Buhari’s victory rubbished disintegration fears, says Tony Blair

Former British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair on Wednesday said the victory of General Muhammadu Buhari in the March 28 presidential election and his inauguration as the country’s President billed for May 29 has rubbished predictions by a section of the international community that Nigeria would disintegrate in 2015, following its inability to effect a successful transition of power as well as other factors.
Blair stated this while delivering a keynote address at the opening of the two-day Policy Dialogue on the implementation of the Agenda for Change organised by the Policy, Research and Strategy Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council in Abuja on Wednesday.
Represented by Peter Benjamin Mandelson, who was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in his administration, Blair said the successful conduct of the presidential election, the transition of power to another political party in an atmosphere of peace devoid of any ethnic or religious upheavals called for celebration, the same way it has placed enormous responsibility on the shoulders of the new government.
“Those who felt Nigeria will never see the successful transfer of power, who felt the election would divide Nigeria, have been proved wrong by Buhari’s election.
“I am glad to be here at this time for this reason: there were many in the international community who doubted you, who said that Nigeria would never see truly free and fair elections or a peaceful transition of power. There were others who said that the differences in your country, between Christian and Muslim, North and South, haves and have-nots were too great to be overcome, that an election would only divide Nigeria and make her weaker. And you have proved those people wrong.
“You deserve to be congratulated and to celebrate your success. But at the same time I am sure you all know that the hard work is just beginning, both in respect of the economy, especially given the fall in oil price, and security,” he added
Tony Blair and President-elect Muhammadu Buhari

The former British Prime Minister urged the new government to dare to ride on the wings of its popularity at the poll to effect tangible changes in the lives of the country and its people and earn their confidence, adding that the hope of the African continent is in the hand of the government.
Blair who traced the genesis of the rise of the rebranded Labour Party of Britain to political prominence in 1997 and its loss of power in 2010, said there are some similarities in the circumstances that led to that popularity of the new labour and the APC-led government.
He however warned the incoming administration against losing focus in its delivery. This , according to him, was the misfortune of the Labour party who
rode to political prominence in 1997, started well and became very popular only to lose focus and direction and subsequently lost out in the 2010 elections.
The major lessons to be learnt from the Labour Party’s experience, according to Blair, is that the skills that take a party to government are not the same skills that make you successful in government. “You have to move from being a persuader to being a CEO- One is about words and the other is about deed,” said Blair who also canvassed effective communication of government policies and decisions to the citizen as one of the sure path to success.
“You have to apply a simple science of delivery: A science of priorities, of proper planning, of defining goals, creating data systems that track progress – if you can’t measure it, how do you know it’s working? – and developing the routines that make sure you keep all these things going even amid the crises that blow up,” Blair added.

source: Pmnews
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