The day comes, the day that defiles predictions and leaves some people in shock. The inauguration of the 16th president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is here. The Afrocover team engaged in an insightful analysis of this emergence, legal implications, expectations, and many more.
Meet the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Bola Ahmed Tinubu was born on March 29, 1952. He hails from Lagos State, Nigeria. Before joining politics, he worked in the private sector. As a trained accountant from the Chicago State University, accountant, he worked for the American companies Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, and GTE Services Corporation. In 1983, he returned to Nigerian and joined Mobil Oil where he rose to become an executive. In the third republic, he contested and won a senate seat, representing Lagos West. He later served as governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007. On March 1, 2023, he was declared President-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The emergence of Tinubu as the President
After polling 8,794,726 votes in the February 25, 2023 elections, Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress was declared President-elect. He also scored over 25 percent of the votes cast in 30 states, more than the 24 states constitutionally required.
His closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the People Democratic Party polled a total of 6,984,520 votes in the election to come second while Peter of the Labour Party came third in the election with a total of 6,101,533 votes. Mr. Tinubu won the election in Rivers, Borno, Jigawa, Zamfara, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, and Ogun states. Atiku won in Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kaduna, Gombe, Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa and Taraba states.
He also won in Osun, Akwa Ibom, and Bayelsa states. Mr. Obi won in Edo, Cross River, Delta, Lagos, FCT, Plateau, Imo, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, and Enugu states. Although the outcome of the elections generated widespread controversies, with many believe the election was characterized by overvoting, violence, and sheer intimidation of voters. At the moment, both Atiku and Obi are in court to challenge the declaration of Mr. Tinubu as the winner of the elections.
Programs for the Inauguration of Mr. Tinubu
A few days ago, the transition committee set up by President Buhari to ensure a smooth transition of powers to the new President released the list of programs for the inauguration. The committee is headed by Boss Mustapha. As part of the programs, the President-elect and his Vice, Kashim Shettima were, on Thursday, May 25, conferred with the honors of the Grand Commander of the Order of the federal republic (GCFR) and grand commander of Order of the Niger (GCON) respectively.
The outgoing President also handed over the transition documents to Mr Tinubu. On May 27, there would be an inauguration lecture on the topic: Deepening Democracy for Integration and Development by his excellency, Uhuru M. Kenyatta, former president of Kenya. The final day (May 29) would see the official swearing-in of the President-elect and his Vice at Eagles Square.
There are ongoing efforts to stop the inauguration
It is worthy of note that there are ongoing efforts by PDP and Labour Party to stop the inauguration from unfolding at the scheduled date. Recall that the candidates of the two parties, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi came second and third respectively in the presidential election.
At the moment, they are praying that the Court should pend the inauguration of Bola Tinubu as President of the Country till the determination of the case at the Tribunal. In a petition filed by Peter Obi and his party Labour, he said INEC failed to comply with the 2022 electoral laws in the election.
More so, he said for someone to be declared President, such an individual must secure at least 25% of the total cast in Abuja, being the capital of the Federation. It is worthy of note that Tinubu did not secure up to the percentage. A background check on Section 134, subsection 2, of the 199 Constitution states that “A candidate for an election to the office of President shall be deemed to have been duly elected where there being more than two candidates for the election-he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
More so, the electoral act stipulates that “In an election to the office of the President or Governor whether or not contested and in any contested election to any other elective office, the result shall be ascertained by counting the votes cast for each candidate and subjected to the provisions of sections 133, 134 and 179 of the Constitution.”
Now, Peter Obi and Atiku are alleging that Abuja holds a special status by the provision of the constitution. The correct interpretation of this provision is now in the hands of the judiciary. However, at the moment, there are no indications that the court will grant any injunction to stop the May 29 inauguration of TINUBU.
U.S. declares support for Tinubu, Obi, Atiku kick
Amid preparations for the swearing-in of Tinubu, the United State government has affirmed its readiness to support the new President. In a phone conversation with Mr Tinubu, the US authorities congratulated and assured him of its support as he picks up the mantle from outgoing President Buhari. The show of support by the U.S. authorities has received backlash from many, particularly Peter Obi and Atiku. In a statement by Obi, he lampooned the U.S. Secretary of State, stressing that “Nigeria’s democracy is founded on these principles which the American people hold dear. Without the risk of interfering in Nigeria’s domestic affairs, the U.S.-Nigeria relationship should be guided by the core values of democracy. Above all, Nigerians expect that the U.S. responses to our affairs should be based on mutual respect, shared ideals, aspirations, and interests which ought to transcend the considerations of any individual.“
Atiku, in his reaction, said “I am in disbelief that Secretary Antony Blinken called Tinubu, a contradiction to the publicly stated position of the US on Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election. This is inconceivable considering that America, as the bastion of democracy, is well briefed on the sham election of February 25. To give legitimacy to the widely acknowledged fraudulent election in Nigeria can be demoralizing to citizens who have hedged their bet on democracy and the sanctity of the ballot.”
Presidential Electoral Tribunal is still ongoing
Meanwhile, the Presidential Election Tribunal is still at the pre-hearing stage of the case filed by Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar over the announcement of TINUBU as the winner of the elections. The duo in their separate filings claimed INEC did not comply with the electoral laws and the provisions of the constitution during the electioneering process. Earlier, the Court had granted the prayer of Peter Obi and Atiku to access all the electoral materials necessary to prove their case. However, in the last hearing, counsel to Labour Party, Livy Uzoukwu informed lamented how INEC has only provided 30% of the materials.
Uzoukwu said the commission is intentionally frustrating the case by holding back on the document. In reaction, Counsel for INEC, Abubakar Mahmoud, said the Labour Party counsel lied. According to Mahmoud, the commission made efforts to offer the documents, particularly for Sokoto and Rivers, but the party failed to pay the 1.5 million Naira requested to process the remaining documents.
It is noteworthy that the hearing can only commence when the petitioners have all the documents ready to prove their case in court. As of now, the pre-hearing stage has ended as the court recently ruled out a motion by Atiku and Obi to make the hearing public. Hearing of the issues commences May 30.