Nigeria's new president may have a mandate from the voters. But if he can't get the state governors on his side, his ambitious reforms won't stand a chance.
When Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president-elect, takes the stage in Abuja on Friday to officially take power, he’ll be setting the capstone on one great achievement for the country and starting off on a string of even more daunting tasks. His ambitious “to-do” list includes righting an economy in crisis, fighting an Islamist insurgency, and battling endemic corruption. The problem, however, is that while Nigeria’s momentous presidential vote of March 28-29 — which yielded a peaceful transition of power from a sitting president to a democratically elected successor — is undoubtedly a milestone for African democracy, it doesn’t mean that Buhari’s mandate at the polls will actually translate into governing power. To get his agenda through, he’s going to need the help of the state governors. And though Buhari’s anti-corruption line sold well at the voting booth, the country’s powerful governors might be a tougher sell.