Inauguration: Stakeholders project tough challenges


…As Buhari hands over to Tinubu

…I feel fulfilled, leaving Nigeria better than 2015 — Buhari

…Apologises over rigid policy choices

…Says Nigerians have chosen well, as he bows out

…Buhari has set up traps for Tinubu — Shehu Sani

…Laments negative indices

…We don’t need Nigeria’s wealth to survive — Remi Tinubu

By Moses Adeniyi

While nations of the world send in their delegates to witness inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as 16th President of Nigeria, alongside Kashim Shettima as Vice President at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, as Muhammadu Buhari bows out, fears have been nursed by stakeholders over what has been noted to be snares which may pose strains before the new administration.

Buhari who on Sunday in his bowing out message directed to “fellow Nigerian brothers, sisters and friends of Nigeria,” boasted “Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to  various strategies put in place (by his administration) to ensure that our economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns.”

He also boasted he is “leaving behind an electoral process which guarantees that votes count, results are credible, elections are fair and transparent and the influence of money in politics reduced to the barest minimum. And Nigerians can elect leaders of their choice.”

Among others, he also boasted that his government “increased the ability of the poor and rural Nigerians to earn a living, provided more food for millions in our villages and gave our women opportunities to earn a living.”

Buhari however expressed grief over children still in captivity of terrorists, saying he mourns with the parents, friends and relatives of all those that lost loved ones “in the days of the senseless brigandage and carnage.”

He said Tinubu worked for his victory leading to his inauguration, saying, “God has crowned your efforts.”

Buhari urged those who contested the 2023 general elections but lost, to accept the decision of the courts and join hands to build a better Nigeria.

His address reads: “I address you today, in my last assignment as a democratically elected President of our great and well-endowed nation, with a deep sense of gratitude to God, a great deal of appreciation to the Nigerian people and a modest sense of fulfilment.

“Today we mark and celebrate another peaceful transition of power from one elected government to another in our steady march to improve and sustain Nigeria’s democracy.

“This year, we witnessed the most keenly contested Presidential Election since the first Republic and this demonstrates that our democracy is getting better and more entrenched with each election.

“We must as a nation improve and sustain gains we make in the electoral process, on an incremental basis for Nigeria to take its rightful place among Nations.

“Our democracy provides for, allows and encourages seeking redress for perceived injustices, enabling some candidates and political parties that did not agree with the results to go to court.

“Irrespective of the outcome of the various cases, I urge all parties involved to accept the decision of our courts and join hands to build a better Nigeria.

“I salute the doggedness and resilience of all the Presidential Candidates and their political parties for believing in our judicial system by taking their grievances with the election results to court.

“In the course of the campaigns, we had argued and disagreed on how to make Nigeria better but we never disagreed or had any doubts that Nigeria has to be better.

“As your President, I call on all of us to bring to bear the strength of our individualism, the power of our unity, the convictions of our beliefs to make Nigeria work better and together with one spirit and one purpose.

“To my brother, friend and fellow worker in the political terrain for the past ten years — Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu — I congratulate you on the realisation of your dream, which was propelled by a burning passion to put Nigeria amongst the leading nations of the world.

“You have indeed worked for this day and God has crowned your efforts. I have no doubt that your passion for excellence, reliance on competence, fairness in relationships, commitment to equity, loyalty to the country and desire for Nigeria to be globally relevant would come through for you, under God’s guidance, as you lead our country to levels higher that I am leaving.

“You are the best candidate among all the contestants and Nigerians have chosen well.

“The last eight years have been an exciting experience in my desire and commitment to see a Nigeria in which public goods and services are available, and accessible within a united, peaceful and secure nation.

“Fellow Nigerians, on the strength of your overwhelming support for me and my political party, I started this journey with a great deal of promise and expectation from you. I never intended to be just politically correct but to do the correct things that will make meaningful impact on the lives of the common Nigerian.

“This high expectation was not misplaced because, like the ordinary Nigerian, I had grown tired of watching the country progressively moving away from the path of correctness.

“To ensure that our democracy remains resilient and our elected representatives remain accountable to the people, I am leaving behind an electoral process which guarantees that votes count, results are credible, elections are fair and transparent and the influence of money in politics reduced to the barest minimum. And Nigerians can elect leaders of their choice.

“We are already seeing the outcome of this process as it provided an even playing field where persons without any political God-Father or access to money defeated other well-resourced candidates.

“The Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to the various strategies put in place to ensure that our economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns.

“You would all recall the supply chain disruptions and economic downturn that the world witnessed between 2020 and 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deftness of our response to the pandemic still remains a global best practice.

“Furthermore, we increased the ability of the poor and rural Nigerians to earn a living, provided more food for millions in our villages and gave our women opportunities to earn a living.

“Young men and women in urban centres were also supported to put their skills into productive use. Our administration also provided an enabling environment for the private sector to engage in businesses for which their return on investments is guaranteed.

“The private sector proved a strong partner in our drive to build a resilient and sustainable economy as evidenced by the growing number of turn-key projects in various sectors of the economy.

“In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results. Some of the measures led to temporary pain and suffering for which I sincerely apologised to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the overall good of the country.

“Mindful of the need to ensure adequate infrastructure to drive economic growth, we completed age-long projects and processes notably amongst which are the Petroleum Industry Act, completion of some power projects, completion of the second Niger bridge and various important roads linking cities and states.

“Our battle to ensure that all Nigerians live in a safe and secure environment has achieved considerable results. As I complete my term in office, we have been able to reduce the incidences of banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other criminal activities considerably.

“To sustain the gains made so far, I call on all Nigerians to be more vigilant and support the security agencies by ensuring that our values defined by being your brothers’ keeper govern our actions.

“Up till now, I still grieve for our children still in captivity, mourn with parents, friends and relatives of all those that lost loved ones in the days of the senseless brigandage and carnage. For all those under unlawful captivity our Security Agencies are working round the clock to secure their release unharmed.

“Fellow Nigerians, you know how dear the desire in my heart is, to rid the country of corrupt practices that had consistently diminished our efforts to be a great country.

“I did pursue this commitment relentlessly, in spite of the expected push back. I am happy that considerable progress had been made in repatriating huge sums of money back to the country and also taken over properties illegally acquired from our common wealth.

“To improve service delivery, we began the implementation of a number of reforms aimed at producing an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-oriented (EPIC) Federal Civil Service and the results are beginning to show.

“On the international scene, Nigeria’s influence continues to grow as exemplified by notable Nigerians occupying headship and leadership positions in renowned global bodies.

“Our democracy is built on and continues to thrive on the principles of separation of powers. The leadership and members of the National Assembly deserve my appreciation for their patriotism which did not detract from their roles as a check to the executive arm.

“I also want to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to a good number of Nigerians who provided their support and encouragement to help me navigate the exciting journey in moving Nigeria forward.

“I cannot and will not forget the millions who prayed for me during my illness in my first term of office. I am constantly praying for you and for Nigeria to thrive in peace.

“As I retire home to Daura, Katsina State, I feel fulfilled that we have started the Nigeria Re-Birth by taking the initial critical steps and I am convinced the incoming administration will quicken the pace of this walk to see a Nigeria that fulfils its destiny to be a great nation.

“I am confident that I am leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015.”

…Stakeholders nurse fear of trap for new administration

Although Buhari gave a boastful farewell message, critics believe he has left Nigeria worse than he took over it as President in 2015.

This is just as stakeholders have highlighted negative indices such as the huge public debt profile which grew from N12.2trillion in June 2015, barely a month after Buhari took over, to over N46.25trillion, as well as rising hyperinflation to as high as 22.2 per cent, more pronounced job unemployment rate among other odd indices.

It is feared that leaving Nigeria with a total debt stock of over N80trillion may lay snare and deep trap for the new administration.

According to report, the Federal Government’s borrowing from China has grown by 209.15 per cent under the Buhari’s government, just as as total bilateral loans rose by 219.91 per cent from $1.58billion as of June 2015 to $5.07billion as of December 2022.

Total borrowing from China rose from $1.39billion to $4.29billion in the period under review.

The debt explosion has seen stakeholders lamenting the risks before the Country, particularly as over 90 per cent of the Country’s revenue is being gulped by debt servicing.

…Buhari has set traps for Tinubu – Shehu Sanni

Nursing fear over the entanglements the Buhari’s administration might have premised for the new Administration, a former federal lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, said the Buhari  has set traps for his successor.

Sani who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the 8th National Assembly accused Buhari of leaving behind a Country without any economic direction, political restructuring, a Country ridden with insecurity turbulence, among other plethora of woes.

Sani who made the assertion while highlighting the failures of the Buhari led  administration, said Buhari has set up traps for the next government in order to make his own look better.

“He led the country without any economic direction. He presided over a government that failed to secure the lives of Nigerians; 63,000 dead, three million internally displaced persons and 366,000 refugees in neighbouring countries.

“He failed to restructure as he promised. He granted waivers to the rich and impoverished the poor. He closed the borders for those who import bags of rice on motorcycles and permitted those who use the ships.

“He built magical pyramids that disappeared after three days. He left incomplete projects with huge debts to service for decades.

“He enabled, enriched and reinforced a cabal for eight years. He appointed and retained failures and rewarded them with extensions. He was weak in taking decisions and running away when it’s tough.

“He has no house in London but made London his home. He left behind high inflation, record devaluation, record unemployment, record fall in GDP, record figures of poverty and record plunder of state resources.

“He left behind a nation with 60 million people suffering from mental illnesses. He is leaving behind the health workers on strike. He set up traps for the next government in order to make his own look better,” said Sani in a tweet via his official twitter handle @ShehuSani.

Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar III, Sa’adu Abubakar has told Tinubu not to occupy his mind with the thought of winning the next election, but on how to first develop the Country and the next generation.

The Sultan in Abuja on Saturday at an event where former Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta delivered an inaugural lecture titled, “Deepening Democracy for Integration and Development,” said  “As political leaders, you will need not only to think of the next election but also, and more importantly, think of the next generation.

“I leave you with these thoughts and pray for God’s guidance, wisdom, and patience for leaders to take our country to the highest height. And we have peace and stability in our great country Nigeria.”

On his part, Kenyatta had also advised Tinubu to reach out to those who may feel aggrieved over his emergence, so as to build a stronger nation.

Kenyatta who submitted  Tinubu must transcend from tactical politics and adopt the role of a vision bearer, stressed that he must lead and unite all citizens, regardless of whether or not they supported him during the election.

“The contest is now over, and the hard work of building a prosperous and unified Nigeria now begins. Upon assuming the office of president, you would be wise to transcend from the tactical politics of an election and assume your role as Nigeria’s vision bearer. This will demand a complete overhaul of the adversarial mindset that we as politicians are conditioned to embrace during the electoral process.

“As President, you must learn very quickly to lead those who do not love you and those who love you with equal passion and commitment because you are now the father of all,” he said

“Your Excellency, when countries are in election mode, the people and their leaders are more divided than ever, and boxed into their various sectarian and partisan interests.

“However, when you are the head of state, and you take command of the country’s armed forces, you become the embodiment of the total of the many different ethnic groups and religions that make up your country, and you become the symbol of unity. Indeed, you become the face of Nigeria,” he submitted.

…We don’t need Nigeria’s wealth to survive – Remi Tinubu

Meanwhile, as critics from some quarters have laid speculations of widespread corruption in the new administration, the wife of Tinubu, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has assured Nigerians that her family does not need the wealth of the Country to survive, saying God has blessed them.

Speaking during the interdenominational church service that was held on Sunday in Abuja at the National Christian Centre as  part of the activities heralding the inauguration, Tinubu added that the wealth of the nation belongs to all and that they rather would use it for the right thing.

Tinubu, who is also the outgoing senator representing Lagos Central at the National Assembly urged Nigerians to pray for them as they would need the grace of God to live up to the expectation of Nigerians.

“Nigeria’s wealth is the commonwealth of all. It belongs to everyone. God has blessed my family. We don’t need the wealth of Nigeria to survive but to do the right thing. And I promise you on this altar, that with your help, with the help of God, who will set this nation on the right path,” she vowed.

Moreover, she added, “Asiwaju is 71 and I will be 63. I bet I will be one of the oldest first ladies Nigeria would have. We need the grace of God and we need everyone to do what Nigerians are expecting.

“Today, God has really proven himself as he did on the night of the primaries and put his seal on it. Because, when I saw the votes count to be 1,271, I said God it means you are here.

“I was humbled to my rock bottom. And to believe that this is the seventh consecutive democratic transition Nigeria will be experiencing shows that this is a time of perfection for Nigeria.”