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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is interviewed by the Associated Press at Blair House in Washington, July 21, 2015 (AP photo by Cliff Owen).

Managing Expectations Could Be Toughest Challenge for Nigeria’s Buhari

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, spent three days last week in France, on his second major trip out of Africa since taking office on May 29. The items topping Buhari’s agenda in Paris—economic investment and security cooperation—reflected his main challenges at home: an economy in turmoil and the persistent threat of the jihadi movement Boko Haram. The visit also demonstrated Buhari’s patient, long-term thinking about Nigeria’s problems, which includes a greater willingness to work with neighbors and international partners than his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.

At the same time, demands within Nigeria for immediate change confront Buhari with an imperative to demonstrate progress quickly or risk losing popularity. That includes Buhari’s anti-corruption drive, which is inextricably bound up with his promise to revitalize Nigeria’s economy. But his early pledges face the reality of a still-troubled economy and tough political choices ahead. ...

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