July 14, 2024

Bola Tinubu Inaugurated as Nigeria’s 16th President, Promises to Govern for the People

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria
President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria

Bola Tinubu took the oath of office on Monday as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, signaling a new chapter in the country’s history. Alongside him, Kashim Shettima was sworn in as the Vice President of Nigeria. The highly significant inauguration ceremony took place at Eagle Square in Abuja, with Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola administering the oath.

Tinubu’s rise to the presidency follows his victory in the presidential election held on February 25. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him the winner, representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), after amassing an impressive 8,794,726 votes and exceeding the required 25 percent threshold in over 25 states. This electoral triumph has catapulted Tinubu to the highest echelons of power in the country.

In his inaugural address, Tinubu, 71, vowed to govern without imposing his will on the Nigerian people. He expressed his commitment to healing and nurturing the nation, rather than inflicting further harm. Tinubu acknowledged the hard-fought nature of the election, stating that the outcome reflected the will of the people. He emphasized that his victory did not make him any more of a Nigerian than his opponents, and that they all remain fellow compatriots deserving of equal respect.

Notably, Tinubu extended gratitude to his supporters while also acknowledging those who did not vote for him. He emphasized that political affiliations had faded away and that all he saw were Nigerians. These remarks were seen as a nod to former President Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, who finished second and third in the election and are currently challenging the results in court.

Tinubu’s speech resonated with a unifying message, emphasizing the importance of upholding the rule of law and cherishing the labor of previous generations. He called upon Nigerians to prioritize their fellow citizens and to foster a sense of national unity, regardless of birthplace.

Tinubu also reaffirmed his commitment to the fight against corruption and addressing the pressing issue of insecurity in the country. Recognizing the inseparable link between peace, security, and prosperity, Tinubu emphasized that Nigeria cannot achieve true prosperity without ensuring peace and security for its citizens.

The official portrait of Nigeria’s 16th President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
The official portrait of Nigeria’s 16th President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

In addition to tackling corruption and insecurity, Tinubu outlined his plans to strengthen the Nigerian economy. One of his key goals is to improve access to electricity, recognizing its importance in driving economic growth and development. He assured Nigerians that his administration would work towards making electricity more accessible to all.

Addressing concerns raised by investors, both local and foreign, Tinubu assured them that his government would review complaints regarding multiple taxations. Recognizing the significance of attracting investments, he emphasized the need for a favorable business environment that encourages growth and supports economic development.

Furthermore, Tinubu highlighted his administration’s commitment to creating opportunities for the country’s youth. He pledged to generate one million jobs in the digital economy, recognizing the potential of technology and innovation in empowering and providing employment opportunities for Nigerian youths.

Tinubu’s comprehensive vision encompasses not only the fight against corruption and insecurity but also the strengthening of the economy, the improvement of electricity access, and the creation of opportunities for the country’s youth. With these initiatives, he aims to pave the way for a prosperous and inclusive future for Nigeria.

During his address, President Bola Tinubu made a significant announcement that fuel subsidies would no longer be in effect. He emphasized the importance of redirecting these funds towards more beneficial investments in infrastructure and job creation. Over the years, Nigerians have expressed their concerns about the misappropriation of these subsidies by cronies and corrupt officials. Many have argued that Nigeria should focus on building and maintaining its own refineries instead of relying on subsidizing fuel refined abroad, particularly in foreign currencies like the US dollar.

In his concluding remarks, President Tinubu expressed confidence that the mandate bestowed upon him was well-placed and that hope was being restored in Nigeria.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his economic agenda, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at Operating Engineers Local 77, a union training facility in Accokeek, Maryland. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. announced on May 22nd the appointment of a Presidential Delegation to attend Tinubu’s inauguration in Abuja, Nigeria.

Leading the delegation was Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Members of the Presidential Delegation included Mr. David Greene, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, and Sydney Kamlager-Dove, United States Representative (D) from California. The delegation also included Marisa Lago, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Joining them was General Michael E. Langley, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, and Enoh T. Ebong, Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Additionally, the delegation included Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, as well as Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development, were also part of the delegation.

The delegation represented the commitment of the United States to strengthen ties and maintain diplomatic relations with Nigeria. Their presence at the inauguration underscored the importance the Biden administration placed on bilateral cooperation and engagement with African nations.

However, amid the jubilant inauguration celebrations, several substantial challenges await President Tinubu’s administration. Notably, former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, who secured second and third place respectively in the election, have filed legal challenges contesting the election results in court. These legal battles add a layer of complexity and uncertainty to the early days of President Tinubu’s tenure.

Shell, a major player in the oil industry, is poised to sell its Niger Delta oil business, raising concerns about potential human rights abuses and environmental degradation in the region.

Amnesty International, a leading human rights organization, released a report recently entitled “Tainted Sale?” which provides recommendations to protect the rights of those affected by Shell’s planned divestment of its onshore oil interests in the Niger Delta, estimated to be worth approximately $3 billion.

Mark Dummett, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, stressed the importance of Shell assuming responsibility for the consequences of decades of oil spills that have inflicted harm on the health and livelihoods of Niger Delta residents. Amnesty International urges President Bola Tinubu’s new government to ensure that the sale of Shell’s assets does not absolve the company of its obligations.

Amnesty International proposes a comprehensive assessment of existing pollution in the Niger Delta, as well as adequate remediation measures for any damage caused. The organization also calls for addressing the concerns expressed by local communities regarding the sale process.

Furthermore, Amnesty International suggests that the government should impose conditions on Shell’s sale, including a buyer’s commitment to transparency, environmental compliance, community consultations, and greenhouse gas emission reductions. This approach seeks to hold Shell accountable for its actions even after the sale is finalized.

The Niger Delta has long been plagued by environmental devastation caused by poorly maintained infrastructure and frequent oil spills. Extensive research conducted by Amnesty International and its partners over the past two decades has exposed the severe impact on human rights in the region. Contaminated water sources, agricultural land, and fisheries have resulted in dire consequences for the health and livelihoods of local communities.

A 2019 academic study highlighted a disturbing rise in neonatal mortality rates and long-term health issues among surviving children due to oil spills occurring in close proximity to residential areas in the Niger Delta.

While Shell maintains its compliance with regulations and emphasizes improvements in spill prevention and cleanup efforts, it is crucial to recognize that preventing further human rights abuses during the divestment process requires the involvement of various stakeholders, including federal and state authorities.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited – Joint Venture (SPDC JV) has played a significant role in Nigeria’s oil production. While Shell was previously the majority owner, the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation now holds a 55% stake. Shell retains a 30% ownership through its subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Limited, while French company Total and Italian company Eni own 10% and 5% respectively.

In recent years, the SPDC JV has gradually divested significant portions of its business, including oilfields, to smaller Nigerian-owned companies. Shell’s current plan involves selling its stake in the SPDC JV and its operating subsidiary, which encompasses numerous producing oil and gas wells, as well as an extensive pipeline network.

As President Bola Tinubu assumes office, his administration faces the critical task of addressing the pressing human rights issues in the Niger Delta. Many argue that the sale of Shell’s assets must not exacerbate the challenges faced by the region’s inhabitants. President Tinubu’s government has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to protecting human rights, promoting transparency, and ensuring environmental compliance.

The fate of the Niger Delta hangs in the balance as the region strives to recover from decades of exploitation and pollution. With resolute action and responsible governance, Nigeria can forge a path towards a more sustainable future, where the protection of human rights and environmental preservation take precedence.

Here are 10 takeaways from Bola Tinubu’s inauguration:

  1. Bola Tinubu took the oath of office as the 16th President of Nigeria, marking a new chapter in the country’s history.
  2. Kashim Shettima was sworn in as the Vice President of Nigeria alongside Tinubu.
  3. The inauguration ceremony was held at Eagle Square in Abuja, with Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola administering the oath.
  4. Tinubu’s victory in the presidential election held on February 25 propelled him to the highest levels of power in Nigeria.
  5. Tinubu expressed his commitment to governing without imposing his will on the Nigerian people and emphasized healing and nurturing the nation.
  6. He extended gratitude to his supporters while acknowledging those who did not vote for him, emphasizing unity and respect for all Nigerians.
  7. Tinubu outlined his plans to fight corruption, address insecurity, strengthen the economy, and improve access to electricity.
  8. He assured investors, both local and foreign, that his government would review complaints about multiple taxations and create a favorable business environment.
  9. Tinubu pledged to generate one million jobs in the digital economy, focusing on creating opportunities for the country’s youth.
  10. Tinubu announced the end of fuel subsidies and the redirection of funds toward infrastructure and job creation, addressing concerns about misappropriation and corruption.
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