videos showing incontrovertible evidence of all sorts of malpractices executed in favour of the incumbent party’s candidate ranging from intimidation of and outright physical violence against opposition parties’ supporters and polling station officials, through removal and destruction of votes, to blatant inflation of voting results - in some cases the additions of votes from various local governments in a state fell far short of the state’s total accredited to the APC candidate. Certainly in Ghana most of the malpractices caught on camera would have been completely unacceptable.

Whether all this actually changed the overall results of the election, however, is anyone’s guess; Bola Tinubu was the favourite to win the presidency even before the first vote was cast. More importantly in typical fashion in Africa the ruling party has inordinate influence over judicial processes and decisions so the courts will almost certainly uphold the results declared by INEC. Ultimately Nigerians, who have set the bar for themselves with regard to the quality of national elections at a very low level, will grudgingly accept the verdict and move on; after all most of them have learnt not to rely on government for anything substantial anyway.

So what will a Bola Tinubu presidency bring for Nigeria?

Crucially, it does not necessarily mean a continuation of even the most basic economic management tenets of his predecessor, the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Indeed, during his presidential campaign, Tinubu walked a thin line, seeking to distance himself from the many failings of Buharinomics without outright criticism of his administration’s macroeconomic policies. Besides, Nigeria’s main political parties are not clearly differentiated by economic ideology – candidates for political position choose parties based on their chances of winning the candidacy they desire rather than any ideological leanings. Consequently Bola Tinubu is free to set his own path without consideration of that walked by his predecessor.

At the centre of his plans for the next four years is his promise to boost revenues by using the template he created when he was Governor of Lagos State which resulted in a ten-fold increase in the State’s revenues on his watch.

'When I became Governor of Lagos State it was generating internally 600 million naira (about US$1.42 million) monthly but as of today Lagos is proud of generating 50 billion naira monthly,” he asserts. “These are all the things I put in place to make Lagos great and I am now poised to do the same for Nigeria as a whole.”  

However, he hopes to do this by expanding the tax net rather than by increasing taxes. “Higher taxes drain an already weakened private sector, inviting possible economic contraction and higher unemployment’ he says. Unemployment is currently at about 33 per cent, rising to 50 per cent among young people.

But analysts suspect that he may opt to introduce some new taxes alongside stiffer penalties for tax defaulters as Nigeria’s fiscal position has become somewhat precarious.

Even more controversial though is his plan to remove the huge petroleum subsidy which costs the Federal Government some US$40 million daily and which is spent in an opaque manner. Indeed he has promised a total deregulation of the oil industry and plans to increase national storage capacity for petroleum products to sustain supply and end the notorious fuel shortages that often afflict the country.


Corruption is a major issue in Nigeria but few expect Tinubu to fight it intensely, because of his own alleged dubious record in this regard and the fact that he is taking over from his own party members who would thus be the prime targets of any investigations into past malfeasance.  Indeed, Tinubu is not promising to jail corrupt people. Instead he says he will put in place a credit system that will improve access to finance and reduce the tendency for corruption.

Another area of focus will be agriculture where he plans to increase the production of cash crops for export. Those plans include the creation of a commodities exchange and a future market to enable farmers to sell their produce ahead of time and cut post-harvest losses, which are common in Nigeria’s agrarian communities.

Tinubu’s economy

Tinubu supports an economic model that involves public private partnerships and concessions for the private sector. While he is willing to leave more to the private sector in terms of economic activity and pricing than President Buhari has done, he is unwilling to take Nigeria as far to the right as PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar planned to do through widespread divestitures, including even the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.

The incoming President is targeting 10 per cent annual GDP growth over the next four years that would result in Nigeria having an economy worth US$780.9 billion by 2027.

Importantly he wants to give more power to the state governments, a step away from Nigeria’s highly centralised version of federalism towards becoming a true federal republic. Key to this would be his plan to give the state government’s a bigger share of tax collection authority. Another part of Tinubu’s decentralisation agenda is his plan to establish six regional economic development agencies that would seek to harness the potentials of each geopolitical zone.

With regard to another cankerworm in Nigeria – inadequate supply of electricity, Tinubu says he will target 15,000 megawatts of additional power within his first four-year term


His approach to the key issue of security, however, is more opaque; he simply promises to recruit more soldiers and other security agents and equip them better. The lack of a concrete plan to overcome the Islamic fundamentalist Boko Haram – which his predecessor, President Buhari, promised to do but failed woefully – is a major cause for concern by Christians since Tinubu has won the presidency on an unprecedented unbalanced religious ticket on which both he and his vice-president are Muslims, a first in Nigeria’s political history. 

Nigeria’s neighbours are equally uncertain. Tinubu belongs to a party that has adopted an inward looking, import substitution driven economic policy. Instructively Buhari dragged his feet over signing up to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and has on occasion closed its borders to its ECOWAS neighbours in blatant disregard of existing protocols. Ghana and other West African countries can only hope that this will be one area of complete departure by Tinubu from the stance of his predecessor.

Show comment form

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |