President Buhari, Vice-President Osinbajo, 29 State Governors and their deputies begin new tenures.
Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
May 29 of every election year is set aside as swearing-in date for those elected and the beginning of a new tenure. President Muhanmodu Buhari along with Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, his vice led the sellect club yesterday. The duo were sworn-in for a Second and final term at the Eagle Square. The event did not lack the usual razzmatazz of a military parade. It was however brief and unmistakably low key, to the point it passed without an inaugural speach from the reelected number One citizen.
Across the length and breadth of the Nigerian federation 29 State Governors who were elected in the March 9th governorship election and their deputies were also administered oaths of office and allegiance by the Chief Judge of their respective states. (Seven of the 36 states in the country have off season elections due mainly to judicial pronouncements on previous exercises. They are Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states) Out of the 29 governors, 17 are returnees while the remaining 12 are freshers.
The returning governors are Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia PDP), Samuel Orton (Benue PDP) Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom PDP), Ben Ayade (Cross River PDP) Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta PDP), Dave Unahi (Ebonyi PDP), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu PDP), Nyeson Wike (Rivers PDP), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto PDP) Darius Ishaku (Taraba PDP), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger APC), Aminu Masari (Katsina APC), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna APC), Abdulahi Umar Ganduje (kano APC), Simon Lalong (Plateau APC), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi APC) and Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa APC),
The 12 new governors are Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos APC), Prof. Babagana Zulum (Borno APC), Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa PDP), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun APC), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi PDP), Inuwa Yahaya Gombe APC), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo PDP) Seyi Makinde (Oyo PDP), Abdulrazaq AbdulRahman (Kwara APC), Engr. Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa APC), Mai-Mala Buni (Yobe APC) and Bello Mutawalle (Zamfara PDP)
The ceremonies went on smoothly with pomp and pageantry in most of the states of the second term governors. It was celebrations galore in such places, without glaring gaps. The governors after taking their oaths of office went on to make remarks and promises of more dividends of democracy in their new tenure.
The ceremonies in many of the states with new helmsmen, witnessed some clear drawbacks. Except in Borno and Nasarawa States where former governors Kashim Shettima and Al-makura attended the inauguration programmes, others boycotted and kept safe distance from the venues. Former Lagos Governor Akinwumi Ambode however gave an early notice and reasons for his absence at his successor’s inauguration.
In a veiled reference to why he did not attend the formal inauguration of Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Ambode said Sanwo-Olu should be allowed to be the star of his inauguration. This was part of a press release by Ambode’s Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Mr. Habib Aruba on Wednesday
Ambode in the release said: “I have already formally handed over reins of power in the State to the new Governor in a most cordial and convivial ceremony at the State House yesterday (Tuesday). The formal inauguration should have Mr. Sanwo-Olu as the star of the day. I don’t think that glory should be shared with him by my presence,” Ambode said
It was not so in Imo State. Governor Rocha’s Okorocha had executed an elaborate disengagement ceremony, At a well publicised town hall event the former governor had broadcast video clips of many projects and commissioned then on set. He left the Government House, Owerri a day before the inauguration ceremony and conveniently stayed away from it. He claimed to have left money in the coffers for his successor. Ihedioha cried blue murder. He alleged the former governor destroyed institutions in the state and left debts behind.
In Ogun State, outgoing Governor Ibikunle Amosun left the task of handing over to the Secretary to the State Government, SSG Taiwo Adeoluwa, while he prepared for a trip abroad. The SSG handed over vital documents to the Deputy Governor-elect, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, who represented incoming Governor Dapo Abiodun at a brief ceremony at the Governor’s Office, Oke – Mosan, Abeokuta. Amosun, who was absent at the ceremony, left the Governor’s Office in a motorcade shortly before the ceremony commenced.
In Oyo former Governor Abiola Ajimobi stayed away from the inauguration of Governor Seyi Makinde. He had left the government House before the date. Makinde received a handing over note from Amidat Agboola, the state Head of Service on the day of inauguration. Ajimobi was billed to attend President Buhari’s inauguration from where he was to travel to Mecca for lesser Haj..
The same scenario played out in Kwara. Mrs Susan Oluwole the HOS presented the handing over note to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, who drove himself to the government house in a Toyota Hilux van. In Adamawa, Bindow was absent. He was represented by Martin’s Babale, his deputy.
Borno and Nasarawa provided radical departures from the aforementioned. Shettima whose cook had committed suicide in the Borno Government House in the build up to the inauguration, shrouged off mourning to attend the swearing in ceremony of his successor. That he holds Prof Zulum in high esteem is beyond debate. The new governor served as commissioner under him during which he distinguished himself in service and character. Shettimah extolled the professor as honest and knowledgeable.
He was recently reported as extolling Zulum thus: “He has been our gateway to the European Union; just last three weeks he was able to secure 20 million Euros for our schools; he has won the confidence of the World Bank. He was the commissioner for reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement (RRR). He was the one who rebuilt Bama, Gwoza; he was the one responsible for the reconstruction of Chibok, Askira, Kareto, Damasak and so many other communities.
“But above all, his greatest asset is his integrity. We have pumped in over N20 billion into the ministry of RRR, and it is very un-Nigerian for you to superintend over N20 billion and you do not have a house of your own. And Professor Umar did superintend over such a huge amount of money and yet he left without having a house of his own. So these are some of the attributes that endeared him to me, and to the people of Borno State. I have to celebrate my own. He is the first professor to become a governor in northern Nigeria.
As it was in Borno, so it was in Nasarawa. While some of his colleagues developed heavy foot about the termination of their tenures, former Governor Tanko Al-Makura seemed contented if not in a hurry to leave. He handed over keys of Government House Lafia to his successor about Three days before D-day.
“Before I leave, I am happy to have left Nasarawa better than I met it; immediately after, I have handed over the keys to the “Landlord” of Government House, Lafia. As he will be sworn-in in almost few hours from now by May 29, 2019, I pray for God to guide and protect you and give you peace and comfort in this house.” Also speaking, the incoming Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule described his predecessor as a rare gentleman and said, “I have closely monitored the work of Governor Al-Makura; he is not taking anything out of Government House. I am promising the people of Nasarawa that I will make it better than I met it. I pray for him and his family to enjoy God’s guidance and protection.
So much ado about the inaugurations. For now, the ceremonies are over. It is time for real work.