- President off to S/Arabia, absent at inaugural dinner
- Bauchi, Gombe govs cancel last minute appointments
President Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday absent at the Presidential Inaugural Dinner held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Hundreds of dignitaries including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, ex-ministers, party leaders and diplomats, among others, attended the dinner.
However, Aisha Abubakar was addressed as the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development by the master of ceremony.
This was against the president’s directive that all ministers should relinquish office by May 28, hours to his swearing in for second term.
No reason was given for Buhari’s absence at the dinner, but Presidential Spokesman Garba Shehu had yesterday said in a statement that the president would leave today for Saudi Arabia to attend OIC meeting.
In his speech at the dinner, Osinbajo said: “We will defend the trust Nigerians reposed on us. The best years of Nigeria begins today.
“From 12 last night to 10:30am this morning, there was virtually no president and Vice President. We were happy that there was no problem.
“I will like to thank Mr. Senate President for not doing anything funny.”
Earlier during the swearing in ceremony at the Eagle Square, many former ministers were in attendance but only the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, was seen with official cars.
Our correspondent reports that guests struggled for seat during the banquet last night as many people turned out for the event. The venue was filled to the brim, forcing many invited guests including diplomats to stand. There was also heavy vehicular traffic at the road leading to the State House Conference centre.
To address the situation, the master of ceremony appealed to “those of you that don’t have seats, please go to the overflow.”
The event scheduled to commence at 8:05pm started 25 minutes late. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo arrived at the venue at 8:30pm.
In his remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, apologized to the guests.
He said the new mandate given to the president was in recognition of his sterling leadership qualities, adding that they’ve committed themselves to the development of the country.
Buhari advised on priority areas
The chairman of House of Reps Committee on IDPs, Muhammad Sani Zorro, said the government should have robust engagements with the media in the next four years.
While commending the government for admitting through the SGF, Boss Mustapha, that there were gaps which would be addressed, Zorro said the government should hit the ground running on its new policies.
A presidential candidate of GDPN in the 2019 General Elections, Davidson Akhimien, urged the president to use his second term to focus on security.
Also, the National President of the Nigeria Voters Assembly (VOTAS), Comrade Mashood Erubami, urged President Buhari to prioritise security, education and job opportunities in his second term as President.
Erubami, who was a former Chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), told Daily Trust that though the President made such promises in his first term, his second tenure of office should be utilized to focus on the three points.
According to him, if these are achieved, other positive development would naturally follow and the challenges would invariably be tackled and he would enjoy the expected support of all Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also quoted some residents of the Federal Capital Territory as urging the president to work towards tackling mass unemployment and insecurity in the country during his second term in office.
Buhari inaugurated without speech
President Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday sworn in for second term amidst tight security.
Acting Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, administered the oath of office at 10:37am at the Eagle Square, Abuja. The president, who was flanked by his wife, Aisha, during the oath taking, did not deliver speech at the ceremony.
The acting CJN had earlier administered the oath of office on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at 10:25am. He was also flanked by his wife, Dolapo.
The ceremony was witnessed by some members of the first family.
President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had defeated his main contender Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the February 23, 2019 presidential election. Buhari emerged the winner of the election with 15,191,847 votes, while Atiku scored 11,262,978.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara arrived the venue by 9:40am.
Obasanjo, Jonathan absent
The inauguration was witnessed by a former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon and former head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan. Former presidents Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Olusegun Obasanjo, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida were absent at the ceremony.
Other dignitaries include members of the diplomatic corps, security chiefs, business mogul Aliko Dangote, governors, lawmakers, former ministers, traditional rulers, among others.
Also in attendance were the chieftains of the APC including the National chairman Adams Oshiomhole, the national leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, among others.
Our correspondent reports that Saraki and Tinubu hugged each other at the event.
Oshiomhole moved for ‘breaking protocol’
There was a mild drama when a Brigadier General asked Oshiomhole to leave where he was standing close to the acting CJN.
To receive the president, Saraki, Dogara, Acting CJN and the Security Chiefs stood by the red carpet.
Oshiomhole joined them and stood in-between the acting CJN and Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.
The ceremony witnessed the lowering and hoisting of the National and Defence flags, inspection of Guard of Honour, 21-gun salute and acknowledgement of cheers from guests by the president.
Major events for the swearing in have been shifted to June 12, the country’s new Democracy Day. The Federal Government had weeks announced that the swearing in ceremony would be a low-key event.