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Lead with Wisdom, Courage, Compassion, Buhari Tells Tinubu

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday urged the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead the country with wisdom, courage and compassion.

Buhari gave the advise during the investiture of the President-elect and Vice President-elect in Abuja.

“Once again, I congratulate President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima on their well-deserved investiture.

May the Almighty bless you and guide you in your endeavors to lead Nigeria towards a brighter and more prosperous future,” he stated.

Buhari said the administration was faced with many challenges at inception and worked hard to tackle hydra-headed issues.

“This administration from inception has faced security challenges such as insurgency, oil theft, kidnapping as well as corruption which has eaten deep into the system.

“With the political will and support of many Nigerians, especially our dogged Armed Forces, insurgency, terrorism, and kidnapping have been reduced to their barest minimum while corruption has been tackled headlong.

“Despite the aforementioned challenges, our administration has made economic gains over the years. While acknowledging the turbulent times and global economic meltdown occasioned by the world oil crisis and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, our economy has remained afloat and strong.

“Our administration’s commitment and determination in infrastructural upliftment of Nigeria have remained unshaken,” he added.

As part of his achievements, the President noted that Second Niger Bridge, named President Muhammadu Buhari Bridge, had been completed and commissioned.

“I am happy to say that no administration in Nigeria’s modern history has given so much attention to roads as we have done in the last eight years. In all, we have been able to construct and complete over 8,352.94 kilometers of roads across Nigeria.

“Ladies and gentlemen, in spite of the shortfall in the federal government’s revenue, due to the weakness in the global economy that led to a drop in oil revenue, we have touched on all sectors of the Nigerian economy positively.

“As we celebrate the monumental infrastructural strides achieved by this Administration, it is pertinent to acknowledge that these transformative endeavors have not only reshaped our physical landscape but have also paved the way for remarkable economic outcomes that reverberate across our nation.

“The link between infrastructure and economic prosperity is undeniable. It is through the construction of roads, railways, bridges, and other critical assets that we unlock the true potential of our nation, leading to better communication, facilitating trade, and propelling economic growth,” he said.

“To avoid a repeat of our 2015 experience,” the President said an Executive Order No. 14 of 2023, had been signed, establishing the legal framework for conducting presidential transitions at the federal level.

He said the Executive Order establishes the Presidential Transition Council chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Ministerial Transition Teams headed by the Permanent Secretaries.

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Buhari explained that the primary responsibility of the two ad-hoc bodies was to ensure that every piece of information that will help a new administration get off to a speedy start was made available in a usable format and in a timely manner.

 “Today, I am so proud to have handed over to you my Successor, Your Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu three key documents that will guide you as you aim to define a path for your administration.

“It is my earnest desire that you will find these documents useful as this would be the first time in the history of this country that such detailed documentation will be produced for handover to a new administration. I strongly encourage you to uphold this legacy and make the experience even better for your successor by the time you are to leave office.

“It may also interest you to know that apart from these three documents, all the Ministries and their Agencies have also prepared their Handover Notes, ready to brief their new political leadership. I want to sincerely thank the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and his team for this great feat,” he further stated.

On the transfer of a symbolic baton to Asiwaju Tinubu, the President said that the incoming government would continue with the race of advancing democracy and development.

“This is a first in the history of our Nation’s transition process. To preserve this remarkable history for generations to come, I have directed that the Baton be preserved in the Presidential history wing of the National Archives and I hope that President-elect Tinubu and those after him will build on this tradition,” he stressed.

At the event, Buhari honoured president-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima with national investiture of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) respectfully in line with the May 29, inaugural process.

The President said, “I have run a good race, I have finished my course. It is now time for another to take up the baton.”

The investiture of the President-elect and Vice President-elect sets the pace for their swearing into office on Monday, May 29th, 2023, drawing a curtain on the eight-year administration of President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who served two terms, 2015-2023.

Buhari congratulated both political leaders, who had served as Governor of Lagos and Borno States, respectively.

“I extend my warmest congratulations to the President-elect, on his well-deserved victory at the February 25th, 2023 Presidential elections. The Nigerian people have recognized your leadership qualities, political acumen, and passion to serve our great nation, and have entrusted you with the burden of governing our beloved country.

“I have no doubt that Nigeria will continue to thrive and achieve new heights under your leadership. You were the best candidate at the elections and Nigerians have chosen wisely.

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“I equally extend my congratulations to the Vice President-elect. Your wealth of experience in governance, your unwavering commitment to the well-being of the Nigerian people, and your exemplary leadership during challenging times as Governor of Borno State, have made you a deserving candidate for this position. I have full confidence that you will serve our nation with utmost dedication and integrity.

“In accordance with the Honours Award Act, 1963, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, (LFN), 2004, Presidents/Heads of State receive the Honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) while the Vice Presidents are awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

“Today, with the authority vested in me, as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I have conferred the National Honour of GCFR on His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu and that of the GCON on His Excellency Kashim Shettima respectively.

“As we celebrate this auspicious occasion, let us not forget the immense responsibilities that come with leadership. The challenges facing our nation are significant, and it is the duty of the President and Vice President to address them with courage, wisdom, and compassion.

“We must remain committed to the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability, as these are the foundations upon which our nation’s progress and development rely,” he said.

Buhari noted that Asiwaju had the experience and capacity to lead the country, carrying on the legacy of his administration.

“President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, you have a long and illustrious track record of public service, marked by your exceptional achievements in various capacities. Your transformative leadership in Lagos State, where you left an indelible mark in the areas of infrastructure, education, healthcare, and economic development, speaks volumes about your dedication to the welfare of the Nigerian people.

The President expressed deepest gratitude to Nigerians for their unwavering support and trust throughout his tenure, adding “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve this great nation, and I am confident that Nigeria is in capable hands as we embark on this new chapter.”

President Hands Over  Transition Documents 

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday handed over transition documents to the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The files which contain three key documents, comprise of briefing notes (on each of the nine priority areas covering key sectors).

A compendium (which captures the priority programmes and projects implemented by his administration) and a Policy Status update were also handed to the president-elect.

This documents were given to Tinubu at the State House Conference Center in Abuja, after he and his vice president-elect, Kashim Shettima, were conferred with the National Honours of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON).

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The President also handed over the baton of service to the president-elect indicating that government is a continuum. The ceremony is the first in a series of events lined up for the May 29 inauguration.

This is the first time in the history of transitions in Nigeria that the transition process has been driven under an Executive Order 14 signed by President Buhari.

The order sets the process of presidential transition on a path of a legislation, which will institutionalize it.

I Understand Task Ahead, Won’t Disappoint  – Tinubu

President-elect Bola Tinubu, yesterday said he understands the magnitude of the task ahead as he prepares to take on the mantle of leadership.

The former governor of Lagos was declared the winner of the February 25 presidential election after defeating Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).

Yesterday, Tinubu was conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) — the highest national honour — while Kashim Shettima, the vice-president-elect, was bestowed with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

Speaking after receiving the honour in Abuja, Tinubu told President Muhammdu Buhari to “expect knocks” on his door.

“I understand the honour given to me today and the magnitude of the task ahead; whether you go to Daura or Niger Republic, expect knocks on your doors,” he said.

Tinubu, who is expected to be sworn in as president on May 29, said he will not disappoint Buhari and Nigerians.

He also praised the outgoing president for honouring the late MKO Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election.

“President Buhari, you have shown courage in taking tough decisions others avoided. One such decision was to recognize the injustice of the annulment of the 1993 election, to designate June 12 as Democracy Day, and to bestow the nation’s highest honour on the late MKO Abiola,” Tinubu said.

“As much as anyone could, you reached back into history to set the records straight and heal a festering wound. The justice you did in this matter lends special meaning to today.

“I am a simple man who is the beneficiary of the support and goodwill of the people of Nigeria. The people have put their trust in us. You have done your part Mr. President.

“Now, that great duty descends on me. I understand the meaning of the honour given to me today and of the task that awaits.

“I must run this race and must do it well. On security, the economy, agriculture, jobs, education, health and power and in all other sectors, we must make headway. The people deserve no less. In this, I shall disappoint neither them nor you, Mr. President.”

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Again, Tribunal Steps Down Obi’s Petition

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For the third time, the Presidential Election Petition Court, PEPC, was forced to step down hearing in the petition filed by Mr Peter Gregory Obi and the Labour Party, LP, against the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The petition was stepped down by the court following a poor schedule of documents being sought to be tendered to establish the allegations of malpractices during the February 25 presidential election.

At yesterday’s proceedings, the court discovered that the documents were not properly scheduled as ordered by the Court.

In the drama that ensued at the point of rendering the documents from the 23 local government areas of Benue, a lot of discrepancies were uncovered.

All efforts to reconcile the anomaly and reschedule the documents were unsuccessful as the errors were beyond immediate solution.

To save the situation, counsel to Obi and the Labour Party, Chief Emeka Okpoko SAN, sought to use documents not filed to conduct the proceedings, but the move was rejected on the ground of illegality.

In the end, the court stepped down hearing of the petition and ordered the legal team to go and re-file the schedule of documents in line with the provisions of the pre-hearing report.

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The hearing of Obi’s petition had run into stormy waters three times, prompting the shift in the hearing of the petition.

At the time of this report, Peter Obi and the Vice Presidential candidate, Datti Baba Ahmed, were in the court as their lawyers were running helter-skelter to the Registry of the Court to file a new schedule of documents.

Meanwhile, the five Justices led by Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani hearing the petition have retired to their chambers to await when the legal team will put its house in order.

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In Maiden Meeting, Crush Oil Thieves Now, Tinubu Orders Service Chiefs

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu, yesterday met with the Service Chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies and told them that he would change the security architecture of the country to blend with his philosophy to address the insecurity challenges across the federation.

The President also said as far as he is concerned, ‘Nigeria should not go on her knees as a result of security challenges while other countries are working, moving forward and recording tremendous achievements.

Tinubu stated this in his maiden official meeting with Security and intelligence heads led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor at the Presidential Villa, Abuja as the the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major Gen.

Babagana Monguno (retd), who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting that lasted two hours, said the President has directed heads of security agencies to come out with their blue prints.

He ordered the security agencies to crush anyone involved in oil theft, stressing that his administration will not tolerate such menace.

“He is going to embark on a lot of reforms in terms of our security architecture, he is going to take a closer look at our misfortunes in the maritime domain, focusing particularly on the issues of oil theft, that as far as he is concerned, he is not going to tolerate oil theft wherever the problem is coming from it must be crushed as soon as possible,” he stated.

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He has already mandated the security agencies to come up with a blueprint as far as he knows and as far as he concerned, he doesn’t have the luxury of time; and whatever changes will be made have to be done as soon as possible.

“The President also has decided that whatever ventures the armed forces are going to be engaged in, they must carry along those operatives in the theatre. They must be well fed, well kitted, motivated and given all that they require.

He said it was an appraisal meeting for the President to get briefing on the activities of the different security formations and for him to tell them his own philosophy and what he expects from the security heads.

“The President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces has just concluded a meeting of the general security appraisal committee consisting of the Chief of Staff, Service Chiefs, Inspector General of Police, and heads of the intelligence agencies.

“This is the very first meeting he’s had with the heads of the security agencies. The meeting lasted for two hours.

“Having been briefed by the participants of the meeting, Mr. President, addressed prevailing issues confronting the nation in terms of insecurity and also mentioned his own philosophy towards dealing with national security issues.

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“First and foremost, he appreciated the armed forces and intelligence agencies and the wider paramilitary agencies for the work they have been doing in the past couple of years. Their sacrifice, their loyalty, and he also paid tribute to those who died in defending this country, from the great big menace of terrorism, insurgency banditry, oil theft, sea robbery, piracy, etc.

“The President has made it very clear that he’s determined to build on whatever gains that have been made and to reverse misfortunes and turn the tide in our favour.

“As far as he’s concerned, this country should not be on its knees struggling while other countries are working and achieving greater heights,” he said.

President Tinubu said in moving the country forward he needs the security agencies to redouble their efforts, stressing that his own philosophy is one of contemporary security measures dealing with the requirements of the time.

“He has made it very clear that he will not accept a situation in which our fortunes keep declining. And his own trajectory is that national security has to be coordinated, there has to be whatever…whether it is a basket system, but there must be a clearing house.

“All agencies must work to achieve one single purpose. Working at cross purposes and colliding with each other is not something that he will condone. He has made it very, very clear that all the security agencies must comply with the demands of coordination, with the demands of frequent consultations and also timely reports which must be acted on.

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“President has said clearly that he will do whatever is within his powers to enable the operational elements but the intelligence agencies must also make their work easy for them by providing the type of intelligence that they require to carry out the assignment,” the NSA said.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has mandated his security chiefs to draw up a fresh blueprint that would guide security operations in the country.

Tinubu, who met with the security chiefs in the country for the first time since assuming office, yesterday, said he had a personal philosophy about how security issues should be handled for effective results.

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Obi, LP Challenge Election Results in Rivers, Benue, Niger, 15 Other States

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The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 presidential election, Mr Peter Gregory Obi and his party confirmed to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) yesterday in Abuja that they would challenge the election results in 18 states only.

They held that they would not dissipate energies in the states where they won convincingly and without any dispute.

However, at the end of proceedings, Obi and his party tendered certified electoral documents obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in only six states.

The documents, mainly, Forms EC8A, election results from polling units were admitted as exhibits to be used to establish their alleged riggings and other malpractices during the election.

Presiding Justice of the Court, Haruna Simon Tsammani admitted the documents as exhibits after they were tendered by Chief Emeka Okpoko SAN who represented Obi and the Labour Party.

Meanwhile, INEC, represented by Kemi Pinhero SAN, issued the documents and certified them as genuine but dramatically announced its decision to object to the admission of the documents.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shetima, who are 2nd and 3rd respondents and represented by Adebayo Adelodun SAN in the petition challenging their declaration as winners of the election, also hinted to oppose the admissibility of the electoral documents.

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Similarly, the All Progressives Congress, APC, represented by Chief Afolabi Fashanu, SAN, argued that it would raise objections against the documents.

Breakdown of the tendered and admitted documents showed that Forms EC8A were tendered in 15 Local Government Areas of Rivers State, 23 in Benue, 18 in Cross River, 23 in Niger State, 20 in Osun and 16 in Ekiti Local Government Areas.

A further hearing in the petition has been shifted to June today by the Court at the instance of the two petitioners.

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