Over 50 Presidents/Heads Of Govt To Attend Buhari’s Swearing-In
• Inauguration To Cost Less Than N2 Billion, Says Committee
OVER 50 Presidents and Heads of Government are being expected in Nigeria to attend the Presidential inauguration on May 29, even as the Inauguration Committee says it has expended below N2 billion for the planning and execution of the epoch-making event.
This was made known yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing by Chairman of the Media and Publicity Sub-Committee of the Presidential Inauguration Planning Committee, Chief Edem Duke. He said that attendance of this large number of world leaders “is a plus for the image of Nigeria, that we have attracted such positive attention to this inauguration”.
Duke added that invitations for the inauguration of President-elect Muhammadu Buhari are already being extended and “as we speak, the 54 countries of the continent of Africa have been invited.” He added: “Very many of the Heads of State will be coming.
There has been a huge interest, especially from heads of countries in Europe, to attend this inauguration and at the last count, I think we must have in excess of about 50 heads of state and delegation expected at this inauguration.”
The programmed lined up for the one-week event started yesterday with Jumat prayers at the National Mosque, Abuja, as well a Christian church service slated for tomorrow at the National Christian Centre also in Abuja.
“There is also a plan that in some locations within the city, there might be big television screens for members of the public to follow the activities of the swearing-in, so people don’t need to come to the Eagle Square if they don’t have invitation cards,” Duke disclosed.
He said security at the inauguration is guaranteed as “special attention has been paid to security coverage, the operatives are working together to ensure that no safety concern whatsoever, should threaten the sanctity of the inauguration.
“The security agencies are working in close concert to ensure that there is absolutely no threat to the security of this inauguration.
Arrangements are being made to screen all the invitees long before they access the perimeters of the location.”
The minister, while answering questions, denied that N5 billion is being expended for the inauguration, although he said: “This is an inauguration that if wishes were horses, we won’t even think of what we would incur in order to put in place the inauguration.
“I want to assure the Nigerian public that we couldn’t have executed the inauguration with any amount more or less than what is being expended today and I can assure you that we are working on very stringent tight budget.
“Definitely, not even N3 billion and not even up to N2 billion, so that is for your information. The important thing is not the cost, the important thing is the essence of executing a proper inauguration that would sustain the integrity and position of Nigeria in the comity of nations.”
On his part, the Co-Chairman of the event, Pius Akinyelure, said: “Preparations have been meticulously concluded and we are confident that we would achieve our over-reaching objectives, which is to record, secure and entertain all-inclusive and memorable presidential inauguration.” For Senator-elect, Dino Melaye, who is also a member of the sub-committee:
“We are very ready and we have worked with the outgoing government to ensure we have a befitting inauguration.”