Buhari To Nigerians: ‘We’ve Opportunity, Let’s Take It’
….Pledges To Tackle Boko Haram, Corruption, Unemployment
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari peered into the future yesterday as he took the reigns of power and saw a great opportunity to make Nigeria work again. And he urged all Nigerians to seize the moment with him.
“We have an opportunity. Let us take it,” he said in his inaugural speech shortly after taking the Oath of Office as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Buhari, resplendent in a cream flowing gown, with a matching cap, spoke in measured tones, sometimes characteristically sternly to the audience that transcended Nigerians at home, abroad and friends and foes all over.
For 20 minutes, Buhari deliberately seemed to emphasise every aspect of his points in the 1,856-word speech.
He drew occasional applause, but seemed more intent on proceeding in a business-like manner, portraying a man with a lot in his mind.
At exactly 10.50 am, Buhari who was accompanied by his wife, Aisha, was sworn into office by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, amidst thunderous applause by thousands of his supporters, who thronged the Eagle Square venue of the epoch-making event and its environs in Abuja.
On hand to witness the event were former President Shehu Shagari, who was overthrown by Buhari in a military coup on December 31, 1984, as well as former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who in turn ousted Buhari on August 27, 1985.
Also in attendance were former Heads of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Buhari’s swearing-in was preceded by that of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, accompanied by his wife, Dolapo, who was administered both the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance at exactly 10.35 am by Justice Mohammed.
Amid chants of Baba Oyoyo, Buhari, who was decked in a cream agbada and cap to match, was chauffeur-driven round the square to acknowledge cheers moments after he was handed over the paraphernalia of office by his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.
It was followed by a warm handshake between Buhari and Jonathan, who gave a smile and a goodbye wave to both local and foreign dignitaries that came from far and near to witness the dawn of a new era under an All Progressive Congress (APC) led administration.
In his inaugural address, Buhari, who thanked Jonathan over his display of statesmanship for conceding defeat after the conduct of the general election, noted that the occasion underlined the resolve by Nigerians to entrench democratic culture in the country.
Assuring that he would leave no stone unturned to address the problems of corruption, insecurity, dearth in infrastructure and youth unemployment, he pledged to govern Nigerians with all sense of equity and fairness.
Ruling out the possibility of embarking on a witch-hunting mission, he pledged to ensure an end to the menace of Boko Haram and perennial fuel shortages in the country as soon as possible.
Acknowledging that the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in December, he assured that his administration would invest heavily in ongoing projects and programmes in the oil-rich region.
Thanking the governments and people of Cameroun, Chad and Niger for committing their armed forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria, he disclosed that he would relocate the Command and Control Centre of the armed forces from Abuja to Maiduguri in a bid to nip in the bud the activities of the terrorists group.
APC chieftains who graced the occasion included former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Chief Ogbonnaya Onu; Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu; Chief Bisi Akande; and the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
President’s Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe); Yayi Boni (Benin); Ellen Johnson-Sirlieaf (Liberia); Mouhamadou Yousoufu (Niger); John Dramani Mahama (Ghana); Faure Eyadema (Togo); and US Secretary of State, John Kerry, were among foreign dignitaries who witnessed the occasion.
There were also captains of industries. They included Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Jim Ovia, and former head of the poverty alleviation scheme, Mr. Magnus Kpakol.