Since February 27th when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of the Presidential election held on February 25th, there has been a cloud of apprehension and general peace of the grave yard in society.
Many Nigerians within and in the diaspora had been in deep thought over what would happen on May 29th, the inauguration day.
The Police, the DSS and the Military echelons have also issued threats against any activity aimed at foiling the handover ceremony.
A number of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) have adopted variegated positions on what should be done on that day. Just recently, while the debate whether or not Tinubu should be sworn in when the Tribuna is yet to dispense with the cases before it, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) weighed in, saying that there was no constitutional process to delay the inauguration.
In a statement he issued recently, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the inauguration of Tinubu was bound to happen under constitutional process despite the petitions against the APC candidate and President-elect at the election petition tribunal.
“It is important to state that the inauguration of Bola Tinubu on 29 May 2023 is bound to happen under our constitutional process.
“While the election tribunal deals with the petitions there is no constitutional process to delay the inauguration on 29 May. We need to obey the rule of constitutionalism.” Agbakoba said.
Last Tuesday, the legal teams of Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) told journalists at the Tribunal that the proceedings would not hamper the inauguration but that if the case eventually goes against Tinubu, he would stand down as president.
The explanation appeared to have provided a relief to many Nigerians who were anxious about May 29.
Everything said, by tomorrow, Tinubu will be inaugurated as the successor of the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari. He is coming to power at a very difficult period in the history of Nigeria.
The administration he helped to clinch power in 2015 and 2019 has destroyed everything about the country.
Tinubu’s statement that he would continue where Buhari would stop had attracted analysts’ comments to me that he was not ready to take the country out of the abyss of despondency Buhari plunged it into.
This also may have accounted for the protest votes against him and the APC on February 25th.
Analysts speak in tandem that the Buhari Administration may have taken the country from “top to bottom.”
Some observers have however, described Tinubu’s promise to continue with Buhari’s “legacies” as mere political statement not to be seen as accepting the narrative that the Buhari administration has been a calamity and unmitigated failure.
As he mounts the saddle tomorrow, Nigerians have urged him to be realistic in terms of appreciating beyond playing politics and playing to the gallery, that the country has been badly run in the last eight years, with the aim of sincerely righting the wrongs.
Anything to the contrary, they say, would be akin to the Rehoboamic dangerous arrogance and power drunk disposition that tore apart the once united kingdoms of Israel.
Rehoboam had been made a king after the death of his father Solomon. The entire elders of Israel had gone to ask him a favour- to lighten the load on the people.
They said to him, “Thy father made our yoke grievous; now therefore, make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us lighter, and we will serve thee.”
Rehoaboam consulted with the senior advisers in his kingdom who gave him a right counsel, but he discarded it and went for the counsel of his age mates (young men).
On the appointed day when the people of Israel reconvened for an answer, the king said: “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke. My father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”
The rude response did not go down well with the people and they declared, “To your tents, O Israel!” Rehoboam could not survive the insurrection that broke out as a result of his insensitivity.
A lot has happened before and after the elections. Emotions have run and continue to run very high.
Up till this moment, there are many Nigerians that have not accepted Tinubu as the president-elect.
From the narrative on the online and offline platforms, there are indications that the elections further put a dagger in the nation’s already fragile peace and unity.
Tinubu would be gathering a retinue of advisers. He will do well to listen to and implement counsels that would be in the overall interest of the country.
What he listens to at this time matters a lot as well as what he does with whatever he hears from his aides.
If Tinubu decides to be an ethnic or religious president, he would be toeing the disastrous path of King Rehoboam.
President Buhari chastised greater percentage of the Nigerian people with whips for straight eight years, it would be uncharitable if the incoming administration decides to increase the chastisement with “scorpions.”
A Lagos-based politician who craved anonymity, said that it would be in Tinubu’s best interest to run an inclusive government, in which all parts of the country all carried along.
Read also: Make our load lighter, Nigerians urge Tinubu
“I would sincerely advise Asiwaju Tinubu to realise that his mandate was not popular and that his victory is still being contested with a load of weighty allegations of electoral malfeasance. He must also realise that confidence is at a very low ebb given the disaster that was Buhari’s administration and the manner of Asiwaju’s victory; he must strive very hard to win back the trust of Nigerians. That must be done urgently as a priority,” he said.
Another observer who also would not want his name mentioned, said that this is not the time to play “witch-hunt” card.
“We can safely say that since he has achieved his life ambition of becoming Nigeria’s president, regardless of what the Tribuna may say at the end of the day, Tinubu must resist the temptation of playing the witchhunt card. He must also resist the tendency to go the Buhari way, which adversely affected his administration.
“Buhari was busy fighting real and imaginary enemies. From day one, Buhari made it clear he did not like certain part of the country. If you ask me, the people from those areas are even happy in spite of Buhari. Over the years, they have survived very well without government’s help and presence. It will be in Asiwaju’s benefit to carry along every part of the country,” he said.