Many world leaders are in the country to witness Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s inauguration as the fifth President of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic and the 16th leader since independence.
Tinubu, a former governor of Nigeria’s economic capital, Lagos State, won the February 25 presidential election, defeating 17 other candidates.
He ran on the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party that has ruled the country since 2015 led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Tinubu reassured Nigerians and world leaders that he would deliver on his promises.
He spoke last night at the inauguration Dinner/Gala Night organised by the Presidential Transition Council (PTC) at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
The President-elect said: “To the many Heads of State present here, our brothers and sisters celebrating with us, I thank you.
“What lessons has Nigeria’s democracy taught the rest of Africa if not the whole world? Resilience, determination, courage, and love in diversity, though our tongues and tribes differ.
“By tomorrow (today’s) afternoon, my predecessor is heading to Daura, on the border with Niger, but I have told him not to worry, he will still get a knock on his door.
“No matter how short a man is, he will see the sky. I will still be able to find him when I need his help.
“Here is a country that has stumbled many times, but has never faltered. We can be squeaky like old mama’s car, but we will never break apart. We are just a unique country.
“We must fight corruption, poverty, inconsistencies in policies and many other problems confronting us.
“But don’t pity me. I asked for the job. I campaigned for it. No excuses. I will live up to the billing to deliver. I promise you.”
Buhari thanked the dignitaries, saying the electoral process has given power back to the Nigerians.
“I congratulate fellow Nigerians who have realised that their votes count.
“I’m looking forward to flying to my base and going back to my cows and sheep, which are much easier to control than fellow Nigerians.”
Some of the world leaders seen at the colourful event included the Presidents of South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Burundi, Liberia, the Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, the Central Africa Republic, Gabon, the Prime Minister of Morocco, the Vice President of Venezuela and many more.
Presidents and heads of governments who have arrived are Mahamat Idriss Déby (Republic of Chad), Samia Suluhu Hassan (Tanzania), Abdelmadjid Tebboune (Algeria), Nana Akufo Addo (Ghana), Macky Sall (Senegal), Julius Maada Bio (Sierra-Leone), Adama Barrow (Gambia), Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo Brazzaville), Mohamed Bazoum (Niger), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Joseph Ngute (Cameroon Prime Minister).
The France delegation is led by Minister Delegate for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou.
The Japanese delegation is led by Special Envoy to Prime Minister of Japan, Tanaka Kazunori.
India’s Defence Minister Mr Rajinath, will lead the country’s delegation to the inauguration.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said: “The visit of Mr Rajnath Singh reflects the growing bilateral relations between India and Nigeria and signifies India’s commitment to strengthening ties with Nigeria.”
Cote d’Ivoire’s Foreign Affairs Minister will represent the Prime Minister, Patrick Jerome Achi.
United States (U.S.) President Joe Biden will be represented by a nine-member delegation led Marcia Fudge, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
President Muhammadu Buhari will step down after eight years, giving way to a new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The main event of today will be the administration of the oath of office and allegiance on Tinubu and Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima by Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Olukayode Ariwoola.
There will also be a colourful military parade by officers and men of the Army, Air Force and the Navy.
The new president will take the salute after becoming the Commander-in-Chief.
No fewer than 5,000 dignitaries will witness the ceremony at Eagle Square, which has hosted the swearing-in of presidents since the outset of the Fourth Republic in 1999.
Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2007), Umaru Musa Yar’Adu (2007 -2010), Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2010 -2015) and Muhammadu Buhari (2015 -2019) took the oath of office at the same venue.
It will also be a new dawn in 18 states which will have new governors from today.
In 10 other states, governors will take the oath of office for their second terms.
Ahead of today’s inauguration, President Buhari handed the transition documents and a baton of service to Tinubu on Thursday.
He also conferred on him the highest national award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and Shettima, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).
Yesterday morning, there was an interdenominational service at the National Ecumenical Centre in Abuja, attended by outgoing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon and Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the incoming president, who represented her husband.
Also at the church service were the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Senator-elect Godswill Akpabio, and leaders of various Christian blocks in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Head of Transport and Logistics Sub-Committee of the Presidential Transition Council (PTC), Mrs Hadiza Kabir, said 395 vehicles were deployed for the inauguration.
“We have vehicles at the airport and other strategic locations for ease of movement for our guests.
“We have 395 vehicles including SUVs, buses and Sedans. We also have some vehicles from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will convey dignitaries,” she said.