All is set for president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to be sworn in today as the 16th president of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Tinubu who is succeeding outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari will take his oath of office at the Eagle Square alongside vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima, while 28 governors, 18 of them newly elected, will be sworn in in their respective states.
The change of leadership is coming amid a debt crisis and post-election challenges the new central and state governments would have to grapple with as they hit the ground running.
The newly elected governors who will be taking their oath of office today are Alex Otti of Abia State; Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State; Hyacinth Alia of Benue State; Bassey Otu of Cross River State; Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State; Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State; Peter Mbah of Enugu State; Umar Namadi of Jigawa and Uba Sani of Kaduna State.
Others are Abba Kabir Yusuf, Kano; Dikko Umar Radda, Katsina; Nasiru Idris, Kebbi; Mohammed Umar Bago, Niger State; Caleb Mutfwang, Plateau State; Siminialayi Fubara, Rivers; Ahmed Aliyu, Sokoto; Kefas Agbu, Taraba, and Dauda Lawal, Zamfara.
Re-elected governors who will also take fresh oaths of office for their second terms are Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; Babagana Zulum of Borno State; Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe; Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State; Babajide Sanwo- Olu of Lagos State; Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State; Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.
Tinubu is assuming office today as Nigeria’s 16th president since 1960 and the 5th elected president since the return of democracy in 1999.
With a public debt of N77 trillion if the N23 trillion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are secured, the new president will however inherit a huge debt burden and a country divided along ethnic-religious lines.
According to KPMG, Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 37.7per cent in 2022, a figure that is projected to further rise to 40.6 per cent due to the continuing inflow of job seekers into the job market.
Poverty Index survey reveals that 63 percent of persons living within Nigeria (133 million people) are multidimensionally poor.
Tinubu will also inherit thoroughly degraded education, health and aviation sectors due to years of poor funding and strikes, culminating in skilled labour flight.
He will also battle with security challenges that escalated after the general election.
Tinubu Pledges To Fulfill Promises At Inauguration Dinner
Meanwhile, Tinubu has expressed his unwavering commitment to delivering on his promises to revive Nigeria’s growth trajectory, despite the challenges of corruption, poverty, and policy inconsistencies.
Speaking at the inauguration inner/gala night organised by the Presidential Transition Council (PTC) at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja.
Tinubu emphasised that his administration would not resort to excuses for any potential failures.
Addressing the gathering of heads of state from around the world, Tinubu highlighted the valuable lessons that Nigeria’s democracy has taught Africa and the world at large.
He praised the resilience, determination, courage, and unity in diversity exhibited by Nigerians, affirming that his administration would build upon these strengths.
Tinubu also humorously noted that even after his predecessor, President Muhammadu Buhari, departs for his hometown, he would always be accessible when needed.
“Here is a country that has faced numerous challenges but has never crumbled. Despite our differences in tongues and tribes, we remain united.
We acknowledge the need to combat corruption, poverty, policy inconsistencies, and other issues that plague us. However, I do not seek pity; I willingly took up this role, campaigned for it, and I assure you that I will fulfill my obligations without any excuses,” Tinubu said
In his farewell address, outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari expressed gratitude to the distinguished guests who honored Nigeria with their presence, underscoring the successful electoral process that restored power to the Nigerian electorate.
“I congratulate my fellow Nigerians for recognizing the power of their votes. I eagerly anticipate my return to my hometown and the tranquility of my cattle and sheep, which are far easier to manage than my fellow countrymen,” Buhari said.
The First Lady, Aisha Buhari, joined by Tinubu, incoming First Lady Remi Tinubu, Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima, and his wife, unveiled a book titled “Renewed Hope, Greater Together” during the event.
The grand occasion witnessed the attendance of several notable world leaders, including the Presidents of South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burundi, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Gabon, as well as the Prime Minister of Morocco, Vice President of Venezuela, and many others
At state levels, the situation is not different, especially for the new governors who will inherit about N2.1 trillion in domestic debt and $1.9 billion in foreign debt from their predecessors.
Most first-term governors-elect will also have to deal with months of unpaid workers’ salaries and pension liabilities, demand for centralised minimum wage implementation, amid rising inflation, escalating prices of goods and services, as well as dwindling purchasing power.
Nigeria’s Wealth Will Be Used For Nigerians – First Lady
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s new first lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has assured Nigerians that under her husband’s watch, the wealth of the country belongs to the people and would be used to work for the good of all citizens.
She gave the assurance yesterday during the presidential inauguration inter-denominational Christian service at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja.
At the church service attended by top Christian leaders across the country, Mrs Tinubu noted that God has been kind and already blessed her family such that they don’t need to abuse the position of public trust that has been bestowed on her husband, but to only use the resources of the country to improve the lives of citizens.
“God has blessed my family. We don’t need to abuse the position of trust reposed in my husband. The resources of Nigeria is a commonwealth that belongs to the people and we are going to use it to better the lives of Nigerians,” she declared.
The first lady called on clergy men and women and leaders of all faiths to pray for the success of her husband and for the grace to lead the country aright.
According to her, a season of Renewed Hope has dawned on the country and Nigeria shall be prosperous under the leadership of Asiwaju Tinubu.
Describing herself as a silent worker who will work behind the scene to support her husband to succeed and serve the best interest of the country, Mrs Tinubu said, “We need your prayers. I call on Christian leaders all over Nigeria to please pray for us. Our country shall make progress and shall be the cynosure of all eyes among the comity of nations.”
On his part, outgoing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who attended the service with his wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, admonished the political, business and religious elites to work for the peace and prosperity of Nigeria, adding that God always speaks to nations through individuals.
Osinbajo copiously quoted from the Bible to buttress his points with how God spoke to Abraham that he would make him the father of Nations.
He added that nations need leaders that will be righteous and serve with honour and integrity because according to him, “righteousness exalts a nation.”
On the incoming administration, Professor Osinbajo prayed for the success of the Tinubu administration. He urged all Nigerians to support and pray for the new administration so that Nigeria will continue to remain a great country.
“I pray for the success of the Tinubu administration. We must all support the incoming administration to succeed and it does not matter who we voted or didn’t vote for.”
In his sermon at the church service, General Overseer and Founder of Dominion Chapel International Ministry, Archbishop John Praise Daniel, emphasised the responsibilities of leadership in a country.
He stressed the need for the incoming President and other senior government officials to lead with integrity, fear of God, justice and compassion in the interest of the people whose hopes have been dashed many times.
The interdenominational service, which commenced with prayers, hymns and worship reflecting various Christian denominations in the country, was attended by former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and his wife, Mrs. Victoria Gowon; president of Christian Association of Nigeria, His Eminence Most Reverend Daniel Okoh; secretary to government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, and his wife, Mrs Funmilayo Mustapha; wife of Speaker of House of Representatives,
Mrs Salamatu Gbajabiamila; minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare; former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, and many other outgoing ministers, members of the National Assembly and traditional rulers.
Preparations And Expectations In States
Ahead of today’s inauguration, there are high expectations from citizens as they prepare to embrace the new governments.
In Kaduna, residents of the state have called on governor-elect, Sen Uba Sani to tackle insecurity, high unemployment rate and embark on massive road construction in urban and rural areas, as he begins his tenure.
Some residents of the state who spoke with LEADERSHIP in Kaduna lamented the growing insecurity, which they said has forced many house owners in suburbs of Kaduna city to abandon their homes and flee to the city for safety.
The residents also complained that many farmers have stopped going to farm for fear of being kidnapped which has worsened the economic situation of Kaduna state.
A resident, Jeremiah Samuel, who resides in Angwan Sunday, said, “The new Kaduna state governor, as a matter of urgency, must end insecurity. The insecurity caused by bandits has brought pains and untold hardship to the residents. The government of Nasir El-Rufai has done its own part but more needs to be done”.
Another resident, Madaki Israel, appealed to the incoming governor, Senator Sani to complete Sabon Tasha by Bridge Road:
On his part, Sani Muhammed, a farmer, appealed to the new Kaduna State governor to fix urban and rural roads that are yet to receive attention.
In Rivers, the people of the state are ready for the inauguration of its governor-elect, Siminalaye Fubara, and his deputy, Ngozi Ordu, today.
The traditional venue of inauguration of governors of the state, the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt, is already wearing a new look ahead of the event.
Already, the newly deployed commissioner of Police, Nwonyi Polycarp Emeka, has ordered the maximum deployment of personnel, intelligence and operational resources of the Command for the effective policing of the venue of the inauguration.
In Benue, the Police commissioner, CP. Okoro Alawari Julius, has directed all-round security placement in strategic positions across the length and breadth of the state for today’s inauguration of the governor-elect, Revd. Fr. Hyacinth Iornem Alia, to ensure a hitch- free exercise.
In a statement, the Command’s spokesperson, DSP Catherine Anene, said CP Okoro has ordered all Area Commanders, Tactical Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) in the command to ensure that the venue of the inauguration is heavily secured with adequate manpower and relevant equipment to ensure serenity and orderliness, with a warning on hoodlums to steer clear
In Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, the atmosphere is charged, with individuals who are close to the incoming governor, Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu, warming up for the Inauguration.
At the Ekorinem axis where the incoming governor resides, many young girls are seen plaiting their hair ahead of tomorrow’s event.
At Leopard road where the governor’s office and the U.J Esuene’s stadium (venue for May 29 inauguration) are located, people are seen walking into the stadium, while the usual vehicular movement is seen along the road.
In Akwa Ibom, arrangements have been concluded for today’s political change of guard between outgoing Governor Udom Emmanuel, who is expected later today to hand over to his successor, Pastor Umo Eno, the governor-elect for the state.
According to his personal aide (PA), Tony Udoh, “all the arrangements have been concluded at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, the 30,000 caps facility expected to play host to Very Important Visitors (VIPs) and other local and international dignitaries to grace the event.”
Also, the commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Ahmed Ammani, has ordered maximum deployment of personnel, intelligence and operational resources of the Command for the effective policing of the venue of the swearing in ceremony of the state governor-elect, Peter Mbah and his deputy, Barrister Ifeanyi Ossai.
The deployment, which will be in synergy with other Security Forces, is to ensure a secured, safe and peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the inauguration.
In Kwara, the inauguration of the state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, for a second term of office today is likely to be low key.
The ceremony may not be anything different from AbdulRazaq’s first inauguration in 2019 when invitation to the event held at the government banquet hall was restricted.
As at the time of filing this report, no official statement has been issued nor public announcement made in respect of the inauguration ceremony.