No opposition to blame as Tinubu mounts saddle, gets Biden’s support
• May pick Gbajabiamila CoS, Akume as SGF
• Buhari arrives in Daura, announces new appointments during Tinubu’s inauguration
• CAN congratulates Tinubu, tasks him on security, economy
• Tinubu’s inaugural speech shallow with no solution to problems, says LP
Newly-sworn in Nigeria’s 16th president, Bola Tinubu, got a boost from one of the nation’s biggest allies on his first day in office as President of America, Joe Biden, yesterday expressed his desire to work with Tinubu and strengthen the relationship between both countries.
The White House, official residence of the U.S. president, disclosed this in a statement, on Monday. American presidency had earlier sent a powerful diplomatic delegation to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Tinubu.
At about 10:36a.m, Tinubu took the oath of office and allegiance as the fifth president in the Fourth Republic, administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Kayode Ariwoola, while Senator Kashim Shettima assumed the office of the Vice President.
Tinubu raised the hopes of Nigerians of better days ahead, promising to re-unite the country through progressive good governance and making the Constitution work to entrench rule of law, improve on the security and introduce radical changes in the economy and monetary policy.
Biden, in the release, reiterated his administration’s readiness to work with Tinubu “to strengthen ties between America and Nigeria.” He said: “On behalf of the people of the United States, I send warm wishes to the government and people of Nigeria as they inaugurate a new President. I look forward to continuing this work with President Tinubu to support economic growth, advance security, and promote respect for human rights.”
Biden expressed optimism about the ideas and energy of the dynamic connection between the two countries, noting that America will continue to work closely with the most populous country in Africa.
“The people-to-people connections between our two countries run particularly deep, nurtured by a vibrant Nigerian Diaspora in the United States. As we further deepen our partnership with Nigeria, I look forward to drawing even more on the ideas and energy of this dynamic connection between our countries.
“As Africa’s largest democracy and economy, Nigeria’s success is the world’s success. Elected leaders owe it to their people to show that democracy can deliver for their needs. And the United States will continue to work closely with Nigeria, as a friend and partner, to deliver a more peaceful and prosperous future for our world,” Biden said.
Nigeria has traditionally been among the most important partners of the United States in Africa and it hopes to put one foot forward, ahead of its biggest rival on the continent, China, in fostering deeper diplomatic and trade relations with Nigeria as Tinubu takes on the onerous task of a major reset.
Taking over the mantle of leadership from Muhammadu Buhari, President Tinubu addressed the agitation for Nigeria’s break up during his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square in Abuja, assuring that Nigeria will not break up or perish.
He said: “For many years, Nigeria’s critics have carried it that Nigeria will break up, even perish, yet we are here. We have stumbled at times, but resilience and diversity have kept us going and we will keep going. As long as this world exists, Nigeria shall exist.”
Groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Yoruba Nation movement have been agitating for Nigeria’s break up over the years, while pushing for secession. While Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s leader is locked up by the Department of State Services (DSS), Sunday Igboho is held in Benin Republic.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, may soon be announced as Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President.
Reliable sources close to Tinubu confided in The Guardian that Tinubu has penciled down the lawmaker representing Surulere 1 constituency of Lagos since 2019 in the House of Representatives for the job. It was also gathered that some bureaucrats and politicians are already relating and briefing Gbajabiamila on their activities.
The Guardian investigation also revealed that former governor of Benue State, George Akume may become Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). He was the Minority Leader of the Senate from June 2011 to June 2015. He was nominated and confirmed a Minister of Special Duties by Buhari.
The Presidential Campaign Council Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), James Faleke, yesterday said Tinubu would unveil members of his cabinet within 60 days, in a subtle jab at the former president who took over six months to name his ministers and form his cabinet in 2015.
Faleke disclosed this in an interview with Channels Television. He said: “Of course, within 60 days, that’s what the law says. He can announce anytime but I just know he must do it within 60 days.”
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, has congratulated Tinubu on his assumption of office as President.
In a congratulatory message in Abuja, Okoh reminded the President that Nigeria is facing various challenges that require strong and decisive leadership ranging from security concerns to economic struggles.
The CAN President noted that there is much work to be done in order to ensure that Nigeria reaches its full potential. He urged President Tinubu to prioritise these issues and to work tirelessly to find lasting solutions that will improve the livelihoods of the people of Nigeria.
The Labour Party (LP) has, however, expressed disappointment with the inaugural speech made by President Tinubu, which it alleged exposed the shallowness and policy incongruity that his administration, while it lasts, is hoping to bequeath Nigerians.
A statement by its acting publicity secretary, Obiora Ifoh, teased Tinubu for describing “the election that brought him to power as tough but fairly won”, saying it is a shame that he is gloating over an election victory that Nigerians know better.
“We consider that speech as defective in many ways. The late President Umaru Yar’Adua on the inauguration of his government did state that the election that brought him to power was flawed and imperfect but he promised that he was going to fix the electoral system.
“But today, Nigerians were aghast with the boldness and glee with which Tinubu declared his election as fair. We consider this audacity as a slap on the faces of millions of Nigerians who voted their conscience but were robbed by a collective power of state institutions and brute brigandary unleashed on them.
“Listening to President Tinubu today reading a speech believed to have been penned by his team, it became obvious that we are returning to the 2015 era where we had great expectations but without any means of achieving them.
“In the last eight years, Nigerians were constantly fed with the narratives that the previous government of the PDP brought economic and political calamity upon the nation.
“In all those years, the Buhari government made little or no effort to improve upon these challenges. Nigeria is again about to be confronted with a similar scenario, if not a worse scenario.”
MEANWHILE, former President Buhari has returned home to Daura in Katsina State after his eight years administration. Buhari, his wife Aisha and children, arrived Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport via a Nigerian Air Force aircraft at about 1:30 p.m.
Earlier, after witnessing the ceremonial taking of Oath of Office and Swearing-in, signaling the end of his tenure, Buhari departed the Eagle Square at exactly 10:45a.m after the transfer of power facilitated by the Armed Forces. He waved to the crowd as he made his way from the VIP stand to a waiting black bulletproof SUV, which was followed by two Prado Toyota vehicles.
The convoy of vehicles and a handful of aides were seen following the ex-President’s vehicles to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. At the airport, Buhari boarded the Nigerian Air Force 1 aircraft.
He was accompanied by former ministers of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, that of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, and his spokesman, Garba Shehu, among others.
Shehu had earlier announced new appointments made by the former president. The announcement was made in a statement sent to journalists just before 11a.m., about the time President Tinubu was being inaugurated.
Shehu, however, said Buhari made the appointments on Friday, although the announcements were made yesterday. The six persons appointed are to be executive directors of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
Those appointed are: Ije Osagie (Edo State), Executive Director Engineering; Betsy Iheabunike (Anambra State), Executive Director Marketing; Lawal Umar Lalu (Katsina State), Executive Director Programmes; Ayo Adewuyi (Osun State), Executive Director News; Adamu Sambo (Adamawa State), Executive Director Special Duties; Nansel Nimyel (Plateau State), Executive Director Administration and Training; and Abdullahi Ismail Ahmed (Kaduna State), Executive Director Finance. The appointees are to serve for an initial three years, renewable for another three years.