*Pledges to deliver on campaign promises at inauguration dinner
*Says there’ll be no basis for excuses*Buhari: My cows, sheep easier to control than Nigerians
*Bids colleagues from S’Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Burundi, goodbye
*Osinbajo prays for success of incoming presidency
*Senate congratulates new president to be, urges him to focus on tasks ahead
*Afenifere: Ex-Lagos governor’s administration will birth new Nigeria
*Biden’s delegation to inauguration arrived yesterday
Deji Elumoye, Emmanuel Addeh, Sunday Aborisade, Emameh Gabriel, Michael Olugbode in Abuja and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Against all odds, and in spite of evidently hostile opposition, former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, will be sworn in today as Nigeria’s 16th president, an office he once described as his lifelong ambition.
Watching Tinubu since 2007, when he left office as governor of Nigeria’s most populous state, it was never difficult to observe that most of his steps had been in the direction of becoming Nigeria’s number one citizen. He achieved this desire at the February 25 presidential election.
Last night, at the inauguration dinner/gala night, organised by the Presidential Transition Council (PTC) headed by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at State House Conference Centre, Abuja, Tinubu said he would not mismanage his lifetime aspiration. He acknowledged the mass of obstacles in the way, including corruption, poverty, and policy inconsistency, but maintained he would deliver on his campaign promises.
Tinubu said none of the issues would be an excuse for non-performance or failure.
Speaking at the dinner, too, President Muhammadu Buhari underlined the success the country had just achieved with the last general election. He claimed the electoral process had given power back to the Nigerian electorate.
Buhari said he could not wait to return to his cows and sheep, which he said were much easier to control than Nigerians.
In Abuja, yesterday, at an inter-denominational church service held earlier as part of activities marking the 2023 presidential inauguration, the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, prayed for the success of Tinubu’s administration.
That was as the ninth Senate congratulated Tinubu and his vice, Kashim Shettima, on their impending inauguration.
Similarly, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, expressed hope that the new government under Tinubu would herald a new lease of life in the country.
At the same time, United States President Joe Biden’s delegation to the presidential inauguration arrived Nigeria yesterday, among other state delegations and world leaders.
For the winner of the February 25 presidential election, the road to the presidency had been filled with thorns and thistles. He was derided, shoved aside, and pelted with unprintable aspersions. But he kept his eyes on the ball and remained unwavering in the pursuit of his lifelong ambition of leading Nigeria.
At no other forum lately was Tinubu’s aspiration made more pronounced than during a meeting with the governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, on June 2, 2022. That was when he spoke with leaders and delegates of the party at the Presidential Lodge, Ibara, Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.
Apparently feeling the heat of frustration by some forces within his party, and the seeming reticence of Buhari, Tinubu, in an outburst at the event, said in clear terms it was his turn to lead the country.
He declared, “If not for me that stood behind Buhari, he wouldn’t have become the president. He tried the first time, he failed; the second time, he failed, the third, he failed.
“He (Buhari) even wept on national television and vowed never to contest again. But I went to meet him in Kaduna and told him he will run again, that I will stand by him and he will win, but you must not joke with the Yoruba people, and he agreed.
“Since he became the president, I have never received ministerial slots. I didn’t collect any contract, I never begged for anything from him. It is the turn of Yoruba, it is my turn.”
For a man then regarded as APC national leader, the battle line had been drawn and there was no looking back.
Like he said at another forum, that power was not served a la carte, Tinubu literally grabbed power from his opponents and those unwilling to give it up for him. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him victor.
With scores of invited presidents, heads of governments, and international organisations confirming their attendance at the presidential inauguration, Tinubu’s day has certainly come.
Arguably, Nigeria’s most strategic politician, Tinubu will be officially inaugurated at the Eagle Square, Abuja, today to lead a beleaguered nation contending with many paradoxes.
A senator under the then Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the Third Republic, which was cut short by the military, and widely described as progressive, Tinubu was one of those, who stood up for democracy, and in the months and years that followed, his name and voice gained national prominence.
Not the type to give up without a fight, Tinubu joined the political process, when Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999. He joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD), perceived to be a progressive party at the time.
He later emerged Lagos State governor on the AD platform. He became the only exiled pro-democracy agitator elected at that level at the time. Years later, he was a key actor in the biggest merger of progressives in Nigeria’s democratic history, the APC, in 2014.
Believed to have deep pockets, an assertion he has never denied, Tinubu’s enemies are as many as his supporters, if not even more. He boasts having loyalists across the country, ranging from officeholders that he singlehandedly raised, to persons who have benefitted from his large heart.
The former governor went through a brutal electioneering process, though he was up against a divided opposition, including Atiku Abubakar’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi’s Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso’s New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
The election was like the story of his childhood. Nothing good, for Tinubu, seemed to have ever come easy.
In an interview with The News magazine in 2016, Tinubu described the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) years as a “turbulent period to really rescue democracy”. He said it was meant to guarantee freedom, protect Nigerians, and ensure enduring adherence to constitutionalism.
Tinubu said of his struggles during the days of former dictator, General Sani Abacha, “I disguised with a huge turban and babanriga and escaped into Benin Republic on a motorbike. My old Hausa friend gave the clothes to me. In fact, when I appeared to Kudirat Abiola, she didn’t know that I was the one.”
He continued, “The MD of Mobil, Bob Parker, thought I was crazy, when I told him I wanted to join politics. I also told the Finance Director, Akinyelure, that I wanted to join politics and use my brain for my country and that I couldn’t continue to be an armchair critic. The two of them could not believe what I said. They said, given my career path in Mobil, if there was any chance of anybody becoming something there, then I would be the one. I stood my ground and said I would give it a try.”
Today, at his swearing in, Tinubu would probably look back, smile and say, “Yes, that was the best decision of my life!”
Expected at the inauguration ceremony this morning are 65 world leaders, including heads of state, past presidents, diplomats, heads of international organisations, and prominent Nigerians and representatives of foreign governments and agencies.
The inauguration programme, which ends today, began last week with the investiture of Tinubu with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR), the country’s highest national honour, and the vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima, as Grand Commander of Order of the Niger (GCON).
Speaking at the inauguration dinner, Tinubu vowed there would not be excuses for failure.
He said, “We must fight corruption, poverty, inconsistencies in policies and many other problems confronting us. But don’t pity me, I asked for the job, I campaigned for it, no excuses. I will live up to the bill delivered. I promise you.
“To the many heads of states present here, our brothers and sisters, celebrating with us, I thank you. But I want to say clearly for us to take away, what lessons has Nigerian democracy taught the rest Africa, if not the whole world.
“Resilience, determination, courage, love in diversity, though our tongues and tribes differ. By tomorrow afternoon, my predecessor is heading to Daura, on the border with Niger, but I have told him not to worry, he will still get a knock on his door. No matter how short a man is, he will see the sky. I will still be able to find him when I need his help.
“Here is a country that has stumbled a number of times, but has never faltered. We can be squeaky like old mama’s car, but we will never break apart. We are just a unique country.”
Buhari stated that the electoral process had given power back to the Nigerian electorate.
He said, “I congratulate fellow Nigerians who have realised their power, that their votes count. I’m looking forward to tomorrow to fly to my base and go back to my cows and sheep, which are much easier to control than fellow Nigerians.
“Your Excellences, heads of state and government, and their representatives that have come to share this day with us, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much and I say goodbye to you and wish us the best of luck.”
Earlier, First Lady, Aisha Buhari, in company with Tinubu, his wife, Remi Tinubu, Shettima, and his wife unveiled a book titled, “Renewed hope, Greater together.”
Some of the world leaders present at book launch included the presidents of South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burundi, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic, Gabon, Prime Minister of Morocco, and Vice President of Venezuela.
Osinbajo Prays for Success of Tinubu’s Presidency
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, prayed for God’s blessings not only on the Nigerian nation but also for the success of the incoming administration of Bola Tinubu.
Osinbajo offered the prayers in Abuja at an inter-denominational church service organised as part of activities marking the 2023 presidential inauguration.
The vice president said, “Tomorrow, a new government will be born. Concerning Jesus Christ, scripture says from birth He grew in stature, wisdom and favour with God.
“So, I pray in those same words for the president-elect, Senator Bola Tinubu, and the vice president-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, and the new government that as their days in office, so shall they grow in stature, in wisdom and in favour with the Almighty God.
“I pray for our nation, I pray that the Lord will prosper this land, that our land and its people will live in peace and security. And I pray for all who are here, each and everyone of you will be blessed in this land and you will live long to enjoy the fruits of God’s blessings on this land. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The service featured special intercessory prayers and messages from clergymen and songs ministration from respected ministers of God.
Below is the full text of the vice president’s last official speech at the church service.
“Today, for the seventh time in our political history, we stand on the threshold of a peaceful transition from one democratic government to another. From the Buhari administration to the Tinubu administration.
“For the Buhari administration’s eight years of two complete terms, which we are alive to witness this day, we bless the name of the creator of heaven and earth, the one to whom life itself belongs. And, so on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, his family, and his administration, I thank the almighty God, for his grace, mercy and generosity to us.
“God is interested in nations. When he speaks to a person, it is as a proxy to a nation. Speaking to Abraham as soon as He called Him to service, He said, I will make you a great Nation. And in Gen 22.18 he spoke to Abraham concerning Isaac-in your seed all the Nations of the earth shall be blessed.
“Speaking in 1 Peter 2:9 about born again Christians, he speaks, again about a nation. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
“And God is the real builder of nations. And He is certainly interested in building nations and prospering them. We must involve Him and listen to Him as we build our nation. According to Solomon in Psalms 127:1, Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
“God is the builder and protector of Nations. But then he has two instructions. One to leadership the other to the people. To leadership, the Word of God says in Proverbs 14:34, Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people. Every successful nation requires integrity at the highest levels of governance.
“When we say leadership we are referring to the elite. The political, business and religious elite of any society. That is so whether it is Dubai or Nigeria or Tanzania. No country can be great if it’s elite is corrupt, self-serving and living for themselves. To the people God instructs in Jeremiah 29:7( NLT) And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.
“1 Timothy 2:1-2, 1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
“God instructed the captives of Nebuchadnezzer King of Babylon from Jerusalem to pray for the peace of the city where they were held captive because they would find their own peace and prosperity. The people of God have a duty to pray and work for the peace and prosperity of the nation. Regardless of party or other parochial considerations.
“Tomorrow, a new government will be born. Concerning Jesus Christ, scripture says from birth He grew in stature, wisdom and favour with God. So, I pray in those same words for the President-elect, Senator Bola Tinubu and the Vice President elect, Senator Kashim Shettima and the new government that as their days in office so shall they grow in stature, in wisdom and in favour with the almighty God.
“I pray for our nation, I pray that the Lord will prosper this land, that our land and its people will live in peace and security. And I pray for all who are here each and everyone of you will be blessed in this land and you will live long to enjoy the fruits of God’s blessings on this land. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Senate Congratulates Tinubu, Urges Him to Focus on Tasks Ahead
The ninth Senate congratulated the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, and his deputy, Alhaji Kashim Shettima.
The Senate, in a statement by its spokesperson, Ajibola Basiru, also congratulated all Nigerians, who participated in the election process, whether as voters, policy makers, umpires, politicians, commentators, or legislators.
The Senate said, “While we rejoice with Your Excellency, we are not oblivious of the arduous tasks of state before your incoming administration.
“We are rejoicing with Your Excellency and we pray it will be Your Excellency that God will use to move this nation to where it should be among the comity of nations and take the nation to greater heights in all spheres.
“Nigerians will hold Your Excellency responsible to your promises of food security, power generation and supply, massive job creation and youth employment, among the myriads of needs confronting our nation.
“Nigerians will not be bothered about ethnicity, religiosity, or any other sentimental colouration, of any kind, if they see genuine hope of transformation. Nigerians are hungry and crying, as never before for hope, and we pray, they may see hope in your slogan: Renewed hope.
“While committing you to the hands of the Almighty God, we also say you should take heed in your appointments so that you can put in place those who will key into your set out agenda and work for Nigerians.”
The Senate urged Tinubu to make his appointments based on justice, merit, competence, and balancing by all means.
Afenifere: Tinubu’s Administration Will Birth New Nigeria
Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, expressed the hope that the new government in Nigeria under the leadership of Bola Tinubu would herald a new lease of life in the country.
Afenifere also set agenda for the new government, and appealed to separatist agitators to give the new government a chance to deliver on its electoral promises.
The affirmation was contained in a statement yesterday issued by National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Comrade Jare Ajayi.
According to Afenifere, Tinubu, by his antecedents, has what it takes to take Nigeria to a greater height.
The group stated, “We are confident that he will assemble a goals-getting team that will enable him translate his dreams for new and better Nigeria into reality. These dreams include calming the frayed nerves among various sections of the country, restoring security and safety of lives and property.”
Afenifere also said Tinubu needed to, “Shore up the economy, revamp our collapsed educational system, overhaul the dilapidated infrastructure, create jobs and restore the dashed hopes of youths in the country.”
That was in addition to “setting Nigeria on the path of industrialisation and bringing her into the comity of most advanced countries in the world in social, economic and political terms within the shortest time possible,” Afenifere said.
Afenifere submitted that for the above to be achieved, the new president needed to consider some key areas, which deserved urgent and critical attention. It listed the areas to include insecurity, economy, rekindling a sense of unity and patriotism among Nigerians, revamping agriculture, power, health and infrastructure.
According to the group, “Cutting down the cost of governance is one of the ways to start with. Doing so, without favouritism will make resources available for critical sectors, block cesspools for corruption and make public officials to be more productive.
“Incidentally, both Asiwaju and his vice, Senator Kashim Shettima, are well-suited in this respect going by their experiences as former governors, former senators and equally importantly, their educational backgrounds.
“Asiwaju studied Accountancy at Chicago State University in America, while Senator Shettima studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.”
Afenifere observed that the suggestions might not be easy in view of the tradition in which many looked for patronage or “reward” from political office-holders, especially after a hotly contested election like that of February 25, 2023. Bit it said it was not impossible.
According to Afenifere, “Yet, it is possible. And we are hopeful that Asiwaju will be able to do it, especially going by his knack to scout for round pegs to be put in round holes, as he did when he called the shots as governor in Lagos State. There is a way to balance political exigencies with the dire needs of the country, such as smoothening the ethnic, political and religious divides and getting every hand to be on deck for the purpose of moving the nation forward.”
He added that Tinubu seemed to be conscious of this when he asserted, “Our nation’s progress rests on the inclusivity, unity and not leaving any citizen behind and ensuring every citizen enjoys the dividends of good governance.”
Afenifere asked the incoming president to live up to his words of dedicating his “entire being to the service of our great nation and the African continent.”
Biden’s Delegation to Tinubu’s Inauguration Arrives Nigeria
United States President Joe Biden’s delegation to the inauguration of Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s 16th president arrived Nigeria yesterday,
The US mission made the announcement on its official Twitter handle, @USinNigeria.
The tweet read, “Welcome to Nigeria! We are excited to receive the delegation from #POTUS Biden, led by #SecFudge from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as they join us in Abuja for the inauguration of President-Elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
The Honourable Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, led the delegation.
Other members of the delegation include Mr. David Greene, Chargé d’Affaires,, U.S. Embassy Abuja, the Honourable Sydney Kamlager-Dove, United States Representative, California, the Honourable Marisa Lago, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce, General Michael E. Langley, Commander of U.S. Africa Command.
Also on the delegation are the Honourable Enoh T. Ebong, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Honourable Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State, the Honourable Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council, and the Honourable Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.