Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu today (Monday) took the oath of office as President of Nigeria, taking over from Muhammadu Buhari as agree hour ceremony held at the iconic Eagle Square, Abuja.
Kashim Shettima also took his oath of office as Vice President of Nigeria, at the ceremony which was attended by local and foreign dignitaries.
The oaths of office and allegiance were administered on them by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Kayode Ariwoola.
In his inaugural address to the nation, Tinubu appealed to Nigerians to bury political differences and join him in a new journey of healing, nation-building and economic prosperity as he pledged to be a president for all, irrespective of the circumstances of history and different political affiliations.
According to him: “Our constitution and laws give us a nation on paper. We must work harder at bringing these noble documents to life by strengthening the bonds of economic collaboration, social cohesion, and cultural understanding. Let us develop a shared sense of fairness and equity.
“The South must not only seek good for itself but must understand that its interests are served when good comes to the North. The North must see the South likewise.
“Whether from the winding creeks of the Niger Delta, the vastness of the northern savannah, the boardrooms of Lagos, the bustling capital of Abuja, or the busy markets of Onitsha, you are all my people. As your president, I shall serve with prejudice toward none but compassion and amity towards all.”
The President explained that though he fought hard to win the February 2023 election, the win does not make him any more Nigerian than his opponents, who he pledged to relate to as compatriots.
“The outcome reflected the will of the people. However, my victory does not render me any more Nigerian than my opponents. Nor does it render them any less patriotic.
“They shall forever be my fellow compatriots. And I will treat them as such. They represent important constituencies and concerns that wisdom dare not ignore,” he said.
He described the election that brought him to power as tough but fairly won, and dedicated his victory to the country with a promise to do his all to advance its progress.
“This is the proudest day of my life. But this day does not belong to me. It belongs to you, the people of Nigeria,” he said.
On the contentious issue of fuel subsidy, Tinubu commended his predecessor, Buhari for phasing it out, saying that “the budget I met before I assumed office and what I heard is that there is no provision for subsidy. Fuel subsidy is gone!”
Stressing that subsidy can no longer its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources, “we shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions”.
He promised that his administration would target a higher GDP growth and significantly reduce unemployment, while offering budgetary reform that would stimulate the economy without engendering inflation.
“Industrial policy will utilize the full range of fiscal measures to promote domestic manufacturing and lessen import dependency, electricity will become more accessible and affordable to businesses and homes alike.
“Power generation should nearly double and transmission and distribution networks improved. We will encourage states to develop local sources as well”, Tinubu stated.
He said his administration would review all complaints by investors about multiple taxation and “various anti-investment inhibitions.
He said “we shall ensure that investors and foreign businesses repatriate their hard earned dividends and profits home.”
President Tinubu said “security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence”
To tackle unemployment, Tinubu reiterated the salience of creating “meaningful opportunities for our youth”, as he pledged to honour his campaign commitment of one million new jobs in the digital economy.
“Our government also shall work with the National Assembly to fashion an omnibus Jobs and Prosperity bill. This bill will give our administration the policy space to embark on labour-intensive infrastructural improvements, encourage light industry and provide improved social services for the poor, elderly and vulnerable.”
President Tinubu said Nigeria’s monetary policy needs thorough housecleaning as he charged the Central Bank of Nigeria to work towards a unified exchange rate.
“This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy.”
He said his administration would treat both new and old naira notes as legal tender, saying despite it’s intended merits, the controversial currency swap policy of the CBN “was too harshly applied” given the number of unbanked Nigerians”.
The President said his “primary foreign policy objective must be the peace and stability of the West African subregion and the African continent,” promising to work with ECOWAS, the AU and willing partners in the international community to end extant conflicts and to resolve new ones.
The swearing-in ceremony was attended by many presidents, prime ministers and other world leaders and diplomats.
Also in attendance were former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon, former President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, serving and former governors, traditional and religious leaders, captains of industry and members of the diplomatic corps among others.