President’s inauguration speech uninspiring, salutory –Adegboruwa, SAN

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

On May 29, 2023, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was sworn in as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Coming from the background of an activist, the hopes of the people of Nigeria were very high indeed, more especially given the status of the new President as the unofficial National Leader of his political party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Beyond controversy, President Tinubu was the one who sold President Buhari to the people of Nigeria, as the agent of change. As it has now turned out, nothing has actually changed, it was a project meant to oil the President’s personal ambition.

The political credentials of President Tinubu stand him out as about the first activist President to be elected democratically, having endured persecution by both the military and democratic leaders, first under the regime of General Sani Abacha and later under that of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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Being a project that had taken so many decades to plan for, it is rather surprising that President Tinubu has no ready answer to the immediate and burning issues plaguing our nation. World over, the inaugural speech of the President should inspire hope and confidence in the people to be governed.

For instance, electricity has been the major clog to the wheel of Nigeria’s economic progress and there is nothing in the President’s speech on how he hopes to tackle and defeat the monsters of the power sector other than stating that he would continue with his predecessor’s programmes on infrastructure.

Also in his speech, President Tinubu hailed the 2023 elections as the best that Nigeria has ever had, contrary to the motley of evidence and reports of electoral malpractices, voter intimidation, violence and thuggery and failure by the electoral umpire to follow its own rules and guidelines.

In one absurd instance in Adamawa State, a Resident Electoral Commissioner declared one of the candidates in the President’s political party as winner of an inconclusive election and yet the President in his speech has no single programme for electoral reforms.

In his days as an activist, President Tinubu was one of the greatest apostles of restructuring, insisting and campaigning for fiscal federalism, resource control, devolution of powers, state police, etc. But now the President is silent on these critical issues for which he is well known, meaning that he intends to keep the current Constitution of 1999 which has held our nation down.

The President said that the fuel subsidy is gone without some concrete details of how he intends to achieve that. We readily recall that whilst he was in the opposition, His Excellency openly campaigned against fuel subsidy removal so we do not know what has changed now.

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There is then the lingering issue of Naira redesign, which practically crippled the national economy and has since remained a matter of conjecture. These are policy issues that the President should tackle head on but the speech made no mention of this.

Our people are dying daily due to the collapsed state of our road network but this did not capture the attention of the President. The speech is rather uninspiring if not altogether disappointing.

While I join other Nigerians to congratulate the President it is necessary for the new administration to address these critical issues and make its stand known to every Nigerian.
May Nigeria win.

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