Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to begin for his first full term on Sunday amid high expectations that he will usher reforms and try to heal regional rifts, Reuters reported.
The swearing-in ceremony and military parade in the capital Abuja are to be attended by heads of state from across Africa, foreign dignitaries, religious leaders and traditional rulers.
Jonathan, a former zoology student, won the elections last month with 59% of the vote. However, his ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) chastened by a weaker parliamentary majority, with the loss of quite a few powerful state governorships, Reuters reported.
Nigeria, which knows nothing but military rule and rigged votes for the past half-century, seems to have a fare election this time with many Nigerians saying that they felt their vote had counted for the first time.
The success of the election has upped the game in terms of the expectations of what can be delivered by a Jonathan presidency, Reuters quoted Dapo Oyewole, director of the Centre for African Policy and Peace Strategy think tank as saying.
Jonathan inherited the presidency last year after the death of his predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua.
The first big test will be Jonathan's choice of ministers. He has to balance out the regional interests to ensure the cabinet displays a federal character, he has to reflect a religious coloration that ensures different parts of the country are carried along, but he is also going to have to reward some of the people that backed him, Oyewole told Reuters.
Being the first head of state from the restless oil-producing Niger Delta, Jonathan has high expectations on his shoulders. People are very optimistic based on hope rather than reality, said Bismarck Rewane, head of Lagos-based consultancy Financial Derivatives. If those expectations are not managed, a few months down the road he will be getting the blame for things that are beyond his control, he said, Reuters reported.