US News and World Report quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on new Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari taking office amid domestic and international hopes that he can stabilize Africa’s wealthiest and most populous nation:

One of Buhari’s biggest challenges will be tempering expectations from his constituency, a people tired of terrorist violence and a corrupt government. Nigerians are ready for change, and they’re ready now, says J. Peter Pham, a director at the Atlantic Council.

“It’s not unlike the situation President [Barack] Obama walked into when he was elected. There were extraordinary expectations, almost unreal expectations from a lot of people,” Pham says. “Buhari faces the same challenges. … Certainly he’s got to try and deliver on them – as many as possible – but he’s only human.”


But the economy will also pose a major challenge for Buhari, who previously served as the nation’s oil minister. A recent gasoline strike that caused widespread power and cellphone-network outages and massive lines for fuel underscored what Pham calls Nigeria’s “economic crisis of the first order.” Africa’s wealthiest and most populous nation, mismanagement and a lack of infrastructure have prevented the benefits of the country’s resources from reaching its people.

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