By uleiman Umaru
Those who think that there will be a remarkable difference between the incoming Administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state and that of the outgoing President MuhammaduBuhari would be disappointed. Government is a ‘’continuum ‘’, the Katsina state born Nigerian President had said.
While being conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic, GCFR, the highest national honours , in the Land, meant for Presidents’, by the outgoing Nigerian President, on Thursday, May 25, 2023, on Tinubu, the President –elect, he has given his words that he will not ‘’fail Nigerians’’.
The former Lagos state governor had said that’’ his Administration will continue to reach out to Buhari whenever the need arises’’ on major national issues that requires urgent clarifications and solutions.
.Kashim Shetima, a former governor of the north eastern state of Borno and the Vice President-elect who was conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, and who had gone on a familarisation tour of the Vice President wing of the Presidential villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on the invitation of Yemi Osinbajo, the outgoing Vice President had declared that himself and Tinubu, ‘’hope to hit the ground running from day one to ensure that Nigerians feel the impact of their Administration’’.
In preparation to quitting the exalted office on Monday, May 29, 2023, the Nigerian President was said to have handed over official files, to the President –elect through Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Transition Council. The files were aid to have contained three key documents and brief notes, on each of the nine priority areas of the Buhari’s Administration covering the key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The Compendium, according to the Presidency captures the priority programmes and projects implemented by the Administration over the last eight years and policy status update on the projects. An elated Buhari, who appears to be very happy retiriring to Daura, his home town in Katsina state, after eight years on the saddle was said to have also handed over ‘’the baton of service to the President-elect showing that the Administration is a continuum’’.
Indeed, the handover of the banton of service to the incoming Nigerian President, was said to have been driven by the process of the executive Order signed by the outgoing President which may have institutionalized in future handover from one Administration another. Many believe that this is the first time in Nigeria since the return to Democratic rule in 199, that the transition process has been driven under an Executive Order.
There is no gain saying the fact that one thing that that may force the incoming Nigerian President to reach out to Buhari so soon was the unfinished Nigeria Air project which has gulped billions of naira in the last three years. The Administration was said to have spent over N7.45 billion between 2021 and 2023 but the project remains a pipe dream.
The ministry of Aviation was said to have spent N700 million as working Capital for the Nigeria Air project and an additional N 200 million as Consultancy fee but that was how far it could go. Recall that in the 2020, budgetary allocation, the government had proposed the sum of N4.6 billion as ‘’Working Capital for the national carrier project and an additional N304 million, as a Consultancy fee. Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation had said that no further funding would be provided above the 5% share capital on the Nigeria Air by the Nigerian government.
There was an initial target of 81 routes upon which the Nigerian Air could fly on commencement of operations , comprisisng of local, regional and international with 15 leased aircraft and an additional 30 aircraft within three to four years .
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, may have been encouraged to speak out about the mmulti-billion naira project and why it could not be realised as expected, blaming it on the several challenges it has faced over the last three years.
The Presidential Media Aide, had said that ‘’when everything was set for the airline to start, Domestic Nigerian Airline Operators went to Court and got an injunction that says ‘’ Nigeria Air must not fly’’,. This was said to have held up everything‘’ until barely a week or two ago when ‘’the issue was cleared for its resumption’’ due to the doggedness of the outgoing minister of Aviation.
Garba may have spoken the mind of the outgoing Nigerian President when he appeared on Channels Television last Thursday. He has made it clear to those that cares to listen that the present Nigerian government investment on the Nigeria Air was ‘’entirely different from previous other governments investments as the national carrier would be run by the Ethiopian Airline, which would be in the best interest of Nigerians. He may sent a message to the incoming Nigerian President not to bow to pressure to allow the government take over control and management of the airline , noting that the country would continue to fail in airline business run by the government.
Sirika, the outgoing minister of Aviation, had revealed that the Ethiopia Airlines, which is the preferred bidder for the Nigeria Air project, has raised the $300 million that will Launch the national carrier to its full size of 30 aircraft and international operations within the next two years. The minister was said to have given the impression that the three Boeing 737-800 series required for the Launch of the national carriers would be arriving the country soon.
Mukhtar Shagari, a former Deputy Governor of Sokoto state, has expressed confidence that the incoming Nigerian President, Tinubu, could be a successful Nigerian President and be able to duplicate what he did in Lagos state as governor at the federal level and the entire country, ‘’if he surrounds himself with the right people’’.
The former Sokoto state Deputy Governor would want the incoming President ‘’not only to pick the right people to work with but the right people with integrity to achieve success’’. Appealing to the President-elect ‘’to be very careful of sycophants who will to like tell him stories that will he will want to hear’’, to take the issue of security serious, noting that ‘’people are still being killed and kidnapped in different parts of the country.
More importantly, Shagari, the erstwhile Sokoto state Deputy would want Tinubu, to address the country’smyriad of economic problems which has defiled past and present Administrations. ‘’I know he will be able to bring people who will help him build the economy’’, Shagari had aid.
As a prelude to ensure a successful handover ceremony on May 29, 2023, from the incumbent President Buhari to Tinubu, the President-elect, the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, under the Leadership of Usman Alkali Baba, were said to have deployed personnel ‘’to protect the Presidential Villa, provide security at the Eagle square and man all the Nigerian borders with the neighbouring West African countries of Benin Republic, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroun a well as the country’s various International airports including the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tinan Islans, Pot Terminal and Multiservices Limited, PTML, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, phases 1 and II. This is in addition to the south east ports of Onne, Rivers port, Warri port and Crossriver port, Calabar.
Olumuyiwa Adejobi, a Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, and the Force spokesperson had said that the Police operatives would equally be deployed ‘’to man the entry and exit points of the FCT and other critical government installations across the country,which security experts had said was to further tighten up security during the handover of incoming Administrations at the Federal and state levels.
CSP Adejobi, had said that the police personnel deployed to maintain security at the FCT and other major cities in the country for the inauguration of the new political Leaders , across the country, were drawn from the Police Mobile Force, Counter-terrorism Unit, Special Protection Unit, SPU, Anti-Bomb Squad, FIB-Intelligence Response Team and the Special Tactical Squad, among others
.The Force Public Relations Officer,had said that helicopters and drones, including water cannons and armoured personnel carriers, would also be deployed for serial surveillance in Abuja and its environs as well.
The Police Authorities may have anticipated trouble during the Presidential inauguration that it has tightened up security everywhere to avoid giving room to aggrieved parties who might to head to Court to disrupt the inauguration exercise to mobilise to their followers for action at the Eagle square.
Only recently, Ambrose Owuru, a former Presidential Candidate of the defunct Hope Democratic Party, HDP, in the 2019, Presidential election, was fined N40 million by the Court of Appeal at the FCT, for filing a frivolous suit seeking ‘’to stop the inauguration of Tinubu, the President-elect , on May 29, 2023.
Justice Jamil Tukur, who had read the Lead Judgement of the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal had ordered the former HDP, Flag bearer in the 2019, general elections to pay the sum of N10 million each to Buhari, the outgoing President, Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, , the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under the Chairmanship of Prof. Mahmud Yakubu and and Tinubu, the President-elect.
This is a message to Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Opposition People Democratic Party, PDP, for the 2023, Presidential election and Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Candidate of the Labour Party, who had traagged INEC and Tinubu, to the Presidential Election Tribunal that the game is up.
Signs that the international Community may have accepted the former Lagos state governor as the incoming President of Nigerian is evident as Tony Blair, a former Prime Minister of Britain, has visited him ahead of the inauguration. Although, he US, Government, has arranged a 9-man delegation to be led by Marcia .L Fudge, Secretary , Department of Housing and Urban Development to be in Nigeria for the inauguration on May 29, 2023, not many are happy. Diplomatic analysts had expected Joe Biden, the US, President, to designate either Kamala Harris, the US, Vice President or Anthony Blinken, the Secretary of State , to lead the delegation to the most populous African country’s handover ceremony , which is from one government to another. It is a clear evidence that the US, Government was not happy with the conduct of the 2023, Presidential election in Nigeria in 2023, because of the alleged irregularities and destruction of ballot papers by party thugs hired by the APC.