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World leaders, others attend Tinubu’s inauguration today

No fewer than 20 presidents of countries around the world, including Africa are in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to witness today’s...

No fewer than 20 presidents of countries around the world, including Africa are in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to witness today’s inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the 16th president of the country.

Tinubu’s inauguration marks the 7th consecutive democratic transition of power in the 24 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, following the return to civilian administration in 1999.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Transition Council, Boss Mustapha, who had earlier unveiled the programme of events for the inauguration at a world press conference in Abuja, said all arrangements have been concluded for a seamless transition of power.

He disclosed that the federal government has extended invitations to some presidents and heads of government as well as heads of international organisations, saying he was glad to report that many of the invitees confirmed attendance in person.

“Let me once again assure Nigerians and indeed the global community of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the seamless transfer of power to President-Elect, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The upcoming event is historically significant to this great nation and the international community, particularly Africa because of the democratic values and lessons in nationhood. For these reasons, we have chosen, ‘Nigeria: Better Together’, as the theme for the 2023 transition,” he said.

Daily Trust reports that the world leaders attended the presidential inauguration dinner and gala night held at the State House, Abuja yesterday.

Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He defeated 17 other candidates, among them, his closest rivals, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party to clinch Nigeria’s most coveted seat.

However, his victory is being challenged at the election petition tribunal by both Atiku and Obi who alleged that the electoral body rigged the election to favour the former Lagos State governor. Both INEC and the ruling party have denied the allegation.

The inauguration ceremony is billed for Eagle Square, Abuja amidst high expectations from Nigerians and the world due to the importance of Nigeria to regional, continental and global stability and influences.

Daily Trust reports that while Tinubu would be inaugurated in Abuja, similar exercises would take place in 28 states.

The states are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River and Delta.

Others are Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara states.

Brand new governors would be sworn-in in 18 states, where the governors have served out their two terms. The states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.

Sixteen of the governors to be inaugurated today are of the All Progressives Congress (APC), including Uba Sani (Kaduna), Bassey Otu (Cross River), Mohammed Bago (Niger), Umar Namadi (Jigawa), Ahmed Aliyu (Sokoto), Dikko Radda (Katsina), Hyacinth Alia (Benue), Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), Babagana Zulum (Borno) and Umar Namadi (Jigawa).

Similarly, 10 state governors on the platform of the PDP will take charge today. They are Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Kefas Agbu (Taraba), Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau), Peter Mbah (Enugu), Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom), Dauda Lawal (Zamfara), Siminialayi Fubara (Rivers), Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta) and Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa).

Abba Kabir of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) will be sworn in as governor of Kano State, while Alex Otti of the Labour Party (LP) will be inaugurated as the chief executive of Abia.

Daily Trust reports that ahead of today’s ceremonies, security operatives had been placed on red alert to abort any threat to the events.


World leaders in Abuja

It was gathered that among the early arrivals on Sunday was the Indian delegation, with the government sending the Defence Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh, as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister to attend Tinubu’s inauguration.

The Indian Embassy in Nigeria had earlier issued a statement on Saturday that Singh would arrive in Abuja on Sunday for the occasion.

“Mr Singh is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising senior officials from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs of India,” the statement said.

Similarly, a delegation from the Canadian Government is being represented by the Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion, Ahmed Hussen, as head.

It was also learnt that the United Kingdom’s delegation arrived in Abuja on Sunday afternoon.

The delegation, comprising the Special Envoy of King Charles is led by the Minister of State for Development and Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Andrew Mitchell; the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria and Special Envoy on Girls’ Education, Helen Grant, and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery.

The nine-man delegation from the United States as approved by President Joe Biden, last Monday, is being led by Marcia L. Fudge, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

The American delegation has since arrived in Nigeria.

Other members of the US delegation to Nigeria include David Greene, chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy in Abuja; Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Democratic Representative from California; Marisa Lago, the US Department of Commerce’s Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Michael E. Langley, the commander of the United States Africa Command.

Others include Enoh T. Ebong, director of the United States Trade and Development Agency; Mary Catherine Phee, the US Department of State’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Judd Devermont, national security council’s special assistant to the president and senior director for African issues; and Monde Muyangwa, the assistant administrator for Africa at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Chinese government delegation, led by a Communist Party leader and minister is leading the unspecified delegation as confirmed by the Embassy in Abuja.

Also in Abuja for the epoch-making ceremony, is the Turkish government delegation.


African leaders

Meanwhile, the Rwandan government also announced the arrival of President Paul Kagame in Abuja to attend the handover ceremony.

“President Kagame has arrived in Abuja, Nigeria, where he will attend the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu alongside other Heads of State from around the world,” Rwanda’s presidency tweeted.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has also reportedly arrived for the ceremony leading a 10-man high-powered delegation.

The Sierra Leonean and Liberian governments’ delegations have also arrived in Abuja for the ceremony. South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has also arrived.

Also in Abuja is the president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan; president of the Republic of Congo Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Nguesso; president of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló; while the Qatar delegation is led by Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani

The president of Burundi, Évariste Ndayishimiye; the Transitional President of Chad, Mahamat Déby; the President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum; and President Nana Akufo-Ado of Ghana are also in Nigeria for today’s ceremony.


Don’t pity me, I asked for the job – Tinubu

Meanwhile, Tinubu said he should not be pitied as he asked for the job.

He said this during the inauguration dinner and gala night yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, attended by foreign presidents and many other dignitaries.

“I thank all of you here, present, brothers and sisters celebrating with us, for us to take away, what lessons Nigeria’s democracy taught the rest of Africa if not part of the world. The frenzy, determination, courage and love in diversity.

“By tomorrow afternoon (today), my predecessor (President Buhari) is heading to Daura on the border of Niger and I told him don’t worry; you will still get enough on your door.

“No matter how short a man is, he will see the sky; I will be able to find you, when I need your help. Here is a country that has stumbled a number of times but would never falter, we can be squeaky like old mama’s car but we would never break apart. We are just a unique country.

“We must fight corruption, poverty, inconsistency 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, I promise you,” Tinubu said.

In his speech, Buhari said Nigerians are aware of their powers once there is an authority that would ensure that their votes count.

“How can a serving governor who served for eight years contest to go to the National Assembly and is defeated. We are happy for those that were elected and I congratulate fellow Nigerians who realize their power as their votes count,” he said.

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