…Preaches peace, unity, progress

From Uche Usim, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Paulinus Aidogie, Abuja

Nigeria’s 16th President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has pledged to be a president for all, irrespective of the circumstances of history and political differences.

He made the promise at his inaugural address on Monday in Abuja shortly after taking the oath of office.

Tinubu, while hammering on peace, unity and progress said

“Our constitution and laws give us a nation on paper. We must work harder at bringing these noble documents to life by strengthening the bonds of economic collaboration, social cohesion, and cultural understanding. Let us develop a shared sense of fairness and equity.

“The South must not only seek good for itself but must understand that its interests are served when good comes to the North. The North must see the South likewise.

“Whether from the winding creeks of the Niger Delta, the vastness of the northern savannah, the boardrooms of Lagos, the bustling capital of Abuja, or the busy markets of Onitsha, you are all my people. As your president, I shall serve with prejudice toward none but compassion and amity towards all,” President Tinubu said.

He said in its over 60 years history Nigeria has endured hardships that would have made other societies crumble, but for it’s resilience and strength of its diversity the country has remained intact.

“To the surprise of many but not to ourselves, we have more firmly established this land as a democracy in both word and deed,” he said.

The president further stated that the handover symbolizes Nigeria’s trust in God, the enduring faith in representative governance and the belief in the ability to reshape the nation into the society it was always meant to be.

To advance the common vision of a better Nigeria, the president solicited the support of all Nigerians “to join me in making Nigeria a more perfect nation and democracy such that the Nigerian ideal becomes and forever remains the Nigerian reality”.

President Tinubu explained that though he fought hard to win the February 2023 election, the win does not make him any more Nigerian than his opponents, who he pledged to relate to as compatriots.

“The outcome reflected the will of the people. However, my victory does not render me any more Nigerian than my opponents. Nor does it render them any less patriotic.

“They shall forever be my fellow compatriots. And I will treat them as such. They represent important constituencies and concerns that wisdom dare not ignore,” he said.

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He described the election that brought him to power as tough but fairly won, and dedicated his victory to the country with a promise to do his all to advance its progress.

“This is the proudest day of my life. But this day does not belong to me. It belongs to you, the people of Nigeria,” he said.

On the economy, President Tinubu said his administration would target a higher GDP growth and significantly reduce unemployment.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by four African Presidents; President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, her Cameroonian counterpart, Paul Biya, Liberian President, George Weah, and Rwandan President, Paul Kagame.

Prime ministers, world leaders and diplomats were also in attendance.

Also present were former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon, former President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, serving and former governors, traditional and religious leaders, captains of industry and members of the diplomatic corps among others.

Meanwhile, former President Muhammadu Buhari left eagle square at 11:04am yesterday for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, enroute his hometown, Daura.

Buhari, who was conveyed in a Black Toyota Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), was accompanied by family members and aides.

Scores of dignitaries were seen outside the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, particularly ministers and aides of the immediate past president, awaiting his arrival.

Some of the dignitaries were Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farooq; Special Adviser to former President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, his Personal Assistant, Tunde Sabiu Yusuf.

At past 11am, Buhari arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport into the waiting arms of officials of the Air Force who would eventually convey him to Daura.

Mrs Aisha Buhari, in company with her son, Yusuf, arrived at the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 11:30am.

At 12:01pm, Buhari finally departed the airport in company with his wife in a Nigerian Air Force aircraft. Before leaving, he shook hands with men of the Nigeria Air Force who took turns to salute him in the process. Both government officials and private citizens were seen bidding the former President farewell.

At the feet of the aircraft were former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo.