Former Lagos State governor and minister-designate, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said that Nigerians will have a clear picture of the direction the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is heading when the next budget is presented.
Fashola made this known recently in an interview with newsmen, in which he affirmed that Nigerians are having very high expectations but would not be disappointed after the next budget.
“My sense is that people are waiting to get a clear direction. I am optimistic that the president will begin to show results. The time frame is the challenge: how much more time will Nigerians afford him? Having been a governor before, I know that the first six to nine months are defining.
“At the level of national government, which is a behemoth, it takes time to get a grip on it. The president has picked people to assist him, some of whose experience and reputations are quite inspiring. I think when the budget comes out, it will signify a clear direction about what the government will do, where it will be investing energy and resources. I think people will respond accordingly,” he said.
The former governor, who reacted to whether Nigerians are still optimistic about the new government, said Nigerians expect rapid results, adding that only results will sustain the hope of the people in the new government. He, however, averred that the 15-month period of the general election has taken its toll on the economy.
“I would think so, but human beings being what they are, people expect rapid results. The easiest way to sustain optimism is to continue to show results. It has been a very challenging one and a half years for the country.
“We spent a lot of time preparing for elections and, globally, when elections are coming, things generally slow down. Ours took 15 months. The economy has been challenged as a result of that. We need to get back to production and productivity, and people need to see their institutions at work,” he said.
Fashola who is billed to receive an international award in New York this week, explained that security and economy would form the policy thrust of the Buhari administration. He noted that dealing with the terrorists is a major challenge because the country’s security apparatuses were trained to deal with conventional opponents rather than the unconventional ones who attack soft targets.
“Security is one. The economy is the other. Within the economy, you have components such as infrastructure – transport infrastructure and energy infrastructure in particular.