Tinubu Inauguration

Nigeria’s 16th President Was Sworn-In

It was on May 29, 2023 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, Nigeria’s 16th President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces was sworn in. For the sworn-in president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it was a long and adventurous fight that is still lingering in the Temple of Justice. He took over the reign of government at the time of global declination of leadership, and will thus be challenged to offer something better, robust, deeper, farsighted and impactful to Nigerians.

Even those who resent his style and person, including many in former president Buhari’s administration widely acknowledged his track record as governor of Lagos State (1999-2007). Yet, as Nigerian president he must intelligently tweak his style and reframe his paradigms in order to respond well to the bone-crushing and nerve-racking crises his administration is bound to face, in the coming days, ahead.

His predecessors, particularly former president, Muhammadu Buhari, left many things undone; so the new president will certainly have to start almost from the scratch.

Tinubu spoke ingratiatingly of Buhari’s administration, promising to build on its bequeathed records; but his statements only represented nothing more than a nuanced way of avoiding needless conflict between them. He ought to know that Nigeria presently needs a new solid foundation, and a new direction from the failed past. He must courageously admit these needs and be prepared to address them to succeed within a specified timeframe.

Tinubu must also be keenly aware of the significance of the spatial distribution of the votes that net him victory, and probably feels the mortifying reluctance of his supporters to explode in raptures after he was declared winner of the presidential election by the umpire (INEC).

Particular mention must be made of the over 63 percent of votes delivered for his ultimate victory from the 19 Northern States. The deployed effort for the over 63 percent of votes from one region against the balance of a little over 36 percent from the other three regions combined should not be for fun or to settle sentimental factors of religion or geo-political zone at the detriment of the North that labored to deliver.

The Northern region therefore, deserves the positions of Senate President to AbdulAzeez Yari and Speaker House of Representatives to Ahmed Idris Wase as a soothing balm for better vote deliverance in 2027.

Tinubu is in the presidency today hobbled by the vociferous opposition his opponents have mustered from inside and outside the former administration of Muhammadu Buhari. And considering the parlous state of the national economy, and how ethnically and religiously divided the nation has become, repairing the damage will require urgent and far-reaching measures that may further complicate the country’s existential crisis.

President Tinubu is said to be bold with a calculating insight; he will, however, need a balancing act never before seen in these parts. His opponents definitely are after his failure; but the subliminal and perhaps celestial forces that gave him victory will want him to succeed if he wants to succeed and allowed to remain and succeed. He was prepared for the crown of the February 25, 2023 presidential election, and most likely to make the success of his administration, but the crowd that embraced the leading opposition parties has little capacity to judge competence or character, preferring instead to embrace chimera.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu took the reign of office at a time when the global economy is facing deep stress and fractures, with predictions of a looming recession occasioned by wars in diverse places, especially the highly causative Russia-Ukrainian war. He may not be able to affect the outcome of that war, and must be less adventurous and meddlesome than the unreflective South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. But he must look not for troubles in unexpected places and opportunities because his hands are already full. The United States and its NATO allies remain combative. China is restless, Taiwan is anxious, but India has walked the tightrope gingerly, tentatively, and discreetly. In all the years in leadership and limelight, Tinubu has not quite indicated how his foreign policy would look like, nor in whose hands—-politician or technocrat—he would commit its design and formulation. He can make occasioned errors in recalibrating the domestic economy; but despite the grandioseness of his foreign policy manifesto, he can’t afford a lack of surefootedness in external relations. He is somewhat a radical as we know and reformer, but given the imperialistic shackles hobbling many African countries, the president will find wisdom in proceeding cautiously but firmly and confidently.

By now, Tinubu must have at least found out by research and perhaps by interactions that exceptional leadership is rare in the contemporary world, at least nothing close to the fateful 20th century. The US despite its economic and military might, is just patching along, torn between the atavistic forces of reaction and the permissive and often reprobate forces of liberalism. Great Britain is doodling and twaddling, and since Wiston Churchill and to an extent Margret Thatcher, has regressed towards the mean in leadership. And France and Germany have done and stood for nothing spectacular since Charles De Gaulle and Bismarck. Ukraine’s Zelensky foolishly jumped to the front of Russian moving train, and nostalgic Vladimir Putin equates leadership with imperial vanity. After a slew of competent Oriental administrators, China’s XI Jinping has embraced revisionism, while Asia continues to fumble along.

Bola Tinubu will thus not have many inspiring contemporary role models he will have to chart a new path for himself, his leadership and the country. Mistakes must be few and far between, but he cannot afford to be paralyzed into inaction domestically and internationally.

As he assumed office, we have seen the cream of aides he has appointed and the removal of the obnoxious fuel subsidy that has been draining our resources without commensurate value. Our refineries are mal-functional but sources of waste. Every year, they are maintained at unbelievable sums without functioning. What are we turning around in the refineries? NNPC and its subsidiaries are overdue for thorough probe.

We cannot complain at this infant stage on the actual direction of the Tinubu brand of administration. But from the look of things, if Tinubu and the ruling party’s National Working Committee (NWC) ignore the ongoing battle for the soul of the national assembly, and without a unified and solidified national assembly leadership of credible politicians of note, assembled by elected members themselves as constitutional encouraged, there will surely be no light at the end of the tunnel. The adamant position of Tinubu and APC NWC to load their stooges on the 10th National Assembly is an effort in futility and an invitation for lingering political war. The first few appointments so far announced are lopsided and from one geo-political zone and of the same ethnic nationality. The game to be played for future appointments excluding ministerial, may expose further a suspected hidden agenda carefully designed much earlier feared.

When it is time to taste the pie, the issue of the president is from the Southwest and his deputy from the North is brought to the front burner and trumpeted to confuse the gullible. In reality, the president is from the Southwest, the vice is from the Northeast and not a representative of the North because the North stands for the whole region which has three geo-political zones including the Northeast. If their gimmick is to have any substance for believe, then it should be put in the reality of time. The president is from the West and his Vice is from the North.

We pray for the good of Nigeria!

Muhammad is a commentator on national affairs

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